CHAT WITH KATIE OLIVER

KatieOliver

Katie Oliver currently resides in northern Virginia with her husband and three parakeets, in a rambling old house with uneven floors and a dining room that leaks when it rains.

She’s been writing off and on since she was eight, and has a box crammed with (mostly unfinished) novels to prove it.  With her sons grown and gone, Katie decided to get serious and write more (and hopefully, better) stories.  

She even finishes most of them.

What is your latest book?

Mansfield Lark is the latest, published on 3 March.

MansfieldPark

Is your recent book part of a series?

Yes, Mansfield Lark is the newest addition to the “Dating Mr Darcy” series. Other books in the series are Prada and Prejudice and Love and Liability. I have two more books in the works – one featuring Natalie and Rhys from Prada, and one with Gemma and Dominic from Mansfield.

What are the special challenges in writing a series?

Well, I didn’t start out to write a series. I wrote the first book, Prada and Prejudice, with no clue that I’d write another…and then another, featuring some of the same characters across the three books. It just sort of happened that way. As I wrote the first one, I thought, you know, I really need to tell Holly’s story…and Dominic’s story… and so I did.

I think the biggest challenge when writing a series is keeping everything straight from one book to the next! I might forget whether a character in book one had blonde hair or black, or where he/she was born. Where was Ian and Alexa’s house located? Did Natalie take one gap year, or two? Those little details will trip you up in a later book if you don’t track them. I keep a notebook for each book, and I jot down stuff as I begin writing, so I can refer to it later.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

All the time! For instance, (spoiler alert) I didn’t intend for Holly James to end up with Alex Barrington. He was meant to be a cad who breaks her heart. But it didn’t work out that way…

Authors, especially Indies, are constantly trying to understand why some authors sell very while their talented fellow authors have a hard time of it. It’s an ongoing conundrum. What do you make of it all?

What I make of it is this: it’s a crapshoot. There are many very excellent writers whose books languish unread. And there are many so-so writers whose books hit the bestseller lists.

Things that help get your book noticed are: a well-designed book cover; blog tours; and hosting a giveaway to stir a buzz and find you new readers. Establish yourself as a brand. Your writing name is your brand. Utilize social media. Don’t post non-stop “buy my book” Tweets – that’s spam, and no one likes spam. Engage with your followers. Use apps like Quozio to pull quotes from your book and post them on Twitter or Facebook. Pin pictures of your characters or locations to Pinterest and share on other social media. Think outside of the “buy my book” box.

Beyond that? It’s luck, pure and simple.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

Know that nothing happens fast in the publishing world. It takes time to get representation, land a book contract, navigate through the editorial process. Be patient. Learn. Listen to people who know what they’re doing – your editor, your agent, the art department, your publisher. But don’t be afraid to push back (politely) if you really hate the cover or don’t agree with an edit.

For indie authors – I recommend hiring a proofreader to copyedit your book before you format and publish it. And it’s worth hiring a graphics person to design a killer book cover, as well. Make social media work for you by connecting with readers, bloggers, and other writers.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

Once my kids were grown, I wrote the book (well, two) that I’d always wanted to write. When I finished, I got an agent referral through the Elaine English agency in Washington, DC, based on the synopsis and first three chapters of Love and Liability. It took time to get a publishing deal, mainly because my books featured British characters and settings, which American publishers were hesitant to take on. But with time and perseverance it did happen, and my books – all three of them – were bought by UK Carina/Harlequin and published an ebook series.

There are so many conflicting opinions out there about everything related to publishing: e-book pricing, book promotion, social media usage etc. How do you sort through it all to figure out what works best for you?

It’s true, there’s a LOT to wade through and it can be overwhelming, especially to a new writer. Just try different approaches to find the one that you’re most comfortable with. If you hate Twitter, create a Facebook page instead. If you hate writing a blog post, let book bloggers know you’re available to answer interview questions or provide an excerpt from your book.

Many authors are happy to share what worked – and what didn’t – with other writers. Romance Writers of America publishes lots of useful tips on marketing and promoting your book. There’s also plenty of good information on the Internet.

You have to find what works for YOU, and for your book. Be creative. Themed giveaways that fit your book are a great approach. For the Dating Mr Darcy books, I offered a British Barbie and assorted “Keep Calm” notepads, page clips, and a pocket organizer, in addition to my latest ebook. Have fun with it, and your audience will have fun, too (and hopefully, buy your book!)

Do you have any advice to a new author if they asked you whether to pursue the traditional route to publishing or to start out as an independent writer?

