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 email@example.com. 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.
Good Morning , I have been quite the busy little bee lately. Working on my new publish. The seasons are changing and I can not wait.
I'll no longer be using #Bookiejar. Been trying to close my account. 256 days ago
on RW Rivers's blog
I'll no longer be using this werbsite. Been trying to close my account and I'd have better luck pulling teeth from a hen!
Financial whiz kid Danny Singh is launching his first book on finance entitled ‘Finance 101: The Whiz Kid's Perfect Credit Guide’. Through the book, Danny shares the experiences he had while successfully managing the financial affairs of his mother Rita Singh.
The graph of a whiz kid
Danny started doing Rita’s finances when he was just 11 years old. He has advanced his skills for the past couple of years. Rita introduced Danny to finance by teaching him to read bills and pay them online. She was astonished by the interest the young boy showed in managing her financial affairs. Very soon Rita got busy with her work and Danny took over. He has been managing her mortgages, bills, credit cards and taxes since then and has saved Rita about $10,000 over the years. He started slowly by picking up the way the system worked by reading online articles and by talking to credit managers and customer support representatives on the phone. He still monitors Rita’s IRA, ensures the bills are paid in time and manages all the financial chores which could demand a Financial Manager’s skills. Danny regularly calls Rita’s banks and get the annual rate percentage reduced which empowers her financial side to a great extent. He ensures that she receives the highest possible interest on her deposit accounts. While he was 14 he did a refinance on their house which marginally reduced the rates to a 4.86% fixed for 30 years mortgage. Danny had continually ensured that their credit scores stay above 800.
Danny while speaking on the occasion confessed that “Finance is my first love now”. He also added, “I am happy that I could do all this without compromising on my performance and grades in high school”.
Danny when asked to comment on his status of being known as a Financial Genius said, “I feel honored as several news stations as well as eminent personalities like Governor Rick Perry, First Lady Anita Perry, Senator Marco Rubio, State Representative Jason Brodeur, and Seminole County Commissioner Bob Dallari gave me this title of Financial Whiz Kid”. He also added that he got acceptance as a financial expert through his continuous interactions too. “I have been doing several financial seminars educating my fellow peers on the significance of maintaining excellent credit and how to handle their student loans”, added a beaming Danny.
Sharing the wisdom
Danny’s story gained media attention recently and since then he has been answering the queries of his peers and fellow students regarding their financial issues. He has been conducting seminars to educate people on better management of their credits. He also helps his peers to choose better student loans and credit cards. Danny says his secret of success lies in knowing how to manage finances and how to use credit cards appropriately. Danny recommends that the balance payments should be completed by the end of the month at any cost. Wise use of credit cards will earn the person credits which can be a money saver. “It’s all about managing the numbers well”, he says.
He is planning to leverage his financial skills by choosing a career which will take full advantage of the know-how he possesses. He is opting for a bachelor’s degree in Business Information Management at Seminole state. He also plans to do MBA to fine tune his skill set.
His book contains detailed information on how he successfully manages the finances of his mother. He reveals the tips and tricks he have learned during the process. The book is a good read for everyone interested in finance and credit management. Work of this genius might inspire you in managing your finances in a better fashion.
Danny plans to donate the profit he earns from the sale of this book to the Children’s National Center in Washington for their HIV research. The book is available from Amazon and various popular websites.
I have began my work on my children's book a mask for Cameron. I expect it to be ready for the printers by next Hallow's Eve. I am excited about this book. It reflects my child hood some what. Being born unto a poor family myself I can relate to the little girl in this book. The illustrations will be in water color as well.
Last night I spent the evening with a fantastic nocturne novel. I have started to first of three in the series. I have always had a special love for New Orleans and the escentric people that live there. This is a wonderful read . I was captivated. I could not put it down finished the book in 5 hours. I am starting the second of the 3 today. These writes are soft core harliquin nocturne romance. Not to in depth but a fair amount of love and romance. I find it interesting and go well with a cup of tea .