Indie Author Spotlight – Ekta Garg

Author: Ekta Garg


Write Edge pic

Book: Two For The Heart

Two for the Heart-Frame

 

A brief bio: 

Since the start of her publishing career in 2005 Ekta has edited and written about everything from health care to home improvement to Hindi films. She has worked for: The Portland Physician Scribe, Portland, Oregon’s premier medical newspaper; show magazines for home tours organized by the Portland Home Builders Association; ABCDlady.com; The Bollywood Ticket; The International Indian; and the annual anthologies published by the Avondale Inkslingers, based in Avondale, Arizona.

In 2011 Ekta stepped off the ledge and became a freelancer. She edits short stories and novels for other writers, contributing to their writing dreams. She is also a part-time editor for aois21, and she reviews books for her own book review blog as well as NetGalley, TypeReel, and Bookpleasures.com.

Prairie Sky Publishing serves as the publishing arm of Ekta’s professional writing blog, The Write Edge (thewriteedge.wordpress.com). When she’s not writing, Ekta is a domestic engineer–known in the vernacular as “a housewife.” She’s married, has two energetic daughters who keep her running, and she divides her time between keeping house and fulfilling her writing dreams.

 

Book purchase links:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/510256

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RTV272M

 

Social media links: twitter, facebook, etc.

Twitter: @EktaRGarg

Goodreads

Amazon author page

Blog: The Write Edge at thewriteedge.wordpress.com

 

1. Why did you decide to go indie and self-publish? What was the process like for you?

Like many other writers who have made the decision to indie publish, I have a driving passion for writing and for this amazing craft. I want to share my stories with readers. But I know that unless I spend years submitting my work to traditional publishing establishments and waiting for rejections so I can submit again, I probably won’t see the publication of my writing through traditional routes.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time and energy in the last three or four years studying the publishing industry, its changes, its ups and downs, and I felt like the market has evolved to a point where I can take a risk in indie publishing. There are indeed risks, but the rewards are also just as high. I feel like the production schedule and goals I’ve set for my publishing company might help me reap more rewards because I’m attempting something a little off center from what everyone else is doing.

At the end of the day my drive doesn’t come from landing a six-figure deal. I just want to share my stories and words with others. Indie publishing allows me to do that without the challenges of a traditional publishing contract.

I knew I would need to launch my own publishing company to add a level of professionalism to this whole enterprise. If I want others to take me seriously as a published author, I have to take myself seriously as a published author. So I launched Prairie Sky Publishing (prairieskypublishing.com) in December 2014. My first book, Two for the Heart, came out on schedule on February 3, and I hope to continue producing books every two months.

With all the research I’ve done, I was mentally prepared to do a lot of work. I can’t imagine an indie author jumping into publishing without preparation, and yet I’ve talked to and read about authors who do just that.

It’s been a lot of hard work but also immensely satisfying to accomplish all of the tasks. More than anything, I’ve never had this much fun before!

 

2. How do you market/promote/advertise? What’s been successful and what hasn’t?

I have a pretty decent following on my blog, The Write Edge, so I’ve promoted the book there. I’ve also posted on Facebook several times about the book release.

In anticipation of the release of the book on February 3, I contacted more than 100 book bloggers in the first big marketing push to review the book. I’ve heard from several who have wanted to read the book and review it. Slowly those reviews are coming in, and I plan to continue contacting book reviewers.

The last part of my marketing plan, which truthfully I’m still considering (because of the cost involve,) is joining NetGalley as a publisher and allowing my books to gain more exposure through that medium. I may do it toward the end of this year, but before I do anything else I want to make sure I’m standing firm on the platforms I’m building now. No sense in trying to jump before I can walk.

Because I just launched Prairie Sky and my book just came out, I don’t have enough data yet to know whether my approach has been successful. I know one thing for sure, however: if this approach doesn’t work or needs some tweaking, I’m ready to adapt to find the best formula to help get the word out about my books.