Decide what works best for you. If you work well independently, if you want to control everything from the cover design to the formatting and pricing of your book, you might want to self-publish.

If you prefer to focus on writing and wish to leave book cover design, editing, and formatting to others, you might prefer the traditional publishing route. Just be aware that promotion is still largely your responsibility. You may be assigned a publicist or a marketing liaison; you may not. Be prepared to market your books yourself.

What have you done to market your novel and what did you find the most effective? The least effective?

I think blog tours are one of the most effective ways to gain new readers for your books. You get exposure to a whole new audience who otherwise might not find you. You can share an excerpt from your book, or provide teasers about an upcoming release. You can participate in cross-genre blog tours with other authors. It’s fun, and a win-win for writers and readers.

Least effective? DON’T run a constant stream of links to your books on Twitter or Facebook. Just. Don’t. And giveaways can either be very effective or a complete waste of time. Themed giveaways are good; so are those that are open to everyone. Keep the rules simple. Don’t make contestants jump through a lot of hoops to enter, or they won’t bother. Make it easy, and fun.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

To play bass guitar! I’ve always wanted to do that. I want to be Tina Weymouth.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

That I suck at cooking. I’m an ace baker, and I make my own pizza dough and spaghetti sauce, and my lasagna is to die for. But beyond that? I’m hopeless.

What was the most valuable class you ever took in school? Why?

In my junior year of high school, I took a course called Film Production. For the first half of the semester we watched films – Showboat, The Night of the Generals, Singing in the Rain, Chariots of Fire – and then we discussed them. We examined how scenes were edited and paced – short and fast for action sequences, longer for quieter scenes, etc. We learned that the film editor took miles of footage and cut and spliced it all together into a cohesive, compelling whole.

I learned to look at movies in a whole new way. Why did the director choose black and white versus color? Why was a particular scene shot in slow motion? How did those choices affect the drama, the tension, the pace of the film?

I learned to apply those lessons to books as well. I’m a visual person, and I ‘see’ my books as films inside my head. So wherever you are, Mr. Singleton – thank you. You rocked that class.

CONNECT WITH KATIE

Website

Blog

Facebook Author Page

Twitter

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

BUY LINKS for Mansfield Lark

Amazon U.K.

Amazon U.S.

Mills & Boon

iBooks

Kobo

 

 

 

FIVE WAYS TO STAY SANE AS A WRITER

 

 

Five Ways to Stay Sane as a Writer – (by an author who lost her sanity a long time ago)

1.      BE PATIENT: If you’ve just written a novel, you may, like others, be eager to share it with the world, even though the prospect of doing so can be as daunting as it is exciting. Unfortunately, in their excitement, many authors query agents or self-publish way before their manuscripts are ready.

Take a deep breath. Relax. Remember, it’s much better to wait to put out your best work than to rush and put out a sloppy version of what could have been really good. Take time to edit and rewrite, then have a professional editor work on it. Putting out your best work will be a great boost to your mental health. Kicking yourself for not waiting isn’t helpful. Besides, you might hurt yourself.

YogaCrazyWriter

2.      COMPETE WITH YOURSELF FIRST: It’s easy to look around to see what everyone else is doing and wonder why your books aren’t selling as well as Joe Author’s books are. While you can learn a lot from watching how successful authors do things, don’t let the success or failure of others take over your thoughts. Don’t try to outwrite other authors; instead, outwrite yourself. Remember that you are a unique product. You’re not a carbon copy of anyone else and you shouldn’t be. Compete with yourself. Be the best writer you can be.

3.      FIGURE OUT HOW YOU WORK BEST: Some writers, while crafting their masterpiece, find it helpful to share with critique groups both on- and offline, as well as with family and friends. For others, the input of outsiders during the creative process can be stifling. Will the editorial critique help you more during or after the process of writing? What works best for you? Don’t make the mistake of sharing your work with ten different people and getting ten different opinions, unless you know it will galvanize you and not shut your muse down in frustration.

4.      DON’T LET SOCIAL MEDIA CONSUME YOU:  Building a platform on social media is very important. It’s not something that you should do when your book comes out; it’s something you should do at least six months prior to publication. That said, it can be addictive, exhausting, stressful, confusing or all of the above. Find a balance that works for you. Decide what amount of time is reasonable for each platform and try to adhere to that. Use the rest of your valuable time to create your product. Balance. Balance. Balance.

