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Children’s fantasy picture book author Gina Browning talks promoting Moonbeam Dreams

Moonbeam Dreams is a children’s fantasy picture book written in an intricately rhyming format. It is 40 pages long and contains 22 bright and colorful full-page illustrations. It takes the reader and listener on a Dr. Seuss-like romp through a fantasy land, with strange and wonderful creatures amid entertaining imagery, which one might encounter in one’s dreams. It is a fun and up-lifting story that will delight readers of any age, and teaches that almost anything is possible if you can dream it.

What has been done to promote it?

Gina Browning is here today to talk about the steps she and her publisher took to promote her children’s book, Moonbeam Dreams.

“Since its publication, I’m told the publisher sent out press releases to over 40,000 media outlets,” she says. “I sent out copies of the same release to several hundred bookstores and additional media outlets in Australia. I have walked into several book stores, promoting it in person. I’ve featured it on Facebook and Twitter, and Book Tour and purchase info is included in my signature line of my emails.

“The local library featured my book at their contribution to the annual Desert Arts Festival in Alice Springs, Australia. I read the book at this event and signed copies afterwards.

My book was also featured at another “artist information night” associated with the same festival.

“I showed it and sold several copies at 3 Christmas markets that I recently attended.
I invested in “Pump up your book promotions”. We’re currently in the second month of my 2 month “book tour”.

“Also, I paid a little extra to have the publisher physically take my book to the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany this past October. There were “expressions of interest” from several publishers (to purchase the rights to publish it locally) from China, Thailand, Japan, Turkey, Poland, Greece, and the UK!! I’m hoping for GREAT things as a result of this little endeavor!! And YES! They’re also taking it to the book fairs in London, New York, and Beijing. I might try to attend one of these, but it depends on my daughter’s school schedule whether I can manage it or not.

“I have 3 copies on consignment at a Dymock’s bookstore in Glenelg, (South Australia) and I’m talking this week with a book store in Alice Springs about a book signing event in the very near future.

“I have had a few dozen copies on hand, at all times, and have sold some to family and friends personally.

“I was also invited to show my book (and illustrations) at a local week-long “Art teachers” gallery exhibit, where I sold several copies.

“The whole publishing and promoting business is a very long process and a lot of work, which eventually (and hopefully) will pay off in the long run. This book has been a LONG labor of love and I definitely feel that all of this promoting will eventually be worth it.”

You can visit Gina online at http://www.eloquentbooks.com/MoonbeamDreams.html.

Interview with J.W. Nicklaus, Author of the Short Story Collection, THE LIGHT, THE DARK & EMBER BETWEEN

the-light-the-dark-and-ember-betweenJ.W. Nicklaus resides in a place not entirely fit for human habitation about five months of the year. No pets to speak of, only the apparitions from which all romantics suffer.

An Arizona native, he’s been from one coast to the other, and a few places in between. College brought an AA in Journalism with a minor in Photography, and a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications. His work experience has run the gamut from Creative Director for a small advertising firm in Tucson to a litigation support bureau in Phoenix (and assuredly some awkward stuff in the mix).

Snow has been featured prominently in his stories, perhaps because of the seasonless cli-mate he lives in. Nature was meant to be enjoyed and experienced, not hidden from the senses. So to that end, he hopes someday to live amongst those who are able to live through four true seasons, and not just blast furnace and warm.

He enjoys the occasional Arizona Diamondbacks game with his son, as well as watching him grow up. The experience of being a single dad has taught him far more about himself than he ever thought possible.

Within the expanse of every waking moment, he hopes his guardian angel keeps its arms open wide and heart ever watchful, for there but for one true Hope goes She.

For more about J.W. visit www.avomnia.com.

jw-nicklausWelcome to Beyond the Books, J.W. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

First time having a book published. I’ve had two other poems published in anthologies, but never any of my stories. It is indeed a huge thrill, but an equally large task to promote. I find I’m learning volumes about the industry at large.

The book’s title is The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between. It’s a series of short stories woven into an invisible tapestry of Hope and Love. Yes, I confess to being a hopeful romantic.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

The Light, The Dark, and Ember Between is my first book. I’m very fortunate to have found a publisher who will work with a new author. There’s a staggering amount of work involves, but if ever there was a labor of love this is it.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

There were a few small publishing houses that passed on it, mainly because they felt it didn’t satisfy their market niche. I can understand that—the basic “we like your work but it’s just not what we’re looking for right now.” One of them declared that “nobody reads short stories anymore.” That one response was what propelled me forward, to persevere and keep searching. I may not sell thousands of copies, but I know for certain I’ll find people who love a good short story as much as I do.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Since I bypassed the traditional slush pile route I didn’t have to encounter all that. That’s not to say I believe my stories will be for everyone, but it’s not everyone I’m shooting for.

There’s a part of me that feels a tinge of guilt for not having put myself through the wringer as many other do. There is certain value in learning from constructive rejections, but the more writers I talk to about it the more I hear that there’s a whole lot of one sentence responses—if they’re lucky to get that. If I believe my stories will entertain, and I’m willing to enter into the fray and acquire the experience of self-promotion, then why not?

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

I wound up contacting a number of small publishers, and a few of them wanted huge sums of money, while others looked like they would print anything at all as long as it contained words. I ended up going with ABP (American Book Publishing) and have been very pleased with their work and involvement thus far. My editor (M.A. Marazzi — thanks MaryAnn!) was wonderful to work with, and the design staff have been responsive and a delight.

Ultimately, it came down to my research and my gut feelings. So far, my gut’s been right.

