Thursday, September 21, 2017

Book Publishing Secrets with Frankie Hogan, Author of Livin’: From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush

Name: Frankie Hogan
Book Title: Livin’: From the Amsterdam Red Light to the African Bush
Genre: Travel memoir
Publisher: Wharton Reed Publishing
Link to book on Amazon 
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Frankie: I taught myself screenplay formatting as a hobby. One day, almost eight years ago, I quit my job in New York and moved to Hollywood to make screenwriting a focus. I haven’t reached the Oscar stage yet, but I’ve had successes in Hollywood that have made many of the dreams I had before coming here a reality. Livin’ is my first venture into nonfiction. Whether you dig on exploring a 4000-year-old pyramid of a pharaoh or hiking in the Amazon rain forest, these places start as childhood dreams. Most people who grow up on a Philly street corner, like I did, or even on a farm in the heartland, don’t get to experience these nirvanas. Why? With Livin’, I wanted to bring you to these places and show you how accessible they are. 
Is this your first book?
Frankie: Yes, first book. I’ve written a dozen screenplays, but it was a-barrel-of-monkeys fun writing in the different format. I wanted Livin’ to feel like a friend telling you a crazy story about a trip to a far-off land. That tone. That smile when someone tells you a story over a beer. It was important for me to keep that.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Frankie: This is an indie publishing method. I am a principal partner at a film production company, so I understand the landscape. I weighed the options and always felt Indie was the way to go. I dig the freedom and control you maintain over the project. Once some investment backing was in place, it was settled.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Frankie: Let’s say you’ve written your book, have decided you want to publish independently, and are now thinking, “What’s next?” Money is what makes the world go ‘round. Pitch wherever you can. You never know. A friend of a friend loved the travel stories I told at a party. He heard I was writing a book about them and became my main investor. Once the money was in place, I made a budget and put together a solid team, from editing and design to publicity, printing, and marketing. It can be more work than a writer is looking for, but there are varying degrees. Something like a POD service takes most of the printing work off your shoulders without causing you to lose control of the project. Be honest with what you want to take on, and take it from there.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Frankie: I feel like it’s there to be done, man. I mean, I love writing and building a world or piquing an emotion in a reader. There’s nothing like it. But I also dig on the ability to see it through. Making sure the work gets into the hands of the target audience. That’s what indie publishing allows us to do.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Frankie: If you’re willing to sacrifice time in return for project control, this is the best way. You just need to be honest with yourself about how much time you can put in and what you’re capable of in the business world. If you need to write on a daily basis, indie publishing makes that next to impossible.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Frankie: Set your goals. If your goal is to be featured in a brick-and-mortar bookstore window, indie publishing might not be for you. If your goal is to set your exact book price and control holiday sales at certain times of year, a Manhattan publishing house is not where you want to go. Once you understand what your target is for the project, you’ll be able to choose the publishing method that works best for you. Indie does for me. 

ABOUT THE BOOK:


In spite of a lifelong passion for travel, author Frankie Hogan admits that he often fell victim to “life getting in the way” until he decided, once and for all, to stop giving in to easy excuses, stop yielding to the reasons not to—and stop the cycle of procrastinating, putting off and waiting for the right time, the right circumstances, and the right companions.  It was time, Frankie decided, to get out there and see the world, to take in the history, nature and nightlife of places far away from home.  It was time to get out of his own way and travel—really travel—to off-the-beaten-path, exotic, far-flung destinations.  And Hogan, a South Philly native and streetwise everyman, did just that.  Livin’ is the story of the ride, the road, and the reward.

A travel guide like no other, Livin’ presents a first person look at the joys, the wonders, and the occasional woes of busting out of the comfort zone and seeing the world.  A tale told by a tour guide like no other—the affable, outspoken, and hilariously observant Frankie Hogan,  Livin’ is part memoir, part adventure story, part unconventional travel guide,  part laugh-out-loud narrative and totally irresistible.  Consider what would happen if you traveled the world with a Charles Bukowski-Jack Kerouac hybrid leading the way, and you will get a sense of what this tantalizing tome has to offer…