SocialMediaSwarm

5.      REMEMBER THAT NO WORK OF ART IS LIKED BY EVERYONE—EVER:  There is no book, no song, no painter, no singer, no movie, no TV show, no poet, no anything that is liked by everyone. Keep this in mind as you put your work out there. In a parallel universe, we want to believe that everyone will like our work, but they won’t. Do your best, define your style, put out your best work, and your readers will come.

Tell me, what methods have you attempted to keep your sanity? Have they worked?

 

 

A Winning e-Strategy for Authors

 

A Guest Post

by Deborah Nam-Krane

As writers our primary job is to write, and every credible marketing expert I have spoken to says that content is much more important than any Search Engine Optimization tweaking we can do. But self-publishing is just like any other new job or new business—networking is important if we want to find new opportunities.

There are three places we all must be, and surprisingly those have been constant for about three years (an eternity in web-years): a Twitter account, a Facebook page and a blog. As far as I’m concerned, all other platforms are gravy. But simply setting up those accounts isn’t enough. You have to tweet on Twitter, update your status on Facebook and write posts on your blog.

And then you’re done?

No. Because you can write the most brilliant content the internet has ever seen, but if you’re not interacting with anyone else, the chances are small that anyone is going to find it.

If you’ve been on Twitter for any amount of time, you’ve run into at least one person who tweets several times per hour about how great his or her product or book is. “My book is so awesome!” “Check out my five-star review!” “Look at how great I am!” I always cringe when I see this, because it’s exactly the wrong approach and doesn’t convince anyone of anything except that you really want to sell something—and that can just come off as desperate if you and I don’t already have a relationship.

A better approach on Twitter? Find people with similar interests and start reading what they have to say. Don’t jump in with a reply or to start a conversation until you can say something relevant to something they’ve put out there. I guarantee, that person will be much more receptive to your thoughtful, personalized approach than they would to your advertising blast.

Facebook has been compared to the mall on more than one occasion, and not in a flattering way. It’s bad enough that they sting us with advertisements and selectively decide what we can see; don’t make it worse by trying to turn your page into a billboard. Don’t just post links to your book or blog; talk about what you’ve been doing that day (as it relates to your writing); share news and information that might be relevant to your fans; and finally, share information for other people. Even better? Comment on other people’s pages and have a genuine conversation.

Finally, your blog. This is where the c-word (that would be content, in case you’re wondering) is most important, if only because it’s easier for people to skate through your blog archives than it is your Twitter and Facebook accounts. But even on blogs, it’s not enough to write great content: you need to interact. Want people to comment on your blog? Then start commenting on theirs, and not simply, “wow, great post!” but something that shows you read and were paying attention.  But please, I beg you, don’t comment with something along the lines of “How are you doing?” I talked about exactly this on my blog, “http://myblogisbetterthanyours.com/ImTheMostImportantThingOnTheInternet.” Because in addition to irritating everyone else who reads the comments, you’re also not going to convince anyone that you are all that and a slice of toast.

Want to take it to the next level? Then start thinking like a small business person again and figure out what your value proposition is. In other words, what do you have that most other people on the internet don’t, and why should anyone care about your opinion? How can you be useful to the people you’re trying to talk to? Do you have a collection of helpful writing prompts? Have you been following a certain aspect of publishing? Do you have a collection of articles on editing or formatting? Tips on how to break through writer’s block? Then share them—and your thoughts on them. Do it consistently and people will start to think of you as a trusted resource that they’ll be on the lookout for—and eventually may seek out.

In some ways, social media is a lot like real networking: be polite, pleasant and useful, and people will want to be around you. And the more people are around you, the more likely they are to offer you help, whether it’s being hosted on their blogs, sharing information about your work (the best advertising is still word of mouth) or letting you know about opportunities to publish. And if you should happen to make some genuine friends? The possibilities are endless.

`*`*`*`*`

-1

Deborah Nam-Krane was born in New York, raised in Cambridge and educated in Boston. Her series The New Pioneers debuted in March of 2013 with the release of her first book,  The Smartest Girl in the Room. The sequel The Family You Choose will be released in late September.

 

SmartestGirl

Nineteen-year-old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she’s going to get it. But when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily’s ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She’s going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn’t the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she’d cross the line for would do the same for her?

 

FamilyUChoose

Miranda Harel has been in love with her guardian, Alex Sheldon, since she was five years old, and Michael Abbot has despised them both for just as long. When Miranda finds out why she wants both men out of her life for good and questions everything she believed about where and who she came from. Finding out the truth will break her heart. Without family or true love, will her friends be enough?