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

I kept my emotions in check for a long time. I didn’t tell anyone around me until I knew with absolute certainty the manuscript had made it to the printer and my copy would be on its way. I suppose I felt that if I talked it up way ahead of time, and something unforeseen happened, I’d internalize it as a massive failure on my part. Now, of course, anyone who knows me knows about the book!

When I received my copy I treated it with delicate respect. I live alone so I was able to open the package and very thoughtfully browse through it, admire the cover and typesetting. I recall a tremendous sense of quiet fulfillment. If I achieve nothing else of this order in my life I feel I have left something good behind in my wake.

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

I’m in the midst of that now. I’ve created my own small website (www.avomnia.com), and the book is absolutely part of that, but I’ve also provided other samples of my writing as well. I’ve tried to keep it aesthetically pleasant but small enough to make it easy to load and read. I’ve placed the link to it anywhere I can put it. I’ve also created my own bookmark to use for promotions as well. I know just enough about how to use Photoshop that I was able to design it myself, which saved a lot of time, and certainly some money.

I also blog as time permits (still have to pay the rent, ya know!). My virtual book tour is another way I’m hoping to get my name out there. I’m also looking at doing some events at local independent book stores and am hoping to be able to do podcasts and author interviews. I have a book trailer as well, which actually surpassed my expectations, even though it’s incredibly simple it’s elegant in its simplicity.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

No, I don’t believe so. Any products that I’ve ever had good word-of-mouth advertising about have been as good as the word. Doesn’t matter if it’s restaurants, a television show, or a good book—it’s always better to have strong personal advertising. It’s also the cheapest ;^)

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I haven’t been published for a second time yet (unless you count the poems published before this book). I find that with every new story I write, or even as I read other people’s blogs or books, I can’t help but notice a different approach to writing. I’m more critical, but also much looser in my approach. If it felt like work I flat out wouldn’t do it, so I make every effort to keep it enjoyable. I think ultimately that’s what will show in the work.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I’m fortunate in that I have a whole world of resources practically at my fingertips: Bookstores, libraries, the internet. All of them make for a great way to delve in and start piecing things together. So I decided early on to tackle it piecemeal, and not try to eat the elephant in one sitting.

I’ve also had the ‘luxury’ of having a little more time on my side, the wisdom that only maturity can provide. That’s not to say I’m always wise and mature, mind you, but much more so than when I used to sit at my old manual typewriter and bang out stories. I hadn’t any idea back then. Now I have a better grip on things–but there’s still so much more to learn.

As for mistakes, I know for certain I won’t be ordering the fried shrimp at a certain restaurant again. ;^) As for the rest, well, I’m just as susceptible to them as anyone else. I try to learn from them and move on. Not always an easy task.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

Keeping on top of my promotional research and reading up on what other authors are doing. Actually, perhaps more to the point simply keeping up with everything life throws at me, and still placing daily focus on writing and support for my book.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

It definitely would be something creative. I remember in college having the opportunity to work in a studio and learn recording techniques. Hour upon hour went by, and I never so much as thought about the time. I had so much fun doing that. Ultimately that’s what I’d love to find, the kind of career where time gets away from me and I couldn’t care less.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

Being an author has a depth of satisfaction to it that’s hard to paint with mere words. There are few things that imbue that kind of sense of accomplishment. To know that someone, somewhere, enjoyed or was moved by something I wrote is a powerful thing.

I write because I enjoy it, because I have a fondness for language and its ability to affect change. My day job pays the bills and allows me some room to do the things we all enjoy. But writing is a kind of self-imposed therapy, a way to sit and face your demons and embrace your better angels. My day job will never do that.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

The obvious answer is “Ten years older!”. Frankly, I’d like to be doing a lot more writing and having chats like this with a whole lot more folks all over the country. I’d like to have my first full-length novel published in that time as well. A decade seems like a long time, but this first decade in the new millennia is almost over . . . already!

I’d hope to see my son graduate from college and be working wherever he’s most happy.

In ten years, I see myself being able to look back at this year and know that it was just the initial burn to the rocket engine. Perhaps a decade from now I can write and tell you what the view is like after ignition ;^)

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

Dream . . . and don’t let the dreams go fallow. Write to meet your passions. Write for you, for that’s what you will be most proud of. Assuredly you can write to meet a demand, or to be more commercially viable, but you will always look back and wonder “What If?”. Write because it’s what your heart tells you to do. Everything else will follow. And don’t consider age any sort of obstacle. Dreams don’t die with age, only people do.

Have Faith in yourself. When you hit those days of Doubt, see Rule number 1.

Accept that you will hear more from nay-sayers and non-believers than you ever dreamt possible. But within any bed of clams eventually a pearl is found. That pearl’s beauty can far outlast all the barrenness around it. There will be people who like, or even love, your writing. Those are the people whose lives you’ve touched. I’d say that’s a pretty dream, wouldn’t you?

Interview with Life Coach Sheri Kaye Hoff

keys-to-living-joyfullySheri Kaye Hoff resides in Parker, CO with her husband and three children. She is a Life Coach and owner of the Sheri K Hoff International Coaching Company. She teaches college classes as an adjunct faculty member and has earned her Master of Arts in Organizational Management. Her new book, Keys to Living Joyfully,offers a way of living a meaningful, successful and joy filled life.

Ms. Hoff is a personal and executive life coach. Spirituality is a vital part of her life’s work. Prayer and meditation are integral pieces of her daily ritual, which enables her to pursue her life’s passions and live a truly joyful life.

