Interview With S. Katherine Anthony

Interview With S. Katherine Anthony

1396550_229150593932519_1495400091_n (2)Hello, everyone! I would like to introduce you to author, S. Katherine Anthony, who won When Stars Die’s cover art contest some time ago. Let’s begin with the synopsis, and then we’ll kick off with the interview.

Being strong is one thing. Being an unlimited source of power is quite another.
Genetically altered by the Organization, Annie Fox takes down criminals CIA-style with her luminary strength. With nothing to mend but her broken heart, she is relentlessly pursued by her boss Derek Lake. Just when Annie is about to give him a chance, her ex-husband unexpectedly comes out of hiding.
A wanted man, Nick Logan is a cold-hearted murderer who is considered enemy number one, and orders are clear: kill on contact. He is more powerful than ever and threatens the lives of those she holds most dear. His plan? Get his hands on Annie and use her Kinetic energy to destroy them all. When Annie finds herself with an opportunity to end him, she pauses, horrified by the scars covering the face she once loved. A split second that will cost her everything…

1. First and foremost, tell my readers about you (well, everything you’d like to share).

– I am a book-a-holic who runs away from baby spiders!

2. Tell us about Kinetic, your inspirations, the story itself, the characters, anything that will draw readers’ attention.

– It follows a broken-hearted Luminary, Annie Fox. She works as a crime-fighter and uses her “special skills” to kick some serious butt. Annie will have to struggle with the fact that her ex-husband, Nick Logan, is now the evil she is supposed to bring down. The problem is, if she even gets close enough to him, she will hand him the weapon that will allow him to destroy everyone she loves: herself.

3. What sets Kinetic apart from others books in its genre?

– Well, it’s a New Adult Urban Fantasy for starters, with some light sci-fi. But the whole premise is based on Annie’s ‘special power’ so its definitely action packed. There are several other characters and each of them come with their own ‘gifts,’ this makes for some interesting group dynamics.

4. What inspired the gorgeous cover art for this book, and who had a hand in it?

– The actual “Kinetic” power of Annie inspired the cover. At first glance it might be hard to understand but once you read the book, you’ll go ‘uh-huh!’ I would tell you more but then I would be giving a lot away 😉

5. How many rounds of edits did you go through to get this book in tip-top shape?

– Oh goodness, I had a lot of rewriting and revisions. I lost track of how many times but it was over fifteen times, for sure. I wrote the full first draft and let that sit for about a month then ripped it apart. I repeated that several times then sent it off to betas and ripped it even more. This final book is version number 3,499… ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating but it sure feels like it.

6. What made you decide to self-publish this book?

-I chose to self publish simply because I love having the control. Originally, I was afraid to write my books because I didn’t want to deal with the query stress, the “change this or else” aspect of it, or the rejections. But once I was researching it (yes, I still intended to pursue it), I found out about self-publishing and loved the idea, so I went for it.

7. So, what is your favorite wine?

– Anyone that will get me tipsy? 😛
I like both red and white, but lately I’ve been enjoying Pinot Grigio.

8. What books inspire you?

– I’ll keep it simple and just stick to the seven Harry Potter books.

1473900_229150487265863_171561424_nAuthor Bio
S. K. Anthony is a writer, a reader and a make-stuff-up-er who lives in New York with her husband and toddler twins. She is a wine connoisseur, which just really means she knows she loves it, and a caffeine addict. When she isn’t busy with her family she finds herself being transported into the world of imagination. Well, either that or running away from spiders…she is convinced they are out to get her!

Links:
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18072566-kinetic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/S-Katherine-Anthony/403554526400225
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SKathAnthony
Blog: http://www.skanthony.com

My next post will be on The Fussy Librarian. It is an amazing resource for writers and readers, one I would argue that is better than KDP and BookBub, as, not only it is free, but it sends you one update each day with two books. Yes, two books only so you’re not inundated with so many decisions.

