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Monday, June 25, 2012

So, Where Do You See Your Book In 5 Years?



Don’t you hate it when on a job interview one of the standard questions asked by a potential employer is: “So, tell me where you see yourself five years from now”?

You certainly cannot respond honestly with any of these answers:

“I have no clue!’
“Sitting around and doing nothing.”
“Having your job.”
“Running this joint.”
“Taking what I learn from you and working for a competitor.’
“Owning my own business.”

But the question may have relevance for you as a writer. Where do you see yourself – or your book – five years from now? You shouldn’t ignore the question, for what you do now builds towards what you will be doing just 1,826 days from now.

Maybe the question is best phrased as follows: What can you be doing five years from now? You could be an established author who not only writes and promotes books, but also has a thriving business related to your books. Maybe you will teach, consult, do seminars, or train people. Perhaps you will expand your creative arts into movies or other related areas. Think about where you could be and make a plan now.

Regardless of what you write about, my guess is you at least want to be in a better position to:

·         Write what you like, not just what is commercial
·         Write more frequently and put out more books
·         Cross into other genres without being pigeonholed
·         Get bigger advances from major publishers
·         Sell more books
·         Influence readers’ lives and society
·         Improve and grow as a writer
·         Become famous and popular

So what will you do today in order to lead up to achieving your five-year plan wish list?

Time – to write, network, and market
Money – to promote yourself and your works
Attitude – to be  focused on what is important
Help – few succeed going it alone
Luck – it is the wildcard that suddenly appears with hard work
Plan – plan to achieve or plan to fail
Research – look into what you don’t know and learn what is needed

The next time someone asks you where you see yourself in five years you will have an answer that will blow them away.


Interview With Author Clu Gallagher

1.      What is your book(s) about? My first novel is called SHATTERD SEEDS:"SOFIA'S STORY". It is historical, literary fiction, set in the 20th Century in Berlin, Pittsburgh, and Saigon. In 2008, two women meet. One is young, the other is old. One (Janene McDeenon) was once a Vietnamese Orphan, a victim of the War in Vietnam who is now searching for her biological parents, an African American soldier and a Vietnamese woman. The other (Sofia Blackburn-Anderson) is now 89 years old and was once the wife of a Nazi. She made the decision to run away from him, taking their two small children in early 1944. It was a flight that shattered her life.  Now, facing death at age 89, she searches for a final resting place for what she considers the most valuable item in her vast estate, her grandmother's heirloom quilt, the last remaining relic of her beloved German family. The two women form a bond that transcends time and place as Sofia buries her roots and Janene uncovers the secrets of hers. It is a Free Kindle download, today 14 June 2012. Here is the Amazon  link: http://www.amazon.com/SHATTERED-SEEDS-SPECIAL-EDITION-ebook/dp/B006HUVLNW/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

The second novel is called THE ROAD TO RIGHTEOUSNESS. It is also historical/literary fiction. It is set in the 19th Century in Ireland and in the United States. Darby Martin is a notorious Irishman in western Ireland in 1855. His prestigious Protestant family have exhausted all of their patience and tolerance with Darby's behavior. His last scandal (murder) forces them to banish him to the U.S and take away his birthright. He decides that he must become a rightous man if he is to win over his new love, Brigid Finnegan, a young and beautiful Catholic lass sent to America by her Uncle who can no longer support her. Darby uses lies and deceit to hide his former life as he an Brigid start a new life in America. However, it is a rocky road for both of them as America is on the brink of a Civil War and Brigid harbors some secrets of her own that she has vowed never to share with anyone. It is available as Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.com and will be offered as a  FREE Kindle download on Sat. June 16. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007K1EFL2#_

2.      What motivated you to write the book(s? I've had a story floating in my head about an immigrant girl who comes to America since I have been eight years old. I never could find a name for her, a place of origin, a destination, or the motivation to write the story. One day in 2007 when I sat down at the keyboard in an effort to combat the devastating effects of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, I started to write about a young German girl who had a close relationship to her maternal grandmother who had filled her head as a child with stories about her German Family's greatness as she stroked the threads of a quilt she had made from the remnants of her family's textiles. Four years later, 'Sofia's Story' was born. I made the mistake of giving my file to another author who wanted to "help me" market the book. After a very disappointing and stressful time with his "new" publishing group, I withdrew it and retired the original editions, making them Collector Copies. I have recently republished the novel  as a SPECIAL EDITION and have made it available as a Kindle and Paperback at Amazon.com andCreatespace.com.  Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Seeds-Sofias-Story-Special/dp/1467994154/ 

