Sunday, September 28, 2014


Cybernocturnalism VII: The Dark at the End of the Tunnel
 Created and compiled by Anthony Servante




Welcome, readers, to our seventh visit with authors who sell their books online. We usually reserve this column for writers of horror fiction, thus the name Cybernocturnalism (for cyper-space and darkness), but we now include all e-authors with an opinion about publishing on the internet. Today our topic covers the subject of writers who have done all the right things to find success but who continue to wait and strive. We have four such authors who volunteered to share their thoughts with us: Richard Schiver, Joseph Rubas, Lori R. Lopez, and Andrew Blacet. Plus a surprise e-author. 

Let's hear what they have to say. 

We begin with Richard Schiver. 





1.Introduce yourself and tell us about your e-publishing history.

I’m Richard Schiver and I’ve been writing seriously since 1991 when I made the decision to pursue my writing dreams against the misguided advice of family and friends. By 1997 I had gained the attention of an editor with Del-Rey books, a division of Random House and after nearly two years of going back and forth it all came to an end when the editor I was dealing with left Del-Rey to take a position with a non-fiction publisher killing the project. In 2000 I decided to try self-publishing through iUniverse, big mistake, and was in the process of working out a way to set up the sale of PDF’s of my work online when my computer crashed taking everything I’d written over the past 10 years with it..

In 2008, after losing a very well paying job that I was miserable in, I returned to my first love, writing, and worked to recreate what I had lost and to explore new avenues. I spent the first two years of that time writing screenplays before I ventured back into fiction with the release my first novel Shadows of the Past in both print and e-book.
Since then I’ve released two novellas as e books only, a second novel and a collection of short stories both available in print and e book.

2. Do you think that appearing in self-published anthologies for free or for copies of the book (others’ anthologies) is a wise investment of your time?

No. In most cases the only sales are to the writers and their family and friends. There is no real distribution to speak of so there is no real exposure.

3. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in high school.

4. What have you done since then to become a writer?

I’ve read widely, inside and out of my preferred genre. I’ve written more than ten novels, over fifty short stories, and six feature length screenplays. All of which were lost when my computer crashed. Since my return I’ve written two feature length screenplays, neither of which has been picked up, two novels, two novellas, and a collection of short stories. It is said one must write a million words to before they understand what they are doing. I believe I’ve passed that mark, and I’ve laid the groundwork that has led to the discovery of my writing voice.

5. What have been the obstacles to success?

Right now my biggest obstacle is money. To be successful in self-publishing one must be prepared to spend some money, after all it takes money to make money. While I do save to pay for editing of my work, that is about the extent of what I can afford at this time. I’m aware that some of my covers are weak and could do with some professional help. I’ve designed all my own covers. I also lack the funds to properly advertise my work.

I do have a full time job and in January of 2012 my plan was to spend $100.00 per month on promoting my work. Such as good covers and advertising, unfortunately in February of that same year the transmission went out on my truck.

My wife stepped up and paid for the repairs with her credit card and I’ve been paying her back at the rate of $100.00 per month since then. When she lost her job in April of this year I committed myself to helping her pay her bills in addition to my own. So right now I’m living paycheck to paycheck. I’m not looking for sympathy, as there are other people out there worse off than me, just stating some facts.

6. Can you honestly say you have what it takes to be an author?

Yes.

7. Give us an inventory of your writing skills and talents.

First and foremost I have uncovered my writing voice, that inner dialogue every writer has that establishes the cadence and flow of the words on the page.

My eye for detail, coupled with the understanding to not overuse it and bore the reader.

Trust in my readers to figure some things out for themselves.

Patience and persistence which go hand in hand, I know the world is not going to beat a path to my door just because I’ve written a couple of books. I’ve long since accepted the fact that building an audience should be treated as a marathon, not a sprint. At the age of 54 I feel I’ve got another 30 to 40 years of writing ahead of me. I just don’t know how to give up.

A willingness to explore outside the boundaries of the genre I’ve chosen to write in. To experiment, but most importantly the willingness to fail at trying something new and pick myself back up again.

A thick skin. I know fiction is subjective, what one reader looks upon as gold, another will view as garbage. One short story I have on Amazon has garnered 56 reviews to date. 20 five stars, 9 four stars, 12 three stars, 7 two stars, and 8 one star reviews. I enjoy reading the one stars as much as I do the five stars.

