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Interview with Kaira Rouda: ‘Don’t give up. I published my first novel in my 40s’

Kaira Rouda 2Kaira Rouda is an award-winning and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her books include: Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs; Here, Home, Hope; All the Difference; In the Mirror; and the short story, A Mother’s Day.  She lives in Southern California with her husband and four children and is at work on her next novel.

Her latest novel is the women’s fiction, In the Mirror.

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

In the Mirror 3Thank you for having me here! I am actually multi-published! My first book was a nonfiction title, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs. I am thrilled women entrepreneurs are reading and connecting with the book and its message – a message that, ironically, fits well in today’s publishing industry where authors must become entrepreneurs, too.

I followed that work with my first fiction novel, Here, Home, Hope – a story about a mom having a midlife crisis. My next novel, All the Difference, is a romantic suspense novel with a murder mystery and more. In the Mirror is my third novel and it asks the question: If you knew you may die soon, what choices would you make?

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 first book was mainstream/large publisher, my next was small press and my last two are published by my publishing company, Real You Publishing Group. Authors today have a lot of choices, at least the lucky ones do. I’m proud to be a hybrid author. I have a great literary agent who helps me navigate the process and most importantly, a loyal readership who in most cases doesn’t care who publishes the books as long as more keep arriving on their virtual or real bookshelves. That’s why I believe entrepreneurial authors will continue to asses all of the options available to them – and make choices based on what the market dictates and what the author feels comfortable with. Things are changing quickly, that’s for sure.

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

Both of my traditionally published books were 18 months from contract to publication.

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

Holding the finished book in your hand for the first time is a surreal experience. I remember, too, walking into a bookstore and seeing my book on the shelf, facing out, and it was probably one of the best moments of my life. It’s something I’d always dreamed about – and it came true. A really fun moment was finding my novel at the airport bookstore.

I celebrate each new release by reminding myself how lucky I am to be living the life of my dreams.

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

I did a huge radio and television tour for my first book. That was daunting. I also spoke at events around the country. For a shy author, this was a big step. I still get butterflies in my stomach thinking about all of that!

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

I’ve learned the value of the re-write. Seriously, I hated editing and revision before but I’m starting to embrace the fun of it and it always makes my stories better.

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

The supportive writing community is amazing. I am constantly in awe of the generosity of most authors. It’s exciting the support out there. And eventually, those divisive distinctions – Indie vs. Traditional – will disappear and we’ll all hold hands and support each other as an author community. (Seriously, it’s going to happen. And, the New York Times will review more women authors and ….)

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

Writing – and being able to say that’s what I do for a career. It’s awesome!

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

Don’t give up. I published my first novel in my 40s. It’s never to late! So get going!

 

Interview with ‘The Living Project’ Meryl Ain

The Living Memories Project 2

Meryl AinMeryl Ain wrote her first poem in the third grade and has been writing ever since. She is a blogger for Huffington Post and often writes about families, parenting, children, and education. After she lost both her father and mother within a year-and-a-half, she decided to research how others keep alive the memories of their loved ones. She enlisted her husband, Stewart, and her brother, Arthur Fischman, to join her in researching and writing The Living Memories Project, http://thelivingmemoriesproject.com/. Meryl earned a BA from QueensCollege, a MA from ColumbiaUniversityTeachers College, and an Ed.D. from HofstraUniversity. She began her career in education as a social studies teacher before she became an administrator. She and her husband Stewart live on Long Island and have three sons, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.

Their latest book she co-authored with Steward Ain and Arthur M. Fischman is the nonfiction, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last.

Visit their website at www.thelivingmemoriesproject.com.

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

The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last is my first published book. After my mother died, I enlisted my husband, Stewart Ain, and my brother Arthur Fischman, to join me in finding out how people carry on the memories of their loved ones. The book includes interviews with 32 individuals – celebrities and others – who tell their stories.

The Living Memories ProjectQ: 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 the end, a publisher of a small press chose us. She empathized with our loss and understood our project since her mother was dying while she read our manuscript. She decided immediately to publish it.