Unfiltered, uncensored, and unapologetic, Livin’ takes readers beyond the glossy brochures and postcards and lays bare the good, the bad, and the ugly.  A memoir that celebrates wanderlust (with its fair share of both wandering and lust) Livin’ is vibrant and vivid, irreverent and inspiring, uproariously ribald but abundantly real.
Come along for the ride as Hogan leads a tour from Egypt to South Africa, Amsterdam to Vietnam, Peru to Cambodia, India, China and more.  Livin’ is a larger-than-life tale about taking chances, conquering fears, taking the road less traveled and rolling with the punches.  A book that could inspire even the most steadfast homebody to hit the road, Livin’ is a journey in itself. 
A hell of a storyteller with one hell of a story to tell, Frankie Hogan pulls no punches in this refreshingly candid narrative. Eminently readable and wholly unforgettable, Livin’ charms with its friendly, conversational tone and mesmerizes with its fascinating accounts of some of the most enviable travel destinations in the world. Moreover, Livin’ comes alive with Hogan’s colorful observations, joie de vivre, unmistakable wit and keen eye for the comical, the sublime, and the absurd.   Quite simply, Livin’ is a real trip.    

Monday, August 28, 2017

Book Publishing Secrets with Mystery Author Leslie Karst

Book Title: A Measure of Murder (book two in the Sally Solari mystery series)
Genre: culinary mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Leslie: I’d had a vague concept of writing a culinary mystery for many years, but it wasn’t until one day when I was out jogging that the idea for my Sally Solari series came to me all in a rush. Santa Cruz had long been a sleepy beach community, home to Italian fishermen and retirees, but with the advent of the new university in the late 1960s the place had been transformed, and my town was now teeming with hipsters, hippies, and urban professionals. And along with them, the food revolution had descended full-force upon the surprised old-timers. What would happen, I wondered, if a local Santa Cruz gal suddenly found herself caught between the world of her family’s traditional, old-fashioned Italian restaurant, and that of the newly-arrived, politically-correct food activists? 
Is this your first book?
Leslie: No. A Measure of Murder is the second of the Sally Solari mysteries. Although all the books in the series focus on food, cooking, and restaurants, there’s a secondary theme to each of the stories: one of the human senses. The first book, Dying for a Taste, concerns (obviously) the sense of taste, and A Measure of Murder delves into the sense of hearing—more specifically, music. 

With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Leslie: This book—as with the first Sally Solari mystery—is traditionally published by Crooked Lane Books, a crime imprint out of New York City. From the start, I wanted to find a traditional or small press publisher for the series, so that I could focus on writing and promotion, and not also have to deal with the nuts and bolts of designing, formatting, printing, and distributing the books themselves. 
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Leslie: It took over two years to write the first draft of the book, and then another three to re-write it. I was fortunate enough to have some insightful beta readers who critiqued the early version and helped me see where it needed reworking, but even after these revisions the manuscript was still “not quite there,” according to passes I continued to receive from literary agents.
After over eighty rejections I was starting to have serious doubts—about myself as a writer as well as the book—but decided I’d give it one last shot by hiring a developmental editor. I needed someone who could not only help improve the manuscript, but who could also be objective, and let me know if it was worth continuing to send out.
After this rewrite, I started querying agents again, and within a month or so I finally got “that phone call,” from Erin Niumata of Folio Literary Management. She’s a former editor herself, and steered me through further revisions before pitching the book to publishers. It still took another nine months of edits, pitches, and then some further edits, but I ultimately landed a deal with Crooked Lane Books. 
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Leslie: Probably the most important lesson I learned was that rejections are the norm in the publishing business. Literary agents receive dozens—if not hundreds—of queries every single day, and most only represent between twenty and thirty authors at a given time. So not only does your book need to be well-written and compelling, but it needs to jump out as special to that particular agent (or acquiring editor). In other words, although getting traditionally published takes an enormous amount of hard work, it also takes a certain amount of luck—for your manuscript to land on that one agent’s desk at the particular time that the agent is looking for something just like your book. 
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Leslie: I have been very happy with Crooked Lane Books. They not only have terrific editors, who help ensure that my books are as well-crafted as they possibly can be, but they also ensure that the books are distributed through book clubs as well as major book distributors and brick and mortar stores. Crooked Lane also has its own publicists to send the books out for reviews before they’re released. As a result, I get to spend more of my time writing and editing than I would if I were self-published. 
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Leslie: Never give up and never stop believing in yourself as a writer. As the fabulous developmental editor, Kristen Weber, said to me when I became discouraged after receiving so many passes on the manuscript that ultimately landed me my contract with Crooked Lane Books, “You can get hundreds of rejections, and many writers do. But remember: It only takes one yes.”