Thursday, October 24, 2013

Author Interview: Deborah McKnight

Who inspired you to complete your novel and publish?

I think some of us hit a point in our life where we realize we haven't achieved everything we wanted. For whatever reason, our dreams are put on the back burner. I was at that point. I had been running from baseball games to football games and everything in between. Somewhere in all the running, I felt like I had lost me.
Carol Ann Ross, author of The Days of Hairawn Muhly, was offering a writing class/forum that I attended - hoping for a little creative me time. One of our assignments was a "What if?" scenario. I used a real life experience and added a twist here and there. As a child, I was afraid of my shadow. I really thought it was trying to get me. I'm sure you can see where this is going. What if my shadow had been trying.... Of Dreams and Shadow: Forget Me Not was born from that exercise. The women in the writing group offered a support system that differed from my family and friends. I think it was their encouragement that fanned the flame so to speak.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors regarding the publishing and marketing process?

Publishing and marketing are daunting tasks. Because of the digital world, publishing is changing. I believe that's a good thing. I chose to self publish. I created my own imprint (Stone Bay Press) and went from there. I choose to use Create Space publishing services. There are a couple important reasons why I choose to self publish - one of the most important being money. After attending a couple writers conferences, I was struck by what many of the small and mid-sized publishers were looking for and expecting from the writers they pick up. First - the writer had to have an online presence. As one publisher put it, if he googled your name and nothing came up - he wasn't interested. Second - the writer was going to have to make the commitment to promote their novel. Small/mid-size publishers just don't have the budget to do that for you. (Let's be honest - we aren't Stephen King or Nicholas Sparks. We don't have a team of people whose sole job is to promote our work.) So - my thought was this - if I have to do all the ground work (building a platform) and I have to promote my book - I might as well cut out the middle man.

Marketing is work, hard work. If you choose to self publish, you take on the responsibility of selling your book. I think it's important to think outside of the box. Don't limit yourself to having a book signing at your local library or bookstore. Think about your target audience. Your book signing might be better received at a restaurant, a sporting goods store, or in conjunction with a lingerie party. Social media is also a must. Enlist your family and friends to share posts from your facebook author page. When I promoted my first book signing - friends and family shared the posts. My page reach more than doubled.

At the present time, I am scheduling virtual book tours. There are a variety of tours to choose from and they are very affordable. I am also in the process of asking a Goodreads community to review my novel. Why? Because reviews are a must. Let me assure you, I have people tell me how wonderful my story is and while that's great to hear, it's not getting the word out to a potential reader in Any Town, USA. That's because these same people aren't posting reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. So - go where reviewers are - offer a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. (A mobi file isn't costing you a thing to give away)

What would you tell authors to "Start Now" concerning social media?

Work on your online presence. Choose the social media options that fit your personality. Some people are everywhere - facebook, pinterest, twitter, G+, blogs, linkedin, etc. Personally - I think it's better to choose 2 or 3 and focus on those, making sure you do a good job in representing/promoting yourself. In my experience, an author page is a must. I have one on facebook and on google. The facebook author page is way more active! A blog is also important. In a virtual sea of blogs, you have to figure out what will make your blog get noticed and that comes from trial and error. Don't be afraid to try something different - every post doesn't have to be about a writing tip! :)

G+ communities and facebook communities are great! There are communities for different genres, for marketing, etc. It really is important to be a good neighbor. No one much interacts with the ME! people. If you take the time to read someone else's post, offer a comment, a +1 or a "like" - others will notice and respond when you post a link to your blog - hopefully by adding you to their circles or liking your author page. All this leads to strengthening your online presence.

We live. We die. Is there anything more? Jenna Barton is about to find out. After moving to the coastal North Carolina town of Parson's Cove, Jenna has unwittingly stepped into the middle of a mystery involving a missing child. Unfortunately, the predator is still on the loose and Jenna has become his new obsession. With a little luck and a bit of paranormal help, Jenna might survive.

About the Author

When I was a little girl, I was afraid of my shadow - seriously afraid - running and screaming afraid. Perhaps I've always been a victim of an over-active imagination and maybe that explains the monsters hiding under my bed, the ghosts lurking in my closet, and the Shadow that inspired my first novel – Of Dreams and Shadow: Forget Me Not. I have always loved to write. While in school, I dreamed of being a reporter, parachuting into war-torn places and getting "the story." In reality I’m afraid of heights and would never jump out of a perfectly good flying machine. I have been fortunate enough to have had a varied career - from working as a DJ for a small radio station to serving as the president and part owner of a marina. I am married, have three sons and live in coastal North Carolina.

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