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

It took about a year and a half.

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

It made me feel validated, especially because the publisher said it had resonated with her. Many others, who have experienced losses, have since told us that it is exactly the book they were looking for and couldn’t find. I’m hoping that it will be as cathartic and therapeutic for others to read as it was for us to write.

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

I set up a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LivingMemoriesProject and a Twitter account @LivMemoriesProj, https://twitter.com/livmemoriesproj. Then we began working on a website, http://thelivingmemoriesproject.com/. Since then, I have started writing blogs about topics related to the book. My blog was recently featured on Huffington Post’s TED Weekends page: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meryl-ain-edd/anderson-cooper-and-liam-_b_4844783.html.

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

I think that I have become more bold and courageous about what I write. I am not worried so much about what others are thinking, but about the message I want to send –that It is possible to have a happy life beyond loss. Although I don’t believe in closure (those we love are with us forever), grief can be transformed into meaningful action and living legacies.

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

Publishing is a business, and most publishers are not going to take on your project unless there’s a really good expectation of turning a profit. This means that if you’re not a celebrity or already-published author, the odds are stacked pretty heavily against you. We were told that our book was a great idea, that it was well written, and inspirational, but that we just weren’t famous enough to get a book deal. We tried, without success, for two years with two agents who strongly believed in the book. There seems something inherently unfair about someone’s being able to dismiss the product of several years’ work with a tersely worded form letter. Had we not found, through our own connections, a small publisher who got the idea of the book immediately, we might still be sending out query letters.

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

People take you and what you have to say much more seriously. I find that a little amusing, since I am still the same person. But the cache of being a published author really helps. It’s also very rewarding that people are approaching us to do programs and speak about the book. Others tell us that they have read the book and because it has inspired them, they are going to buy a copy for a friend or family member they believe would benefit from reading it.

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

I would say the following:

  1. Constantly make lists and outlines of your best ideas.

  2. If you have something that you believe is important to say, don’t be afraid to write it.

  3. Your words are not immortal. Keep writing, rewriting and perfecting your work.

  4. Constructive criticism is good, but don’t listen to people who try to discourage you.

  5. Don’t give up. Most people who become successful have piles of rejection letters!

Interview with Sammy Cassella, author of ‘Just a Girl From the Cornfields’

Sammy CassellaSammy Cassella found her calling at the age of nine.  Her teacher posted three picture on the wall, and a story was to be created around one of the pictures.  Her mother had enrolled her in the Weekly Reader Program, and between these two things a writer was born.  She was born, raised, and educated in the cornfields of Illinois, however, now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, which includes two dogs and a cat.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Sammy.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published? 
I have published my novel, “Just A Girl From The Cornfields,” and a novella called, “A Happi Life.”
Just a Girl From the CornfieldsQ: 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 the self-publishing route. I was having a rather difficult time finding an agent that took unpublished authors, and publishers that would accept unsolicited manuscripts.  I was kind of at my wit’s end and ready to throw in the towel.  I had vanity publishers trying to eat me alive, but I could not afford their prices.  It was at that point that my local librarian invited me to hear an author speak.  She told us exactly how and what to do to get published.  When I asked her what&nbsp ;she thought of vanity publishing, she told me that I did not need those services.
 I took her advice.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I felt like I was walking in a dream.  It was so surreal.  I kept thinking that I would wake up from the dream at any moment.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
Actually, I made a page on social media a few months before the book was ready to publish.  After publishing, I joined as many groups as I could find to help with promotion.  That has been amazing!  I now have friends all over the world.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
I make sure that my readers all have the same pictures in their heads when reading my work.  I am much more descriptive.  I think that before publishing, I forgot sometimes that I would not be the only one reading my work, and although I knew what I meant, or could see the picture in my head, that did not mean that a reader could. 
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
I was quite surprised at how easy it was to self-publish. Okay, the first time, I was not sure that my hair and nails were going to survive formatting, but overall it was easy.  I was a bit amazed by the amount of people that actually wanted a book in their hands, as all I have heard is that Ebooks were all the rage now.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
The most rewarding thing for me has been the reader’s responses.  They are taking that emotional journey with me and loving it.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Do it!  Let go of fear!  In this day and age, the only thing standing in the way is you.  If you have a story to tell, tell it.