CONNECT WITH DEBORAH

Please join her mail list to find out first about new releases and connect with Deborah on any of the following sites:

Written By Deb

Amazon Author Page

Smashwords Author Page

Twitter

Facebook

Google+

Goodreads

CHAT WITH JOEL BLAINE KIRKPATRICK

When not reading, he is writing. When not writing, he is reading. Author Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick lives with his lovely wife and their two boys in Southwest Colorado.
A novelist with five published works—only four of his books are available as e-books.

Being a fierce supporter of independent and self-publishing, Joel straddles the fence quite well in the industry. He is the current Senior Acquisitions Editor for JournalStone Publishing, and is the first contact for authors wishing to be published in the traditional modes.

Time to chat with Joel!

What is your latest book?

When America Slew Her King. It is an alternative history, so plausible that readers might wonder what parts I really made up. The only bit of fiction in it, is that none of it happened. I rewound reality and played it differently from one instant of madness.

Is your recent book part of a series?

No.

What else have you written?

Four other books…but, I can’t remember what they were.

What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

That one of us, somewhere, is earning huge money on pure trash. Only traditional publishing can pull that off. Indies are ordinary people, writing exciting books between the mundane episodes of daily life.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

On every page. I don’t script my characters. They lead me and I only listen and type.

One character, in my fourth book, did something so unexpectedly that it took me several minutes to write the sentence. I just sat in silence trying to find the words. I’m still shocked at that scene every time I read it.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

I love the sounds in my head. It’s a madness that is so comforting. I get to hallucinate and write it all down. You would think that would lead me to write naughty shower scenes into every book…but, I’m too old for that nonsense.

What I like the very least, is the continuous toil and drudge after the book is written. That is the real work. But, I’m too old for that nonsense, too.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

I know which direction to go, but endings have changed. My first novel did that to me—demanded a different ending than I wanted. It’s a horrible, boring book now and I love it.

Only my third book ended according to plan. That was tougher than I expected…getting all the plot to work properly. There might be three extra chapters in Breathing into Stone, because the conclusion had to be supported properly.

I always know the title of the book before the second page is written. Titles never change.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

I don’t edit. Music fans have to deal with Bob Dylan’s voice; readers have to deal with my writing. Traditional publishing has edited all the life out of books for a generation. That’s why they are suffering. An editor would make me sound a pompous shit, and I can do that on my own.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

Shut up and write the book. When you are done, get to work and learn something.

Look at it this way—no one ever learned to swim without getting in the water. Until you have finished the book, you haven’t done a thing. Forget every expert. They are not writing your book. Forget the readers…half of them will hate it anyway and you can’t write for them. Write for yourself.  Just get it done.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

I had no clue at first, but had three complete books in my hands before starting to even think of publishing them. Every book was queried out to agents over two hundred times. That led to some very interesting conversations with people in the know, and I learned what a mess that industry has become. Social media got my attention only because there were thousands of writers out there just like me. I went online to converse and learn—and stayed. I’m savvy, but I’m also lazy and loathe self-promotion.

The best thing that happened for me was discovering BestsellerBound.com. That is hands-down the finest author-centered forum on the web. There is some extraordinary talent collected there. Of all the members, I’m really the only boorish jerk.

What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?

That question should pull a trailer behind, just for the answer.  I do not choose what to read now. That is both the best, and the worst thing about reading. In eighteen months, I’ve read 300 different authors.  JournalStone Publishing, in San Francisco, employs me as their Senior Acquisitions Editor. That means every book submission comes to my Outlook inbox.

I read Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult…with smatterings of Paranormal and Mystery. Sometimes it overloads my senses. Only so many zombies a week will fit into my brain.

When I do chose…I turn to books like yours. Crooked Moon, or Squalor, New Mexico. I can read you when I’m tired of reading.

One thing is fact: I only read Indie books now and love them.

How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?

Tons of research for Harmony’s Passing. I pulled up two monitors on my PC and had star charts, orbital calculators and human anatomy websites opened the whole time. The internet teaches me as I write.

There was only a smattering of research for books two and three, just to get the story elements right. Shared, my fourth novel, actually went interviewing. Nearly a hundred people answered my questions about their spiritual beliefs. From their experiences, I built my characters. That book has earned some strong reaction, and plays with issues of faith and character. I did not play nice.

When America Slew Her King took about four hours research for every hour of writing. There isn’t a single fictional character in the book. Even the sailing ships were real. You can Google your way through the whole thing. I even include an enigmatic white horse in the story, and you won’t believe who owned it, or why it has its own place in our history.

