Monday, December 26, 2011

On Writing Author Interview: Author Dominique "Nik" Petersen


To avoid pre-conceived notions which can sometimes be connected with certain genres, the number of books published and/or an author's appearance, none of that information will be revealed until the bottom of the interview.   So pour a cup of coffee, have a seat, and check out this interview - see how much, or how little, you have in common with this published author.

ON WRITING:
What is your favorite part of being a writer?   I like it when I get on a roll and the words seem to flow out effortlessly.

What is your least favorite part?   Waiting and waiting while the book is being edited and then having things sent back for rewriting.

Name one obstacle you’ve had to overcome.   My most recent book has me in it and I found it really hard to put myself “out there”. I was afraid that people would think I was presumptuous.

Is there a specific part of your writing you’re working on to improve?   I am trying to see my writing as text on the page—practically so I can correct grammar mistakes, but also to be able to read it as others would read it. This is a big challenge.

What part of your writing makes you particularly proud?   When people tell me how much they enjoyed my book, I feel proud that I wrote it!

What does your favorite main character have in common with you?   N/A

Do you do a lot of research for your projects or do you only write about what you already know?   I write about what I know.

How do you use the internet for your writing?   I actually am using it for marketing my books. I do use it though for researching material for my magazine articles. It's like having the library at my fingertips!

What one marketing tool have you had good success with?   Facebook

When you’re not writing, do you read, and if so, what?   I read every night in bed before going to sleep. At present I'm on a mystery jag. I find that I get onto something and then read in that topic for a while. I particularly like The Dave Robicheaux series by James Lee Burke and the Alex Cross series by James Patterson.

What are you trying to accomplish with/through your writing?   My childhood dream was to be a writer, so I guess I'm trying to accomplish that.

ADVICE TO OTHER WRITERS
What words of wisdom do you have for young writers?   Write from the heart. Write from your passion. You can't create a good book if you're not passionate about the topic.

What advice do you have for someone looking to get published?  Publish it yourself!
  
Any thoughts on what this author writes?  How many books published?  Here's a little more information about the author...
 
How many published books are to your credit?   4

Do you have an agent?   No

Are you self-published?   Yes

How many different companies have you published with?   One

How long have you been writing?   All my life, although I never thought I'd ever publish anything.

Do you write full-time? If not, what is your other job? And how do you balance work/writing?   I am a full-time Graphic Designer. I would like to someday write more books but I just don't have the time right now. For now, I am writing articles for a magazine that one of the companies to which I provide my services produces.

So, any thoughts?  Here's the full scoop:

In Author, Dominique (Nik) Petersen’s words:  I've had my own graphic design business, NikDesigns, since 1999. Since 2005, I've specialized in designing and formatting books and covers exclusively for Aurora Publishing (www.HowToWriteAndPublish.com) and Spirit Seekers Publishing (www.SpiritSeekersPublishing.com).

Nik currently lives in Canada and is author of:  “Girlfriends Forever!” and “Partners Forever?” are interactive book sets; “Bonding with Your Partner: 2 Dozen Ways to Deepen Your Relationship” booklet; and my latest, “Dr. Hook and Me: a Fan's Journal/Scrapbook.”

Nik’s titles are available through www.Facebook.com/NiksBooks  and http://www.NikDesignsGraphics.com
 
THE FUTURE
What are you working on now?  Magazine articles.
  
PARTING WORDS
Anything else about being a writer that you’d like to share?   It's not the writing itself that's hard; it's the marketing and getting yourself/your book known.
 
You can learn more about Author Dominique (Nik) Petersen at www.Facebook.com/NiksBooks and www.NikDesignsGraphics.com

Is there anything else you'd like to know about this author, or any questions you'd like added to future interviews?  Let us know...drop us a comment below.














Monday, December 19, 2011

On Writing Author Interview: Novelist Erin O'Riordan


To avoid pre-conceived notions which can sometimes be connected with certain genres, the number of books published and/or an author's appearance, none of that information will be revealed until the bottom of the interview.   So pour a cup of coffee, have a seat, and check out this interview - see how much, or how little, you have in common with this published author.

