Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Author Spotlight: Renee Pawlish

I first met Renee Pawlish when I came across her in an author forum on Facebook. She is the author of This Doesn't Happen In The Movies (Available at Amazon and Smashwords) and Nephilim Genesis of Evil (Now an ebook!)

Thank you for coming over to my blog Renee! So when did you know you were a writer?
I've wanted to write since high school, but I didn't really work hard at it until after grad school.  I write mysteries, but Nephilim Genesis of Evil is kind of a mix of mystery, thriller, paranormal, and horror (although no blood, just good suspense and fear).

How did you go about getting published?
I've queried novels dating back to about 1995. I knew my writing was "good" when I started to get rejection letters that said things like "this needs a bit of work, and if I had the time, I'd work with you", or for Nephilim "we like it, we just can't see the market for it".  It was at that point (2006) that I decided to self-publish Nephilim because I figured I could do just as well selling it on my own, and maybe that would get me an agent (that didn't happen but I'm happy with the end result - I got great reviews and I know there's a market for what I write). I hired an editor for content, another for grammar and spelling, an artist for the cover, and used 48 Hour Books in Ohio to print the books. I had two print runs for Nephilim and it sold quite well; I only have a few books left that I kept for myself. I then did the same for a non-fiction book called The Sallie House: Exposing the Beast Within, about a haunted house investigation in Kansas.  It's sold moderately well and I plan to release it in ebook form. Last year I started reading about Amanda Hocking and JA Konrath and I decided that I should jump on the ebook bandwagon. And here I am, hocking (no pun intended lol) my books to the digital world. It's been great because Nephilim is now getting a new lease on life, plus I'm releasing my mysteries and some short stories.

You made really great points there about hiring ‘a team’ to work on your books. Speaking of – what do you have out or coming out?
 Nephilim came out as a trade paperback in 2007.  It is now available as an ebook, and will soon be available again as a trade paperback through CreateSpace.  The Sallie House is a trade paperback, available at Amazon and through my website. It will also be an ebook soon. This Doesn't Happen In The Movies is an ebook, but will soon be available as a trade paperback. The second in the series, tentatively titled Reel Estate Rip-off, will be an ebook later this month, and a short story collection called Take Five will be available as an ebook in a week or so.

Sounds like you are really getting the whole ‘ebook’ thing! That’s great. What’s your overall experience with publishing?
The publishing side of things can be tedious, and at times frustrating, especially with formatting in Microsoft Word. But I also get a kick out of seeing a book go from words on the computer to an actual book that people can read and enjoy. It's also been fun working on book covers and trying to make the essence of the book appear in the cover.

Now the dreaded “M word.” Tell us about marketing.
Marketing is hard, and I harken to JA Konrath's advice. I may be misquoting a bit, but he essentially said when he started out that he wrote about 30% of the time and marketed about 70% of the time. I would have to agree with him. It's time-consuming to market, but as an author, you can't just expect the readers to come to you - you have to find them and build the word of mouth.

Do you see a huge significance in social media?
Social media is crucial in this process. I primarily use Twitter, a Facebook fan page (I believe every author should have one) and a blog, along with my website, to promote. I also look for interviews and guest-blogging opportunities to get my name out there. My books consistently get great reviews, but that doesn't mean the readers are going to flock to me. I have to tell them about the books.

I see your name everywhere – so I think you’re doing a great job at it! Any advice for others?
Keep at it. For many years, my writing would ebb and flow, and I wished I would've just kept writing no matter what. Also, I can't stress this enough, authors need to take creative writing classes, or read books on writing, go to conferences and so on, to learn their craft. Don't assume that your work is automatically good just because your spouse, friend, mother, father, or whoever, said it was.

Do you see any downfall to the rush of authors hitting the ebook market?
I just read reviews about an author who had comments for "a great concept" but all the reviews (all of them, I'm not exaggerating) said that the author needed to work on her writing. This to me is a perfect example of someone who is taking advantage of the new ebook revolution and publishing too soon, before she honed her writing skills. This can hurt other indie authors as it continues the stigma that indie authors aren't good.

I’m really glad you joined me today. Any last words?
Be willing to spend a little money on your writing career. Learn about marketing, get a great editor, pay for great covers, and so on. If you want your books to sell, make sure you've put a quality product out there.

Check out more information on Renee at her website.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for letting me speak a bit on your wonderful blog!