The Usual Banter Against the Traditional Publishing Route

The Usual Banter Against the Traditional Publishing Route

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I in one way condone this picture. I thought it’d be fitting for what I’m arguing.

First off, he does have some good points. The agenting process can be time consuming and often agonizing. One of my author friends sent her first now-self-published book to over one hundred agents and received roughly the same response: it’s great, but not for us. However, she is now, hopefully, a soon-to-be hybrid author, as she found a literary agent and was willing to do the edits for that agent before said agent accepted. She is still self-publishing, and she probably will continue doing so because she has found a little bit of success with it. He is also right that the agent then has to find a publisher, and I know not all agents update their authors on which houses they’ve sent the book to, most likely because they’re busy with other clients’ manuscripts, so their clients are left in the dark, something I can’t accept. In fact, I know one girl who wrote an amazing-seeming book, has been with her agent for several years, and that book hasn’t found a home. I often wonder why she doesn’t drop kick that agent and seek out a new one, or have the agent help her self-publish it. He also has a point that once said publisher is found, more edits will be done, almost undoing the edits the agent had you do. And then it can take some time for your book to come out, even after everything is finished. You also may not receive any promotion (other than reviews, like Kirkus), and being published with a traditional publisher doesn’t guarantee a shelf in a bookstore. Your book also has a certain time period in which to sell, and if it doesn’t sell all its books, it’s removed from shelves (however, with the advent of the e-book and online bookstores, authors removed from shelves still have time to build a fan base, so this point is, well, pointless).

One point I didn’t find in the article (it could have been mentioned) is that advances for first-time authors can be pitifully low, not to mention that royalties are pitiful as well (about 12% without an agent, down to 2% with an agent).

You do have full control with self-publishing, but at the end of the day, it’s not for every writer. It certainly isn’t for me, even if I am a little bit marketing-minded. Business-minded, I am not. Writing is an art, publishing is a business. They are two completely different monsters.

At the same time, the one thing I firmly disagree with about this article is that this writer implies that ALL authors should self-publish and never go the traditional route again. 

    1. You have to invest your own money into the process, and there is no guarantee you will make double on what you spent, even if you have an infinite shelf life. Even though you can make the process affordable to you, some people still have to tighten their budgets, and so many may not be able to afford self-publishing for quite a while (so they might as well go through the querying process because all that is FREE for them). Plus, unless an editor who charges cheaply has quite a few testimonials, mentions books they have edited (and these books have GOOD reviews), your only other option is to hire one who charges over 1,000 dollars, because these are more often than not some elite editors. Once I really began to research self-publishing, I realized that it wasn’t something I’d be able to afford, because I don’t have any connections who’d edit, format, and do cover art free for me. Some self-published authors are lucky enough to have connections who can make the process free, but most don’t.
    2. The authors who sell really well, who become bestsellers, are the exceptional ones, just as the ones in the traditional process. I look at the rankings of many a self-published novel, and MOST are not in the bestseller ranking. Very few make it to that ranking, for whatever reason, so many of those authors who sunk their money into the process may never make double of what they spent. Again, they have an infinite shelf-life, but I’ve followed a few self-published books that have been out for two years, and their rankings still aren’t that great–pitiful, in fact. They must be marketing well–otherwise, I wouldn’t have found them. Some books simply are not meant to be self-published. Some of these books would have found more success with a traditional house. For example, NA (new adult) books have found quite a lot of success with self-publishing compared to other genres. One author I know writes NA, and for some reason, her NA books are more successful than her genre books! I prefer her genre books over her NA ones. I don’t know why this is, as she has hired someone to do PR, but, again, some books just do better in a house than without one. 
    3. Small presses. Why are people glossing over small presses? Because small presses are, well, small, they are able to devote their time into book publicity, and it is either free or MUCH cheaper than self-publishing (with some houses, you might have to devote a little bit of cash, but this is to keep those houses from going under, as many small presses who come to inception don’t last long because they can’t afford to pay back their editors and what not). My publishing house actually helps with publicity. I help with it as well, just to double the efforts. All authors should delight in marketing their books, even if it’s small, whether or not they’re getting great publicity from their publishers–John Green certainly does, and he is MASSIVELY popular because of it. There are small presses who can also get your book into bookstores (Spencer Hill Press and Entangled Publishing come into mind, and you don’t need an agent). To me, small presses are much better than self-publishing, because you don’t have long wait times to hear back from one, it’s often free, and well, there are a bunch of other benefits I could list hear. I heard back from my publisher in just a few days. Though they’re new, my experience with them has been stellar, and they are continually revising their model–and their authors are allowed to help with this. I have also had an active part in every process of my book, so I was not kept in the dark. I also had the final say in the cover (though I had help in deciding which design would be best because I am too close to my book to know what type of cover would market my book well).
    4. Being in bookstores and libraries. It isn’t true that you have to be a bestseller, or you’ll be axed from the shelves. I read primarily YA, and I have seen many, many books that are still on the shelves whose authors are not bestsellers (paperback books, mind you). All you have to do is sell out within their time frame, and the bookstore will order your book again. Now being traditionally published doesn’t guarantee a spot on the shelf, but if you do make it to the shelves, that is publicity in itself, as many people do wander the shelves seeking their next book to read. You’ll also likely get into libraries, which is another form of publicity. Most self-published books don’t even have a chance of being on shelves (they can get into their independent bookstores, but they’re not a chain). This doesn’t mean those self-published books won’t become bestsellers, but, again, simply being on a shelf, with a great cover, to boot, can add to the publicity.

