When I was checking out the Tucson Festival of Books over the weekend, I had the chance to talk to three authors hawking their wares. Two of them were indie! I hadn’t expected an opportunity like this, but I quickly formulated some questions and hurried out to meet them.
The first one was Tom Kirkbride. Like many writers, he was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien. Kirkbride was crestfallen at the good professor’s death.
“I didn’t want it to end,” he said, referring to The Lord of the Rings. “I wanted a series of my own.”
The Southern California native decided to go for it. He invented about two surfer dudes on a quest to save the universe. He calls it the Gamadin series. For a while, Tom worked with Greenleaf Publishing. Eventually, he found himself drawn to self-publishing. “He had more creative control this way,” said Francesca Romero, his agent.
Book I, Gamadin: Word of Honor, came out a few years ago. Instead of taking a breather, Tom published three more books in the next three years. Book IV, Gamadin: Gazz, debuted in October 2011.
The second guy was Jay Falconer. This fellow slaved two years trying to break into traditional publishing. His science fiction novel Linkage couldn’t wait much longer. Falconer turned to self-publishing, and brought his book to Createspace and Amazon Kindle. He hasn’t been disappointed so far. He claimed 1,200 Kindle sales in January 2012.
“It varies from month to month,” he said modestly.
A 1982 graduate from the University of Arizona, Mr. Falconer went into accounting, but couldn’t stay put for long. He found himself working with an Internet company, and after a long, satisfying career, jumped into writing fiction. Now that he’s published Linkage, he’s going to expand it into a series called The Narrows of Time. The second and third parts will be called Incursion and Reversion.
“It’s a love of writing and books,” he said when I asked what drew him to fiction in the first place. When I asked him if it was worth it, he smiled and said, “Ask me in a year.” I got to peek at his books first-hand, and I’ve downloaded a sample since. I like his writing style. He told me that he got professional editing for his prose, and believe you me- it shows. I had to stop myself last night from reading so I could go to bed. For that and the interview, thank you, Jay.
… with Maxwell Drake. This guy has been writing since 12 years old, and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. He wrote 9 novels before finally getting published. Farmers and Mercenaries, the first of the Genesis of Oblivion saga, debuted in 2009. He was in Tucson to promote his saga, which now includes Mortals and Deities, and will be joined by Dreams and Nightmares in April 2012.
I asked him about his success in publishing. Above everything, he recommended writer’s conferences to break into the industry. “When you think about it,” he said, “agents are just people.” He shelled out the cash to attend such conferences, and got the chance to meet agents and publishers face-to-face. That interaction, he said, was a huge boost to getting published.
He’s gotten sizzling praise for Genesis of Oblivion. Check out the official website, or jump straight to the free sample of Farmers and Mercenaries. There’s an author website waiting for you, too. I enjoyed meeting the guy and I think you should, too, even if over cyberspace.
After the fun I had at this festival I’m inclined to agree with his sentiments about writer’s conferences.