Her words on faith are derived from her own Christian walk and spiritual self-discoveries. Her action steps mix faith and years of leadership training, mentoring, and management. Sheri Kaye Hoff suffered the tragic death of her younger brother when she was a teenager and struggled for years to rediscover the capacity to feel joy and to enjoy her successes. She has a heart felt desire to pass on her knowledge and discoveries that have led to a truly transformational life. Ms. Hoff publishes a free weekly inspiration newsletter, Coach Sheri’s Weekly Inspiration Tips. The Sheri K Hoff International Coaching Company also offers:

  • Teleclasses.
  • Webinars
  • In person small and large group Coaching
  • Corporate Training
  • Keynote speaking
  • Seminars
  • Individual Career and Life Coaching (For a limited time- receive a free introductory one hour life coaching session)

You can visit her website at www.lifeisjoyful.org.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Sheri. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published?

Thank you, it’s great to be here. Keys to Living Joyfully is my first published book and my first completed book. I have a few other books that were started, but not finished.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I chose to self-publish my book without first trying to submit it to a mainstream publisher. I researched publishing, read a couple of books on self-publishing, and decided that I wanted to get my message out quickly. Self-publishing was the right choice for me.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Since I decided to self-publish right away, I have not experienced rejections for this book.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

I chose createspace.com because it is a subsidiary of Amazon.com and I thought the profit margin for authors was favorable. Createspace.com was also very user friendly. I did order a proof copy to make sure that the quality of the printing would be at a high level. I have been very happy with createspace.com and my book is available on Amazon, which is a great marketing tool.

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

Publishing my book was an incredible feeling. I felt so overwhelmed with delight, supreme satisfaction, and happiness. I celebrated with with cake and champagne. My children and husband were proud of the book. I also traveled to my hometown and my mother and aunt hosted a luncheon at a local bed and breakfast. In some ways, I still feel like I have a little celebration going on in my mind everyday. Since I published my book, I have noticed that my writing flows even more freely.

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

I sent emails to all of my contacts and I gave books to close friends and family. This generated immediate sales. Then I began to get involved in social networking on the internet with twitter and facebook, which has been successful for me. Next on my list was to be involved in a virtual book tour, which is when I became involved with Dorothy Thompson from Pump Up Your Book Promotions. My virtual book tour has generated a lot of buzz. It has been fun and productive.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

I would choose the same route for this book. I have met so many wonderful people through my self-publishing efforts, and I have friends on almost every continent. I feel deeply grateful for this experience and know that it has changed me on a deep level.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I have published several poems and a short story on authorsden.com. A book that I am working on is a career guide for people suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This book should be available by the end of the summer of 2009. I have grown as an author by being more efficient as a writer and trusting myself. Since I am a published author, a barrier has been knocked down in my mind.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I thought about writing a book for twenty years and started several times. I learned that I was working on the wrong projects. Once I found my passion, the writing was easy and flowing. I think if I had worked more on knowing myself better, I would have completed a book much earlier. I also spent time worrying about whether anyone would like my writing enough to publish it. Looking back, that worry was a huge waste of time, since I ended up deciding to self-publish.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

Since I published my book, I have started writing poetry again. This is sort of strange, since my book, Keys to Living Joyfully, is not a book of poetry. I wrote poems from childhood through my twenties and then stopped. This renewed inspiration is a wonderful gift. I write poems for myself, but I have been sharing them on authorsden.com and people seem to feel touched by them. Writing poetry frees me and lets me capture the passion, pain, hope, and victory in ordinary everyday life with a few well-chosen and well-placed words.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

My profession is life-coaching, and I, also, happen to be an effective writer. I love what I do. If I had to pick something else, I would do something crazy and fun in the world of art, theater or music. I love live entertainment and did some community theater when I was younger.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I think I have combined life coaching and being an author effectively. Perhaps, I identify myself more as a life coach, since I have published only one book. Now, I am engaged in many different types of writing-so maybe I will think of myself as an author first sometime in the future.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

I am working on doctoral studies in organizational change and leadership- I plan to have completed my program certainly before ten years. I will continue to write books on life coaching and successful living topics, but I think I will branch out and also write a book of short stories and poems. Maybe one day I will write a fiction novel, for fun. I also would like to lead joyful living retreats as spas and resorts where people can feel renewed in all aspects of their lives.

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

If you truly love and are inspired by your topic, your book will seem to write itself. Believe in your work, get opinions from people that you trust to be honest, join a mastermind group (with only a few individuals) and never give up the dream. Self-publishing is a great way to get your message to your audience, but it certainly requires attention to detail and a zest for promoting.

Note from Sheri:

To celebrate my April Tour, everyone who purchases a copy of Keys to Living Joyfully, will be able to have one month of unlimited email coaching. All the readers need to do is send me an email to coachsheri@lifeisjoyful.org , mention the April Virtual Book Tour and include their Amazon, createspace, or paypal confirmation number. I also have a link on my website for people to purchase signed copies of the book directly from me.
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Interview with Historical Fiction Author J.A. Hunsinger

ja-hunsingerJ. A. Hunsinger lives in Colorado, USA, with his wife Phyllis. The first novel of his character-driven, historical fiction series, Axe of Iron: The Settlers, represents his first serious effort to craft the story of a lifelong interest in the Viking Age—especially as it pertains to Norse exploration west of Iceland—and extensive research and archaeological site visitations as an amateur historian. He has tied the discovery of many of the Norse artifacts found on this continent to places and events portrayed in his novels.

Much of his adult life has been associated with commercial aviation, both in and out of the cockpit. As an Engineering Technical Writer for Honeywell Commercial Flight Systems Group, Phoenix, AZ, he authored two comprehensive pilots’ manuals on aircraft computer guidance systems and several supplemental aircraft radar manuals. His manuals were published and distributed worldwide to airline operators by Honeywell Engineering, Phoenix, AZ. He also published an article, Flight Into Danger, in Flying Magazine, (August 2002).