 

3. What advice would you give to an author who’s trying to decide between traditional publishing and independent?

Like any other career, writing takes most of your time and energy and effort. Indie publishing means a writer risks remaining unknown for most (if not all) of his/her career. Traditional publishing means spending years trying to get past the gatekeepers. Both have pros and cons. A writer who wants to spend the rest of his/her life writing stories and trying to sell them needs to study both sides of the industry and then decide where his/her personality fits best. Then jump into that part of the industry and pursue every task wholeheartedly.

Having said that, I don’t think it’s fair to look at publishing as an “either/or” situation anymore. Several writers have pursued the hybrid track, and I think writers need to stay open to that option. While publishing is a business, it also is thousands of people who truly love books and stories and who want to share those books and stories with readers. It doesn’t matter if you’re indie, trad, or hybrid—that ultimate outcome is one we can all agree on.

 

4. When/how did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

It wasn’t necessarily a light bulb moment. I’ve been reading since the age of 4 and always felt happiest in my childhood when I had a book in hand. When I was 8 I started writing poetry and short narratives; I became fascinated with the whole idea of expressing myself through words.

Around that same time I started competing in spelling bees, which requires a deep exposure to words. So I spent much of my childhood and teen years dealing with words in one way or the other; when I got into my late teens I started to realize just how much those words meant to me. By the time I went to college I knew I would spend my life pursuing this craft. I’d fallen in love—head over heels—and I still feel giddy about my writing.

 

5. Most indie authors have day jobs. How has your current or previous employment informed your writing?

I have an MSJ from the Medill School of Journalism (at Northwestern) in magazine publishing, and right after I got married I worked as an editor in a publishing company. A month before I had my second daughter, though, we moved halfway across the country for my husband’s job and I had to resign.

I began blogging in 2010 because I had a preschooler and a toddler at home and I wanted to do something for myself. I wanted to remind myself of why I’d fallen in love with writing in the first place; I wanted to rekindle that passion and nurture it until it became a bonfire.

I knew that if I just left it up to myself to work on my writing, I’d keep putting it off for all of the other responsibilities in my life. So I decided to psyche myself out; use reverse psychology, as it were. I didn’t really think, back then, that anyone would read the blog, but I decided to use posting online every week as motivation. And it worked. I started blogging and, unbeknownst to me at the time, I began building a platform.

Through that platform, I started meeting people online from all over the world; when someone asked whether I did any freelance editing, I said yes and my freelance career got its jump-start. I missed working, so when I got the request for editing it suddenly made sense to start freelancing. The biggest advantage to this entire situation came is the fact that I could set my own hours and accept or reject as many projects as my home and family duties allowed. I wanted to make my family my top priority, but I also knew that freelancing would give me some professional satisfaction.

I began freelancing in 2011 and have edited short stories and novels pretty regularly since then. Editing other people’s work allows me to be more objective in editing my own. Before I began freelance editing I used to agonize over cutting scenes in my stories. Now I just wince and hit Delete.

When I began blogging I started reviewing books, which adds another dimension to my writing. I’m a self-confessed bibliophile, so I decided to put all that reading to good use. In the beginning I did it as a gleeful way to read more books, but I soon learned that by increasing how much I read (although I didn’t know I could even do that because I already read so much) I exposed myself to more writers and began an informal study of the craft of writing.

Now I look at reviewing as the third line in the triangle that comprises my career: writing; editing; and book reviewing. All three feed off one another. All that to say I guess I kind of came at indie publishing from the opposite direction compared to most writers.

 

6. Do you have any favorite authors and do they influence your writing?

I enjoy a variety of genres—women’s fiction; historical fiction (particularly about WWII); good middle grade and YA fiction; and South Asian fiction (owing to my Indian heritage). Also, even though I’m not a hardcore fantasy reader, I have a very soft spot in my heart for the Wheel of Time series by the late Robert Jordan.

