P.B. Dillon

P.B. Dillon, sci-fi author from New Zealand, turned away from traditional publishing after a bad experience.  He discusses that and which methods he now uses as an indie author.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.

The Mage-Wrought Warrior is a fantasy series, the first two books of which are Mage-Wrought and Urgitwoods.  It’s the story of Lito, a hero like no other.  Given life by Garvin, he must struggle against impossible odds to save the life of Tyrealla, Garvin’s daughter – all the while wrestling with the riddle of his own existence.

It won’t be easy: they’re about to be attacked by the Kelits, fierce warriors who paint themselves blue and file their teeth.  Their leader is a Dark Mage who will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal.  The Dark Mage seeks immortality – which he believes he can gain through the use of a jewel that forms part of Tyrealla’s favorite necklace.

Added to this are the complications that Lord Cirovan believes Lito was made to protect him; Tyrealla treats him as if he were repulsive; and, because of how he came into being, Lito doubts that he qualifies as fully human.

Will Lito be able to help defeat the invading Kelits?  Will he be able to save Tyrealla from the Dark Mage?  Will he win her over, or learn to accept who and what he is?

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

Publishing has changed.  There’s no mystery to it any more.  If you are online, you have access to all the tools you need – and unless they think they’re on to a major bestseller, I’m not sure traditional publishing offers any additional value.

3. Have you been traditionally published?  Why or why not?

Yes.  I was hugely naive and thought it was the right thing to do at the start of my career.  It took ages; attracting an agent/publisher from New Zealand (where I live) isn’t easy, partly because of the geographic separation which should mean nothing but does.  And then, when I finally got my book deal, I realized that I no longer had control over the cover, the editing, or even the book title – and was still expected to do all the marketing myself.

It wasn’t a pleasant experience.  Turned me away from writing for a number of years.

As soon as the rights reverted to me I decided to start doing it myself.  That was mid-way through last year.  Now I’m in control and can do things my way, and it’s much better – and I’ve already sold more copies than the traditional publisher did.

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Tanya Allan

Tanya Allan writes in a variety of genres and has worked for many years cultivating a web presence. She talks about the various websites she uses and which methods she’s avoided.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me one of your books in five to ten sentences.

To Fight for a Dream: Meet James Allan, a captain in the Parachute Regiment with experience in Northern Ireland and the Falklands Conflict, as he embarks on the most terrifying mission of his life…to become Jane Allan at the age of twenty-eight.

Follow his life through a series of flashbacks, through his schooling and military career, up to the moment he attempts to win over his bigot of a father.

The join Jane as her life begins to go right, after three decades of being wrong, but still an emotional roller-coaster nonetheless.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I write fiction across several genres: romance, war, science fiction, police investigation thrillers, espionage; however, but much of my work deals with individuals living out their lives with the added burden of coping with some form of transgender issue, so established publishers are reluctant to take a risk in such a marginalized sub-genre.

3. Have you been traditionally published?  Why or why not?

No, see 2. above.

4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?

Fine.  I started posting my work on free sites in 1998 and received positive feedback. There appeared to be a market, so I looked at the most cost-effective and simplest system for publishing.

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Frank Biasi

Frank Biasi became a novelist following a successful business career.  On February 23, his novel, The Brother-in-law, advanced to the next round in Amazon’s 2012 Breakthrough Novel contest.  Frank discusses his three-phased marketing approach and how pricing figured in to it.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.

Just days before the catastrophic events of 9-11, and after months of meticulous plotting, a disguised Bart LaRocca inflicts vengeance on his brother-in-law, the powerful and unscrupulous Mafia boss, Al (aka Little Nicky) Nicosia.  Bart then vanishes without a trace.

The Brother-in-law is a fictional, suspense-filled, forty year saga of an Italian-American couple and their son, whose lives are caught up and shattered by their insidious family association with the New York Mob.

2. What motivated you to become an Indie writer?

I believed I had an entertaining story but was frustrated by not being able to find an agent interested in getting it before an audience.

3. Have you been traditionally published?

This is my first attempt a putting out a commercial product.  As I said, I have been unable to find a literary agent willing to pitch my work.

4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?

The whole experience of writing and publishing has been the most rewarding thing I have done since I retired from my business career.  Perhaps that is because it was never one of my goals or objectives, nor did anyone have expectations that F.X. Biasi Jr. would be a published novelist.

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Diane Rapp

Mystery writer Diane Rapp gave up on writing after a traditional publisher with which she had a deal went bankrupt.  But she found her way to self-publishing and explains why she’s happy she did.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me one of your books.

When Kayla Sanders accepts a free Caribbean cruise aboard the Aurora, she gets sucked into a modern-day mutiny culminating in the murder of her ex-lover, Patrick MacIntyre.  Plunging into a frenzied investigation to discover the killer before police arrest her friends, Kayla bumps into Steven Young every time she uncovers a clue and they soon join forces to unravel the mystery.  Can Kayla trust him enough to fall in love again?  Like a tightrope walker balancing between passion and peril, Kayla risks her life to unearth the truth behind Patrick’s death and free herself from the past.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I spent thirty years in business for myself, selling real estate, owning a retail store, and doing freelance advertising work.  When I finished my first novel, it drove me crazy to have “agents” take my work and never inform me about their progress.  As a real estate agent I knew that half the job was keeping your client informed.  Now as an indie writer I count on myself to work hard.  If I need better results I work harder.  If I go on vacation, my laptop travels.  It’s a wonderful age we live in.