My biggest weakness is my sense of modesty.

8. Talk a bit about your audience. Who are they?

While I’ve done no real research from what I can gather from reviews and interactions with those readers who have reached out to me via social media my audience is predominantly middle aged, well read, males and females about evenly split between professional and unskilled laborers.

9. What have you done to reach that audience?

I’ve written some articles I’ve been trying to get published in some larger magazines and blogs, my lack of an advertising budget has kept me from reaching out via paid spots. I’ve been experimenting with pricing and search terms on Amazon and have found that dropping your price to 0.99 can garner a good many downloads but I have to wonder if anyone is reading what they’ve picked up at that price.

I’ve recently discovered after a good bit of feeling my way through the dark, if you will pardon the pun, that my blog posts on my journey as a writer receive more attention than anything else so I’m in the process of redirecting the focus of my blog. I’ve always been modest about my writing, embarrassed even when reviewers compare my work to other well-known writers, so it’s difficult to talk about that process of discovery that leads to creating a good story.

10. In general figures, what has been the audience response to your outreach?

Not as well as I’d hoped, but better than some. Up to July of this year I’ve had 326 paid downloads and 12,043 free downloads. I’ve earned $218.88 up to that point. Nothing to write home about. But I’ll continue to write, adding more to my inventory, and maybe one day I’ll make enough to write full time. If I don’t and I spend the rest of my life just one steps away, at least I can go to my grave knowing that I gave it my best shot.

11. Here’s your chance to talk to my readers and make them your readers. Sell yourself, sell your stories.

Which is also the most difficult aspect of self-publishing for me, the self promotion. Were you to meet me in person you’d discover a friendly, somewhat reserved, old guy who likes having a good time with family and friends.

Reviewers have compared my writing to some of the biggest names in horror, but I say check it out for yourself and make your own decision. Some of you will like it, some won’t, and that’s a simple fact of life. But even if you don’t like my writing I can see no reason not to be friends.

To get a taste of my work hop on over to my blog, don’t mind the mess I’m in the process of changing a few things around, and sample the first ten chapters of my latest release, White Walker. This is not a Game of Thrones spin off or fan fiction.

http://www.rschiver.blogspot.com/p/white-walker.html

I’ll be adding more sample chapters from my other work as time progresses so check back often.


We now turn to Joseph Rubas. 




  1. Introduce yourself and tell us about your e-publishing history.

My name is Joseph Rubas, and I am the author of over 200 short stories, five novels, a nonfiction book, countless articles, and a number of regrettable poems. My first story appeared online at HorrorBoundOnline.com in May of 2010, and my second appeared in the July/Aug/Sept issue of The Storyteller, a literary magazines for emerging writers. Since then, I’ve published two collections (Pocketful of Fear, 2012, and After Midnight, 2014), edited an anthology (2012) and more short stories than you can shake a stick at.

  1. What was your goal when you first self-published?

My goal in the beginning is the same as it is now: Write good horror fiction that someone, anyone, would want to read. People tell me they like what I have, so I think I’ve succeeded.

  1. Do you think that appearing in self-published anthologies for free or for copies of the book (others’ anthologies) is a wise investment of your time?

Yes. In the beginning, you have to give a few stories for free, to get your name out there. These days, I submit to 4thaluv anthos only when I like the concept and they’re giving out contributor copies. Hey, free book!


  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?


Funny story, that. I knew in 2003, when I was twelve. I read Stephen King’s The Stand and fell in love with it. But even before that, the idea of writing books attracted me.


  1. What have you done since then to become a writer?


Read and write. They say practice makes perfect, and they’re right. Never give up and never stop. Read everything you can lay your hands on, and write, write, write.


  1. What have been the obstacles to success?

Myself. I’ve never been one to waste time actually submitting stories. I’d rather write or edit. But I do go through spurts when I sub, sub, sub.

  1. Can you honestly say you have what it takes to be an author?


I have passion. I have dedication. I have obsession. I have what it takes. Maybe not to become the next Stephen King, but to do okay? You bet.

  1. Give us an inventory of your writing skills and talents.


I’m a damn fine editor. In fact, I do my best work when I’m editing. Once I actually have the finished product before me, I’m able to see exactly where it is and where it needs to go. I’m fairly good at dialogue. I’m tops when it comes to setting. And I do a bang up job at characterization. Or so I’ve been told.