If I had to pick one author, I think I would focus on Jhumpa Lahiri’s books. I feel like I’m dining at one of the finest restaurants in the world when I read her work. Her prose is sumptuous and incredibly satisfying. She also takes her time publishing—she doesn’t let a publishing contract or pressures dictate that she has to produce X number of books in Y months/years. She writes at her own pace and time. While I know indie authors have a better chance of success if they publish more frequently, I am inspired by the care she takes with her stories and always aim to take the same amount of care with my own work.

 

 7. Anything else readers should know about you?

Some silly things, maybe?

  1. I love Nutella, especially with homemade banana bread.
  1. My favorite color is purple (might have something to do with my time at Northwestern.)
  1. I’m exclusively a tea drinker; I stockpile tins of Tazo Joy every December.
  1. My husband and I discovered The Big Bang Theory two summers ago and can’t get enough of it.
  1. Renoir is my most favorite painter of all time.
  1. My favorite type of cake is Red Velvet.
  1. I got to meet and participate in a group interview of Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan a few years ago.
  1. I’ve appeared on national TV on the Rachael Ray show when I did a spot on re-purposing kitchen products for other uses (I showed how I use empty spice jars to store my daughters’ hair clips.)
  1. I deeply admire what Steve Jobs has done for technology; having said that, I will only use PCs.
  1. I used to be a hardcore hard copy book reader but got a Kindle for my birthday two years ago and now love it as much as I do physical books.

 

***Authors, I’m always accepting submissions for the indie author spotlight. If interested, click here for more information.***

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Indie Author Spotlight – Richard Fulco

Author: Richard Fulco

fulco2

Book: There Is No End to This Slope

no end slope

 

A brief bio: Richard received an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College. His plays have been either presented or developed at The New York International Fringe Festival, The Playwrights’ Center, The Flea, Here Arts Center, Chicago Dramatists and the Dramatists Guild. His stories, reviews and interviews have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Failbetter, Front Porch, Bound Off, The Rusty Toque, Full of Crow, Nth Position, theDaily Vault and American  He is the founder of the online music magazine RiffrafThere Is No End to This Slope is his first novel.

 

Book purchase link: Amazon

Facebook: www.facebook.com/richard.fulco

Twitter: twitter.com/RichardFulco

Blog: www.riffraf.net

 

1. Why did you decide to go indie and self-publish? What was the process like for you?

I’ve always been an indie guy. In the late 80s to mid 90s, I was the singer of several indie bands. From the late 90s to mid 2000s, I was an indie playwright. When I completed There Is No End to This Slope I asked Mark Doyon at Wampus Multimedia (an indie press and record label) if he’d be interested in taking a look at it. I only want to work with somebody who trusts me and my writing and since Mark and I had such similar tastes in music I had an inkling that he would be that guy. Mark has been a great champion of my novel. Not only is Mr. Doyon my publisher, but he has also been an incredible editor and collaborator.

 

2. How do you market/promote/advertise? What’s been successful and what hasn’t?

I’ve been doing readings and book clubs. I’ve been tweeting and posting on Facebook. I’ve been blogging on my website, www.richardfulco.com. I’ve been blogging on my music site, www.riffraf.net. I’ve been blogging on Goodreads. But I think the most effective way of promoting my work has been by making genuine relationships with writers, editors and readers.

 

3. What advice would you give to an author who’s trying to decide between traditional publishing and independent?

I’m not one for advice, but I would tell friends of mine who have a completed manuscript to put aside any notion of fame, fortune and glory. You’re a writer not a pop star.

 

4. When/how did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

I have always written. That’s what I do. Sometimes I write good stories. Occasionally, I don’t.

 

5. Most indie authors have day jobs. How has your current or previous employment informed your writing?

Presently, my day job is taking care of my three-year-old twins. Since I do the bulk of my writing when they fall asleep, I’ve had to adhere to more stringent time constrictions, a half hour here, an hour there.

 

6. Do you have any favorite authors and do they influence your writing?

I think writers should be avid readers. We should read everything too and delve into genres that we might not be comfortable reading. Cormac McCarthy, particularly his approach to dialogue, was a substantial influence on There Is No End to This Slope, whereas JD Salinger’s style had an impact on John Lenza’s voice.

