This new blog series is about authors I've met through social media who have already traveled this road I’m only starting on. Today I introduce Stephen Hise. (Side note: fan Stephen’s Facebook page for a great game of ‘caption this picture’ that he puts up periodically.)
When my first two choices of being either a superspy or millionaire playboy didn’t work out, I decided I wanted to do something that would involve wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches. I still don’t know if I can say I want to be a writer. I consider myself an entertainer. I like to provoke thought, discussion, reflection, or laughter. Writing is one way to do that.
What genre would you say you write in?
I don’t know that I can identify a genre for my writing. I describe my first novel Upgrade as a “bodice-ripper with a twilight zone twist.” It has elements of mystery, romance, suspense and science-fiction, but none of that features very prominently in the story. At its heart, the story is simply about the concept of self-image.
What different routes did you try as far as publishing?
I don’t have much patience. It did not take me long to discover that publishers don’t like to work with first-time authors who don’t have professional representation and agents don't like to deal with authors who don’t already have a publishing deal. I found Smashwords and WordClay and never looked back.
Tell us about your books.
Upgrade came out in 2010. It is available in print from WordClay and Amazon, and in e-book format from Smashwords, Kobo, Diesel, Kindle, etc…Creepier by the Dozen is a short-story anthology I wrote with one of my sons and my daughter. It is available on Smashwords.
What has your experience been like on the publishing side of things?
Well, I’ve made literally tens of dollars from book sales. Part of the reason for that is (like all indies) I don’t have an army of publicists and agents and so forth helping push my book into the forefront. That has been disappointing. The nicest surprise has been the extraordinary support and camaraderie I’ve experienced from the indie author community. I often say if the indie community were an actual place, I’d move there.
I completely agree with that! Tell us a little about your marketing & promotion process.
I’ve largely used traditional social networking media. I have a Facebook author page a twitter account and a website. I get bored talking about myself and my books though, so I also try to promote fellow authors whenever I can. (I’m also working on a mind-control ray that should really boost sales. That’s probably months away from reality though.)
I first came in contact with you because I noticed how well you were promoting other authors. You are really great at that. Looking back, is there something you would have done different?
I suppose I just would not have wasted the effort with the traditional publishing labyrinth, but that really is something everyone should experience for themselves. I will say there are plenty of scam-artists out there and if you are too anxious to see your own name in print, you may find yourself a victim. There are lots of ‘agents” who also have a brother-in-law who happens to be a top-notch “editor” and who has a good friend who happens to be a “distributor” and anything else you may have the money for. This didn’t happen to me, as I am surrounded by a protective ring of poverty.
Any parting words before you leave us?
I’d like to encourage everyone to buy my book. It has all the vowels and consonants of many so-called “classics” of literature. Also, if you are an aspiring writer, it will probably make you feel better about yourself.
Great last words there! And thanks for joining us today.