Beth Everett interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Dec 10, 2016 4:01:28 PM

Beth Everett interview with David Alan Binder

Bio from her website: Beth Everett is the author of the Lee Harding mystery series. She grew up in the coastal hills of San Francisco. When she wasn't writing books about ladybug circuses, she was suspecting the worst of her neighbors and looking for clues of their misdeeds. She blames Nancy Drew.

The author is working on her third book, Where Charlotte Lay, which takes place in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. She finds the natural beauty of the rain forest to be a most inspirational place.

Everett's short story of the same title won second place in the Women on Writing fiction contest in 2015.

Dead on the Dock won an honorable mention in the 2016 Writer's Digest Self-Published awards.

1. How do you pronounce your name (only answer if appropriate)?

As spelledJ

2. Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?

Portland, Oregon

3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. Practice. Practice.

4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

I don’t read my completed work until a month or so after I finish writing the last page. It gives me distance.

Also, I like to edit when I am stoned.

5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

I self-publish the Lee Harding Mystery Series because I wanted creative control over my cover art and editing.

a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

Self-published through Createspace

6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

Self-publishing is great if you have a niche target market. For example, I know a erotica writer that makes 30K a year writing stories and publishing them through the only two publishers that do that sort of thing. He knows his market and can reach them.

That can be more difficult for other genres when you are self-published. You really need to know who wants to read your book and how to find them. This is why non-fiction sells so well when it’s self-published.

Creating the book was difficult and challenging, but nothing compared to distribution.

Createspace prints on demand and doesn’t offer returns, as the big publishing houses do. In my opinion, it’s the largest obstacle for self-publishing, and feels more like a punishment from bookstores. I understand their issues with Amazon, and I try to buy most of my books from the small bookseller. But, their reluctance to work with self-published authors goes against the very philosophy of independence they claim to support.

Also, the New York Times will not review Indie books (another punishment for going around the large corporations.

7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

Treat your books as you would your children. Hire the best illustrators, editors, and graphic designers. Take the time to write good copy on the exterior. I can’t believe how many self-published books I’ve seen with stock photos and bad copy. You can spot them instantly.

8. I am seeking traditional publishing for my new YA book.

I recently attended a writer’s conference. I paid for the pitch session and got six agents to agree to read my work! Have a good pitch.

Writing a query is harder than writing a book in some ways. You have to include the spirit of the book in a few paragraphs. But you can have the opposite issue too…your query is better than your book. Make sure they are both great.

9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Don’t be afraid to fail. It sounds so cliché.

Write every day. Take some time to work your stories out in nature. Silence and exercise can provide endless inspiration.

Write an outline, even if it’s a quick one, so you don’t find story arc problems when it’s too late to fix them.

Work with a critique partner and a writing practice group. Most cities have them.

Practice! My first book is good. My second is better. My third is fantastic. My fourth…

10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing, or illustrating?

Buyers judge a book by its cover, so make the cover stand out.

Grammerly! What a program. It finds the little things that that humans miss.

Your friends will buy your book, but may not ever read it. Why? Because your voice is too familiar and they can’t separate it from your characters.

11. How many books have you written?

I’ve written two and half murder mysteries and a young adult book.

12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

· Use less of the word, “that.” This was a tip my critique partner shared with me and its truth. In most cases, the word can be eliminated.

· Watch your passive voice.

· Be fearless with your character development.

· You won’t like your work until you like yourself.

13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

I don’t believe that all stories need a twist. If they are well developed characters and settings, the reader will want to stay in that world. Dead on the Dock is barely a murder mystery, yet it won an honorable mention for the mystery genre from Writer’s Digest. Why? Because takes the reader to another place.

14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

My protagonist (Lee Harding) is the first stoner sleuth. She is strong and not always so nice and kind of a pain in the ass. She is not, however, stupid, as many cannabis users have been portrayed in the past.

Women have really connected with Lee because she has real issues and is honest about them. Let’s face it; motherhood and domestic life is not always a slice of pie.

15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?

I give ten books a month away in Goodreads Giveaways. Once in a while I offer freebies on Amazon. I toured the country and sold lots of books at unconventional readings (bars, parks, etc.). Facebook has been just okay. I wouldn’t recommend spending too much money there.

I have a fantastic press kit, and send that to book stores.

Contest wins have been a great source of PR for me, as have interviews.

16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I would have taken my time on my first book. I rushed to get it out. But I think every author thinks there aren’t enough rewrites, so I let it go.

17. What saying or mantra do you live by?

Optimism is free.

Work hard. Play hard.

18. Anything else you would like to say?

When I was twenty years old, I packed a box and a typewriter and moved to Hawaii to write. It never happened, and now, thirty years later, I am starting work on that same story! Listen to your muse. Write the stories that come to you, or someone else will.