Monday, October 31, 2011

Author Spotlight: Spencer Seidel

I have loved running the spotlights this month on other authors I've met as I started my own journey down this road. I feel I've learned so much from each of them and hope that the readers of my blog have as well. I end this month with a fellow New Jersey author. Spencer Seidel was introduced to me by a mutual friend. I immediately began following him on twitter – bought his book Dead Of Wynter (which I highly recommend for Halloween or any other time of the year) and have eagerly watched his career take off this past year.  

Spencer, thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog. Tell me when you knew writing was what you wanted to do.
As a kid, I was a voracious reader, so I sort of knew even then that I wanted to write. But I soon got sidetracked into music, which became my obsession until my early 20's. Then, I wrote a 300-or-so-page thesis on artificial intelligence for school, and that old writing bug bit me. Soon after, I was writing short stories and thinking about novels. I deconstructed many novels to figure out how it was done before making my first attempt.

You and I share that love of music. What genres do you write in?
To date, I've written suspense novels, but many of my readers have pointed out that there's a horror novelist in me waiting to come out. It may in my next novel!

What different routes did you try as far as publishing? Did you go the traditional route or did you ever consider self pub?
 I wrote two novels before my third was picked up by my publisher. I never seriously thought about self-publishing them because I realized that there was probably a reason I couldn't sell them. And I stand by that. Although they are "good" novels in many ways, they just weren't ready.

So tell us all about your collection of books: when it was out, where we can get them, etc.
My first novel, DEAD OF WYNTER, was released in trade paperback and ebook this year (2011 as of this writing). In the months before it was published, I was hard at work on another called LOVESICK. My publisher read it, and we signed a contract soon after, even before DEAD OF WYNTER was published. They decided to release LOVESICK in ebook format first--it's coming out hopefully this November. That will be followed by a limited print run next summer, so I can go to signings and give talks. Like many in the industry, we've discovered that the ebook versions out-sell the print versions by a wide margin, something like 8-1.

Those are amazing numbers. Thanks for sharing. What other experiences have you had once becoming a published author?
I have learned more about the publishing industry and its quirks in the last six months than in all the years I was dreaming about having a book published. It's a weird time in the industry and things are changing, but I'm not all doom and gloom about it. On my various book-tour signings this summer, I discovered that people are still reading and buying books like crazy. That hasn't changed. Having said that, however, small publishers, my own included, are having a rough go of it. There are a lot of folks out there hawking books, so it's hard to attract attention.

 How do you go about marketing and promoting your work?
So far, it's been the usual things: blog tours, book signings, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, giveaways, etc., and some not-so-usual things like radio interviews. I've found Facebook to be the most successful so far. A lot of voodoo and pixie dust go into book promoting. Often, the most effective things are not things you planned. Everyone knows that word-of-mouth is the way to sell books, but the trouble is that not all books are equal. Some books take off, others don't. Some debuts don't sell until the author has released another two. Or more. So, my strategy has been to keep calm and carry on, to just keep writing.

So smart to keep your head focused on writing and not get too bogged down in ‘how am I doing?’ Looking back, is there something you would have done differently or warn someone just starting to watch out for?
I wouldn't change much about what I've done. I'm learning and evolving as I go. Nothing is really a "mistake." It's a learning process. As for warnings, yes: be very skeptical of anyone who tells you that for the right price, they'll fix your manuscript or tell you how to write a bestseller. It's just like anything else. 99.999% of successful people in this industry have worked their asses off to get what they have. There's no easy path to success, and I work at this every single day to hopefully find it.

I really appreciate you taking time to join me on my blog. Anything else you would like to share?
Only that it's an exciting time to be involved in the industry. There will come a time years from now when this era will be discussed and dissected from a hindsight point of view. I will be happy to have those conversations because I was there, living through it all.

You can reach Spencer at his website. Be sure and check out his current novel as well as the upcoming LOVESICK out in November.

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