(Originally a FFQ Interview)
[JD] Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got into writing?
[PEC] I am a Parsec Award Finalist/Nominee for all my fiction since I began podcasting in 2009. When I'm not writing, publishing, and podcasting, I'm an enterprise software developer, system administrator, and small business owner. I am the creator of MyWrite (http://mywriteapp.com) which enables authors to sign/personalize ebooks using iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iTouch, etc).
I began writing in earnest at age 12 and continued doing so through college. I won a grant from Colorado State University for creative writing in 1992. I wrote several novels before taking a very long break from writing between 1995 and 2008. I had a bad experience with a literary agent which was enough to sour me on writing and it wasn't until I realized I could podcast my fiction that I got interested in writing again.
[JD] I know that you have quite a few shorter works out in the marketplace right now, but can you share with us a little about your work that is already published and anything that you are currently working on?
[PEC] I have three collections of interlinked stories that are on-going, although the third has yet to be published. The Fiends Collection mainly focuses on stories that take place in the present or near past and involve psychologically broken human beings as both antagonists and protagonists. My Fiends novella "Tattoo" was a Parsec Award Finalist and is what put my work on the map.
"Tattoo" is a story about a reporter following a series of murders that involve tattoos. His investigation leads him into the world of body art and an obsession worth killing for.
"Closet Treats," my first published novel, is a slow burn psychological horror novel that involves a psychotic main character (ie, delusional) and a demonic ice cream man he sees in the neighborhood. The main character is unable to tell if the demon really exists or is just another delusions. To this day, I receive photos of creepy ice cream trucks from my readers.
The "Garaaga's Children" series of stories are my most recently published works. The stories start in pre-written history and move through ancient times. "Scrolls," published in September, takes place at the Library of Alexandria in 48 BCE and includes as much historical detail as I could muster. The stories involve the nephilim of a dark god, it's supplicants, and those that would destroy them. Starting next year, the series will move out of BCE and into the first millennium. Ultimately, stories in the Garaaga's Children universe will enter our modern world and intersect with the other two series.
Last year, I wrote "The Rider" for Dark Øverlord Media set in Scott Sigler's "GFL" universe. The novel is expected to be published in 2013. DØM commissioned the novel and Scott and I are cowrote it.
At present, I'm working on the third draft of Ama which is the last story in the Garaaga's Children: Ancients volume. Shadowpublications.com is now taking pre-orders for the limited edition hardcover which also includes the full length audio book and special edition ebook. As soon as that's all done, it'll be time to get my hands back in the Fiends universe with a new novella and another novel. This is going to be a very busy year.
[JD] Lots of authors have trouble when it comes to getting published. Can you tell us about any challenges that you may have faced in getting your first book published?
[PEC] After bad experiences with both agents, large presses, and small presses, I decided I wanted to keep control of my work, for better or worse. Rather than give up important rights to my characters, intellectual property, and etc, I went the route of joining a publishing co-op, Blue Moose Press. My debut hardcover, "Fiends: Volume 1" was published in 2011 via BMP.
The BMP co-op is an invite-only organization. Books must be professionally edited, contain professional artwork, typeset by professionals, and must meet the quality standards of the group. In addition, all our books are published via Lightning Source rather than someone like CreateSpace. This guarantees our quality for both print runs and PoD.
I'd have to say that the largest hurdle in publishing has been cultivating the confidence to strike out on my own. There are plenty of resources out there to help authors do so, but some are loathe to make the journey. Still others consider it beneath them. I suggest authors look to what they hope to achieve, what they are willing to give up as far as rights and royalties, and make well-informed decisions.
[JD] In the works that you have had published, who has designed the covers for them?
[PEC] With the majority of the Garaaga's Children series, Starla Huchton designed the covers for the e-books. The sole exception was "Legends" designed by local artist Ron Dykes. Ron offered to make a cover for me and I was delighted to oblige.
For "Closet Treats" and "Tattoo," a friend of mine put those together. For "Fiends: Vol 1," I commissioned an independent artist to create the actual graphics, although I handled the typesetting myself.
Unless circumstances radically change, Starla will be doing my covers from here on out.
[JD] Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
[PEC] One of the benefits of podcasting your fiction for free is cultivating an audience. In conjunction with social media, I have managed to connect with a large number of readers, some of whom communicate with me daily.
I have received beer, whiskey, tobacco, coffee, and glassware from my most devoted readers. Many of my fans have donated to Shadowpublications.com with the promise their names/likenesses will end up in my stories.
When my readers aren't threatening me for not writing enough, I mostly hear compliments. Thus far, the most common complaint I have among my readership is the fact my books aren't long enough. However, that is coupled with the comments that they are never bored by my work.
I highly suggest authors make sure they become as public as possible. Connecting with your readers is extremely important to building an audience. The more communicative and responsive you are, the more loyal they are. This helps spread the word about your stories and brings in new readers you otherwise wouldn't have.
[JD] Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
[PEC] Stay tuned. The weirdness has just begun.
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Paul-Cooley/e/B003P47TES/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1360804851&sr=8-1
Smashwords author page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/paulcooley