I am going to end this  on a positive note for the sake of this author, as I am writing this article to argue against his. Check out his book, Iona Portal. Great cover art, and it seems interesting. This is a guy who knows what he’s doing.

To balance out this article, I am going to write one on the positives of self-publishing, arguing against an article who says you should never do it (it’s a really horrendous article, completely biased, and has god-awful points. This guy’s article at least has some valid points).

The Anonymous World of Tumblr: What “Makes” an Author

The Anonymous World of Tumblr: What “Makes” an Author

After the press release from YA Interrobang, I received a rather, well, insulting anon on Tumblr who basically told me I was cheating myself by going with a small press–and a new one at that. I will admit upfront that I did take a chance knowing they were new. Oftentimes experts will tell you to wait a year or two to see how the press does before submitting to it, but there were so many factors involved in my decision to submit to them that it would take too long to list them all, but one factor was that I was tired of holding my book back, not submitting it because I was afraid it wasn’t ready enough, and I just wanted to take a chance. I was at that point in my life where I realized I needed to take chances, and I was very happy that I did. 

In any case, not only did they insult AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. and call them a vanity press because you don’t receive advances (but the royalties we receive can more than make up for the advances), but they insulted me by saying ‘you SEEM like you want to be an author, so why did you cheat yourself?’

Apparently I’m not an author, even though I have a book published with good reviews (only 23, I think, but still, that’s good enough, and they’ll keep growing, I know), with a publishing house that is a small press and not a vanity publisher, a book with a beautiful cover, a book that received great editing, and a book that received amazing exposure, a lot from me, but my publishing house is so flexible that they were/are willing to listen to advice to make them better, even though I think they’re great already because they produce great books in the first place. Plus, I do need to speak up more about what I want. And even though they don’t offer advances, that doesn’t mean they aren’t a legitimate house.

Some authors will tell you that you deserve an advance and shouldn’t settle for less, but if the house offers great royalties, I say, go for it. It doesn’t make them less legitimate than a house that does offer advances, but pitiful royalties. I even had this discussion with indie authors on Twitter. Some houses have you pay for a few things for your book, but the money DOESN’T GO TO THEM. IT GOES TO THE PEOPLE WHO PROVIDED THE SERVICES. And these indie authors agreed that that was still a legitimate house.Doesn’t mean your royalties will make up for the average advance (which, on average, can be anywhere from 500-1000), but I care more about readers reading my book, and even at a big house, the average book only sells 500 copies. Ever. 