Historical Novel Society, American Institute of Archaeology, Canadian Archaeology Association, and IBPA-Independent Book Publishers Association, are among the fraternal and trade organizations in which he holds membership.

You can visit his website at www.vinlandpublishing.com.

axe-of-ironWelcome to Beyond the Books, Jerry. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published?

I have published several aviation articles, pilot manuals, and air transport engineering papers during my 32-year aviation career.

Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

Axe of Iron: The Settlers
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What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

Axe of Iron: The Settlers is my first novel. It was published August 1, 2008.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

Over the course of one year of sending out submission packets to literary agents I received fifty rejections.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

The process of finding a literary agent was a crushing and time-wasting experience. They are interested only in books of a sensational nature in spite of advertising to the contrary. It became obvious that nobody had an interest in a character-driven series about the everyday lives of a medieval people. I did not mail submission packets until I had a finished manuscript in hand.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Vinland Publishing, LLC, the company I formed with my wife Phyllis, will publish all of my books as well as select genres from other authors.

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

I felt terrific, vindicated, and it gave me an impetus to continue. Phyllis and I had a couple martini’s to celebrate.

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

I signed on for everything BookMasters, Inc. had in the way of advertising, hired a publicist, and my webmaster fine tuned my website, organized a blog, and got my name out on the Internet.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

I would have preferred to hire a literary agent and publish the work through a large house. That did not happen due in part to the continued decay of publishing in this country. In this economy, which will continue to worsen at all levels, few large houses will survive, leaving the small independent publisher as one of the few avenues to publication for an author. The few, who survive, large and small, will be extremely selective in the books that they publish, leaving many authors to wither away.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

My next book Axe of Iron: Confrontation is in the edit process now and will publish in June 2009. I cannot possibly articulate, in this space, what I have learned as an author over the last six years. Suffice to say, do lots of homework before you act. As authors we have but one opportunity to make a first impression, so be a true professional in all of your efforts.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?

I wish I had not attempted to find a literary agent for it was a demoralizing waste of time and money. That alone would have saved one wasted year.

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Axe of Iron: The Settlers by J.A. Hunsinger can be purchased by clicking here. Leave a comment for J.A. and you could win a free virtual book tour for yourself or a $50 Amazon gift certificate!

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What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

In spite of all my research into the process of publication in the big leagues, e.g. literary agent/publisher, I failed not because of the quality of the product, but rather the product was not sensational or socially divisive. Without a literary agent an author cannot proceed. You cannot negotiate personally with a publisher; you must go through a literary agent. That accommodation between the two is not accidental and it is responsible for the log jamb we now see in the trade for any new author.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

Publication carries a certain amount of recognition and praise from readership. My website and blog have continued to evolve—both are by necessity a work in progress—and I continue to receive daily e-mail with comments about my series. Google my byline, J. A. Hunsinger, or Axe of Iron, or Axe of Iron: The Settlers: the first five or six pages of sites will all be about me or my books from sites worldwide. I am proud of that result.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I have retired from a 32-year aviation career as both a pilot and engineering technical writer. My current historical fiction novel writing career is by choice and if readers continue to support my efforts I will continue as long as I am able and have something of interest to write about.

234Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

No, I have had careers. I have taken a lifetime of acquired knowledge and applied it to my books, so in that sense you could say that I am a combination of many things.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

At my age I take it a day at a time. Hopefully ten years remain, but only God knows.

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

Absolutely! It has been a nightmare because of the time and money wasted while I learned the business. I wish I could say that there is lots of help out there for the newbie’s, but actually, the reverse is true. You are prey swimming in the shark’s pool—take heed. Believe nobody, and get everything in writing, research, research, and research. Even then, you will have picked the worst time in the world’s economy to enter the business. Do your homework on the submission guidelines for any query. All will have their own guidelines; adhere to them absolutely. Do not ever send a manuscript unless it is requested. Hire professional editors to edit everything that another person will read, especially the final draft of your manuscript. An English teacher is not an editor and you cannot edit your own work, so hire someone. Your professionalism will determine whether you ever make the grade. A shabby cover letter on your submission packet will guarantee its demise. Agents and publishers are busy people and they have no time to waste on people who do not follow the submission guidelines.

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Interview with Romantic Comedy Author Katherine Center

everyone-is-beautifulKatherine Center’s second novel, Everyone Is Beautiful, is featured in this week’s People (calling it “charming”) Magazine and in this month’s issue of Redbook. Kirkus Reviews likens it to the 1950s motherhood classic Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, and says, “Center’s breezy style invites the reader to commiserate, laughing all the way.” Booklist calls it “a superbly written novel filled with unique and resonant characters.”

Katherine’s first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster, was featured in People Magazine, USA Today, Vanity Fair, the Houston Chronicle, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. BookPage named Katherine one of seven new writers to watch, and the paperback of Bright Side was a Breakout Title at Target.

Katherine recently published an essay in Real Simple Family and has another forthcoming in Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers on the Mother-Daughter Bond this April. She has just turned in her third novel, Get Lucky, and is starting on a fourth. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two young children. You can visit her website at www.katherinecenter.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Katherine. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the titles of your books?

