Sunday, August 30, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Author Florence Byham Weinberg

Name: Florence Byham Weinberg
Book Title: Dolet
Genre: nonfiction novel; historical fiction
Publisher: Twilight Times Books

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?

Florence: I wanted to be an author from the time I learned to read at age four. I published a poem (four lines) in a children’s magazine before I was five, and wrote a novel about a kingdom of cats (Ywain, King of All Cats—[the name came from the sounds cats make, not from medieval French literature]) when I was, probably, seven. I also illustrated the “book.” My writerly ambitions were frustrated during my years of schooling, but after I because a college/university professor, I wrote four scholarly books. I retired at 65, not because I had to, but because I could at last begin my career of writing fiction. The first book I wrote was a history of the 18th-century Franciscan missions in San Antonio, how they were founded and why there are five of them in one small area. The book is not only historical fiction with a well-researched background, but is also a fictional romance between a Franciscan friar and an Apache woman warrior. The present work, Dolet, carries on my preference for historical fiction. In it, I use the erudition I accumulated during my professional career, since, as a university professor, I was a specialist in the Spanish and French Renaissance periods—especially in France, when the Reformation and Counter-Reformation took place.
Is this your first book?
Florence: No, it is the ninth, although it was written in rough draft already in 2002 as the third book. It lay in a drawer for these past thirteen years, and I finally pulled it out and reworked it. There is still a tenth book, set in the French Renaissance, lying in a drawer waiting for me to edit and rework it. It was written in 2003.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Florence: I publish with Twilight Times Books, a small, independent press that has been written up twice in Publishers Weekly for its excellence. Getting accepted was more by accident than by design. I had been rejected by agents over 200 times by the time I decided to seek out an editor. By that time, I had written four novels and had joined a literary critique group. The president of the group suggested that I contact Gerald W. Mills, a professional editor and college teacher of creative writing.* She had done so, and her book had subsequently won a literary prize. I contacted Mr. Mills, who took me on and began to teach me how to transform my academically-tinged prose into truly novelistic writing. He took my book with him when he presented his own to the publisher of Twilight Times Books and voilà! Both books were accepted. I have remained with TTB ever since. The press works very well with the author on every aspect of the book, including the cover illustration, and the resulting products are often beautiful, and always professional.
*Gerald tragically died of a stroke earlier this year.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Florence: Most of my journey has already been described in answer to the previous question. But along the way, I learned—from my perspective at least—something about publishing in the USA in general. When I began in 1999, big corporations, oil companies and the like, had bought up most of the top names in publishing, most of them the “Madison Avenue” crowd in NYC. Big corporations are interested in one thing. The bottom line. Suddenly, NYC publishers were no longer interested in furthering bright new talents, discovering innovative new authors, but in peddling guaranteed money makers like Stephen King or Nora Roberts.
A Diane Rehm show, probably in 2002, mentioned publish-on-demand as a possibility for authors like me. After my 200+ turn-downs by agents, one “agent” took me on. I was thrilled. This fellow steered me to P… A…. a foreign owned POD publisher. Ignorant as I was, I thought he and the publisher were legit. I published two books with PA and my name was forever tarnished because this agent, who was as duped by that publisher as I was, steered me in that direction—and PA is known to publish unedited works as cheaply as possible, just to make what money they could off sales to friends and family. Then I joined a critique group and hired Gerald W. Mills, and my fortunes changed. That is not to say I have become a best-seller—far from that, but hope springs eternal.
Twilight Times Books requires the author to do his/her own marketing (and I’m not great at that). I have tried since then a couple of times to interest someone in NYC in one book or another with absolutely no result. The situation, however, has evolved. The e-book revolution began as early as 2000 and has now boomed. TTB recognized that potential from the beginning, and all their books are both e-published and in trade paperback. 
Then there’s the self-publishing route. There are many avenues nowadays for self-published books that are professionally produced, if not professionally edited. That is a hang-up. Writers: if you want to be taken seriously, have your book edited by a professional. The advantage to self-publishing is that you have total control over the number of copies in your inventory and the number of copies sold and exactly what are your debits and profits. You may end up with a garage full of expensive unsold copies, however, so beware. Of course, there is now the amazon.com phenomenon, in which they do advertise their own authors and perhaps even make a little profit not only for themselves but also for the authors…. The situation is in flux, people, as is always the case. As a famous newscaster often says, “Watch this space.”
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Florence: See the above rant.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Florence: Yes and no. If you want to make it big, try the NYC route. Probably 1% of you will be taken seriously. If you have a good product, try a small publisher like TTB. Or self-publish. There is little stigma attached these days to self-publishing. But think before you choose that route. I prefer a small publisher that will do most of the “leg-work” for you, and TTB is one of the best.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Florence: Read the text above. Think about your options. Write your heart out. Self-edit. Join a critique group. Let others who know the field you write in read your work. Pay attention to what they say and edit. Be thick-skinned, don’t let hurt ego get in your way. But most of all, stick to it, create your own writing space and schedule. And don’t give up!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Sci-fi Author Ken Lizzi

