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Interview with Mark Spivak, author of ‘Iconic Spirits’



Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the restaurant critic for Palm Beach Illustrated. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Ritz-Carlton, Continental, Art & Antiques, Newsmax, Dream of Italy and Arizona Highways. From 1999-2011 he hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Mark began writing Iconic Spirits after becoming fascinated with the untold stories behind the world’s greatest liquors. As a writer, he’s always searching for the unknown details that make his subjects compelling and unique.His latest book is Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History.

Visit Mark’s website at

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Pick up your copy of Iconic Spirits at Amazon:

Find out how you can win a Kindle Fire HD by clicking here!

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Mark.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

This is my first book to be handled by a mainstream publisher.

When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

In this case (Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History), I had a terrific agent who sold the book in record time. My previous experiences didn’t go quite so smoothly. I think every writer probably wants his or her book to be handled by a mainstream publisher, and that’s the first path we take.

How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

I signed the contract in June 2011, and the book will be published in November 2012.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It’s a feeling you can’t put into words, even if you’re a writer. I celebrated by sharing a special bottle of wine with my wife.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

For this book, I’m focusing most of my efforts on publicity that will be effective and not cost too much to generate. I’ll be doing a great deal of radio, and I have three separate blog tours planned (the publisher is doing one, I’m doing a second and paying for a third).

Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I’ve become more self-confident

What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I’ve done a lot of newspaper and magazine work, and the first thing I noticed was that the book editors were on a totally different level in terms of professionalism and competence.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

The feeling of knowing that you’ve created something that will last—not forever, perhaps, but hopefully long enough to have an impact on a number of people.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t give up. You need to be focused, driven and have a high level of belief in your own destiny. You may go through years or even decades or rejection, but it’s more than worth it if you persevere.

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