Is there a question I haven’t asked you that you would like to answer? If so, what is it?

Do I really write in my bathrobe?  Yes. (but, not right this moment. J)

Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?

Only with my fifth novel did I let anyone know about the project. About a dozen people read the first half of that manuscript. Normally, I don’t share until I’ve formatted a book for publication. When America Slew Her King was different. To me, the idea of Ben Franklin as a murderer was something delicate and not easily written. Early reaction was crucial to convincing me to complete the project. It is a book that readers might hate in the first page. The whole story is complete in the first one hundred eleven words. The rest of the novel is reaction to those first paragraphs. Four of my beta readers sent back the draft, refusing to read it. They have never said why.

I also had to share it, because the whole thing is an experiment. WASHK only exists in hardbound. It will never be available to the public in eBook or paperback. Early reactions to the story helped me decide that it can survive as a hardbound-only book.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

A few reviewers have bothered to explain how they would have written my stories. I always find that amusing, and pointless. Caraliza confuses readers. About two-thirds of them have disliked the modern half of the story, preferring the lyrical, historical language of the early 1900s that I employ in the early chapters. Some readers believe it was an accident—that I couldn’t have planned the two time periods to sound different from one another.

There is a general consensus of my works, finally. Readers are telling me that I write beautifully, stupidly.

Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?

I’ve played with a couple of short stories. One is really almost flash-fiction. My problem is only that I never get brief ideas…

Someday, I shall write a play (because of you), and I shall write a book that my wife won’t write. It will be based on one of her nightmares, and she does not want to go there to put the words on a page.

My two short stories can be found here, and here.

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?

I was born to talk. Writing shuts me up.

My first book was only a reaction to a devastating, personal situation. I turned all my despair into that text, and survived the event. (…the book AND the personal disaster.)

I truly should have begun writing twenty years ago. I’d have eighty books in print.

Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?

I love writing blurbs. Other people have used blurbs I wrote for their books. That is not difficult at all. But then, I love writing reviews. Those are easy, too.

Now, after saying that, I must offer this as a professional reader for a publishing company. A synopsis is not the text on the back cover of the book; a common misconception. The text on the back cover of the book is a marketing invention of the last hundred years. Authors don’t write them—a committee from marketing writes them. When a book blurb is poorly written, it is the publisher’s fault.

A synopsis is not for public consumption. They exist only for promotion to agents or publishers.  If your synopsis is poorly written, YOU have fallen flat on your text. It is not the book’s fault… it is not the editor’s fault…it is not the character’s fault.

When an author get the synopsis wrong….it would have been better they had left it off entirely. (Extend that bit of advice to prologues as well. If they are not perfect—rip them out of the text.)

Too many authors write a synopsis as though they were the voice-over guy for Hollywood summer movies…

If you were to write a non-fiction book, what might it be about?

The history of a life-long slave. I discovered him while writing When America Slew Her King.

Do you have any advice to a new author if they asked you whether to pursue the traditional route to publishing or to start out as an independent writer?

Settle for being an author first. Complete a book without a plan to get it into print. Expectations are only a prison, and your book might die while you try to decide how it should exist later.

Don’t try too hard. Let your writing come naturally. Readers can instantly spot a writer who is trying to create by the rules.

Write first. Send it out to everyone for reaction. Publish it yourself. Publishers only want to know if you can earn them money. Prove to them you can, by pocketing all of it yourself first.

Here is something else to consider. No publisher will have your book on the shelves in less than about nine months. (Longer, if they are already booked up with other projects.) Why waste all that time?

What have you done to market your novel and what did you find the most effective? The least effective?

My books sell when I leave them alone. I’m boring. My books are not.

Oh, Okay… I own six websites. I have three Twitter accounts, two Facebook pages. I’m on a dozen social sites and Pinterest. I’ve run ads on Facebook (fair response), Google Books (no response). All of my books are in one small town library, and those folks love them.

I don’t have a clue how to sell books, except by handing someone the actual printed copy. THAT sells books. One of my books is in a bookstore in The Netherlands.

Do you feel your latest book is your personal favorite or one of your previous novels?

I am proud of my latest book. It might be my finest work yet. But, I love a few of my characters, dearly. Anoria, from Breathing into Stone, is so real to me I can hear her voice.

Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?

Ignore them. No author ever printed has been free of negative reviews. Nowadays, they say more about the reviewer than they do about the book. Amazon seems to attract all the snotty twelve-year old book trolls. If you are too sensitive for bad reviews, find a less dangerous hobby than writing—like alligator wrestling.