3.      What inspires you to write in general? I began writing as therapy. It helped me to regain some of my mental accuity lost by the disabling diseases that had afflicted me. For me, writing is not a profession...it is my passion. I have adopted a kind of mission statement for my work as an author: "Reading is a pathway to the mind. The destination is the soul." It is my hope that my readers will find as much enjoyment in the read as I did in the writing, but more than that, I hope that the experience will add meaning to their lives. I take on the responsibility with the belief that they have granted me the highest honor by allowing my words and thoughts to enter their most precious of all places, their intellects.

4.      What was the writing process like for writing this book? It was difficult for me to write the first book. I researched it on the internet. I talked to some German friends of mine. However, the process of writing the story really took on a mystical form in that it felt so real to me. As I was writing it, I felt as if Sofia and I had known each other in another life. I had never made a quilt but I described the quilt as if I had. In 2010 when I wanted to self publish the story, I searched on the Internet for "Antique Quilts". I looked at hundreds of them. One day, I found a picture of a quilt that was the exact image of the one that I had written about. I bought that quilt. It is pictured on the cover of the novel. Its true story is not known. The dealer, a kind man in New England,  said that he had no idea how he had acquired it. I like to think that it is Sofia's.

Writing the second had a personal connotation for me and I found that the story flowed easily in my mind. It is not a true story but the characters seemed as real to me as if they might have been my own relatives. I am working on my third novel and hope to publish it by the end of 2012. I am finding that the writing process for this one is hampered by the enormous amount of time I am now devoting to the marketing of my work. I yearn for the time that I can just "write" . . .  I never was much good as a sales person.  It is titled: A MEMORY FOR MIRRY. Set in a an imaginary Lighthouse off the coast of South Carolina between 1941 and 1975, eight year old Mirry Rollins loses her innocence when she witnesses a murder. The only person who knows about the experience is her mother who is killed in an accident that leaves Mirry with a form of amnesia. She grows up with the memory repressed in her mind until she returns to live at the Lighthouse with her lawyer/husband who is the Defense Lawyer in an Appeal Case representing the man who had been wrongfully imprisoned for the murder that Mirry had witnessed.

5.      What are the rewards/challenges for writing in your genre? I love to write stories set in history. I particularly like to show how the historical events of the times have influenced the lives of my characters. History is just a story that is passed down from generation to generation. Documentation of the story sets the facts in History. I find that setting my story to the historical facts gives it a sense of authenticity, making it seem like non-fiction. I find it extremely rewarding to create characters who have lived at different times and places. They become "alive" for me and I am the better for knowing them. I hope that my readers are also. It doesn't get any better than that as far as rewards. The challenge of producing a great story, soaked in history, keeps me writing.
  
6.      What advice would you give to other struggling new authors? Advice? I am last one to give advice. I am a novice at all of this and I am learning every day. However. one important lesson I did learn about this business is one that I wished I had known before I decided to self publish. Never give your files to anyone. I made that mistake when I trusted a "friend" who turned out to disappoint and deceive me. Now, I don't know where my files are or who has them for sure. I would advise other writers not to make the same one I did. As for any other words of wisdom...I would only advise that you write like there is no tomorrow because the future is unpredictable and very illusive.
  
7.      What direction do you see the book publishing business heading? As far as the future of book publishing, I have no crystal ball. What I have experienced so far has frightened me and caused me a great deal of anxiety. Electronic files are published by the millions on the information highway with no safeguards or policing. I can look back in retrospect and see the errors of my naievte.  I suppose that only time will tell what direction the new face of publishing will turn. Right now, I am trying to allign myself and my work with those whom I trust implicitly. I hope that I can undo the mistakes I have made so far, but I am realistic enough to know that somethings can't be undone and that one must take responsibility no matter what the outcome. However, I have and always will make decisions based upon a high moral code of "right over wrong" . . . I hope that the publishing business of the future will do the same. 

For more information, please consult: http://www.clugallagher.com/


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person

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