Welcome to the new cythiaravinski.com! The home of my newly combined blog and homepage. To begin here, I thought I’d post this interview with Science Fantasy author and self publisher Darlene Jones. Her book, EMBATTLED, launches today! Read on to learn a little about the author.
Cynthia Ravinski: Why did you decide to self publish your book?
Darlene Jones: I’d been querying agents with no luck. Then at the Willamette Writers’ Conference in Portland, OR, I learned that agents spend 15 seconds looking at a query. Fifteen seconds!? We also heard much rumbling about self-publishing. Advances from the Big Six are miniscule or non-existent. Marketing? Forget it. It’s do it yourself. One speaker said, “I pitched my author’s novel to 35 publishers before we got a sale. That was followed by a year of rewrites. His book is out next week. It’s been a two year process. Publish yourself. It’ll take you a couple of months.” I went home, researched for a month and decided to self-publish.
CR: Which publishers are you going through and why? How did you pick these?
DJ: I used Createspace via Amazon for the print copy and Kindle, and Smashwords for all the other ereaders. I chose these mostly based on advice from the conference and they all proved easy to work with.
CR: How did you decide on your price point?
DJ: Oh, man, that was a toughie. I don’t agree with free books or books for 99 cents although many authors claim success going that way. I finally decided that authors work hard at writing and I believe we should be compensated for that. I priced my ebook at $4.99, which I think is fair both to me and to the reader who decides to buy my book.
CR: As an independent author how do you promote your book?
DJ: Getting word out is another toughie. Bloggers like you, are amazing. You are the ones who help us get our books noticed. The other way readers can help is to post reviews. I also use Twitter a lot and the people who retweet for me are wonderful. Of course, I help promote fellow authors too.
CR: You are a member of IAN-what is it? Do you think it helps? Would you recommend it to others?
DJ: I’m undecided about IAN. I did pay and have a profile page put up, but I really don’t know if it’s attracting readers or not.
CR: Tell us about why you wrote Embattled.
DJ: I’ve always wanted to write. I started EMBATTLED when I was suffering from insomnia – telling myself the story to try to get to sleep. Laugh! It kept me even wider awake. The story inspiration came from my experiences living in Mali a long time ago. I always wished I could wave a magic wand to eradicate the poverty and that’s what I gave Em, the power to fix the big things that need fixing in the world. Fanciful, eh? But wouldn’t it be nice…
CR: What is next for you?
DJ: I have two more books ready and a fourth in the works. I’ll be publishing EMPOWERED, the next book in the series, in March or April.
CR: Is there anything else you want to share?
DJ: Laugh! I could talk about my books forever so I’d better stop now. I do want to say thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me this way.
A long time ago, I lived in Mali. Every single day, I wished I could wave a magic wand to relieve the heart wrenching poverty. My experiences there led to the writing of this story. Some aspects of EMBATTLED reflect my desire to wave that wand and make the world a better place—if only wishes could come true. And of course, every novel needs its love story, so along with the sci-fi magic, I’ve added the requisite romance.
I now live on Vancouver Island, Canada and spend winters in Mexico. I write, read, and body board when I’m in Guayabitos. I love my granddaughter, the views of the ocean from my desk, and chocolate, which should be its own food group.