Everyone Is Beautiful, my new book, is the second in a two-book deal with Random House. The first one was The Bright Side of Disaster. I now have another two-book deal with them and have just finished my third novel, Get Lucky.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

My first real book-length work (other than a novel I wrote in 6th grade about how Duran Duran fell in love with me) was a collection of short stories I wrote in graduate school called Peepshow. It was never published because I was not at all brave about sending it out. Though it was a finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I was very lucky. I got an agent for my first novel quite by accident when I ran into a novelist at the park who offered to pass it on. Then that agent offered to represent me and then the book off to publishing houses and was able to get an auction going.

Though I did spend ten years getting rejected before that. And rejection is definitely horrible.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

The rejections made me feel like I shouldn’t be writing. What was the point? And so I’d quit writing. Forever. And I’d decide that wanting to be a writer was crazy and masochistic and I should move on with my life and get a real job.

But then I’d keep writing anyway. Because I couldn’t stop.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Random House published my first book under their Ballantine Imprint—and they are still publishing my books. I didn’t really choose them, they chose me. For which I remain very grateful.

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

It felt great. It still feels great! Writing is the thing I’m best at. I can’t tell you what day of the week it is most of the time. But I can write stories. It’s amazing to know that people are reading them and thinking about them and being moved by them. When somebody sends an email saying they laughed and cried because of one of my books—it’s just mind-boggling.

Though it didn’t really change my life in all the ways you might expect. I’m still just me. Me with books at Barnes & Noble, but me just the same.

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

I set up a website—and found a great designer to make it pretty. I printed up business-size cards with the book cover on them, thinking I’d hand them out to people. Although it turned out I was way too shy to hand them out. My parents handed out a ton of them, though! And my husband! He’d take them to the pool and give them to moms who were there with their kids.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

No. Looking back, this was a great way for it to happen. I was very discouraged for a long time. But I also didn’t really know what I wanted to write about then. I think I wasn’t ready. I needed to mature.

Sometimes I think making a go of the writing life means just sticking with it long enough to stumble onto some good luck. Of course, this was a little bit before blogging. Now, if I were still wanting to write and not sure how to get published, I’d blog.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

Well, I have the three books under my belt (2 published, one in production) and one that I’m about to start writing. I’ve also had an essay in Real Simple magazine and another essay is forthcoming in an anthology called Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers on the Mother-Daughter Bond.

And I have grown tremendously as an author. The more you do a thing, the better you get. That’s especially true of writing: Your sense of timing and structure and language gets better each time you do it.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

If I could go back in time and give my younger self advice, I’d tell myself not to get so discouraged. But I know my younger self would never listen to my old self, anyway.

I think writing through those struggles—rejection, lack of free time, uncertainty that what you’re doing matters—is part of the process of becoming a writer. You have to believe in yourself, and believe that the stories you’re writing will mean something to the people who read them, but it doesn’t come easy. You have to struggle with yourself about it. You have to earn that faith.

I also think it’s easy to focus on the publishing part of it when what really matters is the writing. Especially nowadays, with blogging as an option, the great writing has a chance to get its own attention.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

There have been a lot of exciting moments in the past few years. Seeing my photo in People Magazine (this week!) has been pretty exciting.

But the biggest accomplishment is the writing. Whenever I put something on the page and it sounds as good as—or better than—it did in my head, I feel proud.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A photographer. Or a maker of artists’ books. Or a sign maker. Or an organic gardener. Or a landscape architect. Or a house renovator. There are so many jobs I’ve been interested in over the years. The great thing now is that I can give them to my characters.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I wouldn’t give up being an author for anything. I thank my lucky stars every single day that I get to write these stories and send them out into the world.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Still writing stories about the lives that interest me and getting them out there however I can.

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

Don’t dream about being published! Just dream about the stories! No one can keep you from writing the stories. Write them, and love them, and share them with the people in your lives who will love them too. That’s the meat and potatoes of being a writer. Getting to go inside the stories—that’s the best blessing you can wish for.

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Interview with Mystery Suspense Author John Knoerle

a-pure-doublecrossJohn Knoerle’s first novel, Crystal Meth Cowboys, was optioned by Fox for a TV series. His second novel, The Violin Player, won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction. His new novel, A Pure Double Cross, is Book One of the American Spy Trilogy. John lives with his wife in Chicago. You can learn more about John Knoerle at www.bluesteelpress.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, John. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

I currently have three books in print. “Crystal Meth Cowboys,” which was optioned by Fox for a TV series, “The Violin Player,” which won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction, and my new title, “A Pure Double Cross.”

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

“Crystal Meth Cowboys” was published by Blue Steel Press.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

If you believe in yourself you put your head down and just keep going.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

My style has become more taut and streamlined. People are busy, they don’t have time for flowery descriptions and tangential diversions.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

In retrospect I think that I might have concentrated on a central character, built a series as I am doing now with Hal Schroeder.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I have always thought I might be a good architect. There is a certain similarity to designing a building and creating a book.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I think being a good author is so demanding that it requires your full attention.

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

If you can’t snag a publisher consider self-publishing. With Print on Demand the prices are reasonable.

Interview with Kim Smith, Author of Avenging Angel: A Shannon Wallace Mystery

avenging-angelKim Smith was born in Memphis Tennessee, the youngest of four children. After a short stint in a Northwest Mississippi junior college, during the era of John Grisham’s rise as a lawyer, she gave up educational pursuits to marry and begin family life.

She has worked in many fields in her life, from fast food waitress to telephone sales. “I always got the seniors on the phone who were lonely and wanted someone to talk to. My boss couldn’t understand why in the world I spent so much time talking to them and not enough time selling. That was when I realized I love people and care deeply about their lives.”

