Interview with J.L. Dobias

Published 2014-06-13.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use the Kindle because I have two Kindle devices and they are portable in addition to my PCs with Kindle apps and I also have a Chrome Book where I can read from my cloud when the Kindles are unavailable.

I like the Kindle best because it has less distraction and more the feel of a book.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
That's a tough question at this time I've tried some giveaway's and that's gotten the most number in the most hands. As far as sales I think somewhat of an Internet presence has helped but I also published through Xlibris and I think that just getting a larger exposure throughout the world has helped.
Describe your desk
My desk is constantly expanding. I have a modest workstation for my computer, which is good because I can't stack things on it. I have a small table to my right under the window that is full of books; these are mostly my books on writing; the Gregg's; a dictionary;some reference books and my Strunk and White and some copies of my novels that I reference when my eye grow tired of looking things up on my computer. Then the rest of my desk is the top of a cabinet to my left that contains copies of other author's books I've recently read. That last is in constant flux.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Michigan in the United States in a large family. Our father worked at the auto factory and when he wasn't taking us camping and fishing on the weekends he was hitting the estate sales and auctions where he'd find boxes of books. That's how we all became acquainted with Science Fiction. There were plenty of other books in the boxes, but we'd pull the science fiction out and have those with us everywhere.
When did you first start writing?
We were all using our imaginations one way or another since I can remember. I spent some time writing some poetry during my college years in the seventies. Somewhere around the mid eighties I started writing science fiction using an old Smith Corona non electric and sometimes the back of old paper. Some of that was early ideas for the Cripple-Mode series. I still have some of those around. In between I had to work and raise a family so it wasn't until about 2000 that I pulled out some of the old novels and decided to get serious.

That's when the Cripple-Mode Series got it's second life.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
That's an interesting story.

I might have toughed it out to publish traditionally, but I knew my father was declining in health so I began to calculate how long it might take to get a hard copy of my book in his hand. I had already gone through about 10 edits or more and I was able to get more Copy Editing from Xlibris and we were able to shoehorn the whole thing together about a month before he passed. He had thirty days to enjoy it.

An interesting and somewhat ironic addition to this is that I had a good friend who I specifically created the dynamics of the main character around those types he enjoyed reading. I wanted him to read one of my drafts. He said he didn't want to read it until he had a book in his hand. So he was another person that I was trying to get the hard copy of the novel to. I did not know that there was any sort of rush about that, because he was only 5 years my senior. Unfortunately he passed away before the print copies were in my hand.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
With Smashwords I've been able to control how I want to give out my books, so I was able to give away quite a number of copies allowing me to get the novel in more hands than I was able to through other means of advertising and marketing. I also was happy to be able to have a tighter and closer view of the actual traffic, which I wouldn't get with any other number of ways I was trying to think about doing free books.

Between Xlibris and Smashwords I have gotten my book onto quite a number of electronic book shelves and perhaps this new partnering with Scribd will yield even more.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being able to get this whole thing out of my head in and onto paper had been a real journey. I wasn't sure how I would like having to do all the editing after, but it turned out that I really enjoy that part as much as the initial writing. Plus I've been able to work with a few people close to me on the first ten or so rounds of editing before we send it to Xlibris.

The whole process of going through more edits and setting things up for the cover and the interior was quite a bit of education and that was probably the most stressful part. The whole process was a joy and quite eyeopening, but getting the final review copy in my hand was probably the best feeling of all from the entire process.
What are you working on next?
Right now I have the third book of the Cripple-Mode trilogy and it's going to keep me busy for a while. I also have the beginnings of a few other novels; at least three novels are starting to rattle around in my mind besides this final book of the trilogy.
Who are your favorite authors?
I would start with mentioning Pohl Anderson and Marion Zimmer Bradley just because they were the ones I started out on; unless you count Eleanor Cameron from grade school reading. But my real influences are Robert Heinlein; Anne McCaffrey; Charles Dickens; Alexandre Dumas; Isaac Asimov; Arthur C. Clarke;Edgar Rice Burroughs: Otis Adelbert Klein; Elizabeth Moon; Shiva Winters and David Weber. My book shelf has over a hundred more favorites so next week I might rotate out some other names.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I still work 9 to 5 five days a week and do my writing at night and on weekends. I also enjoy reading and have been actively trying to read at least one book a week by an indie author and an occasional from the traditional shelf. I've a pretty large extended family with somewhere around thirteen grandchildren and three great grands, so there are plenty of things to get out of bed for; and not enough hours to get them all in.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

Cripple-Mode: Electric Touche (Book Two)
Series: Cripple-Mode: Novels, Book Two. Price: $3.99 $1.52 USD. (62% off until Oct. 8, 2021!) Words: 193,160. Language: English. Published: September 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction
Someone expects Travis to do their dirty work and won't take no for an answer.Parasitic children of the JumpSpace Entities are the root of her problems and she'd love to be rid of them;but there's a fine line between them and what makes her what she is. Everyone thinks they own her, so she must question what constitutes sentience and sapience and if a being who is both should be owned by anyone.
Cripple-Mode: Hot Electric
Series: Cripple-Mode: Novels, Book One. Price: $2.99 $1.00 USD. (67% off until Oct. 8, 2021!) Words: 265,320. Language: English. Published: July 11, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Travis Lucia Hamilton-McQueen just back from near death and not keen on revisiting: wants her life back. Granddaughter of a murderer; daughter of a convict; suspected terrorist. No: not that life. A soulless clone amnesiac with a Dissociative fugue identity; consigned to convalesce on Medical Space Station Perl: is bad enough. Mix in a rogue General and some assassins and life becomes interesting.