Interview with Deborah Rix, author of ‘External Forces’

Deborah Rix 7Deborah Rix’s favourite position for reading a book is head almost hanging off the couch and feet up in the air with legs against the back of the couch. She’s been reading too much from Scientific American for research and ideas and needs to get back to some fiction. She has a long standing love of science fiction, some of her favourite authors include William Gibson, Philip K Dick, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Douglas Adams, Iain M Banks. A bit old school.

Deborah enjoyed a successful career in entertainment publicity, live music promotion and event management. Which means she slogged through muddy fields for music festivals, was crammed into concert halls with too many sweaty teenage boys and got to go to Tuktoyaktuk (that’s in the Arctic Circle) for a Metallica concert. She lives with her family in Toronto, Canada, where she is the proprietor of The Lucky Penny, a neighborhood joint in Trinity-Bellwoods.

External Forces is her first novel.

Visit her website at www.DeborahRix.com.

External Forces 7Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Deborah.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

EXTERNAL FORCES is the first book I have published.

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 the indie publishing route. There is a certain amount of time that I devoted to researching agents and following their twitter feeds and writing the very best query letter with just the right amount of personal information about them to show that I really, really wanted them to be my agent. This amount of time is inversely proportional to the amount of time that any agent will spend actually reading my query. The form rejection is okay for them, the form query is not okay for an aspiring author. So I decided to spend my time more wisely and research how to publish independently instead. Also, my book is future fiction and the future was catching up to me. I was making things up that were coming true with every new edition of Scientific American. A sense of urgency overrode my desire for a traditional publisher.

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

External Forces went live on Amazon on a Sunday and my parents happened to be coming by for a short visit. We opened a bottle of champagne and I showed the proof copy of the book to my father. He didn’t know, but I had dedicated it to him and his story-telling gene. And then my daughter taught my mother how to order a book from amazon. A good day all around.

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

I set up a giveaway on Goodreads and started running some ads there. It was a daily fascination to see how many people had entered to win. I ended up with over 1,000 entries.

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

I discovered that some readers read every damn word! There are a limited number of people that read my book before I released it into the wild so having complete strangers read it was exhilerating. It makes me want to be a better writer when I read the comments and insights that some readers have. It is humbling. And I’ve heard that before, it’s only now that I understand what that means.

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

I don’t know how true this is, because I’m looking in with my nose pressed to the glass, but traditional publishing seems surprising stodgy and rigid. The amount of helpful blogs and courses offered with advice on how to write a query letter or first ten pages or whatever, including the strict rules provided by the agents themselves, is astonishing. It’s ridiculous really, from both sides. I don’t have some brilliant solution because the sheer volume of activity is tremendous and would overwhelm anyone. Hence the slush piles. In Canada it’s even more exclusive because genre fiction doesn’t have a hope in hell up here. To be a Canadian author means that you must be a literary writer. And we have a lot of those and they are very good. But there is no interest from Canadian publishing in an author like me, which is surprising because it doesn’t seem that way for many of the other creative industries where I think Canada is quite open-minded.

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

When people that I’ve known for a long time say “I didn’t know you could write.” “Yes, yes I can,” is a very pleasurable response.

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

Nope, I’m still trying to figure it out myself.

Interview with L.R.W. Lee, author of ‘Andy Smithsonian: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury’

Linda.LeeSince the age of eight, after reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, L. R. W. Lee knew she wanted to write a book that contributed to others in a way that could change their lives. Because a degree in Accounting at Cedarville University, as well as work in public and corporate accounting, did not provide riveting fodder for such a book, let alone a best seller, she waited. She founded and, over a decade, grew a company. During part of this time, she worked closely with a mentor from whom she learned more than business; she learned uncommon life principles that changed her life. Upon selling her business in early 2012, she now had time to write and, more importantly, something significant to share.