ON WRITING:
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Connecting with readers. I enjoy finding out what they like in books, and of course I also like when they connect with something I’ve written.

What is your least favorite part? The numerous rewrites can get a little tedious sometimes, but they’re totally necessary.

Name one obstacle you’ve had to overcome. I’m really shy, so I’ve had to learn to be a little brave about telling people about what I write when they ask.

Is there a specific part of your writing you’re working on to improve? I’m constantly learning and working to improve. Probably the one thing I work on most is creating interesting characters versus interesting details.

What part of your writing makes you particularly proud? What makes me most proud is reading a page or two out loud and having it sound, to my ears, like someone else wrote it. I love it when it takes on a life of its own and becomes something greater than the product of my imagination.

What does your favorite main character have in common with you? I’m most like Allie Van Zandt – she loves her job, she’s a good friend and she’s a really loyal girlfriend.

Do you do a lot of research for your projects or do you only write about what you already know? I mainly write about what I know. I’ve written a few historical pieces that have required some research, but I’ve been a little afraid to take on a large-scale historical work.

How do you use the internet for your writing? Research and connecting with fellow authors and fellow readers.

What one marketing tool have you had good success with? I had great luck reaching readers the month I gave away a free book on Smashwords. I’ve also had some success with ads on Facebook, and of course my sales went way up the month I had an ad in RT Book Reviews.

What good writing habits have you developed that you think would be helpful to someone starting out? I take good notes, and I keep track of all my submissions. I write something almost every day of my life, whether it’s a blog post, a journal entry, edits to an article or progress on a short story or novel.

Do you have any bad writing habits that you’d advise writers to avoid? The worst writing habit you could possibly have is not to write at all. When you have ideas, get them down in some format. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike, though. Write something, even if it’s an e-mail to your brother.

Do you have any strange writing habits? I don’t, but my cat does. He likes to drape himself around the back of my laptop. From my point of view, he looks like a furry pair of bookends, head on one side and tail on the other.

When you’re not writing, do you read, and if so, what? I love to read. I try to read as much as I possibly can. If a fellow authors offers me a book to review, I rarely say no if it looks interesting. When I’m not reading books to review for my blog, I like paranormal romance, young adult fantasy novels, literature and several kinds of nonfiction. I like to mix it up, keep it interesting. I’ll usually finish 1-2 books a week.
 
ADVICE TO OTHER WRITERS
What words of wisdom do you have for young writers? Don’t be afraid to let other people read your work. Okay, you can be afraid, but do it anyway. Submit to any publication that will read young people’s work. If you get rejected, shake it off and try again, because the more work you have published, the easier it is to get your new stuff published.

What advice do you have for someone looking to get published?  It's basically the same advice - be persistent.  If anyone other than your mama’s ever told you, “Hey, you’re a pretty good writer,” then you already have what it takes; the rest is just polishing and learning your craft.

Any thoughts on what this author writes?  How many books published?  Here's a little more information about the author...
 
How many published books are to your credit?   5

Do you have an agent? No

Are you self-published? Yes

How many different companies have you published with? 3 – Eternal Press, eXcessica Publishing and Melange Books

How long have you been writing? Professionally, since 2006. In actuality, since I learned my ABCs.

Do you write full-time? If not, what is your other job? And how do you balance work/writing? I write and edit full-time. I work from home as a content editor on behalf of a company that produces educational and career content when I’m not doing creative writing. When I’m very lucky, I also get to edit other people’s books.

So, any thoughts?  Here's the full scoop:

Erin O'Riordan lives in the Midwestern United States. Her short stories, essays, and film reviews have been published in numerous magazines and websites. She writes the Pagan Spirits series of erotic romance novels and, with her husband Tit Elingtin, standalone crime thrillers.

Erin is the author of the erotic romances Beltane and Midsummer Night; the young adult romance I Made Out With a Teenage Communist!; and the crime thrillers The Smell of Gas  and  Eminent Domain.

