Marcus Dino has had an interesting professional career, first as an Aerospace engineer, next as a passionate math teacher teaching in urban Los Angeles which he currently still does, and finally, as a part time literary fiction author. It is Mr. Dino’s being a die hard movie buff that led him to writing Diary of a Mad Gen Yer in addition to his first novel, Fifi, Anything goes in the Double Os, first published in 2003. Mr Dino is a graduate of Chapman University and he also has Masters Degrees in both Education and Electrical Engineering. Diary of a Mad Gen Yer and Fifi can be found at www.smashwords.com and www.summertimproductions.net. Mr Dino’s personal website which includes numerous blogs, short stories, and poems involving his central character Fifi Larouche, which helped inspire him to write his anthology, Diary, can be found at www.authorsden.com/marcusdino.
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Marcus. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
A:Diary of a Mad Gen Yer is my second book, so I guess you can say I’m multi-published. At this point Diary is only in Ebook format. In the near future there will be a printed version for Diary.
Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
A: Fifi, Anything Goes in the Double Os (Iuniverse, 2003, Airleaf, 2005) is my first published book.
Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
A: Like any first time author, I experienced quite a few rejections from literary agents and mainstream publishers. I can’t say exactly how many, well over a hundred. So yes I did self publish Fifi, first with Iuniverse (hardbook version) and then Bookman/Airleaf (paperback version).
Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
A: At first I felt a little frustrated by the rejections, who wouldn’t? But then I realized this is not a reflection on my writing skills or whether my book will sell. I read somewhere that only 3 out of 100 manuscripts are accepted by traditional publishers. But I believe in my writing which I think is what every successful author needs to believe in, his or her writing. It just takes time to make it this cutthroat business. So to your answer your second question the rejections gave me more determination when I self published Fifi to make it successful. It’s been six years since Fifi was first published and I am now starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel.
Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
A: As I said before Iuniverse for the hardcover version of Fifi and Airleaf for the paperback version. I chose both of these publishers because they both had good reputations as self publishers.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
A: Oh just feeling that first hardcover copy of Fifi gave me goose bumps. I think I went out celebrated with a few close friends, of course I gave them all a free copy of Fifi.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
A: Trying to get reviews in major newspapers, certainly a challenge. I was successful in the July 20 2004 edition of the Pasadena Star News and San Gabriel Valley Tribune book sections which were titled Author creates Indelible Title Character.
Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
A: Since I have done it again with Diary of a Mad Gen Yer and have self published my ebook with Summertime Projections, no at this point I have to qualms about my books being self published. Some of the most popular books ever written were self published.
Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
A: As stated above, I have just published Diary of a Mad Gen Yer and yes I believe I have grown immensely as an author since I first wrote Fifi. I believe I have developed my central character, Fifi Larouche, and her surrounding cast, even more than when I first wrote Fifi. This comes from all the blogging and short story writing I do several days a week in my writing website, Authors Den. When you work with a character so long like I have with Fifi Larouche, you just get more comfortable with that character and flesh out the character’s persona more. That’s why you see so many best selling novels today where the author repeats with the same central character.
Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
A: Your second question almost answers your first question. While I certainly like any author am just dying to see my manuscript published as quick as possible, speeding things up would almost certainly cause many typographical and grammatical errors, which is by far the biggest mistakes I would like to avoid when my book is published. Good editing especially when you self publish is the bread and butter of any book being successful.
Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
A: There is no one major accomplished since I first published Fifi, there are a few. I’ve had Fifi submitted in large chain bookstores such as Hastings and many many small independent bookstores. I’ve been involved with major book signings in Hastings stores in New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. I have exhibited Fifi at major book festivals such as the LA Times/UCLA book festival which occurs every spring. Finally I have just published my second book, Diary of a Mad Gen Yer.
Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
A: Being a successful fiction writer is something I wanted to pursue since I was a child. Teaching, which also I am currently doing, is a close second.
Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
A: I currently have combined the best of both worlds being a writer and a teacher. These two careers sure keep me busy though.
Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?
A: I am sitting in my Malibu beach home sipping a couple of cool ones watching the sun set because everybody knows who Fifi Larouche is. I’m just kidding but we can always dream can’t we? Realistically I will have published my fourth or fifth book, perhaps a different genre that Hollywood chic lit which I consider my Fifi stories to be. I’ve always had a science fiction novel or children’s book in my head. I just need to bang those stories out.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
A: If you’ve got that book inside you that needs to be written then just go for it. Don’t let anybody discourage you. To me a successful author is someone who believes in his or her book, not any numerical or artificial value such as how many sales was made or whether the author was on a nationally known talk show. Some of the best books I have read were not any bestseller’s list.