  1. Talk a bit about your audience. Who are they?


I write for a fairly educated crowd, typically older. A lot of my stuff is set in the seventies and eighties, so people who lived through that get me more than, say, the fifteen-year-old punk hanging out at the McDonald’s on the corner.


  1. What have you done to reach that audience?


Man, I’ve done everything. Well, everything short of spending money. I just don’t have it. I post, I Twitter, I post...yeah.

  1. In general figures, what has been the audience response to your outreach?


Good. Not great, but good.

  1. Here’s your chance to talk to my readers and make them your readers. Sell yourself, sell your stories.


I’ve been compared to Stephen King, I’ve been compared to H.P. Lovecraft, I’ve been compared to Edgar Allen Poe. Can you believe that? I know! It’s B.S. Here’s an idea. Buy something of mine (I’m all over Amazon), read it for yourself, and when I don’t stack up, leave a review letting me know how greatly I failed you.



Next up we have LORI R. LOPEZ.



  1. Introduce yourself and tell us about your e-publishing history.

Hi, I’m Lori R. Lopez, author of thirty-four E-books and ten print books going on twelve.  I had typed worst-selling author, but then I found that my Author Ranking in the Horror category has fluctuated between eight hundred and thirty-nine hundred over the past year or so.  That’s better than the “All Books” ranking I’ve been viewing, which bounces between fifty thousand and close to three hundred thousand.

Saleswise, it’s another story.  A horror story!  My E-books mostly range from one million to nearly two million, with only a few higher.  My first E-book was released in October 2011, a little horror sampler of six stories and a poem called CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES.  I thought E-books were going to do better than the first three print books I self-published between 2008 and 2010.  Nobody was reading those.  I tried to spread the word as much as possible and gave copies of my first E-book to bloggers, while starting to release individual stories for ninety-nine cents.  I had a couple that were selling off and on . . . till they were hit by one-star sock-puppet reviews.  The sales halted.

I had been leery of Kindle Select and waited too long, thinking it would be best to have books on more sites.  The Select program worked for some people.  Then everyone was giving books away for free.  That and changes at Amazon in the algorithms (or so I heard) caused the low double-digit sales I was building to plummet in the summer of 2012.  It never recovered, apart from the occasional five to ten sales when I release something (maybe).

I kept writing, doing my own artwork, and continued to release E-books, as well as some print titles.  I now have a pretty sizable list of E-books, all very low in ranking.  It can be frustrating to see books ignored, overlooked, that you’ve poured your heart into, all of your talent and energies.  I’ve received awards for a couple and some very positive reviews for a number of them.  I’ve had stories and poems accepted in anthologies, published in E-zines.  I’ve done whatever I could to spread the word, invested whatever I could in attending events.  I always sell books in person, but have yet to break even.  For the past two years, my only regular activity on Amazon (or any site) is downloads of stories that are always free.  Even those have slowed.  Admittedly, artistically, I tend to announce things and move on to the next project because I have so many.  There’s a surplus of spam online and I’m reluctant to contribute.  But being polite and considerate hasn’t worked too well for me as a business person.


  1. What was your goal when you first self-published?

I wanted to be read after decades of watching my work gather dust on a shelf, collecting rejections when I found time to submit, waiting horrendously long periods for replies.  Learning that I could self-publish for free was an awakening, a renewal of hope.  When your writing is different, and you want to publish it your way, edit it your way, going indie is the best (if not only) route.  I also wanted to succeed, obviously.  But I will write regardless of the outcome.


  1. Do you think that appearing in self-published anthologies for free or for copies of the book (others’ anthologies) is a wise investment of your time?

At first it was a proving ground.  Self-publishing, you kind of need that unless you hit the jackpot and win an immediate overwhelming wave of interest, support, enthusiasm.  You have to prove yourself, demonstrate that others think you’re good enough to be published.  It lends credibility.  And I’ve met some wonderful authors, sharing pages with writers I respect.  But I thought it wasn’t very helpful.  I changed my mind this year, devoting months toward writing and submitting stories again.  Not for much money, or any money in most cases.  I am, however, meeting more authors and gaining respect.  I think it can be good exposure.  Some recent ones I’ve been accepted or invited into include BONES II,  WE ARE DUST AND SHADOW, TERROR TRAIN, DEAD HARVEST, JOURNALS OF HORROR, and CURSED CURIOSITIES.  There are a couple others I can’t announce yet.  These are all high-quality books with such awe-inspiring talents involved.  Since last year I’ve been publishing regularly in THE SIRENS CALL E-zine too, which is always fabulous and free.  Submissions take time from my projects, which is why I haven’t done a lot of it, but I can eventually publish the stories and poems in my own collections.  And it is probably the best way to build a reputation.


