Genre: Hard-boiled Texas detective thriller
Publisher: Spotted Mule Press
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: I’ve always been a writer, ever since my eighth-grade English teacher, Mary Bailey, pulled me aside about I paper I wrote and said: “You know you’re a writer, don’t you?” She also called my parents and told them the same thing. That set me on a lifelong course through more than three decades of journalism, where I cut my teeth on long-format, explanatory stories that use literary devices to tell a story. I’m also a fan of the hard-boiled masters, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain as well as latter day aces such as the late, great and vastly underappreciated James Crumley. I think what those guys did is an American art form and I wanted to try my hand at it.
Is this your first book?
Author: No. I’ve written another called The Last Second Chance. It’s also a hard-boiled Ed Earl Burch thriller set in Texas and northern Mexico.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: I went indie, largely because of a rekindled author’s ego. I tried the traditional publishing route some years ago and struck out. I knew I had written two good detective thrillers that were as good or better than what was out there and decided to publish them myself, using the Spotted Mule Press imprint. I rewrote both of them, had them re-edited and proof-read and figured out how to publish them via CreateSpace and Kindle. The latter isn’t that difficult, but I’m a techno-peasant
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Author: It’s been fascinating and maddening. You have to learn a lot about graphic design, marketing and advertising—both social media and old-school—distribution, getting noticed and getting reviews. You have to learn about branding and get sharp about the gentle art of schmoozing at book signings, writers’ conferences and festivals. You even have to learn about making videos and doing live broadcasts. Fortunately, I did a lot of radio and TV as a journalist. There’s just a helluva lot of plates you have to keep spinning on sticks and it takes you away from what you really want to do -- write the next book.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: The ease of publication is a two-edged sword and there’s an awful lot of junk out there, making it hard for you to get your book to emerge from the herd. The sheer volume of books is just daunting. What I learned while hawking my first book is that I needed professional help to break out of the pack, so I hired a publicist this go round. I did that because of something else I learned—you can’t rely on social media alone—you have to use a mix of old-school and new-school.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Yes, for one primary reason that resonates with every writer—you can tell your story your way.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Believe in yourself, your skills and your story, keep your butt in that chair and write the hell out of it.