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A Conversation with J.E. Dugas, author of MechaNation

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ABOUT J.E. DUGAS

J.E. Dugas is the author of the multi-period action/adventure/science fiction series Rose Petals and Gun Powder (Rose Petals and Gun Powder, including , RPGP: Shadows of Life, RPGP: Lost Cove, RPGP: Wanderlust, and RPGP: Paradoxical, a Double Feature), as well as the new title MechaNation, a NanoPunk Thriller. J.E. is currently at work on its sequel, MechaNation: Rebirth. Prior to writing full time, J.E. spent over a decade in the private security and law enforcement fields.

Visit him at http://www.crimsonworx.com/index.html.

 

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

A: Hello and thank you! I am a multi-published author. The MechaNation title and its Rebirth sequel brings me up to ten even. Woo hoo! I’ve got some others that are languishing on various hard and flash drives which should probably stay there.

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?

A: Just getting my feet wet way back in the day (ten years ago this month), I foolishly chose a vanity service. Oh how I wish I hadn’t! Aside from being an enormous waste of funds, I felt like I got duped regarding royalties and marketing. I ended up launching my own publishing company afterwards, re-released my ‘vanity’ titles for free and haven’t looked back since.

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

A: See above. These days I get expedited ‘front of line’ service. =D

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

A: Even though my first title was under someone else’s brand, I still felt like a champ. At least for a month or so. I went out with another writing friend and celebrated like an accomplished author: belly up to our favorite martini bar with two fists of cigars! The bar tab was scores cheaper than the cost to get published, which felt like a fantastic bargain by comparison.

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

A: Being on a modest budget, I had a few hundred postcards printed and started going through the phone book, looking for names that sounded stately or inquisitive. For all my efforts, I sold exactly zero copies that way. I also dropped several copies in library drop boxes. They never came back, so I assume the staff used them to prop up wobbly tables.

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

A: Grown? Readership-wise, that is debatable. Some would say I’m a niche author, but I’ve been working on that with my newer titles, especially after taking a marketing class and discovering who buys more books!

Quality of my writing; most definitely! I think most writers meant to be long-term authors hit their stride after their third or fourth novel. You begin to get a sense for the process, your own personal style, how to really push your abilities to make a good read great, and all the tricks that go with the trade. It does take some of the fun out of reading other authors because you get overly editorial, but I imagine it’s like being in the film industry. Now that you’ve peeked behind the curtain, some of the magic dissipates but it is still a heck of a lot of fun.

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

A: Even back with my first title in the very early 2000’s, I pushed to have an eBook version incorporated. These days, print books are going the way of the dodo. While both good and bad, the repercussions are being seen and felt throughout the publishing world. Newspapers, magazines, and even the once all-mighty New York powerhouse traditional publishers had so much invested in physical media that electronic versions were outright shunned as equals. Granted, this was well before the iPads and the eReaders we have today were popular, but look at them now. While national bookstores are, sadly, closing their doors, eBooks and electronic periodicals have staked their ground as the way of the future. Most traditional venues were either too late to see the potential, or reluctant to ‘retool’ to an electronic-only online approach.  Amazon really got behind the idea, which started life as an online bookstore coincidentally. Now you can publish directly through them, and some who do make a good living outside of the traditional publishing format without an agent, or a big publisher. That alone has given so many authors a path to getting published after being rejected by the New York firms that I can’t help but throw a thumb over my shoulder towards the Big Wheel of Karma. What goes around…

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

A: I’ve always preferred to craft my own inventions whenever or however I can, and my books allow me to tap into that same creative spirit. I recently highlighted my love for cinema, both old and new, and how writing allows me to be my own production company. Without restraint from budgets, equipment, trying to squeeze so much into a two hour window, or having unlimited special effects, I can really go wild when writing a blockbuster. My only limit is my imagination and how many hours I can stay awake in a day. The latter is a point of contention between my wife and I, as a few hours with a nap in between does the job.

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

A: What are you waiting for? There’s so many routes available right now that the only excuse is not trying. I don’t say this to be cruel or dismissive, but the technology has become so accessible to the average writer that most anyone can bang out a novel and get published with relative ease. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend a vanity publisher, as I just can’t equate the prices most charge to a respectable value. They really just want you to purchase a fairly expensive plan and then leave you at the curb to market it yourself, or charge an arm and a leg for add-on services for what you can do yourself for free. I’d be more than happy to detail my experience of what’s required, but if you just want to publish one book, whatever the genre, check out Amazon’s service.

With some talent and a bit of luck, you could become the next big summer read! It’s truly a world of possibilities out there.

Now we just need people to get back to reading and exercising their minds! I will fully vouch that a reversal to reading, whatever the reason, could save the world. Astronomical claim? Absolutely, but I believe it with a passion.

 

MechaNation_book_cover_new_finalABOUT MECHANATION

Shortly after the conclusion of the War of 2018, the mechanical evolution of humankind made a dramatic leap forward.

With the Human Guerilla Faction no longer a threat, a biotech company, Lazarus Nanotech Corporation, went from competing to stay in the top ten, to top contender after introducing their revolutionary NanoInjections system.

NI’s were designed to wipe the slate of traditional internal surgery, and go far beyond it. NI’s—composed of targeted nanomachines—could be preprogrammed and injected into the client to vastly transform the client’s body in any chosen manner. Weight loss, facial reconstruction, breast and genital enhancement, intelligence boosters, social elitist; whatever the client desired.

Soon, NI’s became a major vanity movement, and Lazarus Nanotech became the most valuable company in the world.
This success, of course, spawned an entirely new criminal underworld: the Nano Black Market.

 

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