I have always enjoyed working with creative people and indie authors certainly fit the bill. Most creative people don't have the inclination for the technical side of publishing. I used to be the "liaison" to contracted authors at a large insurance company -- another side job to my marketing job. The job was mostly to get good material from the authors while insulating them from the corporate world. Seemed like the more creative the more thin skinned the author. As entrepreneurs they had no problem telling the CEO he had no clothes on. I kept the authors away from the CEO's. In dealing with indie authors I provide help to the extent that the author wants help. There are a lot of technical aspects to formatting a book that will be on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. The systems to produce the books are very different. That is where I can help.
What work experience brought you to publishing?
While in the corporate world I was always involved in the intersection of technology and business. Especially how technology could generate more business. At one point I was a hypertext developer for a large insurance company, it was a side job to my marketing job. When I went to the public sector I was involved in developing very large databases spanning generations of data on clients. That system is still actively used today in the state of NJ. Those experiences gave me perspective for what is going on today in the publishing world, and there is a lot going on. My focus is on the author and bringing them to their audience. Having worked with sales people and involving them with technology I found that people have varying degrees of engagement with the technical side of things. I see my job as letting authors do as much as they care to in the whole publishing process. I can pick up were their interest is on more important things, like writing and promoting their book.
How do you approach cover design?
Although cover design by a professional is probably best in terms of quality I have found that a cover can evolve over iterations. The cover for 36 Week Jam Session, by Aimee McCarthy actually became a slide show and Survey Monkey questionnaire to elicit feedback from strangers. We also worked with a professional designer who produced an exceptional design for an anthology. In fact it was too good and did not fulfill the promise of a good cover. The design was too slick and modern for a young adult anthology. The cover that was finally agreed upon was the one the author wanted as it fit her vision of her book.
What do you read for pleasure?
When I was younger I read the classic science fiction novels. These days I read non fiction like The Second Machine Age (a prediction of contemporary life in this century) and Capital in the Twenty First Century (historical economics that describes where we are today and how things will be in the near future). I should probably go back to science fiction, it was more uplifting.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read on any device. Have a Color Nook. Both Nook and Kindle emulators on my laptop and smartphone and I use Calebra to test develop e-books. Started using Cool Reader recently and it is looking good.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth is the best. A lot of email direct solicitation with links to sites where my authors' books can be obtained. Emails to people who have commented on Wordpress blogs that have been active for years. The best little device is a 4" x 6" card with the author's cover and at the bottom Q codes to Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble sites where the books can be ordered. The cards can be used at book signing as it is something tangible that can be signed by the author.
Describe your desk
A mess. If it were not for my phone and laptop I would go nuts. Too much paper. I finally caved in and got a Metro Fax account to accommodate those who think paper is still here for the long haul. At least I don't have to feed a fax machine any more. Had a recent experience with a hospital that insisted on receiving medical records via fax. I told the admitting nurse I could email the documents. She insisted on fax. When the fax was going through I got a call from the nurse saying she was going to have to change the paper in the machine as there were three hundred pages coming through. I asked if they were actually using a fax machine with paper. When she told me that was the case I offered to stop the fax and send email. She decided to change the paper in the machine a few times. I told her I thought such an advanced NYC hospital would have a fax server.
When did you first start writing?
I have always written in school, work, and as consultant. Currently I am a stringer for a local paper to keep my hand into writing. I am the publications officer for the local American Legion. Guess I will never stop writing.
What do your fans mean to you?
The fans are everything. It is they who dictate what will be bought and thus what will be written.
What are you working on next?
Always working on my next author and their book. Also getting involved with local libraries to bring indie authoring to the community.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.