I’m really excited to have just completed my first interview. We covered a wide range of topics, and even if it got off to a slightly rocky start, I believe it hit its stride after a bit. The interviewer was a rather severe librarian who is apparently a big fan of my work, although I’m not sure she completely understood all my humor. But no matter. Without further ado, here’s the interview, followed by yet another free sample from the hit “How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated).”
Oh, and on the Fatal Exchange book page, I’ve posted an excerpt so cheapskates can sample my fiction work. It’s following all the glowing 5 star reviews from famous people.
INTERVIEWER: Well, it’s certainly a treat to have you participating in my interview series. This is the first one, so I may be a little nervous. It’s not every day I get to interview a man who has sold over a million eBooks in 5 months and then written a book to share his secrets with us. So let’s start off with…
ME: Uh, I don’t mean to interrupt, but I think you may be mistaking me with John Locke. He is the one who sold the million and wrote the “How I Did It” book.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, uh, OK. So you didn’t sell all those books?
ME: No, I wrote a book called “How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated)” which is a parody of all things writing, self-publishing and self-promotion. I also wrote Fatal Exchange, an action thriller set in NY featuring an iconoclastic female bike messenger being hunted by a rogue nation’s hit squad and a serial killer.
INTERVIEWER: So let’s talk about the fiction then. You’re now writing westerns? Something about bear poking or rock throwing?
ME: No, that would be John again.
INTERVIEWER: Not you.
ME: No. My books are longer. Longer words. More of them. And no bears.
INTERVIEWER: Hmmm. Well do you have a lovable yet crusty ex-CIA hit man who speaks in monosyllables as a protagonist?
ME: No. That’s John again. I write complex characters like Tess, the ex-software programmer turned bike messenger who is battling depression while racing for her life as everyone around her is butchered by bloodthirsty killers.
INTERVIEWER (studies notes): So you’re not from the South?
ME: No. I think Locke’s from Georgia, but I’m living in Mexico. Georgia’s where they freed the slaves a while ago after the whole schoolbus incident happened during the second world war. Mexico is where all the gardeners and maids come from. They speak Mexican, and have a different word for everything. Totally different places. I think they might speak English or some kind of patois in Georgia, maybe Georgian, but it’s definitely different than Mexican.
INTERVIEWER: I see. So it’s Russell, right? Blake? Oh, now I remember! Weren’t you relieved when the jury acquitted you on the charges you butchered your wife in that restaurant parking lot?
ME: I think you might be thinking of Robert Blake. The actor.
INTERVIEWER: Right. You had that hit TV series from the 1950′s, I think. Borat or something? How’s the parrot? They live a long time, I know. But wow, I mean, you’ve changed a lot.
ME: Yeah, the tequila will do that. I also had a little work down around my eyes. But seriously, that’s not me. My name’s Russell. His name’s Robert.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, Russell! Very good, then. I think I get it. So tell me, were you disappointed with the reviews on Robin Hood, that said you were a butterfaced twat with the acting depth of a bag of rocks?
ME: No, that would be Russell Crowe. He’s also an actor, from someplace foreign like Mel Gibson is, Austria or Newfoundland or something. He’s taller than Gibson, and doesn’t hate the jews as much. I’m not sure which country the Amish are from, but I believe they’re from there – Amity, maybe? I think they both like their scotch, though, if you know what I mean. Actually, I could use a pop right about now…
INTERVIEWER: So you’re sure you aren’t any of these people? Well, fudge. I’m not sure what to ask you.
ME: You could try discussing my hysterically funny parody book that’s garnering rave reviews from literary luminaries and influential bloggers alike…
INTERVIEWER: No, not really my cuppa, if you know what I mean. Don’t read that kind of crap much, no offense. I tend to stick to non-fiction audio books or illustrated novels.
ME: I see. The pictures are probably the best, huh? So, how long’s it been since you had a man?
INTERVIEWER: I…I beg your pardon?