Erin's books can be purchased at Amazon.com, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

THE FUTURE
What are you working on now? The third book in the Pagan Spirits series, St. James’s Day.
 

PARTING WORDS
Anything else about being a writer that you’d like to share? Write about what you love; other people will love it, too.

You can learn more about Novelist Erin O'Riordan on her home page at www.aeess.com, and at her book blog http://www.erinoriordan.blogspot.com

Is there anything else you'd like to know about this author, or any questions you'd like added to future interviews?  Let us know...drop us a comment below.








Monday, December 12, 2011

On Writing Author Interview: Michael Allen


To avoid pre-conceived notions which can sometimes be connected with certain genres, the number of books published and/or an author's appearance, none of that information will be revealed until the bottom of the interview.   So pour a cup of coffee, have a seat, and check out this interview - see how much, or how little, you have in common with this published author.

ON WRITING:
What is your favorite part of being a writer?   
Well, I get treated differently. When I’m asked what I do, I don’t have an answer like I’m a rocket scientist or a marine biologist. I’d probably get treated special if I did.

No. When I tell people I’m a writer, they normally perk up interested.  We talk about what I’m writing and how I got into writing before I find a way to divert the conversation back to them.  That’s when I find out that they’re a marine biologist.

I would have to say the sense of self-discovery is the greatest part of writing. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing. I always learn something new about myself. There’s always something deeper, something interesting, something out there in left field that I hadn’t noticed before.  These things come out when I’m writing.

What is your least favorite part?   
My least favorite part of writing is not having anything to write!  Could you imagine an architect not having a building to design or a doctor not having a patient?  What is my purpose if I’m not writing?  Sitting in front of my laptop with nothing to write is like sitting in the dark without any thoughts! It makes me feel like I should just wrap it up and join the circus. But then, I’d be running away and that’s far worse.
  
Name one obstacle you’ve had to overcome.  
The main obstacle has always been finding the time with all the other demands placed on me. My first professional writing opportunity was for a publisher who wanted me to write a topic of his choosing. That was great!  I loved every minute of it.  And then, another opportunity came along and I loved it too.

Soon I was writing books for other people and hardly able to find the time to write for myself. It’s tough to want to write a book, but there is so little time left at the end of the day. Then, you promise yourself that you will write your book next, no exceptions, no excuses.  That’s when another opportunity comes along and you just can’t pull yourself away from it.  It’s what’s paying for your daughter’s phone and the college she’ll go to one day.

What part of your writing makes you particularly proud?   
I like the fresh perspective I bring to issues. I am not normally influenced by what others have to say. I listen to their thoughts and ideas. But, I do my own investigating. I make up my own mind. That’s what I like most about writing, that sense of self-discovery. Writing gives me the venue I need to talk about the things I find important. In this day and age, I can put my thoughts out there as fast as I can spit them.

Do you do a lot of research for your projects or do you only write about what you already know? 
It’s a combination of both.  Obviously, I don’t know everything.  So, I have to do quite a bit of research.  Even when I do know something, I still make sure I have my facts straight.  But, there’s a good bit of the time when I can start writing off the top of my head.  I get it all down with what I already know and then go back to fact check.

How do you use the internet for your writing?  
The internet is a major part of my writing. Of course, there is a good bit of information that is false.  But, I’m no beginner.  I know the sources that are valuable.  I can discern between good information and bad.  But, the internet allows me to write and fact check in no time at all.

In fact, I hardly even try to guess anymore.  When I have friends over and something comes up that stumps us, I might take a minute or two to try to get it on my own.  But then, I’m off to the internet for the answer.

What one marketing tool have you had good success with? 
Word of mouth is always the best.  I like staying active online and interacting with people in different social networks.  I try to keep my sites as interactive as possible.  I love hearing what people have to say about my work and commenting back.

But, word of mouth is highly effective. When a person recommends my books, their friends buy it. I can’t beat that with any horn I can toot myself.

