Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Interview with Michael Battey

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Yes: the press release is a good teaser; “As in Suzanne’s Collin’s “Hunger Games” trilogy, author D. Michael Battey pens a new book with young, resilient, resourceful individuals overcoming terrible odds. In “Tenacity Gene” (published by iUniverse), Battey asks the question, “What would a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world be like after a worldwide pandemic that wiped out all but tenacious, addictive, alcoholic, compulsive survivors?... In the midst of despair, hunger and the danger of ruthless killers engaged in a second civil war, there is the will to rebuild, to repopulate, and to reclaim humanity.
“Battey has created a colorful cavalcade of spirited characters. The protagonist is Commander Hoggue, although one of his cadets, Roy Baker, is a close second for the choice of character that readers will love to hate.”

Yes, it is the first book of a series.  The 2nd book, tentatively named “Tenacity: Traiteurs” follows the Baker and D’Angelo families in Appalachia and Doc Raleigh in Florida as they battle new enemies.  Traiteur is the Cajun word for a healer that can take out disease from the gravely ill using only their hands and divine intervention.

Yes; I’m fond of Pilot Roy Baker’s de facto bodyguard, Nick D’Angelo, a selfless medical corpsman and his tracking dog Tink, a miniature pinscher.  Bear in mind that a plague has killed off over 75 percent of the population, and Nick is lucky to have survived.  Nick would lay down his life to protect Roy.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to iUniverse?
I had looked at Friesen Press, Create Space and others.  The folks at iUniverse were the people I clicked with, and they worked with me on the costs of everything.  I’m grateful to the proofreading guy, who used the Chicago style guide and found every little punctuation error.  The book that went to press was about as perfect as it gets.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I sit down to write with my dog at my side, on the couch or the bed, no sounds, phone off, and I go into the “zone.”  I write at night, in an altered state where the story comes from “beyond the veil” or from some creative intelligence other than my own.  Not to say that my psyche, talents, and research on the internet are not important, but I believe the story comes from another entity and a place “on the other side.”

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
Well, both.  I get the story in big chunks.  I often write for 5 or 6 hours, late into the wee hours.  After it is down on the hard-drive, I outline it, correct the timeline, correct gross typos like the wrong name for a character in a scene, insert more action verbs, change narrative from “fly on the wall” to actual dialogue, etc.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Heck, yes—multiple editors!  Who wouldn’t, with all the talent out there?  An editor at iUniverse will read your novel and advise you about a line edit or a more serious content edit.  My novel was in need of a line edit only.  After I fixed those small mistakes and tweaked the time line, an editor did a final proofread. Over two hundred punctuation and spelling errors were found, accepted by me, and fixed, making me look like a genius. lol

Did you hire a graphic artist for your book cover? Were you actively involved in the creation of the cover?
I left the creative graphic work to the experts at my publisher.  I suggested some stock images from ThinkStock, and they turned it into a real attention-grabbing cover.  I am very pleased with my cover art.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I learned that the story is the foundation, but it is well worth it to partner with a world class publisher with global resources and a large talent pool of editors, proofreaders, graphic artists, PR people, marketing people giving good advice, and editorial assistants to see to every detail.  What a bargain for what I paid!
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes, the publisher has a large stable of over 100 online and brick ‘n mortar retailers, and my book is listed on all their websites in hardcover, softcover and ebook in many formats, just one of the many benefits at iUniverse.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)? 
 The publisher created Facebook pages, a GoodReads author profile, and a website with blog for me.  I did nothing; they did it all, and very professionally.