  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Since I learned to write.  I was already drawing, and I loved books.  But at fifteen (the year I learned to type) I knew I wanted to write novels, among other things.  Before that I was scrawling poems, stories, and plays by hand.  Along with artwork.  I was always busy.  I guess nothing has changed.  I’m still dreaming, still busy.  These things were never a hobby.  I was serious and ambitious about my talents from an early age.  It just took a long time to be able to present my abilities to the world.


  1. What have you done since then to become a writer?

I’ve spent forty years developing a style, my own particular voice.  Correction, make that fifty years.  I homeschooled my sons, put them first for a long time.  I kept writing and reading a lot.  In Ninety-Eight I realized time was passing (a lot of it), so I set up a tiny office and started to focus on a career.  That was seventeen years ago.  I’ve made a great deal of progress, much of it thanks to the self-publishing revolution and the Internet.

I really don’t promote my work enough.  And I haven’t done much subbing to paying magazines and such.  Maybe I’ll try it, but again these things take time.  I don’t know how others can do so much of it and release books.  I was rejected by publishers, producers, and a magazine when I did try in the past.  That’s to be expected.  I kept going.  Over the years I accumulated projects.  A couple of children’s books from two decades ago, for example.  They’re not selling, but they’re finally published.  Novels, including my award-winning Young Adult tale THE FAIRY FLY.  It has barely sold.  An epic-fantasy book series.  The first hasn’t been selling, like all of my titles, and I haven’t been encouraged to work on subsequent books.  I wrote drafts of the next two a dozen years ago.  I had a movie deal for the first book at one point.  I turned that down because I had written it for my sons.  They’re creative and talented too.  We’re a team.  We formed a company together, Fairy Fly Entertainment, to pursue various common goals such as music and film.

After publishing two print books, I started doing a poetry column called POETIC REFLECTIONS at our website, intending to make it a book series.  I had written a number of songs through the years and included lyrics from those in Volume One, KEEP THE HEART OF A CHILD.  This year I’m releasing second and third volumes, THE QUEEN OF HATS (already out) and BLOOD ON THE MOON.  I hope people will read them.  I consider both books like treasure chests of my heart and soul.  They’re dark and moody, yet very funny and whimsical at times.

I’ve been illustrating print editions of books, which I consider the finished versions.  They have the precise fonts I chose; the formatting I did myself page by page, line by line.  They are the versions I want to present.  And they are illustrated by the author, which is another form of communicating my vision.


  1. What have been the obstacles to success?

Lack of funds for many years.  We couldn’t do much.  We’re starting to do more, but it has mainly been an investment.  Then, shortly after we formed our company, my oldest son became ill for close to three years.  He was bedridden from Depression and Anxiety, conditions I’ve suffered from as well to a degree.  It was difficult.  My youngest son and I did what we could.  Rafael took care of his brother so I could write.  He did the shopping.  I stayed home since someone had to be there at all times.

I’ve had other obstacles, including a bad childhood, a turbulent marriage that ended in divorce.  I nearly had a breakdown myself.  In the past I had gone through effects from abuse and trauma.  We’re recovering, my sons and I, healing and doing things together.  We’re happier these days.  And in many ways there has been progress, little by little.  Just not in actual sales of books.  I remain a failure in terms of success and fame.  We’re going to be branching out, pursuing other interests.  We’ll see how that goes.  I worry I’ll have less time to write soon.  I’m not a fast writer, which is a huge obstacle.  I’ve been trying to “catch up”, working constantly.  I can’t find much chance to read these days.  I can’t be as supportive of other writers as I have at times.  I can’t always keep up with friendships.  I’m pretty bad at keeping up with things in general.


  1. Can you honestly say you have what it takes to be an author?

Yes I can.  I’ve always known I do.  And I feel that others have confirmed it.  My parents didn’t encourage me.  Teachers did; a librarian in my hometown; friends.  Sometimes I wonder, of course.  That’s natural, especially when I get bad reviews or check my sales.  I hear that other writers in my circle have steady sales, a lot of reviews, a lot of interest.  I feel ignored and wonder what’s wrong with me.  And then there’s the fact that I do things so differently from “the majority”.  We tend to compare each other.  I do a lot of things “wrong”, it seems, but I feel it’s right for me.