I’m tired of this attitude that you’re not an author if you go with a vanity publisher or self-publish. You are an author, ESPECIALLY if you took the time to make your book into a product that deserves sales. I would never ever recommend a vanity publisher, as you can do it much cheaper yourself, but if you can find a good, honest vanity publisher, know what you’re getting into, know the ins-and-outs of publishing from an author’s perspective, then I will not judge you for choosing this path. You are an author, regardless. A published book means you are an author.

***Repeat after me: A published book means you are an author.***

A published anything means you are an author. Ky Grabowski has a short story published, but she is still an author, even if it’s just one thing. I have been an author since I was in high school, although, admittedly, I didn’t feel like a real author until When Stars Die was published, but, you know, that’s my own personal insecurity that I eventually got over. 

Overall, I did not cheat myself. I don’t feel like I cheated myself. Does this mean I won’t consider an agent in the future? No. I MIGHT, but I will still publish with AEC Stellar. You cannot tell me I cheated myself when you have no idea what the process was like for me, and that you have no idea what was in my contract, which I am not allowed to speak of. 

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My next post is going to be an interview that Mariah Wilson did of Writers AMuse Me Publishing, as they are now accepting playwrights. 

Grasping that Motivation

Grasping that Motivation

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I’ll admit that I probably chose the worst time in my life to launch myself on to the road of self-publication. Or perhaps there is no better time? Who is to say?

As I’ve mentioned before, I have bipolar disorder and am not stable on meds. My mania is treated, but my depression still struggles. I do struggle with suicidal ideation. I am not ashamed to admit that. I know how to cope when suicidal feelings become overwhelming. I’ve coped for months. Some days are worse than others. Some days I do feel inches away from wanting to take my life. But then I do my best to remember what I’m fighting for.

Before I made the decision to self-publish, I was fighting to keep going by using my dance recital. And it was worth it. It was worth everything. As a later starter, being in a recital was a dream come true, especially being able to do two of my three roles en pointe. Getting en pointe was a dream come true itself. But when the recital ended, I felt this deep emptiness because it was the reason I was still alive. Depression is a horrible illness, especially bipolar depression. It’s hard to find enjoyment in your life when you feel so detached, so to no longer have my recital to strive for, I found myself breaking down every night in what seemed an unending sobbing fit for the next three days.

Then I realized I needed to pull myself together. I needed to, once again, accept that I was still depressed. I still had dance, but I needed something bigger to make my heart continue beating, to make my life worth it so I could continue fighting for stability through this trial-and-error medication management. Because I am worth it, right?

Then I thought about my novel, When Stars Die. I stopped writing because it took energy and concentration that I didn’t have. I’m still not sure if I even have it, but one thing I do know is passion and a desire to live will make me have the concentration needed to self-publish my book. Using the publication of my book as an incentive to stay alive is the best thing I can do for myself right now. That is my ultimate motivation for getting back to my book: to stay alive. That is how, despite the depression, despite the desire to sleep all the time, despite the unending thirst to isolate myself, I will continue living, I will continue getting up, and I will continue fighting.

I think about my favorite singer, Emilie Autumn. She used her album Opheliac as a bargaining chip to keep living. She figured once she completed it, she’d no longer be suicidal. She was right. I feel the same way, but I know the deletion of suicidal feelings is not so easy. That will take the right medicinal cocktail for me. But my book is worth it. I’ve dreamt of being published since I was a kid. I’m not throwing that dream away just because I’m in a bad spot right now.

So that is how I grasped the motivation to get back to my novel, when I’d been away from it for so long without a care as to whether I’d get back to it or night.