What good writing habits have you developed that you think would be helpful to someone starting out?   
One good tip I could impart would be to know the beginning, the middle and the end before you start writing.  I have always loved diving in and just writing, seeing where the story goes and letting it take me there itself. When I have writer’s block, that’s not a bad idea.

But, it’s a good writing habit to map the story out first. Keep the details straight so that no wires get crossed.  An intricate story with complex twists can get really confusing to write and to read if the details don’t make sense.  Proper planning prevents that from happening.

Do you have any bad writing habits that you’d advise writers to avoid?
Try to let go of self-editing when you are first writing a book. You’ll have time to edit later and you can always have someone else edit your work.  You’re your own worst critic and if you self-edit as you are writing, you’ll never get finished.  The occasional second look at the wording of a sentence is fine.  But, grammar and spelling errors can be left alone until you have penned the last word of your book.  Then, you can go back and look it over.

Do you have any strange writing habits?   
I think the strangest thing about my writing is that at home, I can’t have any distractions. But, I often write in public and that’s fine.  I can’t explain it!  People in public tend to be more distracting. I’ll have people peer over my shoulder to see what I’m writing.  Then, they’ll sit down beside me and start asking questions. But at home, people knocking on my door and calling my phone while I’m trying to write takes me off my game. I didn’t say it made sense.  In fact, the question was about strange habits right?  Well, that’s one of them right there!

What are you trying to accomplish with/through your writing?   There really is no goal.  I just want to write.  I love getting my thoughts out there and letting people know what I’m thinking.  I love giving people a different perspective than the ones they are hearing everywhere else. Self-discovery encompasses some huge territory. I’ll figure out where I’m going with it when I get there.


ADVICE TO OTHER WRITERS
What words of wisdom do you have for young writers?    The main words of wisdom I would impart to someone just getting started in writing are to take the time to write. Procrastination is everyone’s problem. But, we can’t be writers until we’ve actually written something.  There are people who talk about wanting to write a book. But, they never do. They put it off and put it off always thinking in the back of their minds that they will start writing their best seller tomorrow.  Sometimes, they don’t have anything to write about and sometimes they just don’t know where to begin.

I once had an English professor when I was going through college who used to say that everything has a beginning, a middle and an end.  He preferred them in that order.  But, they don’t have to be written in that order. Start where you know. Writing doesn’t have to be that organized. Just get something down and figure out what it is later, the beginning, the middle or the end. Just make sure you write!  I know that seems contradictory to advice I gave earlier, but this is in a different context.  This is to break the writer’s block and get started on something.  Then, get organized.

What advice do you have for someone looking to get published?
Writers always have the dream about the traditional publishing contract and having a publisher take the book and handle the rest.  But, it’s a process that has come full circle.

Centuries ago, which is where some people would argue we received our greatest literature, people would often self-publish.  They would finish their manuscript, walk it down to the printer, and order a number of copies.  It didn’t matter how the book was offered to the public, just that it made it.  Somehow, we lost sight of that fact.  But, we’re slowly getting it back.  Self-publishing isn’t any less legitimate.  It actually gives me the chance to put my book out right now without waiting years for a publisher to finally print it.  I’ve had that happen and it’s not fun. I have written a book that hasn’t been published yet because the publisher has it on his shelf.  That was ten years ago.

Any thoughts on what this author writes?  How many books published?  Here's a little more information about the author...
 
How many published books are to your credit? Two

Do you have an agent?   No

Are you self-published?  Yes

How many different companies have you published with?  Two

How long have you been writing?   I’ve been writing since I was about six years old. My memory can only go back that far to a time when I wrote a poem entitled Slick Move. It was a poem about people slipping on bananas and oil slicks.  What can I say? I was six.

Do you write full-time?  I write full-time

So, any thoughts?  Here's the full scoop:

In Author Michael Allen’s words:  First and foremost, I am the father of a wonderful daughter. We live in Clearwater, Florida where the beach has become my second home. I was once in the Marine Corps and I was once an English teacher. But, the greatest thing that I am is the father of a wonderful daughter.