Name: KenLizzi
Book Title: Under Strange Suns
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Read Chapter One 

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?
Ken: That’s two questions, isn’t it? I decided to become an author because I had to. I had stories in me and I needed to see if anyone was interested in reading them. Turns out, yes they were. As far as the genesis of this book, well you can blame Edgar Rice Burroughs. I like the Sword-and-Planet genre and wanted to try my hand at it.
Is this your first book?
Ken: No. This is my second published novel. Twilight Times Books published my first novel, Reunion, in 2014.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Ken: I may be unfamiliar with the terminology. Isn’t small press traditional?
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Ken: Sure. I started with short stories. Once I’d placed a couple in anthologies and cashed the checks (or transferred the PayPal funds) I felt ready to move on to writing a novel. That turned out to be a bit premature. I wasn’t ready. But I suppose I had to get a bad novel out of the way before I could write a good one. I returned to short stories for a while, then developed the idea for Reunion. I enjoyed working with Twilight Times, so it was a natural home for Under Strange Suns.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Ken: Patience. Take the time to get it right. Shortcuts lead to inferior books.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Ken: Yes. A good small press publisher can provide the attention a project needs.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Ken: Be consistent. Do not wait for inspiration. Sit your butt down and write on a consistent schedule.



Friday, August 14, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Jonathan Raab, Author of 'Flight of the Blue Falcon'

Name: Jonathan Raab
Book Title: Flight of the Blue Falcon
Genre: Military Fiction / Literature
Publisher: The War Writers’ Campaign
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 always knew I would write a book about my time in the military. I wanted to tell the story of the common soldier serving in the Long War—warts and all.
Is this your first book?
Author: Yes, this is my first novel. My second, The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre, comes out in October (2015) from Literati Press.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: I submitted it to the War Writers’ Campaign. They’re a nonprofit publisher that treats their writers well and supports the veteran community. It was a no-brainer.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: I already had a relationship with the publisher, so that made the transition to publishing a novel a little easier. I did editing work for them and had published a couple of small pieces with them. There were no cons. They’re a great outfit, and I’m proud to support them.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: Writers have a lot of tools available to them that simply weren’t there ten years ago. My best advice is to build up your publishing credits – short stories, nonfiction, essays – whatever you can get out there, before you jump into publishing a big book. I wouldn’t have this novel coming out if I didn’t do a lot of volunteer editing work and set my sights lower (short stories, short nonfiction pieces) to build up some credits first.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Small presses like the War Writers’ Campaign offer a lot of flexibility and accessibility to writers starting out. The big publishing companies can get you a great deal, sure—but they can also help you get lost in the shuffle. I love small presses because they are specialized, accessible, and passionate about what they publish.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Fail, time and again, and get back in that chair. I wrote a bunch of books, short stories, and articles that never got published. And that was the best thing for me as a writer. Never give up. Keep writing, every week, keep submitting, keep refining your craft. Embrace your failures and drive on!


Title: Flight of the Blue Falcon
Genre: Fiction – Adult
Author: Jonathan Raab
Publisher: War Writers' Campaign, Inc.