L. R. W. Lee lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband, a daughter who is a Longhorn at UT Austin and a son who is in high school. Her favorite musical is The Sound of Music. She hates scary movies, but loves piano and strings music, sunsets in Hawaii and a good cup of decaf, French press coffee (yes, decaf!).  She’s a healthy-eating fanatic (lean protein and complex carbs, if you please) and she exercises regularly (even though she hates it!). She also loves Ansel Adams prints and all manner of kinetic art.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, L. R. W.  Can you start by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I published my first book, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, in April 2013. Book 2 of the 7-book MG, coming-of-age, fantasy, adventure will be available in January.

Andy SmithsonianQ: 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 self-published my first novel. After querying several agents, it became clear to me that as a debut author, agents and publishers are hesitant to take on authors without an established platform. Coming from a business background, I understand and I don’t blame them. It costs real dollars to publicize an author sufficiently to drive profitable sales. Given the choice between a previously published author and a debut author, I’d choose the author with a following. So, I took on the responsibility and challenge of building my platform. Seven months later, with almost 100 reviews on Amazon and a Twitter following of nearly 3,500, I’m satisfied with my progress to date but won’t stop working to earn new fans.

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

I remember receiving the proof copy of the book. I opened the box and stared at it for a minute. The meaning I felt embodied in a simple paperback struck me – it represented 40 years of my life – and sent a chill down my spine.

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

From my business background, I knew success in making readers aware of my book would come slowly – unfortunately, there are no silver bullets. I read everything I could get my hands on to understand what marketing actions are effective in the publishing industry. Then I experimented with a variety of advertising platforms. Not surprisingly, most were not worth the time or money, although in the process I found a handful of advertising sites that are effective. At the same time, I joined a couple indie author groups online and learned from participants. I actively solicited reviews by giving away lots of free copies and started working to build followers on Twitter.

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

I’ve learned SO much from my editor in terms of the craft of writing – sentence structure, active vs passive voice and so much more. I’m continually learning how to craft more effectively. As well, in writing book 2, I found that starting from a detailed outline works better for me than starting and seeing where the story takes me, which is the path I took with book 1. I found knowing where I’m headed before I begin the journey, reduces the number of edits.

 

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

I’m amazed that many writers don’t understand they are a business. So many folks approach a career as an author thinking all they need to do is write and readers will somehow find them. They fail to understand that just as much time needs to be spent marketing as writing. It saddens me to think how many amazing books are written, but don’t impact many people because no one knows about them.

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

I write because I am passionate about sharing with readers uncommon life principles that changed my life and can significantly improve theirs, too. These principles include overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and many more. Being an author allows me to share these truths and change others lives, which is deeply meaningful to me.

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

Know why you’re writing. When a book is published, as an artist, you expose your heart to other’s assessments, both positive and negative. Most people offer their opinion freely, with no thought to how personal an experience writing a book is. If you are not firmly grounded in why you are offering yourself for public assessment, the hurts can easily defeat you. If, on the other hand, you are passionate about sharing for some deeply personal reason, the negative comments will still sting, but will not easily defeat you. Take comfort in knowing that the negative comments that come are from folks who, for whatever reason, cannot understand your heart and passion. Don’t fault them, but be okay that not everyone will understand. Seek to help those who understand and appreciate your work.

Beyond the Books Interview: Arnine Weiss, author of chick lit ‘She Ain’t Heavy’

Arnine Cumsky WeissArnine Cumsky Weiss is a nationally certified sign language interpreter and a teacher of English as a second language. She has worked in the field of Deafness for over thirty years. She is the author of six books. BECOMING A BAR MITVAH: A TREASURY OF STORIES, BECOMING A BAT MITZVAH: A TREASURY OF STORIES (University of Scranton Press), THE JEWS OF SCRANTON (Arcadia Publishing), and THE UNDEFEATED (RID Press) and  THE CHOICE: CONVERTS TO JUDAISM SHARE THEIR STORIES (University of Scranton Press). Her second novel, SHE AIN’T HEAVY (Academy Chicago)was published in June, 2013. She is married to Dr. Jeffrey Weiss and is the mother of Matt, Allie, and Ben.

