Kathleen Lopez interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Oct 31, 2017 10:48:11 PM
Kathleen Lopez interview with David Alan Binder
Bio from her website: Dr. Kathleen Lopez started writing early on at age fourteen as a junior high school journalist, a career she continued throughout her college career. She also had several poems published during her college tenure. She has always continued with her passion for writing short stories and poetry. Suspenseful thrillers, mysteries, and stories that take the reader along for the journey have always been among her favorites to read as well as write.
1. Where are you currently living?
2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
I would think the most important thing is that you thoroughly know what you are talking about in your stories. Whether they are based on real life or it is your own world, you must make it believable. The avid reader will find that one thing that you overlooked and call you out on it. Do your research. Make sure that your story is sensible, and for whatever that means given your genre. Be true to yourself as a writer, but also be true to the story.
3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
My most interesting writing quirk would be that I tend to capture parts of the book out of sequence. I have it all plotted out and have a basic idea of the story line and then a scene or a snippet of dialog will hit me and I will write it down. It may have nothing to do with what I am currently writing at the time and may be something way off in the story, but a word or phrase would strike me and I have to capture it and figure out where it goes later. I have rewritten scenes in order to make some random dialog work because the character ‘told me’ that is what they wanted to say. It is their world and I am just trying to keep up with the transcription.
4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
There is so much out there that it is a daunting task to take on being self-published. It is great there is so much these days to DIY your own book, but at the same time, it is overwhelming. Just starting out, there is so much to research and understand. The easiest part of self-publishing is the writing. Then there is the editing and finding a great editor. Graphics and book art are important as, despite the adage, we DO judge a book by its cover. Then there is the marketing, where to market, how, and how do you pay for it all. There is so much self-promotion and getting yourself out there. But there is a great community of Indie Authors out there and they are willing to help you navigate and learn from their mistakes. Finding that group will be a lifesaver and help you keep hold of your sanity! I have made some great friends and have learned so much from other self-published writers. The shared experience in getting your work out there helps tremendously.
5. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
EBooks tend to do well with various age groups and is not just a younger vs. older reader. I have had readers ranging from teenagers to middle age preferring the actual book while an older reader says they prefer their kindle as they can have a whole collection in one place. There are those that come up to me at book festivals saying how nothing beats the smell of a paperback. One would think that they would be slowly replaced, but there is still a love for holding a good book. There are days I will sell a bunch of paperbacks, and then there is a spike in eBooks. I personally do not see a clear winner.
As for alternative vs. conventional publishing, I have obviously gone the alternative route. While it would be great to have the agent and the support of a publishing house behind me, being noticed these days is hard. Marketing myself just to get sales is hard enough, but contacting all the various publishing houses and presenting yourself to catch the eye of an agent is just as tricky. Of course I would love for someone to discover my work and want to take on that burden, but I am not actively pursuing that as I am still trying to churn out stories and get a solid base established for my stories and reader base.
6. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
The secret is out. CreateSpace by Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press have made self-publishing accessible to the masses. Getting published is easy. Getting the right story takes some doing, and by doing is understanding how to effectively tell your story (research!). You will not survive the self-publishing world without a great editor. I do not mean good, I mean great. Self-published writers live and die by reviews and word of mouth. You do not want to be taken down by poor editing.
Also, have beta readers read your work as well. You know what you meant to get across, but it may not have made it to the page. Make sure your logic makes sense to others. Have a trusted group give you honest feedback to help improve your writing.
7. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
If I knew how to get one, I would have a great answer for this. Since I am agent-less, I dare not suggest a plan of action for getting an agent.
8. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
Understand your genre. Research! Just watching a type of movie of TV show does not make you completely knowledgeable on the intricacies of what you are suggesting in your book. Character building and environment development is key. Your characters must be realistic and true to the nature of who (or what) they are meant to be. And do not forget the setting. The world you are describing is a character just like anything else in your book. If you neglect describing the environment you are taking the reader to, they may not get the full effect of what you are trying to convey. If you want to be a better writer, then read. Read what you can find on the genre you wish to write about and see how others before you described their world. See how they wordsmithed their characters and brought to life their imagination. By reading how they explained things, the manner in which they developed stories, could help you find the words to make your story just as captivating.