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:


FLIGHT OF THE BLUE FALCON

By

JONATHAN RAAB

“Jonathan Raab is not only a genuine advocate for veteran causes, he is a preacher of their tales; both fiction and nonfiction. His writing will immerse you into a combat environment that parallels the imagination of those who have never had the pleasure.”

—Derek J. Porter, author of Conquering Mental Fatigues: PTSD & Hypervigilance Disorder

“Jonathan Raab uses his experience to illustrate the raw world of the common soldier. His masterful use of edgy humor and intellectual commentary creates a space for discussing the military culture.”

—Nate Brookshire, co-author, Hidden Wounds: A Soldiers Burden


In FLIGHT OF THE BLUE FALCON (War Writers’ Campaign; July 2015; PRICE), a chewed-up Army National Guard unit heads to a forgotten war in Afghanistan where three men find themselves thrust into the heart of absurdity: the post-modern American war machine. The inexperienced Private Rench, the jaded veteran Staff Sergeant Halderman, and the idealistic Lieutenant Gracie join a platoon of misfit citizen-soldiers and experience a series of alienating and bizarre events.

Private Rench is young, inexperienced, and from a poor, rural, broken home. He's adrift in life. The early signs of alcoholism and potential substance abuse are beginning to rear their ugly heads. He wants to do right by the Army, but doesn't quite know who he is yet.

Staff Sergeant Halderman has one previous combat tour under his belt. He got out, realized his life was going nowhere, so re-enlisted to serve with the men he knew, and to lead the inexperienced guys into combat. He is manifesting the early signs of post traumatic stress, but is too focused on the upcoming mission to deal with it. He sees the Army for what it is—a big, screwed up machine that doesn't always do the right thing—but he doesn't think all that highly of himself, either.

Second Lieutenant Gracie is fresh, young, excited to be in the Army, and trying to adjust to the new to the military and his life as an officer. Although he faces a steep learning curve, he is adaptable and has a good, upbeat attitude. As he tries to forge his own path, he nonetheless turns to the experienced NCOs in his unit for guidance and support. He must continually make tough decisions that have no "right" or textbook answers. Yet these decisions are catalysts enabling him to grow in maturity, experience, and wisdom.

Preparation for combat is surreal: Rench is force-fed cookies by his drill sergeants. Halderman’s “training” is to pick up garbage in the blistering heat of the California desert for four days straight. Gracie contends with a battalion commander obsessed with latrine graffiti.

Once they reach Afghanistan, things really get weird.

FLIGHT OF THE BLUE FALCON is the story of three men who volunteer to serve their country. It’s about what it means to be a soldier, to fight, to know true camaraderie—and to return home.

This is a war story. This is their story.

Only the most unbelievable parts are true.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Sophia Bar-Lev, Author of THE SILVER LOCKET

Title:  THE SILVER LOCKET
Genre:  Women’s Fiction
Author:  Sophia Bar-Lev
Purchase on Amazon  
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?
Sophia: Since I was nine years old, I’ve wanted to be an author and did, in fact, write stories and poems throughout my life but never published anything.  This particular book has been on my mind for about five years and a year ago, I decided to stop thinking about it and just do it. It is based on a true story which I believed would resonate with many readers who have experienced similar difficult situations.
Is this your first book?
Sophia: No, I have published two other novels in the past two years.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Sophia:  I published through Create Space, an Amazon company so I guess that makes me an ‘Indie’ author.  The staff at Create Space are wonderful to work with and I found it a very satisfying experience.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Sophia: Publishing was a dream I thought might never come to pass as a few years ago it was very difficult to land a contract with a publishing house.  The dozens of ‘pink slips’ authors have collected in the past are legendary.  About three years ago, a friend of mine told me about the shift happening in the publishing world.  She liked my writing and encouraged me to look into Create Space.  She knew someone else who’d published with them and was very pleased.  I followed her advice and here we are.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Sophia:  The biggest paradigm shift is that nowadays, an emerging author must be first a good writer and second, a good marketer.  Indie authors need to make their presence known on such outlets as Facebook, Twitter, etc., create a website and stay in touch with their readers.  The publishing world has changed dramatically with the development of digital books.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Sophia:  Yes I certainly would, especially for emerging authors.  I read recently that some 40,000 new books come out every month or two.  Authors today who believe they have something worthwhile to share with the world need to take the initiative to get their book out there and not waste months, even years, hoping that some publisher might give them a chance.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Sophia:  The only way to become an author is to author!  Write. Write. Write.  If you’re serious about being an author, act like it.  Write something every day.  Make it a priority.

