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Allan Leverone is a three-time Derringer Award Finalist whose short fiction has been featured in Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Shroud Magazine, Twisted Dreams, Mysterical-E and many other venues, both print and online. His debut thriller, titled FINAL VECTOR, is available February 2011 from Medallion Press. For details, please visit www.allanleverone.com or his blog at www.allanleverone.blogspot.com. Don’t forget to join him at Pump Up Your Book’s March 2011 Authors on Tour Facebook Party on March 25. Visit his virtual book tour page at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/01/16/final-vector-virtual-bookk-tour-february-march-2011/ for more information!
Final Vector is my first novel to see the light of day. I’ve had a couple of dozen short stories published, both online and in print magazines and anthologies, but I’m both nervous and excited to join the ranks of professional novelists.
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?
My journey to publication included a total of 134 rejections of my three manuscripts from agents and publishers, 51 of which were for Final Vector, before Medallion Press showed enthusiastic interest in my thriller about an air traffic controller who gets caught up in a plot to assassinate U.S. President Robert Cartwright by blowing up Air Force One. Medallion is a small Indie publisher, but I believe one of the biggest and best of the Indies.
I had always sworn, during the years when it seemed I was making no progress, that I wasn’t so desperate to see my name on the cover of a novel that I would resort to self-publishing. I figured if my book wasn’t of sufficient quality to get picked up by a traditional publisher I didn’t want it out there. But now, things are changing so fast in the world of publishing that I would seriously consider releasing a book myself.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
Not quite fourteen months. I signed my contract with Medallion in late-December, 2009 and Final Vector was officially released February 11, 2011.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I’ll never forget the night I got the offer of publication from Medallion. I had to read the email over three times before it really sunk in that, yes, they actually wanted my book! Then I had to examine it to ensure I wasn’t the victim of some cruel practical joke. Knowing I was about to become a professional novelist was a feeling that can’t really be described. It was like drinking a whole bottle of champagne without having to worry about puking it up later or dealing with a headache the next day.
Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?
Within days of signing the contract for Final Vector, I had contracted with Xuni.com for a complete redesign of my website, www.allanleverone.com. I had designed and maintained the original myself and it wasn’t up to the professional standard I wanted to project. Then I began aggressively expanding my social networking presence, hoping it would help get the word out when it was closer to my release date. Finally, I contracted with COS Productions for development of a video book trailer and signed with Pump Up Your Book Virtual Tours for a two-month blog tour in support of the release.
It sounds like a lot, but as an unknown debut novelist, my challenge is to put my name and my book in front of as many potential readers as possible. Final Vector could be the best thriller ever written, but if no one knows about it, no one’s going to buy it.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
I like to think I would continue to grow as a writer regardless of my publishing situation. I started writing fiction in earnest less than five years ago, so I had—and still have—a lot to learn about the craft. I hope never to stop learning.
There are two things I ask myself every day; one to keep growing as a writer and one to give myself the best possible chance to sell Final Vector and whatever may come next:
1) Is what I wrote today better than what I wrote yesterday? And
2) Did I do at least one thing today to promote my work?
If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” I try to do something to rectify that as soon as I can.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
How slowly things happen within the industry while things are changing so fast for it as a whole. The idea that it could take almost fourteen months to turn a completed manuscript into a new release amazed me when I signed my contract, and it amazes me now. Fourteen months is an eternity the way things are happening in the publishing industry right now, but this is a business that ran basically the same way for five hundred years until the advent of electronic publishing. Now the publishing industry is undergoing a sea change, and traditional publishers are struggling to keep up.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
That’s an easy question for me to answer. The most rewarding thing, by far, is the knowledge that my work might be entertaining a reader in Boise, Idaho or Sacramento, California or Fairbanks, Alaska right now. Or tomorrow or next week or next month. It’s humbling and rewarding at the same time.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Make sure your work is as polished and as high-quality as it can be, because if it’s riddled with typos or grammar flaws or plot holes it will get passed up in favor of a more polished book, even if it’s a better story. Once your work is the absolute best it can be, turn into a bulldog and never give up. JA Konrath says the difference between a published author and an unpublished author is persistence and I couldn’t agree more.