Friday, February 3, 2012

Query Trackers Making Tracks, #16

Today is installment number sixteen of my "First Friday of the Month" series on successful authors from QueryTracker. Some of my guests have agents, others have found success in less conventional ways. But one thing they all have in common is the utilization of the QueryTracker website to help make their tracks in the publishing world.

I met today’s guest,
Darke Counteur, through QT and blogging, and she's every bit as intriguing as her lovely name. I've been watching her career with interest as she's ventured out into the Indie waters. E-readers have opened up a whole new world for authors. In fact, self-publishing writers are being coined by some as the new mid-list authors. So it's a great time to be an Indie author, and a great time to get some insights from someone on the inside!

Welcome Darke. Let's get the interview started...

AGH: What gave you the idea for your first book?

DC: To be honest, most of my stories start off as fanfics. I see something on television or at the movies and I think- "Hey, what if this happened or that happened?", then I spend a huge amount of time trying to make it NOT read like a fanfic. Sometimes I merge two or more ideas into one novel. THE WATCHTOWER and the other books that will come after, are a combination of the television shows ANGEL and SUPERNATURAL. I have a scifi series that is a combination of XMEN and STAR WARS, but that won't be out for a while. 

AGH: How do you come up with titles? 

DC: I'm not sure, they just come to me. I try to make them reflect the content of the book as much as possible, to give the reader a good idea of what they can expect from the story. Sometimes the working title ends up being what I use.

AGH: Did you try to query conventionally before you went Indie?

DC: Oh yes, but I soon realized that what I was writing was not what the agents were looking for. I don't write YA, or romance, or even high fantasy. So many paranormal and urban fantasy novels that I've read have young characters with older ones more for background noise or a place to get needed information. Characters in my novels are over the age of 25, and a few have children. Maybe because I'm older is the reason my characters are too. I just find them more interesting to write about. They have more life experience than younger characters, more fodder for the stories. 

AGH: How long did you query and what were your stats?

DC: I used Query Tracker and found a good list of agents that rep'ed fantasy and/or urban fantasy. I queried for about four months (March to June), sending out three to four queries per day from Monday to Friday. I think I sent out around 60 or so query letters, and out of that, less than half replied. I got one partial.

The biggest drawback for me was that I don't write YA. When you see that an agent reps fantasy, that's what they want. The replies I did get back said it was good, but not right for them. We all know what that means.    

AGH: How many books do you now have available to the reading public?

DC: I have two, THE WATCHTOWER and my newest book UNDER THE COVER OF WICCA, which is the second book in the series. I want to release two more books this year, one in summer and another in late fall/winter.

AGH: Are you doing anything special to promote yourself online or otherwise?

DC: I started a pretend 'website' – The Paranormal Pit-Stop located on my Wordpress blog. The idea is, that the paranormal world has the internet as well (the Ethereal-net), and every now and then the administrator is allowed to 'cross over' and be a guest in the human world. So far, I only have blog interviews with characters from my book, but I would like to add other authors, so if you're a writer of paranormal and would like me to interview you, drop me a line!

Like other writers, I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and I have a blog. I also have a newsletter. I use it to send out excerpt and coupons, but that's about the extent of it. I've only sent out a few, just because I don't want to spam people. I hate that crap too.    

AGH: How did you find QueryTracker, and how did it help you in your effort to get inside the publishing doors?

DC: I found Query Tracker through friends. It has to be one of the best tools I've seen for keeping track of who you've queried. It keeps you organized in a meticulous way, and that's a good habit to get into if you're going to do this on your own.

AGH: What advice on the business side of publishing would you give to up and coming writers … something you wish you’d known when you first started?

DC: I consider myself lucky and learned from other's mistakes. One thing I did learn the hard way, don't skimp when it comes to editing. Especially proofing. I would have saved myself a lot of time, energy and money had I used a proof editor on my first book. Finding typo's is normal, but too many can really hurt your reputation in the eyes of the reader. You only get one chance to make a good impression, people may argue with me on that, but if a reader sees a book full of errors--even small ones, they're remember and may not purchase any other books by that author.