 

 


 

***Authors, I’m always accepting submissions for the indie author spotlight. If interested, click here for more information.***

 

Indie Author Spotlight – Nathaniel Dean James

Author: Nathaniel Dean James

 Nathaniel author pic

Book: Origin – Season One

origin eBook Cover

 

A brief bio: I’m a Swede, born in England and raised in the United States. In many ways I was a Caucasian gypsy for the first twenty-five years of my life, settling in Sweden, Denmark, Florida, California (Hollywood, Palmdale and San Francisco), Curacao, Mexico, Hungary, and finally the United Kingdom, where I reside today. I was a soldier for ten years in British Army, first in the Parachute Regiment, and later in the Royal Military Police. I think the only thing that really strings all these things together is that I never stopped reading. Now a family man, I live with my wife and our five year old twins in West Sussex where I drive semis by day and write fiction by night.

 

Book purchase link: http://getbook.at/OSO

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nathanieldean.james

Twitter: @NathanielDeanJ

Blog: http://nathanieldeanjames.wordpress.com

 

1. Why did you decide to go indie and self-publish? What was the process like for you?

When it finally came to the crunch, I was in two minds about the path to take. I have a friend who is a published author with Orion and very conservative in his views. He spent most of the eighties collecting rejection letters from publishers and had all but given up when he was “discovered” by an agent. I guess you can understand why he’s reluctant to applaud the seachange in recent years. He doesn’t even own a Kindle, although all his books are obviously available on Amazon for download.

Anyway, I had spent a couple of weeks making a list of literary agents in London and reworking my pitch when I read an article about Louis L’Amour and the 200 hundred rejections he received before Bantam signed him and on went on to sell 330 million copies of his books. I hunted around and found a few other horror stories, Agatha Christie’s 5 years in limbo, Zane Grey, C.S. Lewis, Dan Brown, Irving Stone, the list is endless. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it was never going to be easy. But what really caught me out wasn’t so much the vagaries of the industry, but the time involved. I just didn’t think I could go on writing for five or ten years without an audience. That story might kill a few minutes at a cocktail party, but it would be good for little else, and I don’t really drink.

As for the process, I think I’m only just nearing the end of the beginning of the learning curve. I’ve read hundreds of essays, articles, how-to guides and blog posts about life on planet Indie. In the end I’ve gone with the things that uniformly resonate throughout. Considering I started late in the day, I’m finally starting to see some momentum.

 

2. How do you market/promote/advertise? What’s been successful and what hasn’t?

A pretty standard start really. I began with the holy triumvirate of social media: Facebook, Twitter and a blog. These things work, but as you know, they take time and you can’t go in kicking and screaming about your book because that just pisses people off. My blog is a general interest platform covering everything from politics to cinema. I do book reviews, although I’ve more or less given up on taking submissions. I spent a lot of hard-earned money on editing my work to a professional standard. When I see an error in the first paragraph that no studious reader, let alone editor, could miss, I take it personally, and 95% of the submissions I receive fall into this category.

At the moment I’m in the review-collection business and that will only end when I have at least 25 or 30 of them up on Amazon. There are a lot of mixed messages out there about the importance of reviews, but I tend to side with the assumption that they matter to readers. In this regard – and I have you to thank for the pointer – Goodreads is proving to be the most effective agent. I recently gave away ten print copies of my book there and had 160 people enter the giveaway. I’ve since contacted the 150 that didn’t win and offered each a free eBook copy, and over half have taken me up. The first review I got was from the follow up. The important difference here is that all but one of the people who entered was also a Goodreads Author. I’m not saying I have anything against giving away a book to a fellow author, of course, but these are what I call organic readers. Indie authors have to stick together, but when it comes to cross promotion, it’s a closed loop. I’d have to review 30 books to get thirty reviews on a one-for-one basis and that’s just not realistic.