  1. Give us an inventory of your writing skills and talents.

I’m different in many ways.  Abby Normal.  I keep being described as unique.  I write dark, humorous, and serious verse.  I write short stories and novels.  I write columns.  I’ve composed the lyrics and music (on guitar) to songs.  I believe in myself as an editor and do not rely on others for that or proofreading or beta reading.  I don’t receive complaints about the editing; I have received both praise and criticism regarding my vocabulary.  I love words and feel that writers should know them, lots of them, and use them — liberally, yet wisely.  I possess my own belief system when it comes to punctuation, grammar, language, all of that.  I care about the flow of each sentence and take poetic license when necessary.  I obsess over not being redundant and edit as I write as well as after.  I know many authors have editors, proofreaders, and even multiple stages of beta readers.  They heed lists of Dos and Don’ts.  I just don’t.  It’s my work, my ideas, my voice, my vision.  That’s why I put Author’s Draft on my books.

I do my own covers.  I even offer illustrated books for teens and adults.  I remember being told as a kid that I had to start reading books without pictures.  I was shocked.  Most of my print titles are illustrated.  I also format and layout my print editions, as meticulously as Walt Whitman or Tolkien about the way I want it.  My sons help with some of the tech details, and the E-book formatting.  Otherwise, I’m like a one-woman band in some ways.  Which requires even more of my time.


  1. Talk a bit about your audience. Who are they?

I’ve gained some wonderful friends who started out as readers and became fans, then became closer.  One of them, a sweet lady named Jennifer Thomas, started a fan group of friends on Facebook for me that has more than a hundred members.  It amazes me since I don’t feel I have a lot of readers.  It’s very nice to have that kind of support.

The audience in general consists of people who follow my poetry or prose or both.  Some are most impressed with my artwork, or my hat collection.  Some of them are other writers, poets, artists.  Some are readers.  I marvel that I have an audience at all, compared to five or six years ago, even four years ago.  But it is a small audience.  I don’t have much word-of-mouth yet.  Few are anxiously awaiting my next releases.  Yet it feels good.  I have come a long way in the past several years.


  1. What have you done to reach that audience?

A number of interviews.  Networking and joining groups on Facebook, although it’s a challenge to be active there most of the time.  My column seems to have acquired a modest amount of interest, for which I’m very grateful.  I don’t blog.  I get behind with the column when trying to release books.  But I enjoy doing it.  I loved putting together the second volume of verse, incorporating thirteen columns to frame chapters then writing a quantity of new poems, finally adding a variety of artwork.  It’s my own very odd version of a poetry collection.  It’s also my third illustrated title besides the two children’s storybooks.  I’ll be releasing an exciting new horror story collection this year along with the third volume of verse.


  1. In general figures, what has been the audience response to your outreach?

I’ve been blessed with some very favorable responses.  There have been negative responses too.  But years ago I had silence.  Whenever I’m read, even if it wasn’t what they like, it is a chance to enrich someone’s life.  To become part of their world.  I like to make them think.  I like to make them hear my voice, pause and appreciate the words, not just hurl through the story or poem.  Then I feel satisfied.  I know I can’t please everyone.  My writing is diverse, varying in tone and style and theme.  I believe most people could find something they would like within my pages.  I keep hoping for a hit, for something that reaches out and spreads like a virus.  I’m usually not mainstream, but sometimes “different” catches on.


  1. Here’s your chance to talk to my readers and make them your readers. Sell yourself, sell your stories.

Thanks, Anthony.  Okay, folks.  If you enjoy quirkiness, humor, heartbreakingly serious themes, darkness . . . it’s all there and more.  You might not like one thing, but don’t give up so easily.  Start with a collection and poke around.  You’ll find something that makes you grin or shudder or weep.  I know you will.  If nothing else, look at the pretty pictures!  Well, they’re usually not that pretty.  They might be cute.  Or comical.  Or creepy.  Not pretty.  I don’t do pretty.  I have my own way of describing and capturing life.  Don’t expect the usual.  Still not convinced?  Try my trio of zombie shorts, “3-Z”.  It’s free on Amazon, Barnes, and Smashwords, and it has quite a range of styles from gripping to weird to funny.  It might not be the best example of my writing or artwork, but it’s downloaded everyday.  That’s something! :)


And here to wrap up the interviews, we have our future Poet Laureate Andrew D. Blacet. 




