Today, we are joined by another 'Back to School' author. Frank Zubek has been writing since 1999 and has two short story collections for sale for Amazon’s Kindle. He is based in Ohio, USA. Frank is married and when not writing, he enjoys movies. After today's interview, Frank will also be joining us tomorrow where he discusses in greater detail the beast it is that drives us: the will to write, and why we all keep pressing so hard at it.
Frank, great to have you with us today. Tell me a little bit about your latest book?
“Almost A Dozen” is a short story collection. Seven of the eleven stories in the book were all written this year. Most of the stories are basically about common people trying to deal with a variety of problems.
How did you come up with the title?
I had written seven stories this year and felt that it wasn’t quite enough to call a book. So I added four of the best stories from my first collection (Guarding Andrew Gates) and the total came to eleven, or, “almost a dozen”
Do you have a writing schedule?
I write best mostly in the morning and I use my laptop. But if I am away from the computer, I always carry pen and paper so if I feel the need to take notes I can do so.
But this varies with each writer. If you can carve out time in the morning then write in the morning. If you find that between ten to midnight is best, than be sure you sit that butt in the chair and get some writing done. Over a period of time, you’ll have a first draft that you can go back and edit.
GETTING THE FIRST DRAFT COMPLETED is the goal. It’s the biggest step of all. Just getting THAT much done gives one a great sense of accomplishment that boosts one’s morale.
Do you plan your work or just go with it and start with the initial idea?
I find it better to HAVE an idea in mind before sitting down. That way you are typing out the story and moving forward instead of sitting there staring at the wall being frustrated.
What inspires you to write?
Aside from the overall goal of the money, the sharing of a story I wrote is very inspiring. Its very gratifying when I hear from someone who enjoyed what I wrote.
Also the fact that maybe, someday, one of the many things I will write today will outlive me and still be read and enjoyed long after I’ve gone.
What are your current projects?
I am working on a novel about a Detective by the name of Nick Crowell who gets shot by a thug in a cemetery. He survives the ordeal but once he returns to work he finds that people with really strange things happening to them come to him seeking help from him.
The problem is that Crowell has no idea how to help them and despite his best efforts, there is usually little he can do for them and this weighs on him.
The novel is called, A Strange Life, and I am hoping it is successful because I would like to do a series with the character. Strange Life is scheduled to be released Halloween 2012 and if it sells well I plan the second book for Halloween 2013.
What are your challenges in writing?
For me the biggest challenge is thinking up an original idea. Especially an idea I might make some money from because the genres I enjoy working in aren’t exactly the more popular genres like vampires or thrillers. But then, I do what I can do with what I have at hand.
For instance, the Nick Crowell novel features a divorced middle- aged cop. Now, that blows my marketability right there. Logic dictates that there is a really small market for a middle-aged cop that tries to help people with Twilight Zone type problems.
But I don’t care because this character is so different from the norm that there is a chance it will get some good word of mouth and actually sell a few dozen copies per month if not more. And since that will help pay the monthly bills then I’ll be a happy camper.
Are there any downsides to being a writer?
It varies with each writer. They may have a day job that gets on their nerves or kids to care for or a spouse that thinks the self- publishing route is a waste of time. All of this can contribute to affecting your attitude when you’re sitting at the keyboard.
But its up to YOU to overcome and compromise or tear down those barriers so that when you get those precious few hours of magic time- it will be time well spent.
How tough was it to self publish?
First of all, I know there are writers out there who are wary of e-publishing and that’s fine. But if you are in this to make money to help out with bills than the best way to get to the point of having potential cash going INTO your bank account then you should REALLY think about e-publishing. Why waste time sending the book to New York and then WAITING up to three or four months for the agent or even for the actual book publishing company to reply back to you ( and nine times out of ten the reply is just a rejection slip), when, you could POTENTIALLY be making money from that same book over those same three or four months if you submit it into the Amazon machine (Or Smashwords or wherever)
And going into Amazon and getting the book online is fairly easy. (Heck, even I managed!) The tough part comes afterward, once your book is up. It has to be marketed which means tweeting and posting the news of its release on your web page or blog and multiple other ways of getting the word out.
In addition to that, you should be finding time to work on the next book.
I truly wish the best for everyone out there trying to make a go of it.
Thanks to Frank for joining us today. I have already had my sneak peak at tomorrows article and can tell you it is certainly worth a stop by. Any writer who might sometimes feel alone in his or her plight to publication and success needs to hear what Frank has to say. If you haven't already done so, make sure you stop by and pick up a copy of his short story collection, Almost a Dozen, and be sure to check out his blog and internet links.