Interview with Danny Culpepper

What are your five favorite books, and why?
I don't have five favorite books because I stopped reading books years ago. They just became too formulaic and mundane. I believed authors were cranking out minimal-effort manuscripts, and then big publishers were backing up trash writing with mega-bucks PR campaigns. I would read a so-called "best seller" and just think to myself, "Are you serious? THIS is a best seller? Why? It's horrible!"
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't own an e-reader and I have no plans to purchase one. I'm very low tech.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Goodreads Giveaways have been the best marketing technique for my book. I recommend these giveaways to any newbie author who wants to introduce their book to the world of avid readers and get honest reviews of their work from strangers.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in various cities in the South Bay Area of California (Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Campbell) and I would say my surroundings influenced me in the following way: I have absolutely no issues with same-sex relationships. I am pleased that I live in an area of the United States that is very, VERY open to diversity. I wouldn't live anywhere else.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in mid 2009.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book--if I decide to write it to completion and publish it--is a continuation of my last two books: Straight Man Gay and Straight Man Gay Two.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I knew absolutely nothing about the publishing industry when I started writing, so when I found out how hard it was for a newbie author to obtain representation through a literary agent, I only sent out about a dozen query letters before I decided the indie route was the choice for me. It was more important to get my story into readers' hands than to wait years and years to obtain an agent, and then wait years and years to possibly obtain a book deal. Besides, I was told that once a publishing company holds the rights to your work, it can change your title, your cover artwork, your story, your characters---everything--just to make the book more commercial. I didn't want that.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has allowed me to easily sell through Apple's iBookstore, which is my third-biggest distributor (after Amazon and Amazon UK). Smashwords offers my e-book in several e-formats, so virtually anyone who owns any brand of e-reader can download a compatible format of my books. Smashwords also allows me to offer as much of my books as a free, downloadable "sneak peak" as I want. Amazon only offers potential customers 10% of my first book, but through Smashwords, potential customers can read 42% of my first book, which allows them to really get involved with the storyline and bond with the characters. This, in turn, causes more of them to purchase the book because they're hooked and want to keep reading the story.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is having a reader tell me, usually through an email or via my website, that they loved my books and want me to write more.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the ONLY reason I write. I have other interests and other talents. I don't live and breathe writing, so fans who love what I write are the motivators who keep me writing.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A bi-weekly paycheck inspires me to get out of bed every day. I have a good job. It pays the bills. It allows me to live comfortably. It allows me to write for pleasure.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Straight Man Gay is the first story I ever wrote. I do not have a bunch of dusty manuscripts in a desk drawer. I had never written anything (except a silly poem) before I wrote my first novel, Straight Man Gay.
What is your writing process?
I write what I feel like writing when I feel like writing it, and whatever I write will be modified close to seventy-five times before I'm happy with it.
How do you approach cover design?
I draw the artwork for my own covers so first, the design has to be something I'm capable of creating in Adobe Illustrator (i.e., not too complicated). I also try to make sure my covers are NOT what a reader normally finds on the covers of gay romance. I don't want my cover to look like anyone else's cover and I don't want it to look like all the gay romance novel covers out there: two bare-chested guys with their jeans half-unzipped. I don't like any artwork that screams blatant sex, either. I just think that's tacky and common. Ultimately, I want my covers to stand out from all the rest, and they do.
Published 2014-03-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Straight Man Gay Three
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 128,500. Language: English. Published: December 9, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
John Kaiser has problems. As if falling through a stage floor three days before Christmas wasn’t bad enough; his heart stopped on the emergency room table as his boyfriend Brian Mallory looked on, unable to help him. Miraculously, he was revived thanks to the efforts of a heroic doctor, but only after he’d been without oxygen for nearly three minutes. Is he okay or has he suffered brain damage?
Straight Man Gay Two
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 112,080. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
How happy can a straight man be living life as a gay man? Successful multimillionaire Brian Mallory has just acquired a fabulous new boyfriend, television star John Kaiser. He’s also acquired an entire “family” of colorful characters that has turned his lonely, monotonous life into one surprising misadventure after another.
Straight Man Gay
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 144,050. Language: English. Published: November 26, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Straight Man Gay is the humorous story of a straight man who falls in love with a gay man who did everything wrong and still got everything right. Set in London, we find multi-millionaire Brian Mallory hotly pursued by a sexy divorcee who's desperately looking for another rich husband, and awkwardly pursued by a clumsy, good-looking and talented young actor who's desperately looking for true love.