After the birth of her two children, she gave up working outside the home for the more important domestic duties of wife and mother. When her kids decided they wanted to pursue theater as an extracurricular activity, she gave up her free time to drive them to rehearsals, training classes, and plays. During those years, she found herself bored with nothing to do to while away the hours stuck in a car. She began thinking of stories to entertain herself and pass the time. Before long she started telling her husband about her stories and he assured her she could write a book if she really wanted to. She put the idea away once she landed a job as a network administrator for a small corporation, and together the Smith’s started their own video production company.

Writing was a dream, hidden but not forgotten, and soon Kim began to talk again of trying her hand at it. She played with words, and wrote several poems, one of which was picked up for an anthology

One day in the early nineties her husband came home with a desktop computer and sat her in front of it. “Now you have no more excuses,” he said, and she realized the truth in his words. Procrastination, now no longer an option, she took off on the pursuit of penning her first book. Though that book, a young adult fantasy, was lost due to unforeseen circumstances, she kept going, writing a historical romance, and another YA.

When she decided to try out her hand at mystery writing, she discovered her true love and niche in the writing journey. She has since had four short stories, and her first mystery novel accepted for publication.

Kim is a member of Sisters in Crime, and EPIC. She still lives in the Mid South region of the United States and is currently working on her second book in the mystery series.

You can visit her website at www.mkimsmith.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kim. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

Avenging Angel, a Shannon Wallace Mystery is my first published book, but not my first book per se. I have written three other books, although I decided to keep working on them rather than seek publication.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

The Realm, my very first book, was never published as it was not publish-worthy. I do not even have a copy of it anymore, and that is probably a good thing as my writing has improved dramatically since then.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

More than ten, maybe less than twenty, and all from agents. When I gave up trying to get an agent, and began submitting to small publishers (who accept submissions direct from the author) I was accepted straight away.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Initially, the rejections stung a bit. I was not mature enough to know that they were not rejecting my writing, but the book instead. I believe that if I were to seek an agent today, rejections would not bother me at all.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Avenging Angel was published by Red Rose Publishing, and I chose them upon a recommendation by someone who works for them. I have never regretted taking their advice.

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

I have to tell you, it felt wonderful. I kept going back to the buy page just to look at the way MY work looked to the public. I went out to dinner and celebrated with good food, good friends, and dessert.

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

I didn’t wait until my book came out to begin promoting. I think that is something that a lot of folks do that is a bad idea. I set up my website, streamlined my blog, and began joining every social networking sites I could. I belong to 35 yahoo groups, and seventeen other groups like Facebook, Myspace, and Gather.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

Yes, my journey was a little different with this book than most authors have to travel. I actually pulled this book from my very first choice publisher and took it to Red Rose Publishing. I would advise authors to investigate your publisher thoroughly.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

Yes, I have had the next book in the Shannon Wallace series accepted, titled Buried Angel, as well as a novella, A Will to Love, and a short story, Love Waltzes. I believe that I understand the writing process and the publication phase of the writing process better now and that has “grown” me as an author. I would tell aspiring authors to be sure and remember that there is nothing you write that doesn’t need rewriting.

What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I wasn’t really devoted to getting an agent, and so I spent a lot more time researching them and waiting on them to tell me that they didn’t want my book than actually trying to get published. I would not do that again. I believe that your work will find a home if you are devoted to sending it out.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

Avenging Angel made it to the publisher’s number six spot on the bestseller list, and that was a big deal to me. I would love for the cover to win and award, or for it to final in a contest.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I do have another profession, in fact I have two. I am a network administrator for a small remanufacturing company and I am a professional videographer/ photographer.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I could never give up writing, no matter what happened. I have tried, and it wouldn’t let me alone. So in answer, I believe that I have accepted that writing is not something that I do, it is instead, a part of who I am.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Old. Old as dirt, in fact, but wiser, a whole lot wiser. I will have a LOT of work out there for my readers and fans, and I hope in ten years they love me even more.

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

Keep going. There is nothing stopping you from being published, but you. It’s like I tell some of my brides(as a videographer)- if you can’t wait to find a place to get married, go see a JP. You are still just as married. If you are unsuccessful at finding an agent, or a NY publisher, try a small press, go the ebook route. You are still just as published.

Interview with Marvin D. Wilson, author of Between the Storm and the Rainbow

Marvin D. Wilson is a published author who has been awarded the prestigious AVATAR award for excellence in spiritual books. Wilson has had articles published in several Ezines, and has been interviewed on hundreds of blogs, radio and TV shows, both over the internet and on the airwaves. Marvin is a prolific blogger/essayist. He maintains his internationally acclaimed award-winning blog at Free Spirit, and also his other very popular “Old Hippie” blog. Free Spirit was awarded first place in the 2008 Book Blogger Appreciation Week award contest, in the Christian/Inspirational Fiction category.

marvin-wilsonWilson is a family man, married for thirty three years, with three adult children and six grandchildren. He has been around the block of life several times, through the ups and downs, and has survived in good enough spirits to desire to write about life, to write about living life on purpose. Wilson is a self-described “non-religious,
dogma-free, Maverick spiritualist Christian.” He writes books that deliver spiritual and inspirational messages in an engaging, thought provoking, often times humorous, more than often irreverent, sometimes sexy and even ribald way, through the spinning of an entertaining tale.

Marvin D Wilson is an editor with All Things That Matter Press and also does freelance editing.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Marvin. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the titles of your books?

Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure. Well, if three counts as multiple, then I would say I’m a “multi” published author (smile). My published books so far are, I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie), Owen Fiddler, and the just released Between the Storm and the Rainbow.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

I wrote a book length manuscript nearly a decade ago. It was titled, “My Daughter the Muslim.” I never had it published because, while it did have some good chapters and writing in it, and even though friends and family and even a couple “trusted” critical readers said it was worthy of publication, I just didn’t feel it was good enough to be my first book. With what I’ve learned over the past several years about excellence in the art of professional writing, I may go back one day, dust it off and see if I can’t turn it into a book that has enough literary merit to warrant publication.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I could write a whole book on this subject. I have written a lengthy article about the arduous road to obtaining that elusive first publication, the different routes available and the pros and cons of each.

My first book, I Romanced the Stone, is a memoir, the story of how I overcame a deadly narcotics addiction that had ruined my life in my mid-fifties, through a profound spiritual experience. Due to its unusual combination of Christian salvation themes and the vivid depictions of scenes in the crime and drug-infested streets of inner city America, it was rejected by all the “traditional” pubs. The Christian pubs considered it too graphic and worldly, and the secular pubs thought it to be too “religious.” Go figure. The book is not religious at all, it is a tell-it-like-it-is truth telling. But anyway, I eventually gave up on getting a contract with the big boys and started submitting the manuscript to smaller, quality POD’s – the ones that only print books that have gone through an evaluation process by their staff and been deemed fit for their standards. I finally got an affordable deal with a fine outfit. This whole process took nearly a year.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

They motivated me. I kept all the rejection letters and emails from pub houses and agents and still have them in a hard copy file cabinet. I used to pull them out occasionally and re-read them just to get fired up and try harder. I would prove them all wrong!

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

I went with Global Authors Publications. My manuscript had been approved by three “selective” POD’s by then, and I felt that the quality of their books, the level of scrutiny they put a new author through, combined with their fees-to-royalties-paid ratio was the best deal on the table for me.

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

It was like seeing and holding your first born child. Exquisite joy, I was ecstatic. I took the wife out for dinner to one of those gourmet restaurants that are definitely not in the normal budget.

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

I started promoting months before the publication release date. I joined writers and readers Yahoo groups, and other online groups like Goodreads and Shelfari. I networked and interacted with other authors, read and learned everything I could. I prepared media releases. I created a marketing plan. I lined up radio, TV and blog interviews in advance, created a website about the book, started cross-linking and inter-linking it, and marketing it as best I could. Once the book was out I put my marketing plan into full swing. I had personal speaking engagements lined up, a couple local book signings, I did the shows and interviews online and on the airwaves, made online announcements about the book’s release to all my groups, e-blasted the news to all my email contacts, every possible tool at my disposal I used to its fullest capacity.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

Only if I could have gotten a contract with a large mainstream traditional publishing house. And even then maybe not. I’ve heard horror stories about novice authors getting taken on by the bigs. Often they will edit the book (you have to give them this right in many cases before they will agree to “take a chance” on you) to the point where they feel it will sell better to their readers but you scarcely recognize it as your book anymore. You give up a great deal of say in the finished product.

For most aspiring first-time authors, especially if you are an “unknown,” I recommend going with a good quality POD or a small traditional press. The exception would be if you are already a household name, someone who is popular because of some previous notoriety, or perhaps if you have an inside connection – like your relative or friend is a decision maker with a big pub house or literary agency. Aside from those situations and the one-in-a-million perfect Cinderella story opportunity, the POD and the smaller traditional pubs that give greater control to the author are the best choices.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

Well yes, as I said previously, I have since had two more books published. The second book, Owen Fiddler, was published with Cambridge Books. They are a small traditional pub, one of the new breed of “cross-over” presses that offers contracts for the rights to publish your book, but they also print on demand. I even got a small (okay I admit, it was “tiny”) advance! Woo Hoo! They don’t have the budget to print up tens of thousands of books and then hope that they all sell. This, by the way, is I believe the wave of the future. If you read the news articles in the literary world, even the bigs are moving away from huge advances to the author and the automatic printing of masses of hard copy books. Ebooks and advance orders for print books are part of the new “green” movement. I submitted my manuscript to Cambridge Books under the recommendation of an author friend who had used them before. I was elated when they voted to take my book on. They are very selective. They have to be because again, they are small and have only so many resources of staff and time. And they have to make sure the books they choose will turn out to be profitable for them, since they take on all the costs of production.

My third and latest book, Between the Storm and the Rainbow, was published by another fine quality POD, All Things That Matter Press. Another “cross-over” pub house, they are “traditional” in that they do not charge the authors fees to print the books they choose to publish, but they are very selective. They actually contacted me and requested a submission from me. How cool is that?

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I would have done more homework on which agencies and publishing houses I submit to. I also would have studied how best to write an effective query letter before starting to send them out. Each pub house and literary agency has different preferences with regard to what format they want queries and submissions to come in. They also will let you know on their websites what genres they are looking for and whether or not they are even accepting any new submissions at all – especially from first-time authors. I highly recommend going to http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/ for extremely valuable information when putting your submissions plan together. An informed, skilled and targeted submissions process is the most effective in terms of energy and time spent procuring a contract for your book.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I always wanted to be an NBA All Star. But as an aging short white guy with no shot left who can’t jump and is getting slower every year, I’ve had to give up on my dream – ha! Seriously, my first love was music. I was a Hippie rock and roll musician back in the late 60’s, and all through the 70’s and wanted to make it as a big name rock star, helping to change the world with original message music. But that career never made the big bucks or the cover of the Rolling Stone, so I went into business. Had to. I had gotten married and had a kid on the way. Everybody has to grow up some time. So I raised a family, and now in my golden years I feel writing is my calling. And it’s starting to work out for me.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

Not anymore, I don’t have the kind of youthful energy required for touring and playing a rigorous schedule of concerts, doing the clubs, all that. I still play my guitar, and I write and record music. Not professionally, but for personal enjoyment. I have a CD produced that I sell, but only on a small scale, it’s mostly for fun and diversion. So while I do not have the best of both worlds, I do derive satisfaction from both of my main loves, music and writing.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

That would be becoming a fairly well known and followed blogger essayist. I started blogging seriously in the summer of 2008. I post every day on Free Spirit and at least twice weekly on Tie Dyed Tirades. I’ve won an international blog popularity contest, a boat load of awards, and have a globally growing following of readers now. Free Spirit is read by people from nearly 70 countries last I checked the stats. Now when I publish a new book I automatically have a readership that likes my writing and it’s much easier to get a new publication paid attention to, talked about, and bought.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

I want to be known as a best-selling novelist and an author who creates positive, peace engendering effects on people, our society and planet through my spiritual/inspirational writing.

