What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I enjoy the process of creating fiction, but I have yet to find a good marketing strategy. When I was marketing paperbacks through CreateSpace (a paperback publisher linked with Amazon), I was able to purchase paperbacks at wholesale cost, and distribute them personally at a mild profit. Then, Amazon wished to take over paperback production, and they no longer offer your paperback editions at a discount (stay with CreateSpace). Marketing the eBook format has been a bit more problematic. The ad campaigns offered through Amazon/Kindle are most effective when you offer a free book promotion, in hopes of compelling readers to purchase other novels you have offered. However, to date, I would have to say social media has been the most effective in promoting sales for my books.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing in my teenage years. Much of my writing presented itself as poetry, and musical lyrics for compositions that never made it out of the basement, but I wrote short stories, and many half-finished novels throughout my early life that entertained me. I enjoyed reading books by such renown authors as W. S. Maugham, Jane Austen, Thoreau, John Steinbeck, but when I discovered works by Stephen King, or Dean Koontz, the characterization transported me deeply inside the characters more so than any of the classics I had read. I was inspired. I suppose I wrote for adventure in my early years, and I suspect writers never cease to do this, even when success comes their way.
Describe your desk
I laugh at the thought of describing my desk. My computer tower sits atop my desk; within its drawers are various tools, guitar strings, a pedicure set, medications, and next to my desk sits my betta fish, Harvey. I glance to my left, on my desktop, and see a book on the World's Greatest Chess Games, and a Greek Interlinear Bible. My wife would probably call it a desperate mess.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Aside from the actual completion of a functioning worthwhile story-line, I derive the greatest joy from living vicariously through my characters. They develop a life of their own, and I attempt to present to the page experiences that I would cherish were I living them at that moment in those same circumstances. Or, on the reverse side, the appalling and horrific I use to shock life into the senses of the reader and cause them to root for justice.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Once upon a time, in days gone by, I had attempted to submit type-written manuscripts via an agent to various publishing houses and faced only rejection. It is difficult enough to even find an agent willing to accept your manuscript. What motivated me to become an Indie author was that it provided new hope. I have achieved my dream of becoming a published author. The downside to this is that virtually anyone capable of passing a certain grammatical criterion can achieve the same result. So, it is like winning the lottery only to discover that everyone else has also won the lottery, thus making the payout amount about $5.00 to each winner. But I believe that, by marketing to the correct target audience, and by good writing techniques, which ever improve, Indie Authors will be able succeed. In my three book Jasmine series, her rock band has chosen to maintain an Indie record label and achieves national success! Hail Hail, all you Indies!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Detroit, Michigan in the days when it was a thriving industrial haven, and watched my neighborhood disintegrate into an area blighted by crack houses, pit bull fighting, and stray bullets leaving holes in your front windows. I will not mention the rats and other vermin. Escaping from there was one of my life's greater moments. I believe it taught me a great deal about human nature, and discovered it to be a place where a dead man can lie on the street without report or intervention. I find that within the holiest of men resides a demon waiting to emerge.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the reason I choose to write. My fan-base is relatively small, but I aim to please. I warn authors not to be too upset by an occasional one star review, and to follow your own instincts first and foremost. But I personally have rewritten scenes in books when I felt the advice of a reader bore merit.
What are you working on next?
I have presently begun three different novels all in the early stages. One of the works was a request by two acquaintances to write a prequel to my Jasmine series. I will not spoil any plot lines by divulging too much detail.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors include Stephen King, Dean Koontz, W. Somerset Maugham, Jenny Lawson, Patrick F. McManus, and Sharon Snyder. I cannot forget the amazingly prolific James Patterson. There is a range of styles and genres here, and I'm sure I'll think of a few more after I close this out.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is more lackadaisical than most, I suspect. I have taken an online writing course under James Patterson, whom I love as an author but his outlines are so methodical, that I developed writer's block that lasted for a few weeks following the course until his methodology wore off, and I was able to return to normal. Stephen King states that he does not use an outline. Dean Koontz states that he never had a best seller until he quit using an outline. When I write, I have an idea in the back of my mind, and I tend to allow my characters the freedom to find their way to the conclusion. I have compared my process to a Chess game: you line up the pieces, and when the time comes, you will find a way to utilize them.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.