I would suggest to get involved with an organization or group. I joined Sisters in Crime and found an organization that helps with promotion and betterment of writing in my chosen genre. I wound up getting so involved I started a chapter in Central Florida so others can meet and help each other as we continue to create our stories. It is important to feel a part of something while doing your own thing.
9. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
Readers will develop attachments to aspects of your story that you may not have deemed a major item. I have a character in my first release, Penelope Blake, which I merely intended as a plot pusher. She was there to fill in parts of the story and help keep it moving along. I have had some feedback from readers that they just loved her. When I wrote her, I did not think that she would be one to gather a following of sorts. She was a supporting character, and a minor one at that. Readers will gravitate to parts of your story that you may never have realized or intended.
For my second release, I had my cover designer find an image of a man holding a bat to convey a teaser about the story. When I put the cover as an image on my posters for my book festival appearances, he gets the most double takes. It is a stock photo image from a paid service, but ‘Hoodie Guy’ is a draw since he is predominant on the cover.
There are aspects that readers or potential readers will connect with that were parts that as a writer were just needed. It is hard to know exactly what will catch with readers. Sometimes as a writer you are slaving away at a particular item making sure it is captured in such a way and the one aspect that you ‘just wrote one day’ is the part that readers rave about in their reviews. Either way, it is a great feeling when they tell you how much they loved it.
10. How many books have you written?
I have written and released three books so far, but I have a few story lines in the pipeline right now. I am always adding to that To Do list.
11. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
I like to ask people for their elevator speech when describing their story or book. If you only had a minute to tell me about your story, and why I should buy it, what would you say? I like to think that if you can get to the heart of the story in a few sentences, then you truly understand your story. Seems like an easy thing, but if you cannot describe your story in a few sentences, then you may not have a theme that is manageable. It helps you know the core idea you are writing about. It also helps develop your book’s tag lines, the hooks that will lure in new readers. Readers have so many choices out there and grabbing them with images is one thing, using the right words as a tag line or blurb is what is going to get your story bought.
12. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
I like the unexpected or the forgotten detail of the story. I typically have an epilogue at the end of my stories that carry on with a part of the story that was noted, but not fully explored. It gives the reader that ‘oh yeah, I forgot about that’ and helps tie up a loose end they may not have expected. It is a story after the story.
During the story, a plot twist, if done correctly, is great. If a story is leading down a predictable path, presenting a new direction will re-engage the reader. Getting known for that technique is great since the reader will be willing to read along waiting for that twist.
13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
I like to jump into the story either at the moment things are bad or present the aftermath. Each of books start off with a Prologue that takes a moment from the story line that gives them a page or two of a teaser of where this story is headed. I have gotten my formula down, Prologue, eleven chapters, Epilogue. I never had intended for that set up, but that was how my first book came to be during development. When I was writing my second, I found myself following the same format instinctually. By the time I started writing the third one, it was just how I did it. I like to think that type of set up is my unique format for my stories.
14. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I use social media, a lot. It is a necessary evil, but it is the best way to get the word out about my books. Facebook Twitter, and my personal website it what I focus on to get promotional items out to the public. I also try to go to a lot of book festivals and have booths at events where I get in front of the reader. I also try to get involved with the library system and schools to capture those readers that have a love of books.
I have been trying to get the attention of more bloggers lately. Most of self-publishing is word of mouth. Getting someone else to talk about you carries more weight than you just talking about you. Having someone else post about you, helps promote you as someone to look up.
One thing that also helps is a consistent brand. Font, style, color, image, whatever that helps distinguish me and my work I try to make it a priority in my marketing. I try to make sure that I use the same font for covers and graphics to promote a more cohesive package. It shows readers that you have put thought into what you are doing and helps identify you from the others.
15. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I would have done a lot more research when I was first starting out to fully understand self-publishing. I had gone with a print on demand publishing house and the most I got out of it was spending my money with gaining little in return. It was not until I met other Indie Authors who told me about how to control my work myself through self-publishing. Not having the understanding of the world I was stepping into cost me a lot of funds in the beginning. I knew enough not to sign my rights away, but little else. Finding a group of Indie Authors to help show me the ropes helped. There is still more to learn, but now I have a community to assist me.
16. What saying or mantra do you live by?
We are all just stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?
17. Anything else you would like to say?
Writing is as much for you as it is others. Do not write something merely to make others happy. Find your joy in your work. Be a fan of your own work and it will make a better story in the end.