What is your latest book?
My last published novel was released in October 2012. It’s called The Dream Merchant Saga: Book Three The Crack’d Shield. It is a YA fantasy co-written with my teenaged daughter Nia. The latest book I am in the process of writing is the 10th novel in the Imago Chronicles series, an adult epic fantasy.
I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?
Yes! The first three novels in the Imago Chronicles series have been optioned for a major motion picture trilogy planned for a worldwide theatrical release in 2014. An Oscar nominated/two-time Golden Globe winning production team is at the helm of this project; the screenplay is done, the line producer has determined the budget based on the screenplay, a major film distributor is on board and 100% of financing has been secured, so movie development is now underway!
What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?
I was surprised when I discovered some readers and book reviewers refused to touch my novels because I’m self-published! Even though my writing was worthy of literary representation and is currently in movie development and they’ve received some great reviews, these readers cannot be swayed to read my novels. Apparently, they’ve read a number of self-published novels that were just poorly written or were not properly or professionally edited; they didn’t want to chance another terrible read. With one broad stroke of a brush, we’ve all been painted as amateur writers when there are some professionals out there that take indie publishing very seriously! Many use professional editors, use feedback from Beta readers and hire professional cover designers to put out products as good as, if not better, than some traditionally published titles!
Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?
The title, not so much, but probably with the last ten of the thirteen novels I’ve written so far, I’ve written the ending first. The story is the journey the characters undertake to get to that ending.
Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?
I’ve written everything from a documentary that was aired on The Biography Channel to scripts for a weekly TV adventure travel show (West Coast Adventures recently hit the international airwaves). I’ve even written a script for a themed fundraiser where the hosts were dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland! Basically, I’ll tackle most things as a freelance writer, but writing fantasy is my first love.
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?
If your ultimate goal is to have your stories read, then indie is probably a great way to go, but I still run into aspiring authors who believe that unless you are traditionally published, you have no credibility as an author. It comes down to the individual and what your expectations are. If you’re willing to find a credible literary agent with a proven sales record and you don’t mind waiting 18-24 months to see your novel on the shelf of a bookstore (that’s only if the agent can sell it) and believe you only have validation as a writer if you are traditionally published, then this is the only way to go.
Many authors do giveaways; have you found them a successful way to promote your book?
I’ve tried the free giveaways via the Kindle Direct Program and it generated only a handful of sales of the sequel to the free novel and ‘0’ new reviews. I spoke to some who took advantage of these free downloads and they admitted they love anything that’s free. They also said they often have so many titles they had downloaded, by the time they go through their eReader, they don’t even remember why they downloaded some of the titles (other than it was free) and admitted they just delete them without even reading the ebook.
I found the amount I received from the sequels being borrowed from the Lending Library was less than I would have received if I had sold the sequels instead.
I also discovered that those who invested in the books by buying them were more inclined to read that first book. Happily, about 93-97% of those buying the first book in either the Imago or Dream Merchant series return to buy some or all the books in the series. I even had some crossing over from the Imago series to read the other books in the Dream Merchant series, and vice versa, once they were done just to keep reading my novels. This is a very gratifying feeling! 😉
Have you been involved with the Kindle Direct Program? If yes, do you believe it’s worthwhile?
I tried it for The Magic Crystal and The Silver Sword, books one and two of the Dream Merchant Saga and even though I made it to the top 10 free fantasy download during the 5 days of free giveaway, either people hated it so much they couldn’t be bothered to post a review or come back for the sequel (only about 5 borrows) or they didn’t read it at all! As I said in the above question, those who had invested by paying for it were the ones returning for more!
Also, I do make sales via Smashwords, particularly through the Apple Store and Kobo, but if you’re with Kindle Direct, you can’t make sales to those who prefer to buy anywhere else but Amazon.
I feel uncomfortable letting Amazon have a monopoly on book sales and I believe readers should be able to buy from the retailer of their choice. Plus, I’ve had readers tell me they love that with Smashwords, once you download an ebook, it won’t mysteriously disappear. Plus, if you switch from say a Kindle to a Kobo or iPad, if you bought through Smashwords, you can transfer these titles. Apparently, you cannot do this with Amazon purchases. You must buy them again to download onto your new reader!
What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?
Favorite comfort food: Homemade beef vegetable soup, heavy on the veggies & barley. Least favorite: Beef vegetable soup from a can.
What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?
My hubby & daughter matted and framed the signed photographs of the cast from The Lord of the Rings trilogy I had languishing in a folder for years! It looks fabulous! Second surprise that was not so cool? My hubby wanted to hang these framed photos on a small wall directly behind a door that is open 98% of the time so none would see it unless that said door is closed! lol
What might we be surprised to know about you?
I am only slightly bigger/taller than my Twitter avatar! And many are quite surprised to learn that in spite of my puny size, I’m a 5th dan black belt practitioner/instructor in a discipline that incorporates 6 traditional samurai schools and 3 schools of ninjutsu and until last year, all my students were men.