Visit Arnine’s website at www.ArnineWeiss.com.

 Socialize with Arnine!

TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

9780897336819-Perfect.inddAbout the Book:

Just when counter clerk Teddy Warner is about to be evicted from her Scranton apartment, she bumps into beautiful, brilliant, blond Rachel – her estranged childhood friend whose mother forbid their friendship thinking Teddy was beneath them.

Teddy and Rachel reconnect over hot chocolate and under New Year’s Eve fireworks.  Their discussion leads to an invitation. Soon, Teddy’s on her way to Philadelphia, where Rachel is a student, to share an apartment and begin an exciting new life in the City.

Teddy views Rachel as perfect.  Rachel can’t bring herself to shatter the image by letting on that she is having an affair with a married man. Just when Teddy is starting to feel at home, Rachel insists on some privacy.  Acting out her anger at being asked to stay away, Teddy indulges in a one-night stand.

When Teddy returns to their apartment the next morning, Rachel is being carried out on a stretcher – the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. This unforeseen tragedy leaves Teddy alone in a strange city, with no money, no friends, and no connections.

As Teddy struggles to find her way, she meets a mentor at the same university Rachel previously attended who takes an interest in her, but with strings attached. She also develops a unique bond with the firefighter who rescued Rachel.  And yet, Teddy remains committed to helping Rachel get back on her feet, at a time when no one else who supposedly loves her can accept her in this diminished way.  Along the way, Teddy discovers her own strength in the roles of caretaker, lover, and friend.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON

Interview:

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

My novel She Ain’t Heavy is my sixth book.

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 first two books, Becoming a Bar Mitzvah: A Treasury of Stories and Becoming a Bat Mitzvah: A Treasury of Stories are compilations of interesting, unusual and one-of-a-kind stories regarding this beautiful Jewish coming-of-age celebration. The stories include a bar mitzvah that took place in the concentration camps, the joyful ritual for a young man with AIDS, and the amazing feat of another special boy who in honor of his bar mitzvah collected and distributed 12,000 pairs of shoes to poor children. I found a publisher early on who was interested in publishing both books. But once they took possession of my manuscripts, they held them for several years and did nothing with them. I finally asked for them back and went to a small academic press, The University of Scranton Press. They published both books.

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

The first publisher held the books for two years with no promise of a publication date in sight. The University of Scranton published both books within the year.

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

I was ecstatic when I saw the published book. I cried and then drove to my mother’s office to show her.

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

I tried to get as many speaking engagements as possible. I travelled to whoever would host me.

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

I’ve thought about this question a lot and I feel that I have grown as a writer as far as skill level is concerned. I feel like I pay more attention to the mechanics of writing. But when I look back at my earlier work, I realize there was something raw and powerful that I hope I can still recreate.

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

If you don’t promote your work, your books will sit on a shelf or in a box. You need to get the word out.

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

The validation. Someone thinks enough of your work to want to publish it.

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

Love the writing. That’s the only part of the process you have any control over, so love the story you’re telling.

Thank you for this opportunity.

A Conversation with Kristin Alexandre, author of GEM CITY GYPSY

Kristin Kuhns Alexandre 2Kristin Alexandre was raised in Dayton, Ohio where she worked as a feature columnist for The Dayton Journal Herald and the Kettering Oakwood Times. She has written two previous books: Nuncio and the Gypsy Girl in the Gilded Age a graphic novel that was featured at the 2011 NY City Comic Con; and Find a Great Guy: Now and Forever.