3. Have you been traditionally published?  Why or why not?

I published a travel guide to the Caribbean (co-authored with my daughter) and we did three updated editions.  When I signed a contract with a publisher on my mystery novel Murder Caribbean-Style, I got so excited.  The publisher went bankrupt and returned the rights to me.  I gave up writing until my husband found an article about becoming an indie publisher.  It “kindled” my hope and I worked hard to launch four e-books on Amazon.  Sales are increasing every month and I get a higher percent of sales than with traditional publishing.

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Amy Peterson

Amy Peterson (writing plays under the pen name Ash Sanborn) aspires to be a playwright and has e-published her play, along with other writings.  She explains her varied and unique approach to networking and marketing.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a director or producer looking for my next play.  Pitch me one of your plays in five to ten sentences.

The Feast of Jovi Bono (known to friends as TFOJB) is a new play, a challenge to actors to tell their stories in slam poetry/spoken word art.  It’s the story of forgiveness between mothers and daughters, exes, the life-beaten and the life that beat them.  What if a tent city moved next door to your house?  You’re just one person – what can one person do to help create life from destruction?

Most plays in this century do not have a narrator, but ours has a snarky chef to make us laugh and tie the feast together.  There’s a rugby game, cake getting all over, an expanding table that Malcolm (Jovi’s best friend) keeps tripping over, padparadsha oranges, and stories that light up the night.

2. What motivated you to become a playwright?

TJOJB has not had the usual development process mostly because of the slam poetry.  First I did send it to the developmental readers at my local theater (Spencer Community Theater in Iowa) and of the three readers, two of them had very helpful feedback.  I took many of their suggestions.  The next step would have been a staged reading in which I would have found a partner-director, assembled the cast (which usually consists of whoever shows up) and had one or at most two rehearsals.  The reading would be in front of an invited audience who would then provide further feedback.  This is where the process broke down: the slam poetry is actually quite a challenge to the actors and would require more than a rehearsal or two for any one to effectively perform it.  A cold reading would create the effect the early readers feared: that it would be a group of actors standing around reciting poetry.  If that’s the case, what on earth are we doing?

From there I sent the script to a few publishers, all of whom said it was not for them, but to please consider sending them any future plays.  They weren’t getting it.  The slam poetry cannot be confined to the page.  Then I received an email from Stageplays.com.  They were dipping their toes into e-publishing plays – a very new concept – and for a very reasonable price, I could partner with them to get the script out there, available to directors, along with my contact information so I could work with them on staging it.  TFOJB will have its premiere Labor Day weekend.  It is my hope that video and other promotional material uploaded on Stageplay’s website will help artistic directors and performance committees from theaters throughout the nation decide this is something they need to do for their theaters and for their communities.

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Lorraine Fico-White, editor

I’ve personally known Lorraine Fico-White for a while now, and serve with her on the board of directors of the Charlotte Writers’ Club.  A professional editor, she discusses the role editors play in the writing process and how indies can make their books the best they can be.

1. Tell me about the editing services you provide.

I am a certified editor providing editing and proofreading services to authors.  Authors contact me before they self-publish or send out query letters.  I provide a free sample edit of the author’s work, evaluating the level of editing required and identifying ways to improve the manuscript’s marketability.  I also assist authors in developing personal bios and summaries for the book cover, creating discussion questions, and critiquing query letters and synopses.

2. What’s the difference between editing and proofreading?

Proofreading identifies grammar, punctuation, spelling, and typographical errors as well as formatting inconsistencies.  Basic copyediting includes proofreading in addition to ensuring content continuity, correct and effective word usage, and clarity of concepts.

Heavier editing includes basic copyediting tasks plus analyzing character and plot development, narrative flow, shifts in point of view, and organizational structure.

3. What role should the editor play in the writing process?

An editor assists the writer in making the book the best it can possibly be.  A great working relationship between an author and editor is critical to the success of a book.  A good editor will not change a writer’s voice, style or story. Instead, the editor offers a fresh, experienced perspective and respects the author’s work.  All edits must be approved by the author.

4. For each editing project you take on, what is your overriding goal?  In other words, what do you have in mind each time you look at a new manuscript or other writing?

My goal is to help authors achieve their goals.  Whenever I review a manuscript, I am always looking for ways to improve its marketability.  Errors and inconsistencies distract a reader, and the book could lose credibility.  If a reader loses interest, he/she will not recommend the book to friends and will not purchase subsequent books by the same author.

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Latest review of Love Train: 5 stars!

Pleased to find another 5-star review of my hit book, Love Train:

Love Train is unlike any other book I have read. I found myself immediately smiling and enjoying the outrageous escapades, impossible situations, and the author’s sense of humor. Treat yourself to a light, easy read and be pleasantly entertained!

Thanks for reading!

Kris