  1. Introduce yourself and tell us about your e-publishing history.
My name is Andrew Douglas Blacet. The surname we still pronounce in the French style; I am tired of explaining and only three strangers in my life got it right the first time. Just remember that a Chevrolet is American. But it is not and never will be a Chevrolette. Still, I prefer to see A.D. Blacet on the cover of my books rather than Andy or Andrew because this is not Mayberry. I believe I am entitled to a certain portion of self-importance.

  1. What was your goal when you first self-published?
Obviously not money. I found someone who believed in me and that is why I self-published. All anyone really wants is to be appreciated, acknowledged, respected. I am no salesman. My art is me and I am my art. I would like some part of me to live after I die.

  1. Do you think that appearing in self-published anthologies for free or for copies of the book (others’ anthologies) is a wise investment of your time?
Yes. It is publicity. I told you I was no salesman, but I understand the concepts.

  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I suppose it was fourth or fifth grade. I caught the bug after discovering Edgar Rice Burroughs. As I heard Ray Bradbury say in the early nineties at a book signing on Stanford campus, ERB was not a great writer but he was a great romanticist. Turns out I like me some romance.

  1. What have you done since then to become a writer?
Just kept writing. And reading. And working. Got to pay the bills.

  1. What have been the obstacles to success?
I am a weekend warrior when it comes to writing. My day job exhausts me physically and emotionally. Human relationships and standard plotting are tough for me. I prefer to emphasize atmosphere and imagery, often bizarre, and everything I write is meant to be read aloud. I never labor over strict rhyming or meter, nor do I write stream of consciousness though my frequent absence of formatting suggests otherwise. I do not care about picking blackberries or describing my grandfather’s hands. I tend to use symbols for their own sake, without allegory. I don’t like stories that masquerade as fantasy which are really just lessons or current events wearing stupid looking masks. I prefer the weird, the cosmic, the strange and uncanny. Most people don’t.

  1. Talk a bit about your audience. Who are they?
The people who like my answer to question 6.

  1. What have you done to reach that audience?
Not a damn thing. Just written some stuff. You know.

  1. In general figures, what has been the audience response to your outreach?
At least a nibble, if not a bite…

  1. Here’s your chance to talk to my readers and make them your readers. Sell yourself, sell your stories.
Please refer to the previous questions. As I said before, I am not much of a salesman. Thank you, Anthony, for giving me this opportunity.


******** 

And as a surprise addition, I will answer my own questions. Here we go.

Anthony Servante




  1. Introduce yourself and tell us about your e-publishing history.
I am Anthony Servante, retired professor of English literature. I received a Master's in Grotesque Literature in the Romantic Age (that covers Frankenstein to Dracula) and a Doctorate in Public Administration (so you can see I gave up my writing hat during my career for an administrative seat). In 1999, after I left the Grant-writing world, I began writing critiques of Romantic Literature and started a quest to create a class in "Horror Literature". I am published in East Coast university journals under my real name and title, mostly writing about the German Romantics of Horror Literature. But I count myself as a Cybernock in that I published my first ebook as Anthony Servante and continue to publish via online sites and magazines. You can find my books and articles here.


  1. What was your goal when you first self-published?
To earn lots of money. It seemed so easy at the time. 

  1. Do you think that appearing in self-published anthologies for free or for copies of the book (others’ anthologies) is a wise investment of your time?
No. I don't buy the argument that "exposure" via these anthologies will increase your sales. There's this "siren's call" about one's future success being tied to this kind of exposure. I believe that's the exception, not the rule. If you like your name in an anthology, good for you. There's enough of them out there that would have one of your stories for free. I've taken Michael H. Hanson's words to heart: GET PAID!

  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
As a elementary school student reading my first Richard Matheson book SHOCK. 


  1. What have you done since then to become a writer?
I've read everything in sight, from philosophy books to cereal boxes, and I've written about a half-dozen books by long-hand (I have these notebooks with complete novels sitting in a box in the closet). These six books or so are the books I'm trying to find time for to transfer them to MS Word and try to sell them. 