ME: You know what I’m saying. Or put another way, how many cats do you have? You’re obviously not getting to the gym at all, but we could still make something work…
INTERVIEWER: That’s none of your beeswax. I think this interview is over.
ME: OK. But offer’s open. Mrrraawwrrrr. I have a bag of Ho Hos in my car. And I brought my man thong. The Russeller! Whooowhee!!!
Overall, a strong positive, even though she wasn’t prepared for my pithy observations and literary brilliance. But it’s a start.
On a different topic, here’s an excerpt from “How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time” – from the writer’s guide portion of the book, which advises on character development, rules of usage, plotting, story structure, grammar, etc.
“Tip #42 – Tell, Don’t Show
What’s the product a reader is buying? Words. Is it a motion picture? No. So what did the buyer sign up for? Being told a story. If the reader wanted to be shown a story, he’d wait till your eBook comes out on DVD. He didn’t. Don’t get clever and infer things, or try to demonstrate a quality, characteristic, or plot point. When in doubt, tell the story. Let the reader know what’s happening.
You’re a storyteller. What does that term sound like it means? Does it say you’re a story-shower? Is there some aspect of the language that implies demonstration?
This one’s obvious. Tell the reader what’s going on, what the characters are thinking or feeling, and why this time it’s personal. If the protagonist’s wife was killed by a bear on a rampage, tell us she was his beloved and that he never recovered; don’t give us feeble clues so we have to play Sherlock Homes. I’m busy. I don’t have time to sleuth around for what your characters are feeling or not. Just spill the beans.
I’m reminded of an ex. She would never tell me what was wrong, or why she was upset. She’d just try to poison my food and glare at me in a sullen manner. It would have been way easier had she just told me she’d discovered I was sleeping with her sister, but no, it was all some sort of divine mystery. Just learn from her mistake.
Tell, don’t show.
Tip #43 – Make it Personal This Time
We all love characters who are detached and don’t have much or any skin in the game. An aloof, uninterested protagonist who’s just doing his job is always fun, and I personally thrive on these types. Most good fiction is written in this manner. But I’ve got a novel twist that can have readers on the edge of their seat.
Hang on. Don’t rush me. Okay. You ready? Drum roll, please . . .
Make it personal, this time.
That’s right. As an example, if you have a tired, alcoholic ex-cop who is jaded by decades on the job, whose substance abuse has ruined his relationship, and who seems indifferent to whether he lives or dies, you can add some spice and bring the story to life by getting him involved, because . . . this time it’s personal!!! I know, I know. Pure writing genius. It’s just one of the reasons Russell Blake’s a beloved household gazillion-selling name.
But back to our story.
Maybe we have him befriend a scruffy-but-lovable street urchin with a foul mouth, or a hooker with a heart of gold, or a lovable kitty cat, which stirs something inside him and offers him a brief glimpse of his own flickering humanity, and then the villain kills his newfound object of hope. Bang. Is he ever pissed . . . and this time it’s personal!
Do you see? Are you with me?
I know it may seem like a foreign concept, and you may need to make it excruciatingly clear for the reader that it’s actually personal this time, and why that’s so, but in the end, this can have an enormous impact on your popularity. When in doubt, make it personal.”
I don’t want to give away the whole book, as that’s inconsistent with me making a huge pile of money from mining all those easy self-publishing millions, however I figure there are still a few cheapskates out there who haven’t shelled out the measly $3 so they can better their miserable lives, and hopefully this will motivate them. I mean, hey, maybe the cost of some lukewarm soy no-foam decaf is too much for you to achieve all your dreams and become a success, in which case, this isn’t for you. No, somebody will have to wipe the bugs off my windshield at intersections or the base of freeway off ramps, and if everyone was a gaillion selling bestseller, there would be a crisis, so by all means, if you have something better to do with your three bucks than turning your life around and taking the first steps to self-actualized success, hop to it. But for those who understand that this is their ticket into the race, their shot at the bigtime, their moment to bask in the sweet glow of their own personal sun, it’s never been easier. Hit that buy button, and begin your journey to the land of your wildest dreams coming true. Guaranteed!