Alexandre was a co-founder of Earth Day 1970 and worked on staff with House Beautiful Magazine and as a contributor to Town & Country Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor and The Daily News. Her celebrity luncheon series for the Chairman of Ammirati & Puris Advertising at The New York Yacht Club was acclaimed, and she has also worked as a co-host and producer of Enough Is Enough a syndicated talk show for WLIW-TV, a PBS affiliate in NYC. Alexandre has worked as a publicist for The Economic Development Association of Puerto Rico and Champion International U.S. Plywood. She is a NJ Board Member of The Humane Society of America and resides in Delray Beach, Fl. and Nantucket , Ma. with her husband DeWitt.

Her latest book is the new adult fiction, Gem City Gypsy.

You can visit Kristin’s website at:

http://www.gemcitygypsy.com/

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

“Gem City Gypsy”is my first novel although my second “Altar Rock” is coming out soon. I have also published two self help books and one graphic novel based on the “Gem City” story line.

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 self published the self help books because it was fast and easy.

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

Months.

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

It was fun although I had to do all the promotion myself.

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

I joined Instagram and learned about social media.

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

Yes I have.

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

That SO many books and novels are coming out every day.

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

Adapting the story to film.

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

Keep at it and learn social media.

 

 

 

 

A Conversation with Alana Terry, author of ‘The Beloved Daughter’

Alana TerryAlana Terry is a homeschooling mother of three. “The Beloved Daughter” is her debut Christian novel and won second place in the Women of Faith writing contest. Alana is also the author of “A Boy Named Silas,” the story of her son’s complicated medical history and “What, No Sushi?” a children’s chapter book about the Japanese-American internment.

Visit her website at www.alanaterry.com or connect with her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aboynamedsilas.

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

I have three published books so far. My memoir of raising a special-needs child was self-published last year. This spring, Do Life Right published book one in a new kids series I’ve written, and I self-published The Beloved Daughter.

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?

For my memoir, I was writing mostly for people I knew, family and friends. It just made a lot more sense to self-publish than wait around and try to find a traditional publisher for something that was so small-scale.

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

My kids book, What, No Sushi? is a time travel/historical fiction account of a Japanese-American internment camp. I signed a contract with Do Life Right last fall. The book was released about six months later.

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

I celebrate each book in a different way, but I’ll let you know that ice cream is usually involved.

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

I usually start with my friends and family. I let them know when I have a new book out, and then I go out and try to get more publicity.

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

I think I’ve become more of a perfectionist. Before I was published, I would write something that was pretty good and figure that if an editor ever got their hands on it they could make it better. Now that I’m published – and especially in the pieces I’ve self-published – I realize that it’s up to me to make sure it’s as perfect as possible before I send it to a freelance editor.

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

I’m surprised at which books are successful and which books sometimes aren’t. I was once naïve enough to think that the better books always got the highest sales. Yes, you can laugh at me now, but I truly did think that was true once upon a time.

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

I love the entire creative experience, from starting with a blank document and ending with a paperback book. And now that my books are being distributed, it’s also neat connecting with readers and fans.

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

Study up. Just because “anybody” can self-publish doesn’t mean you can type up a first draft, send it to kindle, and make a killing. Don’t be lazy, and don’t give up.

Interview with Veronica Frances, author of ‘Tickling Daphne H’

Veronica FrancesVeronica Frances is the pseudonym for a creative writer, residing in New York City. She has had a love of tickling for her entire life. She enjoys singing and writing songs. She also writes non-fiction and poetry.

Her latest book is Tickling Daphne H.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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

Tickling Daphne H. is my second book. I had another book published under my real name thirteen years ago. It was non-fiction and a totally different kind of a book. I feel my writing has greatly improved since then.

Tickling Daphne H.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 so that I could retain artistic control.

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

It took a few months approximately.

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

The first time I was published thirteen years ago, I remember going out to dinner and drinking lots of champagne.

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

When I was first published thirteen years ago, I hired a PR firm. I did lots of radio and magazine interviews. I also did some television appearances, mainly cable and a few morning shows. There was actually a huge article about me in the National Enquirer. Those were fun days.

