Saturday, July 16, 2011
5 QUESTIONS FOR AUTHOR RICK MURCER
So folks, let me introduce Rick Murcer:
1- You seem to have come from another planet and taken over the Amazon Kindle bestseller list. Can you tell us what brought you to Indie publishing?
LOL. My wife thinks the same thing...regarding the other planet.
I actually was published in 2003 in Writers Journal for a story called Herb's Home Run. My best friend had died from a massive heart attack at age 42, and we hadn't talked much during the previous year. I wrote the story to cope with my grief, I guess, but he and I used to talk about spiritual things and I was hoping Herb had that resolved. After Herb's Home Run was published, I thought maybe I had something to offer so I did the first draft of Caribbean Moon in about four months, but only played at finishing it for a few years. Then I lost my job, couldn't find another, and decided I'd bettter do something productive. After numerous edits, I released Caribbean Moon in March of this year. The Indie thing had tremendous appeal to me because of the control it offered. I can write what I want, when I want.
2- Did you attempt having your work published through traditional channels first?
Not really, much to my wife's chagrin. I sent 13 query letters and had a couple of nice responses, but decided waiting until 2012 to get something published was, well, plain silly. God willing, I'll have at least four ebooks out this year. That would've never happened in the traditional world.
3- You obviously have some serious writing skills--where did you develop them?
This question is very humbling to me. I still think I have much to learn. I've always been a good storyteller...ask my Mom. :)...and I love books. When I was a kid, I read every comic book I could get my hands on, plus sports books, and the Hardy Boys, Doc Savage, etc. Then I picked up reading again a little later in life. King, Koontz, Patterson, and Noel Hynd tell great stories. I simply love to read a good story. Combine that love of story with the fact that I've dealt with people since the beginning of my work life (car sales, collections, marketing, management, to name a few) and it equals a certain curiosity about human nature. What we want, what we need, what scares us, what completes us, and where we are going when this life is over. I just love people; each one of us is so unique! So, I've turned those life experinces into character-driven novels, and I hope folks can identify. The technical side of writing is a little more difficult, but my wife is a professional proofreader/editor and she is a tremendous teacher. Even though I'm stubborn, I guess we got some of it right.
4- What have you done to market your Manny Williams thrillers and what did you find most effective?
Marketing is a strength for me and I based mine on one principle; find your audience. If you can't define and contact your audience, how will they ever know who you are and what you do? Since Caribbean Moon's setting is a cruise ship in paradise, I posted at every cruise ship forum and blog I could locate. I tried to think where I would go If I were searching for this kind of read, and went there. Most cruisers are voracious readers, so that was a plus for me. I did the other things: Facebook, Twitter, posting on forums, and those all helped some. I also wasn't shy about telling my 300 e-mail contacts about my new adventure, and many responded with their support...and subsequent surprise on how much they enjoyed the book. The old saying about a prophet not being accepted in his own home was certainly on my mind, but my friends and family were amazing and I thank them, again. I'd like to mention Amazon here as well. Once I started making some sales, Amazon's list system came into play...very powerful mojo that has been a tremendous boost.
5- What is your overall goal as an Indie author and what do you see the future of publishing looking like in 5 years?
The first part of this question is a tough one. I want to be able to make a good living so that I can continue to write stories that people can escape to. I want to leave my kids and grandkids with something more than memories, and ultimately, do what God wants me to do to help wherever I can. I'm convinced our rapid success has to do with being blessed far beyond my expectations so we can give back. There are so many folks hurting right now, and our desire to help is almost overwhelming. I know, a little corny these days, but if we don't help lighten the fears of others and help to offer them hope, what's the point of being here?
Whew! Publishing in the next five years, huh? I'll draw on my business background and simply say that things will never be the same for traditional, or Indies, ever again. I don't think HC or paperback books will ever disappear, but the Big Six will have to figure out how to compete with the proliferation of e-books, and also the pricing. I read once where it takes five miles to turn a cruise ship around, meaning changing direction for something so large takes time and space. Traditional publishing may have to move faster than that. I also believe you'll see more and more offers to Indies for traditional contracts, and many will live in both worlds. New publishers like Thomas and Mercer and their bold new contract system will become the norm and authors will finally get the majority of profits for their work, instead of 15-17%. I've never hammered the traditional system, but evolution is inevitable and they need to get there.
When I first got into the business, someone, another author, told me that if the book is good, readers will find you, if not, maybe you should consider doing something else. I'm mentioning that to say that time is a great equalizer and I actually believe the number of Indies will decrease.
I do believe the public IS the ultimate gatekeeper in this new order and they will answer the questions of quality and readability. Some authors will become discouraged, and I believe, at some point, Amazon, B&N, and others could create some kind of criteria for publishing on their sites. That's just my opinion, however.