Many authors do giveaways; have you found them a successful way to promote your book?

For every ebook sold, I’ve given away 100. I infrequently give away prints books, because I’ve never had the budget to keep a large stock. Giveaways work, though. Do it, or you will never be read.

Have you been involved with the Kindle Direct Program? If yes, do you believe it’s worthwhile?

No. I’ve not heard from anyone who was satisfied with their results. Also, I think Amazon should have its nuts smashed for demanding that authors remove their books from other retailers while enrolled in the KDP. While we are at it, let’s remind folks that Amazon is only a store. They are not a publishing company. They sell pet supplies and garden tools online for crapsake. We treat them like they are leading publishing, when they are only a retail monster without any brains. Amazon is to publishing what combs are to hair color.

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

Let’s see… I sleep four hours each night. While the house is asleep, I read. I’ve not written anything in half a year. But, I adore coffee and candy. I also love to sit for hours with headphones on, writing. The music has to be instrumental. I cannot block vocals out of my concentration, and I can’t read or write while someone is singing or speaking.

Oddly, I can do both during a Godzilla movie.

We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

Very good question. I love good book covers. Two of mine are beautiful, and I didn’t make the images, but hired them both. However, my last novel has no cover art, except for online promotion. It is a plain, blue linen cover, with only the title on the spine. One hundred years ago, books didn’t need splashy, printed covers. I wish they didn’t now.



Every day brings forth new changes and shifts in the world of publishing. Any predictions about the future?

Small-press publishers will remake the industry. A couple of the Big Six will do a phenomenal amount of corporate expansion, buying up small presses to try and stave off their own death. Big Traditional Publishing has doomed itself to mediocrity and irrelevance. Ebooks will continue to expand, but never overtake printed books.

Book agents…are toast. Their livelihood and usefulness has dried up.

How would you define your style of writing?

I am the elephant in the rowboat. Get in with me, and you won’t have much say in the results.

A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are? What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?

At best, a review is a get well card to an author with a broken heart. But, reviews are half trash. Say you like the book, or disliked the book, and then stop saying anything.

Would you like to write a short poem for us?

You were—once— here;

you couldn’t be.

You—now—are memory;

you shouldn’t be.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

Well, I’m in Durango, Colorado. We chose to be here for our kids, and because this is a beautiful, stress-free place to live. (if you can tolerate the 50% of the population with opposite political views from yours. They are such nitwits.)

Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?

Tall sailing ships. I was born four hundred years too late. But, we have a Narrow Gage Steam Train in Durango, and I adore that thing.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?
I love to eat. ANYTHING. I don’t give a hoot about nutrition. When you stop eating…you die.

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
Gather proof that a few famous people are not worth their public adoration.

What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?

My two sons. I had cancer once, and those boys were not supposed to be here.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

The woman who married me.

Have you ever played a practical joke on a friend? Ever had one played on you?

Yes. I had a manager once who was a mean practical joker. We had his wife call him to say his garage was on fire one day and he nearly drove all the way home before realizing he didn’t have a garage.

I’ve always been the butt of little gags, cause I blush bright crimson when embarrassed.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Honesty, and common sense.

Care to brag about your family?

They haven’t put me away yet. That makes them wonderful.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I wish I could play a musical instrument. It hurts me that I was born without any skill in that area. Don’t suggest that I try. I have.

What was your favorite year of school? Why?

Hated school. Every year of it. My sixth grade teacher was a fine fellow, and made that year less hell than the others were.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

That I seem to be able to put out street lamps by driving past them.

What makes you angry?

Dirty socks on the floor.

What music soothes your soul?

Traditional Oriental music, Chinese or Japanese. Tibetan Throat Singing is something very special. If the tune is a thousand years old, and played on the same instruments, I’ll probably love it.
Sure do love Bossa Nova too, though.

If you could add a room onto your current home, what would you put in it?

Books. And a shower.

What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?

Crap! I have to say Fearless Vampire Killers. But, Fiddler on the Roof comes in at a very close second.

My favorite book is Aztec, by Gary Jennings.

Have you ever walked out of a movie? If so, what was it?

Fantastic Voyage. For some reason, that film creeped me out.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Dirty socks on the floor. Again.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

1. Listen more than we speak.
2. Expect less from everyone.
3. Look in the mirror more often, to see what a true hypocrite looks like.

CONNECT WITH JOEL

Facebook

Twitter

Twitter (JournalStone)

Amazon

Smashwords