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

My writing has greatly improved. I am more focused since I have begun writing fiction. Having my work out there has inspired me to take more chances and write more often and consistently.

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

That there are so many wonderful authors out there who are overlooked by an industry that does not welcome most writers easily.

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

When somebody loves my writing and really understands what is at the core of my stories, songs or poems.

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

I wish I could tell you it was easy. It is hard work. It requires persistence, courage and thick skin. Writing the book is the fun part, but getting it out there and getting people to actually buy your book is a really big challenge. You just have to write because you love it and keep going until something hits big.

Interview with Gus Martinez, author of ‘The Mares of Lenin Park’

DCF 1.0Agustin’s fiction has appeared in Arcadia Literary Journal, The Binnacle, The 34th Parallel Magazine, The Write Room, Apropos Literary Journal, The Adirondack Review, Press 1, Sugar Mule, Review Americana, and Hinchas de Poesia. His debut novel, The Mares of Lenin Park, won The Institute for the Study of American Popular Culture’s  Prize Americana for Prose in 2012. His one-act play, Blasphemous Rumours, was produced at the Florida International University Theatre (Miami), and his 10-minute play, Ham and Eggs, was produced at the Silver Spring Stage One-Act Festival (Silver Spring, MD). The latter was published in Palooka Journal. Agustin is an educational administrator living in the Washington, DC metro area (Herndon, VA).  He has worked as a teacher, translator, and a high school principal.

https://www.facebook.com/TheMaresOfLeninPark

http://www.amazon.com/The-Mares-Lenin-Park-ebook/dp/B00C00R9TS/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1364152283&sr=8-14&keywords=Lenin+park        

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The Mares of Lenin Park CoverartQ: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Agustin. 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?

Aside from my short fiction appearing in various literary magazines, my debut novel The Mares of Lenin Park was published by a small press, Hollywood Books International. They offered to publish the book after I received the Prize Americana for Prose 2012 award.

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

After signing the contract, I would say the editing process took about eight months. It’s currently out on Kindle and will be out in print within the next few weeks. It will be distributed via Ingram and available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

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

I was elated! I actually celebrated twice: once when I won the award and then when I signed the contract. I got together with friends and family and had a very good time!

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

My publisher and I are currently sending out press releases to magazines, e-zines, newspapers, bookstores, and anyone who we think could promote the book. The very first thing I did was create a Facebook page so others could help me spread the word. https://www.facebook.com/TheMaresOfLeninPark

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

I really grew as a writer during the editing process. I realized quickly that the book was no longer solely mine. Here I was in a relationship with a great editor who forced me to look at what I really wanted to convey. Even though she felt it was already a very polished draft, it was just that – a final draft that needed to be honed into a publish-ready piece. The relationship I developed with my editor, the dialogues we had at length about what we both wanted the book to be, made me mature as a writer. I’m currently writing my second book, a sequel to Mares, and I’m finding that I’m more honest with what I have to say because of my experience editing the first book.

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

I was surprised that I didn’t have to go through an agent with my first book. I always thought that someone would have to represent me in order for any publishing house to notice me. I was also – and still am – surprised at how much work I need to do on my end to market the book. I never realized how much time I’d be putting into marketing my book and putting my name out there.

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

The most rewarding thing about publishing my first book is the validation that the story I had to tell was an important one with universal truths that I felt needed to be told. I write about what I know, and I now feel that my history, my experiences are important enough for someone to want to publish it. Seeing the cover of the book with my name on it for the first time was exhilarating!

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

Write what you really know about. There’s no faking real experiences. Keep at it. Don’t worry about what will happen once you finish writing your book or how you’ll sell it. Just write, write, write! And if you’re finished with your first book and it is still unpublished or not picked up by an agent, start writing the next one. Even on those days when you don’t feel like writing, force yourself to do it! Whatever you do, don’t be discouraged. If your story has mass appeal and you’re a good storyteller, someone will be interested in representing or publishing you. It also goes without saying that you have to be a voracious reader. 

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