I’ve written novels and screenplays for a handful of clients over the years. I love the variety from which I have been given.  I have written books about video game warriors coming to life and racial discrimination by one of the biggest corporations in America. One of my most recent books was for an NFL Football player who wanted to teach students how to achieve success.

Michael is the author of When You Miss Me - a children’s book, and A Danger to Society - a true crime comedy.   His books are available on Amazon in print and on Kindle.
 
THE FUTURE
What are you working on now?    I’m working on an interesting true crime story that pulls out elements of A Danger to Society, the hysterical novel about a man who falls victim to a very serious case of mistaken identity.  It isn’t exactly a sequel. The story doesn’t simply continue. It takes it to another level.

How does a man get stabbed and get arrested for it? Only in Smallton, America can things get that twisted.  It will be out early next year.

PARTING WORDS
Anything else about being a writer that you’d like to share?
It is certainly the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. To be able to write a story and share it with readers is something not a lot of people get to do. I’m glad that at six years old, I picked up a pen and started writing. It seems like it was destiny.  So, I’m very blessed that I get to do what I love.  I just hope that I’ll be able to do it for a long time.  It’s either that or the circus.  I don’t know how well I can handle a high wire.
 
 
Is there anything else you'd like to know about this author, or any questions you'd like added to future interviews?  Let us know...drop us a comment below.





Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

Wow?  An award?  For my blog?

Really?  Sweet!

It may not be an Academy Award for best screenplay or a Pulitzer, but it sure is nice to be appreciated.  Fellow author Stephen Hise has bestowed "The Versatile Blogger" award upon this here blog.


This is a "you're awesome, pass it on"  kind of award, and there are 3 rules which are:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post. 

2. Share seven things about yourself.

3. Pass this award off to 5 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it.

That's pretty cool.  Thanks for thinking of me, Stephen.  Hise's blog, Indies Unlimited, is loaded with side-splitting clever satire, sneak previews and author interviews.  If you haven't checked it out, you really should.  I promise it will be worth it.

Seven things about me?  Ugh.

1.  I speak French to squirrels.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's because the word squirrel just sounds better in French.

2.  I've been to all 50 States, and some foreign nations that were nice enough to let me in.

3.  Writing is something I've always done - even with crayons way back before fire was invented.  :)

4.  I walked before I crawled.  I've always done things a little out of order.

5.  I love turning real-life mean people into characters in my books and then humiliating them.  It's better than therapy.

6.  Teddy Roosevelt is my favorite President.

7.  I did not pay Stephen Hise in exchange for this award.  :)

And now the best part - the "Pass it on" to five other bloggers.  If you haven't been to these blogs, please take the time to check them out. 

Write Words/Arline Chase  - great advice and writing tips for authors

Book Monsters Reviews - Super friendly site featuring honest reviews, give-aways and more

Avoiding the Stairs - Poignant and satirical stories

Dames of Dialogue - A classy blog by truly classy dames!

Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog - if you can't find it here, well...

So again, a special thank you to Stephen Hise.  This was fun - well, except for the seven things about me part.  I don't like to have to think that hard.

Monday, December 5, 2011

On Writing Author Interview: Kim McDougall


To avoid pre-conceived notions which can sometimes be connected with certain genres, the number of books published and/or an author's appearance, none of that information will be revealed until the bottom of the interview.   So pour a cup of coffee, have a seat, and check out this interview - see how much, or how little, you have in common with this published author.

ON WRITING:
What is your favorite part of being a writer?
I think I have an inherent need to create. If I’m not writing, I love to do crafts or photography. Writing is my number one creative outlet. I love rereading something I wrote months or years ago and thinking “Wow, I like that.”

What is your least favorite part?
Of course, rereading old works is a double-edged sword. I can also rediscover something I wrote years ago, and think “Gods, that is so bad.” I’ve learned to use these past atrocities as a learning experience and a measuring stick to gauge how much I’ve learned in the craft of writing.

