BookieJar interviewed award-winning novelist Susan Wingate on May 2nd, 2011. Wingate, author of the popular Bobby's Diner Series gave an insight of her career path, her advice to young writers. Rob Fuller, BookieJar's PR and Marketing executive and Susan also shared their point of views about the ePublising industry.
A summary of the interview questions and answers is posted below.
1. What made you get started as a writer?
I think back on this question a lot and I have to say my greatest influence and reason for wanting to write was my father. He was a writer. He wrote funny sexually-charged safari tales in the form of a journal. So, daily he'd write another day of the ongoing story. In fact, I think my dad might've fit well in the BookieJar community because he wrote serially.
2. Tell us about your books. Which book was your first one? How many have you written so far?
My first book was entitled "Of the Law". The tale is about police chief Harvey Flemings and his very last murder investigation. It's just recently been picked up as "A Falling of Law". I think that title gives a better idea of Harvey's dilemma.
I've written eight books since, dozens of short stories, hundreds of poems, a few one-act plays and one lonely un-produced screenplay.
3. Your books Bobby's Diner and Camouflage received international and national awards. Does winning awards make them to be your favorites?
Well, winning awards is such an honor that it's hard not to feel fondly about those award-winning stories. However, my favorite stories are the ones that I'm working on now or those I will be working on. I'm always thinking up new stories and I'm always in love with the ones I'm working on presently.
But, yes, those award-winning novels certainly have a special place in my heart.
4. What are the major challenges you have faced in your writing career?
Wow. What a great question. I think balancing my work with my private life. I'm not talking about celebrity at all when I say this. What I mean is creating some sense of balance where I'm not constantly working, thinking or discussing work. Like right now, I've been up since 6:30 this morning and it's 6:30 p.m. I tend not to stop. Working at home can have that effect on a person. If my work was outside the house, I wouldn't be working right now. So, that sense of balance flies out the window when I work at home. But, and here's the inherent problem, I LOVE my work so I could just go on and on and on...
5. What's your point of view about ePublishing and self-publishing?
About ePublishing, well, no matter how much people wish it would go away, I happen to think it's here to stay. It's the way we will be doing business from now on and much the way trains and automobiles effected the world, now we can transport goods via airwaves! Isn't that amazing. If we wish to buy an eBook, we just get online with our reader and order it, then we can read it--within a matter of seconds. Of course, it's forced some businesses out of business and some industries are scrambling to adapt and not to lose money but with any break in technology or industry, we see similar effects. It's the brave new world one very similar to the one that Aldous Huxley wrote about.
About self-publishing, well, authors have been self-publishing for over two hundred years so it's nothing new. What IS new is the stigma of self-publishing, indie publishers and vanity presses. That stigma has faded incredibly so. The quality and content of many self-published books is incredibly high. Another new occurrence involving self-publishing is that we're seeing many new markets opening up for these books. Authors are starting to pull in some great money, they're winning awards and getting fabulous reviews. Before, most venues--bookstores, libraries and other retailers would flat refuse self-published work. Competitions disallowed self-published books and reviewers wouldn't even bother to read them let alone offer a review. That's all changed within the last five to ten years. Again, a brave new world.
What is great about both ePublishing and self-publishing is that authors are seeing a reversion of control. We're getting control of our work back. Where, in the past, publishers had control, well, now we're seeing the struggle leveling out. We're also seeing print, eBook and subsidiary royalties rise. Authors lost control sometime ago. It happened in sometime between the 1960s and the 1980s. Many things effected this tilt in control toward the publishers. But, the fact remains that now we're seeing a more level playing field in today's market.
6. Ongoing book publishing model allows serializing a book and engaging readers. Are you doing it or are you interested in trying it?
I think it's great that BookieJar is doing this. You know, I believe that some great authors such as Benjamin Franklin and Charles Dickens both did the same but through print newspapers. So, the concept is an old, tried and true one. It's a model that I admire and would very much like to do and will, as soon as publishers can guarantee zero copyright pirating. So, until I find a publisher that can guarantee this, I'll probably wait to do so. But, I think it's great. It's just with the internet, anyone can copy and paste my work in some of these venues. So, at this point, I'm a bit hesitant.
