Diane Schochet

When Diane Schochet befriended another writer who in turn started her own publishing company, she was able to publish her book and see her literary dreams realized.  Diane talks about her book, the specific marketing tools she uses, and a tip that worked for her son’s book as well.

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

Cog Stone Dreams is about Dessa and her mystical, magical, humorous love story.  It is about the bow and arrow murder she witnesses, 9,000 years of history she encounters in her dreams, and includes Jewish themes and the perfection, degradation and restoration of wetlands in California.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I’m not an indie writer.  A couple of years ago, I took an online advanced UCLA novel writing class.  A classmate liked my writing.  I liked hers.  We met and became friends.  Then in 2011 she informed me that she was becoming a publisher.  Her deceased aunt, Carol Fenner, had left her literary collection to my friend.  Carol, who had won Newberry awards, a Coretta Scott King award and two other awards, had one book that hadn’t been published.  My classmate decided to publish her book, my Cog Stone Dreams book, and some books that she had written, and opened Red Phoenix Books.

Doctor Claudia Alexander, my publisher at Red Phoenix Books, is a scientist.  She says my genre is environmental fiction.  But I’m not a scientist so I say my book is Jewish magical realism.  (Think Isaac Bashevis Singer.  I’m aiming high.)  However, the environment may be a better selling point.  The story is mostly set on Southern California wetlands.  Amazon.com puts books about wetlands in their Lakes and Ponds category.  Today the Kindle Edition of Cog Stone Dreams is the number 17 bestselling and the number 1 best rated in the Lakes and Pond category.  It has been among the top three Lakes and Ponds book for three months now.

3. Have you been traditionally published?

Yes.  Non-fiction articles in magazines.

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Larissa Hinton

YA writer Larissa Hinton is always working on both her writing and her marketing efforts.  Read more about some of the specific services she uses and her advice for finding your target audience.

1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

An anthology that will quench your thirst for more than the ordinary.

Everblossom is a journey through poems and short stories that may seem ordinary on the surface but which digs a little deeper as the world not only shifts, but changes.

The author who brought you Iwishacana/Acanawishi now brings you a dash of everything from dark fantasy to the paranormal to even romance.  So prepare yourself to delve into the three stages of the flower from bud to blossom then back to seed; you’ll go through them all with a whole new perspective on what it all truly means.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

Ah, the question everybody wants to know.  Well, before I self-published, I was a staunch traditional publisher junkie.  I sent out query letters to publishers and agents every summer.  And I dreamed of that one day of getting the dream contract.

When the dream became a reality, I could hardly believe it.  There I was, the email of my dreams congratulating me on obtaining a contract and all I could do is cover my gaping mouth and think, “Oh.  My.  God.”

But of course, the contract was faulty so I walked away.  That was the hardest thing I had to do but I survived and started querying once again.  The more I queried, the more I got frustrated that no one saw my talent.  If I was talented to get a contract once, I could get it again. That’s what logic says.

And during this time, a lot or people from Critique Circle loved my book and wanted to buy it and were wondering when I was going to be published.  And it wasn’t just one person, it was multiple people.

Yet no contract came.  Instead, a professor talked about self-publishing and spouted about how much more money an author could make, but I just ignored him until Amanda Hocking’s story came to light.  Then came JA Konrath’s blog.  I read it and I couldn’t help but agree with his arguments.  And he made me laugh.  So after puzzling over the logic and what I thought was my dream of trad publishing, I decided to self-publish.

In short: I decided to self-publish because I was tired of waiting for someone to give me the green light.  Instead, I decided to believe in my books and my readers to find them.  I decided to self-publish and not look back.  And I’m glad I did.

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Frank Coles

Frank Coles brings a wealth of experience to his writing and has enjoyed success in indie and traditional publishing.  Learn how he’s mastered marketing across a variety of media (social and traditional formats) and why reviews are so important.

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

Dark Market (Assassin’s Rule): Kill anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Never get caught.

John Savage is a special force of one.  A corporate investigator who had to leave when an investigation went wrong.  He’s become a 21st century warrior serving overseas, but not for any one government, only the highest bidder.

When he finds a dead body with links to his old life, he returns and finds that what forced him out was only the beginning of a conspiracy to commit murder on a grand scale: the Dark Market, in which anyone can take part and anyone can be a victim.  Now Savage must battle to finish what he started.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I get a buzz from writing, the blank page is like siren call from another world for me.  I’ve been writing professionally in one way or another for nearly two decades – TV, journalism, advertising, branding.  Writing has taken me to the North Pole and all around the world.  Then I became an ‘author’ four years ago.  Since then my writing output has dropped.  It became all too much about guessing what agents, editors and sales departments were up to.  Learning all about the shadier parts of the business that are in plain view and pitching all the time – but so slowly – because the business is so slow.

Now don’t get me wrong, my bread and butter has always been pitching, whether it’s TV programs and formats or journalism and brand concepts.  But there is a big disconnect in publishing between, well, everything: traditional and indie, agents and editors, slush piles and proper business development, taking risks and playing it safe, publishing times.  It’s a book in itself!

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Michael Davidson

Michael Davidson has not only become a successful indie author, but has used his experience to create his own publishing company.  Learn more about his imprint and his success in using book reviews to publicize his writing.

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

The last time I pitched my book I hit the batter.  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Austin Nights is the unadorned love story of two people who move to Central Texas from Miami Beach, one lost, the other lost but with direction.  And there’s a cat.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

Other indie writers.  Seeing them do it.  Realizing it was possible.

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

Some short stories of mine have been traditionally published, both in this country and in Canada.  I went through the usual process of submitting material, getting an excited response from the editor, making changes, and getting remunerated with either contributor’s copies and/or a check.  No matter how meager the check was, it, like the contributor’s copies, rocked.  This was all the motivation I needed to keep trying.

After I wrote my first novel I sent out query letters to agents and got a couple manuscript requests.  I remember Barbara J. Zitwer’s response.  She represented (and still represents) the author of Matchstick Men, and she said if I worked on the pacing of my novel she’d like to read it again, but, as it stood, it didn’t work for her.  Not fast enough.

Rather than work on the pacing, I tucked it away in a box and started writing other stories.  It’s still in a box, high in my closet, and I never communicated with Barbara J. Zitwer again.  Maybe, once I get done with this interview, I should send her a query letter concerning my latest novel?

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

Love it.  Like anything else, you learn as you go along, and it feels great when you start seeing your work find traction in the Amazon rankings.  Like there’s hope.

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