Name one obstacle you’ve had to overcome.
The biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome as a writer is discipline. I’m certain I’m not alone in this. It’s what separates an amateur writer from a pro. I had to learn that the muse isn’t always going to shine on me. But deadlines wait for no muse. Writing on demand, can be difficult. I often felt that my prose would feel forced and lack sparkle. However, once I learned to organize my thoughts and outline, I found the opposite was true. It turned out that my mind was freed from worrying about the greater picture (and making sure that every little insight was noted) and let me concentrate on the chapter at hand.

To get to this point, I studied outlining tactics (I particularly like the Snowflake method) and I created my Nine O’clock Disciplinary Hour. This was my first working hour of every day. I made a ‘job jar’ filled with mini-writing prompts. Every morning at nine, I would select one and just write for half an hour without revising. Many of those scribblings were turned into published short stories later, but more importantly, they gave me the courage to write on demand.

Is there a specific part of your writing you’re working on to improve?
Plotting. I love character driven stories, but I also like a good, intricate plot. I’m still learning how to build believable worlds, whether they are a contemporary neighborhood or a medieval village.

What part of your writing makes you particularly proud?
It’s important for a writer to know both her strengths and her weaknesses. As I mature (ahem, as a writer, I mean), I feel that I can be more objective.

What does your favorite main character have in common with you?
Sass. Definitely sass.

Do you do a lot of research for your projects or do you only write about what you already know?
Both.

How do you use the internet for your writing?
I’m not sure how we all got along before the internet. It seems so long ago, but really, it was just a few years. I am definitely a connected writer. I use the internet in all stages of writing: for research, to connect with my critique group for revisions and for marketing through my website, book video previews and online chats.

If you’ve won any awards for your writing, what impact do you think that has had? 
I won an EPPIE in 2009. It was quite a thrill. The trophy looks great at book signings. Also, my hometown paper did a full page write up on me after the award. That alone made it worthwhile.

What marketing tools have you had good success with?
Though I don’t have much time for it anymore, I did some article marketing for a while and had good success with it. Article marketing is when you write nonfiction articles for magazines and blogs that relate to your book. Bloggers are often looking for good content and you benefit from the traffic. Also, book video previews (trailers) have been a success with me. I founded Blazing Trailers, a site dedicated to books with trailers, to showcase these. I’ve had people contact me out of the blue after seeing my trailer, looking for more info on my books.

What good writing habits have you developed that you think would be helpful to someone starting out?
Discipline is really the key. Without it, nothing else matters. Even if you can only write an hour a day, do it. The only way to better yourself in this craft is to write.

Do you have any bad writing habits that you’d advise writers to avoid?
Don’t get too caught up in revisions, especially if your writing time is limited. My first novel took me 12 years to write because I kept going back to the beginning every time I’d been away from it for a few days. I was working full time and only had a few hours a week to write. This was before I had learned good outlining techniques. If I’d had a proper outline, I wouldn’t have worried about forgetting my ideas.

Do you have any strange writing habits?
What’s strange for one person is normal for another, probably. I like to write with a cat on my lap and a dog at my feet. And a bloody big pot of coffee at my side.

When you’re not writing, do you read, and if so, what?
I’m a voracious reader. I love anything paranormal. I also like historical fiction, particularly retellings of folk tales and myths. Recently, I’ve started reading a lot of YA and love the depth of this genre. And I still love a good picture book even though my daughter is now eleven.

What are you trying to accomplish with/through your writing?
I would like to make a comfortable living at writing. I don’t aspire to the New York Times Best Seller list, but I’d like to be able to write and not have to worry about making money another way. For me, the freedom to write everyday, all day would be heaven.

ADVICE TO OTHER WRITERS
What words of wisdom do you have for young writers?
Write, write, write. Read, read, read. It’s the only way to find your voice and improve your craft.

What advice do you have for someone looking to get published?
I get this question all the time at dinner parties. The publishing world is its own little microcosm. I spent years immersing myself in it. Going to conferences (both online and conventions), chatting with other writers, joining critique groups. All these connections not only strengthen you as a writer, they help publishers find you. It’s so important for a new writer to learn the etiquette of submitting a manuscript before rushing in blind. Websites like Writers Digest and 1st Turning Point are wonderful sources of information for new writers looking to get their feet wet.

