Susan DiPlacido is the author of 24/7, Trattoria, Mutual Holdings, House Money, Lady Luck, Shuffle Up and Deal, and American Cool. Trattoria was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Small Press Romance 2005, and her short story, “I, Candy,” won the Spirit Award at the 2005 Moondance International Film Festival. American Cool won the bronze medal in the 2008 IPPY awards and was a finalist in the 2008 Indie Book Awards. Shuffle Up and Deal was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Small Press Erotic Fiction 2010. Her fiction has appeared in Susie Bright’s Best American Erotica 2007, Maxim Jakubowski’s Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica vol. 6 and 7, Zane’s Caramel Flava, and Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction.
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I am multi-published. My first book came out in 2005, and it was a sexy, romantic suspense story set in the world of blackjack in Las Vegas titled 24/7. Since then, I’ve had a total of six novels and one collection of short stories published. My latest is a sexy romantic comedy set in the world of poker with the prime location being Las Vegas and it’s titled Shuffle Up and Deal. Sounds similar, I know, but while I use a lot of the same elements, it’s a very different plot and tone than the first one.
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?
I went with a small press. I had sent out agent queries along with queries to small presses all at the same time, and when I got a bite from a small press, I didn’t hesitate. It never occurred to me that I should wait and try for a bigger fish. I was really happy with the company and I’m still happy with that decision, because I got some of the best editing work ever and it was a great first experience.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
I think it was well over a year from start to finish. The editing process took a little while, as did the book production. This was back in 2005, so things were just starting to blow up with on demand publishing and it still took longer to go through all the set-up steps back then.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
Have you ever had anyone answer that being published for the first time sent them into a spiraling depression? Yeah, me neither! I was ecstatic! I celebrated with cake. Chocolate. Good times.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I don’t really remember what the very first thing was. I recall making press kits and sending out review copies and setting up a blog and website. This was all before social media of facebook and twitter, so blogs were the primary web presence then. But I can’t recall the exact first thing.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
Well, hopefully I’ve grown in positive ways as a writer. Like I said, my first editing experience was great, and I learned a lot from that. Now when I write, I think I’m better at editing on the fly and have a better grasp of what will excite the reader more quickly. I’m always thinking of the reading experience first, whereas when I started, I was thinking of putting the story out as a cohesive whole but would sometimes get bogged down and lose sight of the overall entertainment value and how smooth it would be. So, hopefully, I’m better at blending the two together now – keeping the story on track while keeping the reader entertained.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
Well, we really are seeing a shift in the way the business is being done now with the new technologies. I guess I’m most surprised that the big publishing houses are slow to pick up on the new trends. Things are moving faster and there’s a wider variety than ever for readers to chose from, which is wonderful. But it always surprises me when readers can wade through the white noise of all the product and find something that they can still make a best-seller.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
I would like to say that the reward is in writing the books, but that would be a lie. I write to communicate, so the most rewarding part is when someone has read my work and responds in some way. Especially, of course, if they enjoyed it or have questions or comments about it. I really love that.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Sit down at the keyboard and start. That’s the only way it will ever happen is to actually do the work.