////////////////////////
About the Book:   When The Silver Locket opens, it’s July 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific. But for two young women in a small town in New England waging their own personal battles, the struggle is way too close to home.

When extraordinary circumstances bring these two women together, one decision will alter the course of their lives.  And with that one decision, their lives will be forever changed…and forever intertwined.

Were these two women thrust together by happenstance—or fate?   A tragedy. A decision. A pact. Lives irretrievably changed. A baby girl will grow up in the shadow of a secret that must be kept at all costs. But will this secret ever see the light of day?  And what happens when—or if—a promise made must be broken?

Adopting a child is not for the feint of heart—but neither is being adopted…

A sweeping and suspenseful story that unfolds in a different time and a different place, The Silver Locket explores universal themes that ring true even today. Secrets. Unbreakable bonds. The healing power of love.  Deception. Anguish.  Redemption. 

In this touching and tender tale, novelist Sophia Bar-Lev weaves a confident, quietly moving story about adoption, finding hope in the face of hopelessness, and how true love can overcome any obstacle. With its brilliant juxtaposition of the wars fought both on the battlefield and internally, The Silver Locket is a poignant novel, resplendent with drama.  Featuring an exceedingly real and relatable plot, and characters that will stay with readers long after the final page is turned, The Silver Locket is a sterling new read.



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Arnaldo Lopez Jr., Author of 'Chickenhawk'

Name: Arnaldo Lopez Jr.              
Book Title: Chickenhawk
Genre: Thriller/Crime
Publisher: Café Con Leche books
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?
Arnaldo: I’ve always loved writing, and after observing the interaction between young male prostitutes and their johns while working as a token booth clerk for the NYC subway, I felt that I had a compelling story to tell.
Is this your first book?
Arnaldo: Yes it is.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Arnaldo: I chose indie publisher, Café Con Leche books primarily because it seemed like such a good match. Agent Leticia Gomez and I share a common vision concerning my writing goals and my current novel.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Arnaldo: The pros are all related to my working with the wonderful people of Café Con Leche books! The cons were the amount of work still needed to get the novel ready for publication even after I thought that all of the work was done!
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Arnaldo: Major or “traditional” publishers as a whole still have a problem understanding the Latino voice or point-of-view. They usually want to play it safe and so overlook a lot of great stories and authors.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Arnaldo: Sure, as long as they’re lucky or diligent enough to find as great an organization as I did in Café Con Leche books!
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Arnaldo: Finish what you start. They are a lot of great partial and even full manuscripts that are hidden away in sock drawers, hope chests, computers, and so on. Do your research, and don’t give up.

///////////////////////////////////////////////

Title: Chickenhawk
Genre: Thriller
Author: Arnaldo Lopez Jr.
Publisher: Koehler Books/Café Con Leche books
Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Chickenhawk is an urban crime fiction novel that showcases New York City's diversity, as well as the dark side of race relations, politics, sexuality, illness, madness, and infidelity. Eddie Ramos and Tommy Cucitti are Manhattan North Homicide detectives after a serial killer that manages to stay below their radar while the body count keeps climbing in a city that’s turning into a powder keg.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with MD Moore, Author of 'Waiting for the Cool Kind of Crazy'

Name: MD Moore
Book Title: Waiting for the Cool Kind of Crazy
Genre: Fiction/ Family Saga
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Purchase on Amazon

