This week I’ll be interviewing authors who self published. As my first guest, I’m pleased to have indie author Andrew Cotto, with me!
Tell me about The Domino Effect.
THE DOMINO EFFECT is the story of Danny “Domino” Rorro, a charismatic kid from Queens staggered by the challenges of adolescence. The story follows his journey to a boarding school in New Jersey and back home to Queens, back to the person he was raised to be, guided by the benevolent teachings of his childhood.
Describe your writing career in five words or less.
Nothing else I’d rather do.
What made you decide to self publish?
Self publishing was not my first option. I have an agent, and we had great expectations for the book. She sent it out to dozens of traditional publishers and a few of the larger indies. I was hoping for a bidding war. What we got instead was a ton of flattering compliments but no one willing to publish the book (the reasons were fairly consistent around its non-contemporary YA components, which happened to be the things I liked best about it; in fact, I never saw it as a pure YA book, but one that readers, both young and adult, could enjoy). It was incredibly frustrating. After a while, my agent put the book aside and began focusing on my second novel (a noir she was able to sell to a small press; it comes out this spring). I was left with Domino, and I just couldn’t leave it on the shelf, so, I decided to self publish in hopes of proving to publishers that the book has critical and commercial appeal. So far, I’ve had lots of great reviews and two offers from mid-size publishers, but I’m holding out for the perfect partner.
How many hours a day do you devote to marketing?
I work full time teaching at a few colleges (I’m also married with two children), so I don’t have as much time to devote to marketing as I’d like, but I do manage to get an hour or so a day into marketing via facebook, twitter, etc. Forgive the flattery, but I’ve found blogs such as this one to be so helpful. I’m amazed by the community of people who love books and devote their time to spreading the good word about good books.
As an indie author, how do you find readers?
Great question. I’ll have to let you know when I find them. I’ve found lots of interest, but not a lot of readers…though I’m hoping said interest will lead to readers down the line. Fingers crossed…
What advice would you give to writers aspiring to go indie?
Make sure the book is done and professional before publishing. There’s a standard among the indie community, which is awesome, and there will be no place there for you unless your book meets those standards. Once the book warrants publication, invest some time learning how to market and self promote. Immerse yourself in the independent community and embrace the opportunities out there. Become a part of the community.
What or who keeps you writing?
At this point, I don’t think not writing is an option. It’s so much a part of my life that I just couldn’t put it aside, like a discarded hobby. That said, I’ve been doing more article work than novel writing (I’ve written dozens of articles for major journals, including the New York Times and the Good Men Project, where I am a regular contributor to both). I’m enjoying the short form of non-fiction very much, especially the ones in the personal essay or editorial realm. I do have a novella that I’m trying to stretch into a novel, though I have to admit that investing in another long work of fiction doesn’t inspire passion in me at this point. That will change, I’m certain.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Not surprisingly, I love coming-of-age novels – the types of books that are timeless and broad in appeal, like Catcher in the Rye, The Outsiders, To Kill a Mockingbird, Stand by Me, etc.). I also love “literary” noir/crime/mystery (“literary” as opposed to the pulpy, overly-violent, formulaic forms of the genre). In general, I’m open to any story that tells a good story in a manner that is well-crafted and accessible.
What writer most inspires you?
Roald Dahl is probably the writer I admire most because he tells such amazing stories via an incredibly descriptive, yet direct, writing style. I’m also blown away by the descriptive prowess of a mystery writer named James Lee Burke.
What non-writing activities do you enjoy?
My wife and two kids take precedence over all else, but I also love being with extended family and good friends, cooking…eating…laughing…listening to music. I’m also an Italophile, having lived in Tuscany for a year (it’s where I began writing Domino), so most things “Italy” are of interest to me. I love traveling, exploring new cultures. I love New York City (where I live), exploring new neighborhoods. I play guitar and someday need to get better and be in a band. Hopefully, when my books begin to sell, I’ll have more time for all of these things…
Where can we find you?
THE DOMINO EFFECT can be found at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and my own blog (links attached):