7. How do you promote your books? Based on your experience, what promotion methods are most effective?
Again, in this new eWorld, most of my marketing has been done online, on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and a few others. But, usually, once a year when another book is released, I'll hire an online book publicist. Sometimes I'll take out an print ad but fewer dollars have been spent for those in the past few years. We don't need to spend money anymore. But, my presence is wide. I also have a live talk radio show called DIALOGUE: BETWEEN THE LINES. It's another way to build my platform, to set myself apart from the millions of other great authors out there. I'm very active in my marketing & publicity campaigns. You have to be in this day and age.
8. Do you like to communicate with your readers directly? What channels do you use?
I do. I love it, actually. I notice some authors who block their Facebook walls or the ability for people to contact them via a message on Facebook and I just shake my head. Now, I get it. I do. I mean, I'm sure James Patterson HAS to. Just so he can work. With the millions and millions of readers he has, he just couldn't answer all of the comments. But, I notice authors who are mid-listers like me who won't talk to their readers. It seems off somehow to me. Plus, I love to hear what people think about a story I've written. Did they like it? If so, why? If not, why? I think understanding what our readers want (our consumers!), then we're really not being very business-smart. But, also, I just love to talk to people so it seems natural to me.
9. What advice would you like to give to new writers?
Try to write no fewer than 3 hours a day. Stay focused on your writing when you're writing. Stay focused on your marketing when you're marketing. Stay focused on submissions when you're in the submission mode. And, keep your head down and try to stay positive. Remember, the rejection rate from agents is about 98%. It's a little less if you go directly to publishers but it's still high. If you understand that and keep educating yourself in craft, yes, but also in the publishing business, you'll be able to understand things that the author who isn't watching the business will not get.
Build your online platform: your website, blog, and social sites. Go to writing conferences. Not only will you learn a ton but you'll also make some wonderful contacts. And, if you ever have a question, email me. I'm always open to helping emergent writers. I teach tons of workshops and offer my email address openly. It's firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm always available and only hope people will take me up on chatting. I've been in the business for nearly 20 years now and I've gleaned a bunch of information.
And, get onto BookieJar! It's another fabulous way to get your work out to the public. I can only thank them for contacting me before their launch. And, thank you, Rob for this wonderful interview.
Publisher Launches Online Storefront: Story-e-Books.com 600 days ago
on Entry Way Publishing's blog
We finally got a great deal finalized and in every way possible have launched. Press Releases were sent, Facebook friends were alerted, Twitter fans were tweeted, Linked In were sent posts and all the groups were given a chance to join us. Please become yet another 'one of the first members' to receive your $5 dollar off coupon by joining us before October 31, 2011. The night of Halloween we will send out the coupons as our holiday bash. Meanwhile, drop by and see the inventory of books, ebooks, music, product brands etc. Authors, editors, graphic artists are all invited. We have a special invite going out to writers who have self published and to other publishing companies. Contact us if you would like your books carried at our online storefront: <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. Have fun - we hope to hear from you soon.
Thanks, VicToria and Team Members at Digi Tall Media, Entry Way Publishing and Poetry Highway all come together with a concerted effort of making Story-e-Books.com the next 'neat place to go for a great read!'
Learn all about Buster and his new magic friend - can he escape and where did he come from!
See it all here: http://johndrhodesauthor.wordpress.com
My grandfather once told me that it didn't matter what a person did in life, as long as they were the best at it, they would never starve. He was an artist, and not a starving one at that.
Throughout our lifetime we sometimes switch career paths, so I wondered how long it would take anyone to actually master a craft and be considered an expert in their field. As a writer, I'm particulaly interested in the answer. How long does a writer have to write until they're a "good" or proficient writer?
Check out the answer here:http://www.katinaferguson.com/2011/08/a-chance-at-perfection/
*hint! The answer is in Malcolm Gladwell's latest book*
Hello from the The Refractive Thinker Press and our debut here with Bookiejar. We are thrilled to be here.
We offer a three time award winning series: The Refractive Thinker: An Anthology of Doctoral Writers. Our program includes over 60 chapters authored by 45 doctoral scholars in 22 states and on 5 continents. We have six publications including leadership, research methodology, change management (award winner), ethics, leadership, and globalization (award winner), and strategy in innovation.
Currently, we are beginning our author's call for our fall edition: Volume VI: Post Secondary Education.
Come join us and become a refractive thinker! We look forward to our journey together.
Dr. Cheryl Lentz