  1. What have been the obstacles to success?
Ignorance of the new publishing world. At times it seems like an old-boy network; at other times it seems like an open door to opportunity, but once inside, there's always a catch, the main one being that they only pay in copies. There are so many publishers that it's hard to distinguish the legit from the opportunistic. Sadly.

  1. Can you honestly say you have what it takes to be an author?
Damn right. As a university critic I have to be able to distinguish a good book from bad and prove it in an academic paper. It reminds me of my old university students who turn in their term paper and tell me they hope they get a good grade. Shit. If you can't tell what grade you've got after you've written it, then writing isn't for you. I can write an A paper with my eyes closed. When I'm in a hurry and I rush-write a paper, I even know it's a "B" paper. If you can tell the difference between good and bad, you should be able to recognize the level of your own writing. None of this "I hope I wrote a good book". What's scary is how many "bad" books I see out there being published, which brings us back to that mysterious criteria from the publishers today to be published by them. 

  1. Give us an inventory of your writing skills and talents.
I've written academic critiques for university journals for over twenty years, I've published poetry and short stories in high-end magazines in the 80s and 90s before turning my attention to writing horror, my first love. 

  1. Talk a bit about your audience. Who are they?
My audience are intelligent readers who understand basics like foreshadowing, plot structure, character development, metonymy, metaphors, similes, etc. 

  1. What have you done to reach that audience?
Write my stories to their level of reading. It's getting them to actually read my books that is the hard part.

  1. In general figures, what has been the audience response to your outreach?
The readers who have read my books have responded with great praise for my works. But how can you gauge the responses of people who haven't read your books yet. So, on the other side of the coin, we have the looky-loos, those people who buy the book but don't read it. And early on in my ebook career, I used to give away books, and I never got one review or comment from those readers. I later realized that we have a phenomenon called ebook hoarders. But you'd have to read about that in Cybernocturnalism V, if memory serves. 

  1. Here’s your chance to talk to my readers and make them your readers. Sell yourself, sell your stories. 
I'd like to say that I'd give you your money back if you don't like any of my books, but damn, I'm not a used car salesman. I'm a retired university professor who's too busy introducing writers (poets and authors) to the academic world. All I ask is you read my books and share them with your friends. Besides writing my horror and noir stories, I plan to continue to expound in my critiques the virtues of today's writers, those authors I recognize as the future of academic study. As I said, when I read Keats or Yeats, I recognize greatness, and I can tell you that there are authors in horror whose books I've reviewed (Franklin E. Wales, Eric A Shelman and Hank Schwaeble, to name three) and poets (Jaye Tomas, Kim Acrylic, Andrew Blacet, William Cook, and Vincenzo Bilof, to name a few wordsmiths of strong note) that will be remembered long after the Servante of Darkness has bitten the dust. I have one distinct advantage in shaping the future of academic reading: I am still considered a Professor of English Literature, so my voice is still listened to by my colleagues across the campuses of the West Coast to the East Coast and across The Pond. It's just that this Anthony Servante blogger guy has limited reach in that academic world, but that doesn't mean I won't do my damnedest to reach my blog readers with the same level of great writing in horror and poetry. It can just be a task sometimes. You may have noticed that even though I'm always on the cusp of giving up, I still strive on. If you believe that I can spot talent worthy of tomorrow, then you should believe that I have written books that will also survive the libraries of time. The first step toward that destiny is for you to read my books. The second step is to read my critiques and get to know these writers blazing the way toward the literature of tomorrow. 

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But enough about me. I'd like to hear from you readers about your experiences as ebook authors. Do you think you will be read in 10, 20, 30 years or more from now? What goals have you set for yourself? You heard from five ebook authors here today. Let them know what you think. Hell, we're all in this together. There are the great writers of tomorrow who no one's heard of today, and there are the great writers of today whose fame will burn out by the end of Halloween. And then there are those in between. Which are you? Comment and let us know. Or try to answer some of the questions I posed for Cybernocks VII and see how your responses turn out. 

As usual, thank you, readers, for joining us today for our latest look at the Cybernocks of today. Maybe you'll be the e-author we talk to for Cybernocturnalism VIII? 

2 comments:

  1. Some interesting stuff here! An uphill climb is always better than "having it easy," in my opinion. Much good luck to all these authors. They're pursuing their dream, and dreams are very important! Anthony, did you forego the two publisher authors commenting on the interviews?

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    1. That was a one-time only thing. Thanks for commenting.

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