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?
MD: It’s funny, actually.  My first writing forays weren’t even in fiction and weren’t done for me.  At the time, I worked for a guy who had no writing ability whatsoever, but who was responsible for writing professional letters to the medical community.  He asked if I would look over what he wrote and it was terrible.  I gutted it, rewrote it, then gave it back to him.  He was amazed at my writing ability.  I began editing all of his correspondence.  One day, one of my co-workers saw what I was doing, was impressed, and told me I should try my hand at writing.  The idea was intriguing so I took some classes at the local community college on fiction writing, bought some books, and attended local writer’s conferences.  I entered a writing contest and was a top finalist among several hundred entries, giving me validation that I actually could write so I decided to pursue it as a career.  As far as penning this particular book, the subject actually came fairly easily.  I worked in my state’s most acute mental hospital and there were stories all around me; peoples whose lives were so effected by their mental illness that a writer working in that environment couldn’t help but want to tell their stories.  One of my main characters, Cece, is the schizophrenic mother of my protagonist and her character is loosely based on a patient whose family came to visit her nearly every weekend.  As she was the only patient I worked with who was married with children, she intrigued me.  The pain as well as the patience her family showed every week made me want to tell a story about how mental illness touched the life of my protagonist and how it manifested itself in him from his childhood to adulthood.  
Is this your first book?
MD: Yes.  It is the first book I completed though there were a lot of misfires now crammed in drawers.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
MD:  My book was published by a small press, Black Rose Writing.  I went with them because I felt they would be able to nurture my career along better as a first time author than a large, traditional publisher would be able to do with a debut novelist.  I’m not saying that I wouldn’t be willing to work with a large publisher for my next novel when expectations and understanding of the publishing business are better understood, but for my first novel, this was a great way to go and Black Rose has been great to work with. 
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
MD:  This has been every bit as difficult as you hear it will be.  You keep hoping that you are going to be the one who is going to find the best New York agent – hell, I half expected that someone would hear through the grapevine and come calling to get a first peek.  In reality, I had to practically beg my family to take a look (an exaggeration, but
not by much).  At first, I did the agent search – nothing.  Then I edited my book again thinking it might not be as ready as I thought it was.  This actually turned out to be a good idea as the book wasn’t as polished as it needed to be.  In all, I wrote and rewrote this book no fewer than five times over nine years.  I then sent it out again to agents and, hanging in the slush pile with no writing credits to my name or great platform, again I heard crickets.  I finally decided that a small press was going to be my best option so searched through them and found Black Rose who ended up being a great fit.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
MD: There are two lessons I learned well.  First, an author, especially a first time novelist, has to get their manuscript as close to perfect as possible.  This means learning your craft through classes, self-teaching through books, peer review and critique groups to name a few methods.  Then you must write and rewrite and rewrite then rewrite again, then cut out half of what you’ve written and rewrite again.  It’s grueling, but it takes what it takes. I’ve judged writing contests several times and am always amazed at some of the entries where it is clear that the entrant didn’t bother with so much as a spell checker before submission.  This is an extremely competitive business and a first time author has to understand what they are up against to get any one to take notice of their work.  If you don’t work to get your writing in the best condition possible, you’d be better off spending your time on another endeavor because you won’t likely be rewarded in this one. 
The second lesson is perseverance.  If you do work to be the best writer that you can be then you must take that next step and get it out there for others to judge - be it a critic, an agent, an editor, a publisher – someone who can help you take your book to the next level, either personally or professionally.  You won’t likely reach your goal in the first week after completion.  It took me nearly a year of dedicated searching to find the right publisher for my novel, but ultimately it was worth it to finally hold my novel in my hands with a real cover on it, not just a three-ring binder.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
MD: It’s hard to recommend a certain way of publishing to aspiring authors.  This way worked well for me, but for someone else a large, traditional publisher might work great.  A lot of people self-publish successfully.  The small publisher worked well for me and I would recommend it strongly as a generalization, but would have to know the author and what they are trying to publish to offer more personalized advise on how they should publish.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
MD: The first piece of advice I would give would be to really soul search to be sure that this is what you want to do.  This is a hard business to break into so make sure that you are in this for the long haul.  This leads to my second piece of advise and that is, if you do have what it takes and you have a story in you that you have to get out, by God, stick with it and get your story told.  Fight to make it the absolute best it can be then work your tail off to get it to that next level.  You work so hard to write the book, finish the journey and let the world read it, however that has to happen.  The last piece of advice is to listen to people who have done this before, especially successfully.  They have so much to teach and most people who I’ve met in this industry are truly the nicest people and they want to help you.  They generally have really good advice, even if it’s not necessarily the advice you want to hear.   Two quotes from Winston Churchill seem to sum up my advice:  “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen” and  “Never, never, never, never give up.”



Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Gabriel Valjan, Author of the 'Roma' Suspense Series

Book Title: Turning To Stone
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, and Thriller
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: Gabriel Valjan
Is this your first book?
Gabriel: Turning To Stone is Book 4 of the Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing and available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and digital formats.
Some background for readers: Bianca started work as an analyst at a time when legislation against white-collar crimes was lacking in the U.S., so she is recruited for her hacker and pattern-recognition skills. After the initial excitement wears off, she realizes that many of the subjects of her investigations end up dead. Fearing for her life, she flees to Italy, assumes a new identity, and attempts to live a normal life. She falls in love and develops a circle of friends, who happen to do work similar to the kind that she had done in the U.S., but within her adopted country’s law enforcement agency, the Guardia di Finanza. A computer correspondent named Loki contacts her on occasion and feeds her challenges.
Bianca is in Naples for Turning To Stone. Loki, her mysterious contact, is now giving her baffling anagrams. They seem to lead to a charismatic entrepreneur who has a plan to partner with organized crime to manipulate the euro and American dollar. Against a backdrop of gritty streets, financial speculation, and a group of female assassins on motorcycles, Bianca and her friends discover that Naples might just be the most dangerous city in Italy.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Gabriel: Winter Goose Publisher is a small, but growing, indie press in California, with titles in a variety of genres in fiction and poetry. WGP had published Roma Series Book 1: Roma, Underground in 2012 and remains my publisher and supporter.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Gabriel: I started writing in 2008 when I was between jobs. In 2010, I started getting published, with one notable accomplishment: being short-listed for the Fish Prize, a prestigious literary award in Ireland. While I continued to write short stories, winning an award from ZOUCH for a flash fiction piece, I started writing novels. The genesis of the Roma Series was a challenge from a colleague to write a compelling, but flawed, female protagonist.
Alabaster/Bianca came into existence, with Roma, Underground written between September and November of 2010, submitted to Winter Goose Publishing in 2011 and published in 2012. I continued writing novels, three more of which WGP published, and I had anthologies and publishers accept more of my short stories.
I count my blessings that I did not languish for years before I was published. I’m grateful that my publisher has been both gracious and supportive, allowing me a say in editing and cover-art design. Cons, if there are any, have to do with doing my own PR and social media. I’m somewhat introverted and reserved so I had to cultivate an outgoing persona. It is important to remain positive and patient since there are so many authors out there, so many books, and it takes time to develop a readership.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Gabriel: In terms of social media, I follow Kristen Lamb’s 80/20-Rule in that I tweet or discuss what is important to me 80% of the time, and promote myself 20% of the time. I usually don’t do more than three tweets a day, and I never DM or automate messages to folks on Twitter to buy or read my books. I mention writers and other artists I like for good karma. I avoid trolls, as they are best left under bridges unfed. I understand (and accept) that not everybody will like my books, or that readers may not leave reviews, but it is important to remain positive when I feel as if my voice has the range of a kitten’s meow in the wilderness; it’s a big world out there in publishing, but I have four tangible books to hold in my hands and a growing body of blog posts and short stories out there with publishers.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Gabriel: A small press has its up and down sides. The positive side that I have experienced is having a greater say in how my book will appear to readers. In addition to my own editorial process, which includes a proofreader, a cultural editor, since my book involves a foreign culture, and a line-editor, I have two editors at Winter Goose whom I have found to be receptive and congenial. The design process for the book cover has been collaborative. I am not a graphic designer or artist, but I have a grasp of my story and ideas do come to me, and Winter Goose has listened, taking what I say and creating compelling covers for the Roma Series.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Gabriel: Stay positive. Don’t be discouraged. Keep writing and hone your craft such that each story and every novel improves for your loyal readers and the future readers who will discover you.