Joe Clifford interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: May 21, 2016 2:54:03 PM

Joe Clifford interview with David Alan Binder

Bio: Joe Clifford is acquisitions editor for Gutter Books and producer of Lip Service West, a “gritty, real, raw” reading series in Oakland, CA. He is the author of several books, including Junkie Love and Lamentation, as well as editor of Trouble in the Heartland: Crime Stories Based on the Songs of Bruce Springsteen. His latest novel, December Boys, the second in the Lamentation series (Oceanview Publishing), is out June 2016. Joe’s writing can be found at

  1. Link for December Boys at Amazon
  2. Link for December Boys at
  3. Link for December Boys at

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

Clifford. Like the Big Red Dog

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

San Francisco, Bay Area, California

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

Writing is a reciprocal process. Give, take. Author, audience. Trying to write without paying attention to reader tastes is like trying to get dressed in a time machine in the dark.

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

Habit. I am a creature of habit. Same coffee, same time, same order of checking websites first, music, etc.

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

Publishing is based on the gatekeeper system. Which is good and bad. Traditional publishers are naturally risk-adverse (while hoping to discover the next big thing). Most of all, they want to make money. Which is okay. Everyone wants to make money. Except for hippies. And who wants to hang around those dirty fuckers? This gives rise to self-publishing. Which is also good and bad. One of the nice parts about traditional publishing is it weeds out a lot of the drek. Anyone can self-publish. Some great work has seen the light of day because of that, work that may’ve languished in the drawer for years. More often than not, it’s been my experience that work should’ve been left in the drawer.

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

Oceanview Publishing, Key West, Florda

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

Print is the more glamorous of the two. Personally, I only read e-versions. Too convenient.

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

Best bit of advice I ever heard, which sucked hearing before I had a book out: “If you are good enough and keep at it, your work will get out there.”

8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?

Agents, like publishers, are naturally risk-adverse. They want to discover new talent (desperately) but because they are inundated with so much crap, they are ready to say no on page one, line one. They also don’t like to be set up on blind dates. The only useful advice I can offer: get them to notice you before you send them your work. Nothing gets a no faster than that blind, cold query.

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

Besides the patented “put your ass in the chair”? Not really. I can say this. Writers who aren’t published think getting a book published will be this amazing event, like it will answer all life’s questions and struggles, justify the mystery. Not true. It’s just paper, man. I mean, having a book out is great, and certainly better than not having one out. I just mean, the next day the sun comes up and you are still you. What needs to matter most is the work, and how you feel completing it.

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

Of all the artistic enterprises I’ve undertaken, and I’ve undertaken most, there is probably nothing harder than getting a novel to hold together.

11. How many books have you written?

I have written 9. Six of which are published. Of the other three, 2 are damn good. The last one is [crap].-Yeah, I sanitized it to meet Google Sites standards.

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)?

Know when to listen to audience, and know when to stick to your guns. Good luck.

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

Twists? They can’t be gimmicky. By definition every good story needs, well, not a twist, per se, but a turn. I mean, if your hero sets out to get something, does something to get it, and then gets it, that isn’t a story; that’s a trip to the grocery store. There needs to be an unintended consequence, both obvious and unforeseeable. Like I said: hardest art there is.

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

I think voice. For me at least. But it’s also hard to say. I know it when I see it (read it). If it was that easy to replicate, I’d have written Gone Girl by now. I mean my own version.

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

Social media, conferences, basically putting a name to the face.

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

I would’ve done heroin longer so I’d have a sequel to Junkie Love.

17. What saying or mantra do you live by?

What doesn’t kill you, doesn’t kill you.

Please contact me at dalanbinder at gmail dot com or ab3ring at juno dot com

If you a published author or in a band with or without a book or an up and coming celebrity and want to garner following or get your message out there then I’d like to interview you and feature you and your book(s) or message on this web site in one of my blogs.

Of course, I’m always looking for authors to interview. If you know of one, send them to me, please.

Write Coach service (Donations accepted) - Contact me at dalanbinder at gmail dot com or ab3ring at juno dot com