Stefan Vucak is an award-winning author of seven techno sci-fi novels, including With Shadow and Thunder which was a 2002 EPPIE finalist. His Shadow Gods Saga books have been highly acclaimed by critics. His recent release, Cry of Eagles, won the coveted 2011 Readers Favorite silver medal award. Stefan leveraged a successful career in the Information Technology industry and applied that discipline to create realistic, highly believable storylines for his books. Born in Croatia, he now lives in Melbourne, Australia.
I am an award-winning multi-published writer, having seven books in my science fiction Shadow Gods Saga, published by Double Dragon Publishing, and three contemporary novels released by Solstice Publishing, the fourth due out early next year.
Q: 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?
When I wrote my first novel, so many years ago, I tried to break into traditional publishing. I am still trying. Although I researched the self-publishing market, I was never tempted. Perhaps because I equated this outlet with vanity publishers. However, I am looking at this as an option now. Back then, when the Ebook market opened, I achieved immediate success, my novel With Shadow and Thunder becoming a 2002 EPPIE finalist. Although not my preferred outlet, ebook publishing at least offers writers an opportunity to get into the marketplace and become known. However, the marketing aspects can be somewhat daunting.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
The ebook market has been fairly good to me, the publishers releasing my books within four to six months. Sometimes that required a little prodding.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I got a real buzz when the publisher sent me a contract for my first book. After years of trying to get published with a traditional house, I felt I had finally made it. I was also humbled, giving thanks that my work was seen good enough to share. Sadly, I found later than many ebook publishers accept almost anything. But with my first acceptance, a quiet sip of bourbon made me determined to go on.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
The publisher invited me to join a Yahoo chat site, and encouraged me to explore various Internet marketing options. But in 2002, things were not as sophisticated as they are now. Like today, the publisher left me pretty much to my own devices, doing very little promotion of my books.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
For me, life has been an accumulation of experiences and knowledge. I read widely across many genres, including non-fiction in many branches of the sciences. These helped me gather knowledge, which provides a store of information I can draw on in my writing. Looking back at myself over the years, I am a different person now, simply because of life’s experiences, and all of it has contributed in some way to being a writer.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
The proliferation of the Ebook market and the surprising shrinkage of traditional publishing outlets has made me step back and gape. Like with any industry, there are lots of second-rate ebook publishers out there, but there are also good ones. What I did not expect was the traditional publishing outlet becoming even harder to break into. Another aspect of the industry is the onerous demand on writers to become marketing experts, having to master all aspects of social networking, blogging and selling yourself, the publisher leaving you pretty much to your own devices. This has been tough, as marketing is something I am still grappling with.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
Although I love the creation process of being a writer, bringing my characters to life and having them live the story I created, I am also selfish enough to want others to share what I have written. It is partly ego-tripping, of course, but by definition, a writer is also seeking an audience. I can never be satisfied with the sales I made, always seeking more, but I have reached a measure of gratification that my readers like what I have produced. I guess that’s all any writer can hope for.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
If there is one thing I learned over the years as a writer, if anyone is contemplating taking this on seriously, he should be prepared to spend many lonely hours with a pencil and paper, and sitting behind a computer screen. There will be disappointments, frustration, angst … and moments of sheer exhilaration and satisfaction when the words flow and the creative process produces something wonderful. Writing is a gift, but it can also be a curse. But once bitten with the urge to create, there is no cure. Oh, yes. Become a marketing guru!