You know how Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City was all cool and columnisty (I make up words on this blog weekly, indulge me with that one), well, I have a writer here who is a columnist, but that is only one string to her her flexible bow.
Hiya Gayle! Tell us about yourself and your journey as an Indie so far.
My indie experience started sometime after my debut novel, Freezer Burn (a mystery) was published by a small press. I'm grateful for them in many ways, but I didn't get exactly what I was looking for out of the experience. In the meantime, I'm also a humor columnist for my local newspaper, and I was looking for a publisher to put out a book of my columns. Everyone said basically the same thing: "It's a great idea but you're not famous. Call us when you're Dave Barry." When I'm Dave Barry, they'll be calling me - and I'll have a lot of 'splaining to do to my hubby. So I decided to self-pub.
It all took a lot longer than I thought it would, in between the actual work, my screw-ups, and my general indecision at key points, but now I'm the happy author of What Would Erma Do? Confessions of a First Time Humor Columnist.
So far, the experience has been good enough for me to re-release a short story (Clean Sweep) on Kindle, and I'm currently preparing the second novel in my mystery series for Createspace, Kindle, and e-readers everywhere.
It's always great to hear things are going well for a writer. Okay, Facebook. Fundamental to an Indie Author of the sixth sign of the apocalypse?
Yes. It can be a tremendous time suck (don't play the games!) and a too-convenient way to procrastinate. However, I've been able to reach new readers due to the whole friend-of-a-friend concept. The downside is that, when someone wants to friend me, my first thought is, "I don't know them, but what if they turn out to like my books? I should friend them anyway." I try to keep my pages as private as possible without acting like an ice queen, and I have un-friended one person, but it's hard to turn people down when you're trying to build an audience.
Self-promotion and book marketing ... which do you feel takes precedence?
They're both necessary evils. When you've got a publisher behind you, pushing your name and your books into the spotlight, no one blinks. I mean, that's the publisher's job. When you do it for yourself, you have to be more careful. You can't make every FB status, every Tweet, revolve around "LOOK AT ME" and "BUY MY BOOK." The first thing you have to be is human. I think the precedence may be set by what kind of author you are. If you write nothing but fantasy, market the books. If you write across genres, self-promote. Yes, there are people who will only read your mysteries, but some people might indulge in your paranormal romance, too, if they like YOU.
Any Indie/Writers blogs you think we should be following?
Well, of course, Joe Konrath - but I think that's obvious by now. Also, I have a friend who is both an Indie Writer AND she has a few contracts with a boutique publisher. Her name is Michele Scott, and her blog is very interesting (http://adventuresnwriting.blogspot.com), just as her reasons for publishing some works herself, and some works with Zova Books, are interesting. Oh, and Gordon Kirkland is now getting into self-pubbing, if you like humor. He's the Dave Barry of Canada, won tons of awards, etc. His blog is http://kirklandatlarge.blogspot.com.
The eBook, what are your thoughts on where they will take the publishing industry?
Pfft, I'm no visionary, or I'd have bought Apple stock years ago. I think there will be a torrent of ebooks published. I think some of them will be wonderful, and some of them will be truly horrific. And I think, sooner or later, there will be some kind of business to help authors get the word out about their books - an e-publicist, if you will, who can navigate review sites and set up blog tours, etc.
I also think the mainstream, corporate publishing companies MUST evolve. Their business model is becoming extinct. What they evolve into, I don't know.
How do you think of your ideas? Do they simply hit you like a bolt of lightning (figuratively speaking) or do you pick a topic and build from there?
There's an old movie, called Desk Set, with Hepburn and Tracy. Tracy is giving Hepburn an IQ test of sorts, and she's uber-passing it. He asks how she remembers so much stuff and she says, "Many things remind me of many things." I love that line. It's how my stories come to me. One thing reminds me of something else, which goes somewhere else, etc.
For my Erma book, I didn't want to just shove a bunch of columns between the covers and call it a day. So I thought, what would Erma (Bombeck) do? I decided to tell the story of how I got the newspaper gig, surrounded by some of the readers' favorite columns.
For my not-yet-pubbed second mystery (Hit or Missus), I began with the characters from my first book, Freezer Burn, and developed the plot based on a piece of flash fiction I wrote.
Okay, let's wrap this baby up. Tell us about your most recent Kindle release. How's that going?
Well, my Erma book is doing okay. It sells about one book a day, which isn't a lot, but it is steady. Michele (Scott) says you have to be patient, so I'm trying that. My short story is still sitting in the corner, waiting to be read. I haven't been as busy promoting it as Erma because, well, it IS a short story, but I've got a couple of things to try to get that one moving.
Here are Gayle's links;
Twitter Handle: @GeeCarl
Gayle has provided an extract of What Would Erma Do? (a chapter titled, "Is Fifty the New Forty?") Enojy!
I'd like to start this column by telling all the fine policemen in Placentia that I try hard to obey all our traffic laws, especially the speed limits. It's my foot that thinks of them more as guidelines…
When I used to drive a Honda Prelude (in Ticket-Me Red), I admittedly liked to punch the accelerator as I shifted manually up the gears. I never got a ticket in that car, but I deserved many.
Now that I drive a minivan, my driving habits have changed. For one thing, it just seems wrong to lay rubber in a momcar. Plus, it looks stupid. And with today's gas prices, I try to wring every last tenth of a mile out of each gallon I buy. But I still find myself going a little faster than the posted guidelines, um, limits.
I realize the speed limit down Kraemer Boulevard is forty miles per hour, and I try to be good. But I'm an arrival gal; I just want to get from point A to point B. If there's no traffic, my van tends to drift to a slightly higher, "natural" speed of fifty.
I know it's wrong, but it feels so right.
My son has been on my case about this since he was old enough to recognize numbers. "How fast are you going?" he would ask from his car seat in the back.
"Forty," I would answer.
In the rear view mirror, I would see his little head craning up to look over the seat. "No you're not, you're going fifty," he'd tell me. Grudgingly, I'd slow down.
I thought his preteen years would lead toward a more reckless attitude, but I was wrong. The other day we were driving down Alta Vista Street, on our way to a friend's house. I was following a small truck with lawn care implements in the back.
The truck was doing the speed limit, but it felt slower. I don't know why it always feels slow to follow a landscaping truck. Maybe the lawn mowers in the back make it hard to see the truck is actually moving forward.
Whipping around the truck, I muttered, "He's just too slow for me."
My back seat driver, as usual, had something to say. "How fast was he going?"
"Forty," I replied.
"Mom," the admonishment came. "The speed limit is forty."
"Yes, but he was doing a slow forty," I explained. "I like to do a fast forty."
"What's a 'fast' forty?"
There was brief silence in the car while I formulated my answer.
"Fifty," I told him.
Now it was Marcus' turn for silence. Finally, he spoke, "So, fifty is not fifty, it's just forty, but more so?"
"Sure," I said, thinking if I couldn't win the debate with reason, confusion was the next best thing.
Still, I slowed the van down a little, to a 'medium' forty. I just hope the Placentia police force appreciates my son's efforts to keep me within the guidelines – um, I mean, speed limits.