Monday, June 3, 2013

Interview with Tracy Falbe

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
In October 2012 I published my 8th novel Love Lost. It is the fourth and final book in the Rys Rising series. It’s a novel about conquest and calamity and loyalty. It draws together numerous characters from two civilizations led by two magical races the rys and the tabre. It’s a multiple point of view epic, and Love Lost finishes the weaving together of several story lines.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
After 8 novels I think I’ve had it happen more than once, but the example that is most vivid for me is Lieutenant Cevlead Fanlyre who first appears in Judgment Rising: The Rys Chronicles Book III. Honestly I only intended him to be a bit player. I needed an officer in charge of a military convoy, so I came up with Lieutenant Fanlyre. Then he started getting more lines and doing more things. And the next thing I know I have to give him a first name because he’s playing a pivotal role and becoming an ally of the hero. He even got his foot broken at one point. He’s a bit of a scene stealer. I guess he was meant to be. He didn’t change the direction of the novel. I always know where my story is headed, but I’m always open to all kinds of things happening along the way.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I started writing novels in 1997. After I had two manuscripts ready, I started looking for a publisher. I studied all the Writer’s Market books and queried every publisher and agent for my genre that I could find. I did this for four years from 2000 to 2004. It was to no avail. Back then everything was done with paper and agents and publishers would always say you had to include postage to send back your sample chapters or synopsis, but then no one would ever mail my materials back with the postage I included. I had this suspicion that agents and publishers had a big scheme to harvest postage from writers and then just use it for their own stuff. It was so frustrating and rude. I had originally planned to give myself 5 years to find a publisher before self-publishing, but I scrapped that after 4 years. I felt like querying agents was a waste of my time and I had to get on with being a novelist.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?
I had always wanted to start a business but did not know what to do, so making my love of writing novels into a business had a natural appeal for me. The number one biggest reason I had for self-publishing was the fact that it would allow me to reach readers with my fiction. Letting my manuscripts sit in boxes in the closet was simply not an option. When I started publishing I had written four novels and one nonfiction title. I couldn’t just let that keep piling up.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I write while listening to music or I write in silence. I think music is a beneficial force for my writing, but I don’t always use it. Sometimes I can’t decide what to listen to, so instead of wasting time picking music, I just get to writing. When I’m editing I prefer silence.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
I sell at every outlet available to me. I sell my fiction at my own site Brave Luck Books because I was publishing before there was Kindle or Nook or Smashwords. Ebook retailers used to ban self published works, so I had few options in the beginning. Now my novels are available at:

Brave Luck Books
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble
Sony Reader Store

What kinds of marketing are you involved with for promoting your books?
I do a mix of email marketing, blog touring, guest blogging, blogging, advertising, online news releases, and social media. My primary content marketing platform is my blog Her Ladyship’s Quest that automatically feeds into Google Plus, Facebook, and Twitter. And I’m always looking for other blogs where I can contribute content to promote myself.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Sure, it’s difficult but not really in a bad way. Although I hope I’m a better novelist than marketer, I actually enjoy the marketing. I like guest blogging and coming up with concepts for my blog tours and networking with other authors. But I have to remember that I have to save my best energy for writing. Sometimes I think it would be nice if someone else could sell my work for me, but that’s not going to happen so I just try to enjoy everything about the business and learn from my mistakes.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I’m really into growing food. I study a lot about permaculture and urban homesteading. I’ve planted ten fruit trees in my yard plus raspberries and grapes. I grow vegetables. Last year, even with the terrible drought, my garden still yielded over 300 pounds of food for my family. I’m really big into home canning and preserving food so we eat everything I grow. I’m a big supporter of local food. I have relationships with farmers in my area for poultry, pork, beef, eggs, and cheese. I like to know that the animals I consume were not tortured in a filthy factory farm and shot up with antibiotics and hormones. Also food is expensive, and this way I know my money is going to the grower.

What’s next for you?
Right now I’m very slowly investing in the recording of audiobooks. I don’t know that I’ll do every novel but Union of Renegades is completely recorded and for sale, and its sequel The Goddess Queen is well over halfway complete. I sell audio episodes of chapters as they’re finished to help pay the narrator.

I’m also working on another novel, but I’m not ready to give out details yet.

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