Any thoughts on what this author writes?  How many books published?  Here's a little more information about the author...
 
How many published books are to your credit?   10

Do you have an agent?  No. I am looking. Agents seem like the Holy Grail of the publishing world to me. I'd love to find one and part of me thinks they're a myth.

Are you self-published?  Not generally.

How many different companies have you published with?  3

How long have you been writing?
Since I was 8 years old. I still have my first book of poetry I wrote. "Cats have fur/They often purr" It gets worse from there. I think my family thought I was a little weird. While other girls were playing with Barbies, I was cataloguing my library and writing poetry.

In 2002, I moved from Canada to the US, and I didn’t yet have a green card, so I told myself I had five years to get published. I did.

Do you write full-time? If not, what is your other job? And how do you balance work/writing?
I create video previews (trailers) for authors. In 2010, this business took off like a rocket and I’ve made over 200 trailers since. It’s another creative outlet, so I really enjoy it. Also, I get to connect with authors, publishers and publicists. The trailer business (like any) has its cycles. When I’m at a peak, I have little time for writing. So when trailers are slow, I take advantage to write as much as possible. In June I booked into a hotel for a weekend to have 3 days of uninterrupted writing. What a wonderful indulgence!

During busy seasons, I still try to write 1-2 hours a day. This doesn’t always happen. There are so many other demands on my time: family, house upkeep, bookkeeping, book marketing, etc. Never a dull moment.

So, any thoughts?  Here's the full scoop:

In Kim McDougall’s words:  I'm an author, fiber artist and photographer. I write children's and YA fiction under my married name, Kim Chatel. My evil twin, Kim McDougall, writes dark fantasy fiction. I have two separate websites so that I don't mix these genres up. That would be bad. I recently took up a third pen name, Eliza Crowe for my romance fiction. I am also the founder of Blazing Trailers. A site designed to showcase book trailers.

Kim is responsible for the following genres and titles:

Children’s Fiction/Nonfiction (Writing as Kim Chatel)
Rainbow Sheep, A Talent for Quiet, The Stone Beach, Burgher and the Woebegone, Clip-clop, Tippity-Tap: French Vocabulary on the Farm, and Horse Camp.

Adult Fantasy Fiction (Writing as Kim McDougall)
Between the Cracks Fiction, Caul, Shroud and Veil, Angel Venom, and Twisted Tails Anthologies (Volumes 2-6)

Romance (Writing as Eliza Crowe):  The Golden Hour

THE FUTURE
What are you working on now?
I just finished a manuscript for a paranormal romance. I put it away for a few months to ferment. I can hear it calling to me. I think it’s ripe now and ready for revising.

PARTING WORDS
Anything else about being a writer that you’d like to share?
I have two mottos that I feel can get you through any writing or life trial:
  1. Don't do anything halfway.
  2. There's an app for that.

You can learn more about author, photographer and fiber artist, Kim McDougall and her books at:
Between the Cracks  Fiction at www.kimmcdougall.com
Children's and YA Fiction at www.kimchatel.com
Romance Fiction at www.elizacrowe.com
Authors can view samples of her trailers at http://bookvideopreviews.kimmcdougall.com

Is there anything else you'd like to know about this author, or any questions you'd like added to future interviews?  Let us know...drop us a comment below.

















Sunday, December 4, 2011

Book Signing Basics – Part 2



An author in one of the writers’ groups in which I participate posted that she had a book signing at a store and no one showed up.  She was very disappointed, and I can understand that.  Who wouldn’t be?  But she, and you, need to realize that this kind of thing happens all the time – it’s completely common for writers who have yet to become a household name. 