 

3. What advice would you give to an author who’s trying to decide between traditional publishing and independent?

Well, people are different of course, so I guess it would depend on the person asking. But my default answer would be that unless you had an in, the odds of finding an agent prepared to take you on are beyond slim. It’s not just chance, nepotism also plays a major role in the publishing industry. Look over the lists of any major agent today and you’ll see a lot of former publishing executives, TV and radio people, and others from the fringes of  the entertainment scene. Feel free to assume that none of them submitted a manuscript or wrote a covering letter. And let’s not forget that while finding an agent may be your best (only) bet for a deal with a major publisher, it’s by no means a sure one. All it takes to knock your book off the pile is one retiring footballer or ambitious nephew. I don’t mean to sound bitter, it’s a private business and they can do whatever they want. But that’s the point, isn’t it? They can do what they want because like it or nor,  they’re not a public service.

So unless you have written something that is going to break the literary mold, or inspire the next roller-coaster at Islands of Adventure, the law of probability dictates that you stand a better chance of going it alone. Until you do, you’re at the back of the line. Even successful Indie authors who have already put in the hours and achieved good sales are more likely to end up on the industry radar than an unknown in their slush pile.

 

4. When/how did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

I can’t quite recall when I made the conscious decision, but I do remember where the spark came from. I had just finished reading my first Stephen King novel, It, and I remember looking around me in a daze wondering what had just happened. I didn’t really read the book so much as disappear into it. And when I came back out on the other side I finally understood why some people didn’t bother buying a TV. The idea of being able to grab someone like that with words stuck with me. And while it was years before I finally wrote a book that I thought had a fighting chance of achieving something even remotely similar, I did begin writing shortly afterwards. I wrote short stories, started half a dozen novels that died in the making for one reason or another, but I kept at it.

 

5. Most indie authors have day jobs. How has your current or previous employment informed your writing?

I guess travelling broadens your horizons, and I certainly saw a lot during my time in the army that helped to develop some of my deeper convictions about life and people in general. But for the most part I think I have reading to thank for whatever passes for talent in my own case. Imagination is inherent in all human beings, but like a muscle it must be exercised to be of much use. I believe reading achieves this like nothing else.

 

6. Do you have any favorite authors and do they influence your writing?

My favorite author is Stephen King, and by a country mile. I’m no fan of horror, read no other authors associated with the genre, and probably never will. King is one of those authors who bears this label more like a cross than a distinction, and only because we live in a world where categorization and comparison are endemic. King doesn’t write about gore and death, he writes about people and there aren’t many who do it as well.

Do I try to emulate him in my writing? Yes, I do, and proudly. That’s not to say I succeed.

 

7. Anything else readers should know about you?

I still don’t know what half the genres in fiction even mean, and have never written a word with a view to staying inside any lines. Some call my book Sci-Fi, others say it’s a thriller. There’s a coming of age story in there somewhere, a first kiss, a marriage on the rocks, an unlikely friendship, people dealing with the uncertainty of unprecedented events, a look at evil, questions about the meaning of life, and a bunch of other stuff. To me it’s just the story as I experienced it. If you asked me what my target demographic is, I’d have to go with literate humans above the age of consent.


 

***Authors, I’m always accepting submissions for the indie author spotlight. If interested, click here for more information.***

 

Indie Author Spotlight – open for submissions

At least once a month, Indie Hero will feature an Indie Author. If interested, please submit the following:

 

– Author name / book title

– a brief bio

– book purchase links

– social media links: twitter, facebook, etc.

– Responses to the following questions:

  1. Why did you decide to go indie and self-publish? What was the process like for you?
  2. How do you market/promote/advertise? What’s been successful and what hasn’t?
  3. What advice would you give to an author who’s trying to decide between traditional publishing and independent?
  4. When/how did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?
  5. Most indie authors have day jobs. How has your current or previous employment informed your writing?
  6. Do you have any favorite authors and do they influence your writing?
  7. Anything else readers should know about you?

 

Please send (just the info listed above) to indieheroblog at gmail dot com

subject: Indie Author Spotlight Submission

Images and additional information will be requested as needed.

Thank you.