Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Publishing Secrets with Mark S. Bacon, author of 'Desert Kill Switch'

Book Title: Desert Kill Switch
Genre: mystery/thriller
Publisher: Black Opal 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?
Mark:
Those are really two very separate questions.   I decided this when I was probably 14 years old.  At the time I wasn’t thinking author as much as simply writer. I wrote short stories mainly for my own entertainment.  At first I was a science fiction and fantasy fan.  My stories were a blend of mystery and fantasy always with twist endings.  I enjoyed reading because it would take me to places and times I’d never experienced—or never would. 
In high school, as everyone does, I took English composition and was inspired and encouraged by two talented teachers.  I also took journalism.  The more I wrote, the more I could see that writing was the most challenging work that I could accomplish reasonably well.  That’s been part of my motivation throughout my writing career that’s included work for newspapers, writing for broadcast media and becoming the author of books. 
The second part of the question is why pen this book.  Looking for another challenge for my Nostalgia City protagonists I discovered a somewhat sneaky practice of some car dealers.  They sometimes install GPS trackers and kill switches in the cars they sell to people they consider high-risk borrowers.  Miss your payment—sometimes by as little as a few days—and your car is dead. 
Is this your first book?
Mark:
No.  Number eight. 
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Mark:
I’m published by a traditional publisher.  I choose them because they published my first mystery and wanted more. 
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Mark:
I sold my first book to a big New York publisher after writing only three query letters.  I then had to write a few sample chapters and an outline and that was it. I got an advance (for this business book) and started writing. 
Of course, that was too easy.  But I had done my homework about the market and about the kind of books this publisher produces.   And I had what turned out to be a unique angle on my topic.  Subsequent books were not as easy.  
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Mark: 
First, you have to do your homework.  Which companies publish books like the one you are writing?  Talk to them only.  It’s a waste of time to send a query letter about your fantasy novel to a company that publishes only nonfiction.
Second, be prepared to tell a publisher how you’re going to launch a professional marketing campaign for the book. Yes, you will have to market your own book.  If you don’t have a website/blog and a presence on several social media outlets, do that before you send in a query. Your publisher will require it.
Other lessons:
Agents can be of great help—one was for me—but they’re business people.  Find one who is genuinely excited about your book.  If you can’t, pitch the book on your own.
Hundreds of thousands of new book titles are released every year.  Even though the majority of titles are nonfiction, that can be an easier market to break into than writing novels.  Nonfiction titles are more easily sold to a niche market.  It’s easier to sell a nonfiction book to a small, but specialized market (quilters, photographers, pet owners, etc.) than it is to sell a novel to everyone who reads.
Many people who want to be writers think writing books is the path to success.  I used to teach journalism and I’d tell my students that there are a multitude of successful writers in the world—copywriters, business writers, public relations writers, sports writers, speech writers, tech writers and many others—who have never written a book.  Making a living solely through book writing is rare. 
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Mark:
Of course.  Landing a publisher—finding someone who likes your work enough to print it—is a great ego boost and a possible stepping stone to future books.  But you need to know exactly what your publisher will do and what they will expect you to do. 
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Mark:

Starting a career hoping to survive on book royalties is more than daunting. I suggest aspiring authors consider a less demanding, less stressful and more financially rewarding career.  Crop dusting pilot, alligator wrestler, and bomb diffuser come to mind.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book Publishing Secrets with Anna del Mar, Author of the Romantic Suspense 'The Guardian'

Name: Anna del Mar
Book Title: The Guardian
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Mermaid Press
Find out more:

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?
Anna: I became an author because I couldn’t stop writing. I tried, believe me. I didn’t think I was cut out for the life of a starving artist. But the stories kept coming. So I had to give them a chance.

The story that became The Guardian was born out of my travels to Africa. The Serengeti is one of the most beautiful, awe inspiring places in the world and the diverse, dynamic people of Africa stole my heart. If you’d like to see the images that inspired many of the pivotal scenes in The Guardian, click here to see my pictures of Africa.

Looking back, there was never a chance I’d lived through such a transforming experience and not incorporate it into my romantic suspense stories. I had to share my journey with my readers.

Is this your first book?
Anna: This is actually my sixth romance novel. It comes on the heels of The Asset  and The Stranger. It’s also the third book of my romantic suspense Wounded Warrior Series. But each novel is a standalone journey. It’s pretty cool. You can read them in whichever order you wish.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Anna: My first four novels were published by Harlequin. But for The Guardian, I chose to go Indie. I think it’s smart for an author to diversify. In this day and age, hybrid authors have more freedom all around.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Anna: I started my romance writing career with a large publisher and I loved it. It’s a great strategy to gain readership and experience. But I have to say that I’m also loving my Indie journey. I love the freedom of writing and publishing a novel exactly as I think it should be done. There’s great creative freedom to the Indie process. It’s actually quite liberating.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Anna: I’ve learned patience, perseverance and grit. I’ve also learned to be true to myself and my stories.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Anna: Absolutely! The more doors you open for yourself, the more opportunities you’ll have.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Anna: Write, write a lot. Find a top-of-the line editor that knows your genre and listen carefully. If your editor doesn’t get it, neither will your reader. Work hard to polish your manuscript and don’t let rejection kill your writing. Change is par for the course. So embrace change and go after what you want.

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About the book:
From the Amazon Bestseller author of The Asset and The Stranger, comes The Guardian.

Game Warden Matthias Hawking is a decorated ex-SEAL engaged in a grueling fight against ruthless poachers in Africa. He’s short on resources and long on enemies. There’s a price on his head. The last thing he needs is the unexpected arrival of a beautiful but stubborn journalist threatening to uncover his secrets, an alpha female challenging his alpha male and getting into trouble, a hurricane wearing boots.

Jade Romo is a veteran of several different kinds of war. She’s survived her heroin-addicted mother, the foster care system, and the conflict in Afghanistan. Jade’s tough, confident, cynical, and self-reliant, a woman who doesn’t believe in forevers. But when she defies the poachers and lands at the top of the warlord’s kill list, she’s forced to rely on the skilled, attractive but supremely infuriating game warden who has captivated her body’s undivided attention.

Haunted by his past but driven by his courage, her mysterious guardian will do anything in his power to protect the woman who has captured his heart.


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.