At my first book signing, I expected to have a line – albeit small – because there had been so much press leading up to it – people had to be curious, right?  Wrong.  A few people did show up, and I did sell a few books – but there was NEVER a line.  I directed a lot of people to the Harry Potter books and the food court, as I mentioned in my previous post.  (Book Signing Basics)

All is not lost, however.  A book signing or other event is the perfect excuse to do a broad press campaign.  Every news outlet in your area should have received a press release and/or announcement with the details of your upcoming event.  No one who reads the news story will know if no one shows up – and at least that way your name got out in front of a lot of potential readers.  So always, always press the heck out of your event beforehand.  If not for the event, then for yourself – how many opportunities do you have to make the news for the same book? 

As far as no one showing up - you can’t take that kind of thing personally.  This author was under the impression that the store would share in advertising the event since that had been her experience in the past.  She’d been quite successful and pleased with a recent signing at a library.  But libraries are different – they have people dedicated to events and publicity.  They have public programs and relationships with the news media.  Book stores may or may not – and they probably won’t do any press for you.  Luckily this author didn’t slack and did a really good job pressing the event.  Her releases were published in a number of papers.  In my opinion, that’s a win.

Since you will pretty much be ‘on your own’ – take the initiative.  Print up some flyers or posters announcing the signing and bring them to the store a couple of weeks in advance.  These don’t have to be fancy – just a photo of your book cover(s), a photo of you, the date of the signing, and maybe “Meet the Author” across the top.  Make sure your name is in a large font, too.  Name recognition is everything.  Have the management hang them up in the store.  Leave book marks on the counter.  If there are any bulletin boards in the area – gas stations, community centers, convenience stores – hang those flyers there as well.  People do stop and look.

Why won’t people come up to your table?  People are weird. Many of them don't like to go up to authors at signings. They feel like you’ll pressure them into buying your book.  They feel like if they talk to you they SHOULD buy your book.  People don’t want to feel guilty.  Tomorrow, you might sell a lot of books because you were there today.

“Sure, Brooks, you’ve got eight titles.  This kind of thing doesn’t happen to you.”  Well, I didn’t always have eight titles.  I started out with one.  In fact, I was very nervous this exact thing would happen to me.  I’d been selling on average no more than FIVE books per signing.  Then came my first signing in urban Virginia.  There really hadn’t been any press on me in that area since it was more than two hours from where I lived – and it was no little farming town, either.  No one in this densely populated city knew me or even cared to know about me.  I’d spent SIX hours driving around the weekend before the event hanging my flyers everywhere I could find a spot:  bus stops, gas stations, restaurants, telephone poles at intersections – you name it.  Now that I think about it – it was kind of pathetic.  I didn’t know the area and I wanted as much exposure as possible – so at the time it seemed like the right thing to do.  I was scared to DEATH that the book store would think I was a total loser if no one showed up.  It was a big chain and I really wanted to make a good impression.

Then, I got an idea.  I can be pretty wily when I want to be.  I called a couple of friends.  I arranged with them to come to the signing, stop at my table, and I would slip them twenty dollars with a bookmark so they could go to the register and purchase a book.  Expensive, right?  Well, yes.  Stupid, right?  Well, as it turns out, no – it took SO much pressure off me that I actually enjoyed my signing.

Another thing I can't stress enough is to have something interesting on your table to draw people over. Since people are weird - it's so important to have an icebreaker. Pick something key (or not-so-key if it's tough) in one of your books and put it up there. If you're like me, you probably already have it for research or inspiration anyway (or just because you're warped). Even though grenades aren't used in my books, I have three different types. I used to set those out. Fantasy authors can put out big sparkly crystals - history authors can put Civil War figurines, etc. - go as big with stuff as the book store will let you. The key is to make people curious enough to come over and talk to you. If you can get someone to come up to your table, people will see you don't bite and that will encourage others.

Depending on the store, you may be allowed to put out food – cookies, candy, whatever.  Everyone loves free food.  I’ve seen some people detour just to get it.  If it’s a treat that has some sort of relevance to your book – even better. 

So, don’t get discouraged – it’s just the lumps you take starting out.  As long as you give it your best shot – it never counts as a loss.