Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
My latest book is actually my debut novel. It’s called THE WOMEN IN WHITE, and it’s a YA Mystery novel featuring a sixteen-year-old boy named Greg Chase as the lead. Greg is a wunderkind whose heightened observative powers have earned him a role as the New York Police Department's youngest ever civilian consultant. He’s had—and loved—that job for about a year, but he’s forced out of it when his actions contribute to the inadvertent killing of a suspect in one of his cases. Greg goes back to school, but he doesn’t stay out of trouble for long. He quickly gets into a relationship with the new girl, Mel Locket, only to learn that she’s actually the prime suspect in the murder of her former friend and classmate from her last school. The police, Mel's therapist, and even her own mother think she did it. Greg, however, comes to believe that they’re off base and that Mel is actually innocent. And being naturally unable to let the matter rest, he sets out to prove her innocence by any means necessary.
THE WOMEN IN WHITE is part of a series—the first in a series of YA Mystery novels called “Greg Chase Mysteries.” Assuming positive reader response to this one, there will be many more!
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
It was largely about wanting to retain full control of the characters and the general world that I had created. When you go down the traditional publishing route, you essentially sell a substantial portion of your book rights to a publisher. And until you’ve hit enough success that your voice carries sufficient weight with that publisher, the publisher has a large degree of say regarding the direction that you can take future stories in the series or even if you CAN CONTINUE the series.
I just mentioned that I envision WOMEN IN WHITE as the first of several Greg Chase Mysteries. I didn’t want to lose the power to continue the story that I started in book one, and I saw VERY many ways that that could happen if I took WOMEN IN WHITE down the traditional path.
If the book didn’t sell well traditionally, the publisher likely wouldn’t want to buy and publish yet more stories in that universe—meanwhile, because the publisher would own a great deal of the rights, I likely wouldn’t be able to just write a new Greg Chase story on spec and publish elsewhere. Or the publisher might be willing to buy future Greg Chase stories but might not want me to take them in the direction that I desired.
What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
For me, it all starts with an idea. If I like the idea, if I think it has good potential as a book, I’ll get it down in outline format.
While I’m outlining, I do prefer absolute silence. But once I’m done outlining, as I’m writing my first draft from that outline, I’m okay if things are a bit louder. I still enjoy the relative quiet even then, but I don’t absolutely require it.
Once I’ve gotten a good first draft down, I tend to take a step back from that particular book and world for a little while (usually one or a few months) before picking it back up again to complete additional drafts (the third of which is usually done with the help of a proofreader/editor). And during those additional drafts, I do again tend to want absolute silence. Writing a first draft from an outline (particularly outlines as detailed as I make them) is relatively easy. Outlining the whole story and completing the editing process is hard and requires quite a bit of focus.
Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I outline. ALWAYS. I am very much the type of person who needs to know where the story is going before I commit to writing it. In my mind, it’s the only way to be certain that I’m writing a book as opposed to, say, a short story or even maybe TWO books that need to be split up.
That being said, there are exceptions. I do see an outline more as a general road map than an undisputable bible. I always get to the general storytelling ending that I’d planned, but sometimes not in the way that I’d originally intended. Sometimes, as I’m writing from my outline, the characters or the story will lead me in a different direction. Sometimes, they or it will take a minor detour from what’s written in the outline but ultimately get right back onto that preplanned path.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I was actually fortunate enough that I didn’t have to! I happen to have a very good personal relationship with a sterling editor who offered to do the job as a courtesy (and in exchange for my giving him some technical advice regarding launching his own debut novel). He went through my book chapter by chapter and edited for such things as grammar, typos, sentence structure, etc. But he also gave me a large amount of very good advice regarding the general nature and story structure of WOMEN IN WHITE. I think that the overall work truly benefitted from it all—and hopefully, my readers will too!
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
I have a limited-time exclusivity deal with Amazon, so for the moment, THE WOMEN IN WHITE is exclusively for sale there (in both Kindle and print form). However, those who visit my website (fredtippett2.com) can easily access the book on Amazon via several well-placed links.
What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
My book is most extensively marketed on my personal website (fredtippett2.com)—and anyone who wants the fullest picture of my authorship or what WOMEN IN WHITE is about should check it out! (I also offer some exclusive tie-in content there!) I heavily promote via my Instagram and Twitter accounts (both @fred_flinstone8) as well. And I’m currently going through a very arduous process of conducting interviews with some book blogs and shopping copies of THE WOMEN IN WHITE to others for public reviews.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Well, fortunately enough for me, the manuscript for my next book has actually already been written for quite a while now! I drafted it back in early 2018, and I’ve been furiously editing and proofreading it since! I will say, though, that it has required a not insubstantial amount of commitment to stick to my plans for editing that manuscript while also handling the necessary duties associated with marketing WOMEN IN WHITE. I spent plenty of time making sure that the launch for WOMEN IN WHITE was just right. But now that it’s been released, it’s taking my spending even more time to make sure that the book takes off in the way that I so desire.
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Be sure that it’s what you want. That’s about as succinctly as I can say it.
I think there’s a bad rumor out there that self-publishing is basically the easy way out for authors who don’t want to put in the time or the work to perfect their craft so that they can get an agent and publish traditionally. But in reality, the exact opposite is the truth. Granted, you do have some free riders who just want to pump out a book fast and who don’t care about the quality of their work. But for those who actually want a future and a fanbase as self-published authors, choosing that route means choosing a MUCH harder path than traditional publishing. It means finding your own GOOD editors and proofreaders, designing covers that will unequivocally draw potential readers in (or paying someone to do it for you), and doing your own marketing plus self-promotion.
There are perks—and once you succeed, the rewards are comparable to (and debatably better than) those of the traditional route. But until you do succeed, the work is likely going to be at least twice as hard. And as you’re starting out, the fruits of your labor are almost certainly going to be incremental, not exponential.
What’s next for you?
Well, as of right now, I’m in the final stages of editing my next novel. It too will be a YA Mystery novel, though this one will feature a strong female protagonist, as opposed to THE WOMEN IN WHITE’s Greg Chase. I’m hoping to release this novel next year—either via traditional publishing or independently through Trinity Power Productions LLC, my own content creation company.
Fred Tippett, II, is the author of the Young Adult Mystery novel THE WOMEN IN WHITE, which released on Amazon in November 2020. Fred currently lives in Alabama, though he is a Washington-DC-barred attorney. He holds a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Pennsylvania—and primarily uses his legal education to bolster the credibility of police procedural elements for his novels.
You can find Fred at @fred_flinstone8 on Twitter and Instagram.