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

Never give up. No matter how many times you feel knocked down, get back up and try harder. Take criticism seriously, look at it with an open mind, and if it has merit, do the work to correct your errors and try again. But don’t let criticism and rejection affect you personally. Like any other art, practice makes perfect. Be a student of your craft. Work at it every day. Study, write, read other authors all the time, study, write, and never give up.

Interview with Brian L. Doe, Author of The Grace Note

Brian L. Doe was born in Ogdensburg, New York, and grew up on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. From a young age, he recognized his passion for the written word and committed himself to the pursuit of writing. He is currently an English teacher in Upstate New York where he lives with his wife and children. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in writing from St. Lawrence University, and a Master’s Degree in secondary education from the State University of New York at Potsdam College.

Mr. Doe is also an amateur violinist who works with John R. Lindsey, concertmaster of the Orchestra of Northern New York, at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York. He has been associated with the musical world in a number of capacities for years and has been involved in public performances ranging from concert presentations to musicals.

Brian L. Doe’s first novel, Barley and Gold, was published in 2001 and again in 2008. In addition, he is co-author of the trilogy, Waking God, with Philip Harris. His newest release, The Grace Note, was published in November 2008 by All Things That Matter Press.
More about the author, his writing, and music can be found at his official website, www.inkslingernotes.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Brian. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

I am a multi-published author. My first book, Barley & Gold was published in 2001 and again in 2008. I am also co-author of the Waking God Trilogy with Philip Harris. My newest book, The Grace Note, was published in November of 2008.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

The title of my very first book was Barley & Gold. I began writing it as a freshman in college while working at the university library. A song on the radio gave me an idea, and I wrote the last chapter first. Over the course of the next ten years, I finally finished the manuscript.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I was rejected by 38 agencies alone before one agency decided to represent me. With representation, I was then rejected by every major publisher that the work was presented to.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Although I was continually assured by my agent that the rejections did not mean that my writing was worthless, it still stung me a little each time. I did have the opportunity to read what many of the major publishing houses had to say about my work, and it was not all bad. Perhaps the worse phrase to read or hear again and again when trying to get published is that your book “just isn’t right for us at this time.” I eventually came to realize, however, that my writing was worth reading, and that I’d either be published or I wouldn’t. It’s all about confidence.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

iUniverse first published Barley & Gold, and at the time, it only cost $199.00. They were the first in their field to really market themselves as a POD publisher, and I wasn’t quite sure what it all meant. But I felt so strongly about my story, that I was determined to see it in print. After all, I believe even Laura Ingalls Wilder paid to have her work published in the beginning.

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

Seeing my writing in print was amazing and made me feel like I’d accomplished something. I didn’t really celebrate the event, though. I was surrounded by people whom I felt didn’t see the value of such a venture, and even then, others grumbled at the fact that I’d paid to have it published.

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

I was interviewed by the local newspaper that ran a story about a local teacher being a published author. It garnered some response, but sales of the book were never high.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

I don’t know if I would have any new options if I had to do it all over again at that time. Now, however, there many options for authors that don’t cost a cent. One of the newest movements in the publishing world is the independent publishing house. Piers Anthony, the New York Times bestselling author, even champions independent publishing houses. They tend to be smaller and more personal. My current publisher, for instance, is an independent, and my contract with them is more like a friendship than a business arrangement. The large publishing houses seem to be on the road to extinction.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I have been published twice since then, and soon to be three times when the next installment of the Waking God Trilogy comes out in a few weeks. The Grace Note, I believe, shows a tremendous amount of maturity on my part. I was 19 when I started my first book and 36 when I wrote The Grace Note. My writing is cleaner and more direct now.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I often wonder if I could have done anything differently. Back then, and in many ways now, agent representation and publisher marketing was a laborious and tedious process. The book industry is so overrun with poor writing (a problem agents and publishers themselves have created over the last decade) that moving from manuscript to printed novel involves many months of time and energy. And even if a large publisher picks up your work, it will take another 18 months to get it into print.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

I can Google myself and get pages of results. It’s overwhelming to realize how much of a presence you can make on the Internet just by being involved in the marketing and promotion of your work.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A professional violinist. I would have started playing much earlier than I did, and I would have wanted to play at Lincoln Center.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

That’s an interesting question, because my new book, The Grace Note, does just that. It is about a professional violinist who, after a tragedy strikes him, becomes disillusioned with his craft. In writing the book, I was able to combine both worlds.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully on the New York Times Bestseller List, or maybe having one of my books played out on the silver screen. I’ll take either.

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

Don’t give up. Ever. Rejections are only jabs to a writer’s ego, and no indication of whether he can write. The world will decide if you’ve got a story worth telling. And in the end, if your writing is no good, those closest to you will let you know. But we must keep writing; we are the historians of our day.

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