- Alan, tell us about your upcoming book. It picks up right where "Paul Is Undead" left off. After destroying a small club in Chicago, Zombie John, Zombie Paul, Zombie George, and Ninja Ringo have kidnapped me so I can document their attempt to take over the United States. We drive across the country in a tiny, smelly van so they can pump the likes of Justin Timberlake and Madonna for information about how to win the hearts and minds of today's music listeners. Turns out, these folks have paranormal powers of their own, and hilarity (and gore) ensues.
- What prompted you to write a sequel? The public and critical reaction to "Paul Is Undead" was wonderful, and a heap of my new fans asked if I could continue the story. If I didn't hit on what I thought was a fun/funny/original concept, I probably would've left it as is, but once the idea of Justin Timberlake as a supergenius supervillian crept into my head, well, I had to do something with that.
- How do you approach the writing process? I'm a worker bee, and I'm pretty disciplined, so just wake up, do my yoga, eat breakfast, and watch SportsCenter, then put on my hardhat and write for anywhere from six to twelve hours. I'm always juggling multiple projects -- some original fiction, some journalistic non-fiction, some ghostwriting -- so if I'm not in a good groove on one book, I'll work on another.
- Any advice for struggling authors? Plenty, but I'll give 'em these four tidbits for the time being: 1) Write every day, even if it's just for a few minutes. It's like exercising, in that if you don't use the writing muscle, it gets flabby. 2) If you're having a lousy day writing, walk away. Banging your head against the wall hurts after a while, and your laptop will be there tomorrow. 3) If you want to make a living at it, you have to diversify. Do it all: Fiction, non-fiction, ghostwriting, magazine work, etc. It takes a good long time to bring that all to fruition, so be patient; I've been doing it for over 15 years, and I still hustle. And remember, you're always going to be your best advocate. 4) If you want to get published, learn the ins and outs the publishing industry. Not fun, but essential.
- How have you ben able to get the word out about your books? Social media is obviously step one, and it's essential to set up your own website, as well as multiple Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr pages dedicated to both you and your individual projects, and use them to interact with your readers. It's fun to meet your fans, plus if you make a sincere connection, you'll have a reader for life. (On that tip, you can visit me at http://www.alangoldsher.com/, http://www.Facebook.com/AlanGoldsher, and http://www.Twitter.com/AlanGoldsher.) Also, make nice with your local bookstores. Introduce yourself, offer to sign the copies of your books that they have in stock (that'll get you good placement on the "local authors" display), and when you have a new project, line up a reading. Publicity departments at big publishing houses are overworked and understaffed, so if they see you hustling, they'll be more apt to hustle for you.
- Where do you see book publishing heading as an industry? Ebooks and social media have changed the game, primarily in a good way. "Give Death a Chance" -- available on March 27 -- will be an ebook-only release, and it's a novella, so I can sell it for $2.99 and feel good that my readers are (hopefully) getting their money's worth. In today's tough climate, a traditional publisher likely wouldn't want a shorter book on its list, but in this brave new e-world, I have the opportunity to deliver what I feel is a fun little project to my awesome fans, and I get to hype it my way, which is pretty damn sweet. On the minus side, the ebook market is crowded, so you have to work that much harder to spread the word, and, most importantly, you have get those creative juices boiling big time, because there are a lot of great writers out there delivering excellent material, and you don't want to get lost in the shuffle.
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.