AGH: Do you have any current news to announce?  

DC: Only that my new novel, UNDER THE COVER OF WICCA is now online! I'm hoping to have the third book, OF COVENS AND PACKS online by summer 2012.

***Five for fun***

1) How many hats do you have in your home?

I'm Canadian. We don't have hats, we have toques. :P

2) Are you Team Dog or Team Cat?

Right now, Team Cat, but I'd love to get another dog, just to keep CatPack on their toes.

3) What video games do you play?

Right now, Sithboy (my son) and I are right into the Zombie game on Modern Warfare 2, but other than that, I'm a massive Sims 3 fan. I even download game content from the website. I can't get enough new clothing for my Sims!  

4) When would you go to if you had a time machine, and why?

I would travel back to ancient Greece and watch Vesuvius erupt. That, or Krakatoa or Mount Pelee.  So much destruction, but I think it would be beautiful to see. It really puts things into perspective when nature unleashes Her fury. 

5) If you were tight with one of the Greek gods, which one would it be and what favor would you ask of them?

I think it would be Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, and the inventiveness of words and language. Being a writer, I think she could help me create brilliant stories. 


Thanks for the interview, Darke. Those book covers are gorgeous! And I gotta say, judging by your amazingly creative story premises, the ones already out and the ones you have planned, I think maybe you have met Mnemosyne. Could be you just forgot... (◕‿-)

Congratulations on forging out into self-publishing, and may it be a successful, fun, and rewarding venture for you! And readers, please be sure to cheer Darke on in the comments. I know she would love to hear from you. Have a good weekend!

Places to find Darke online:

Facebook Author Page


  1. Wow, what a great story! I'm always so impressed with indie authors. Oh, and I love the whole "pretend" website--I definitely plan on checking it out!

    As always, great interview, Anita! And congratulation and best of luck to you, Darke!

  2. Awesome review! I completely agree with Darke about the querying process: If an agent specializes in fantasy, no use taking a chance to sending other genres to them--they just represent fantasy!

    Good luck with the self-publishing, Darke! You rock! :)

  3. Awesome, Darke. Great interview. By the way, in one of my upcoming releases, my MC is a descendant of Mnemosyne.
    Thanks Anita for another great post. :D

  4. Angela~ Hey there lady! I've been "working" on my website so long it feels rather imaginary, too. HEE

    Jack~ Thanks for stopping by and for following me! So nice to meet you. :)

    Kaylie~ You're welcome. And thank you for dropping in today. Wow, your upcoming release sounds AWESOME!

  5. *waves* Howdy everyone! Sorry I'm just getting here now, Husband came home early and put me to work. :P

    @Angela - Thank you very much! I got the idea for a pretend website from a real forum I used to visit; The Enchanted Element. There was all kinds of paranormal/scif stuff there.

    @Jack - Very much so. At first, I was disappointed, but then I thought, they know what they can sell and what they can't and I'd rather an agent be honest and say "Thanks, but no," instead of them trying to sell my book for years to publishers who weren't interested. The way I'm looking at it, if there is no market for my work, then I'll create the market! :D

    @Kaylie - Thanks, and wow, what a coincidence! I was going over a list of deities and she just jumped out at me!

    @Anita - Thank you so much for allowing me to visit! I had a great time answering your questions! You guys all rock!

  6. Great interview! Thanks for the tip about a proof editor. And the idea about a pretend web site is pure genius.

    And awesome covers!

  7. Love the books and the covers are great, too!

  8. A winner no matter how you count the votes! Your books are great, and I know there are even more coming. Good luck with all of it!

  9. @Kitty - IMO, a proof editor is worth their weight in gold.

    @Jennifer - I am still stunned at the beauty of the covers. Calista Taylor did them, and I can't wait to see what she has planned for the other books.

    @Marlene - Thank you. You are too kind. :)

  10. Pleasure to meet you, Darke. (Your name is beyond cool!) It's very encouraging to see an author buck the system, so to speak, and do it on their own. Good on ya! I agree w/the edits. We are writers--not editors, sometimes we need help :)

    'Nother great interview, Lovely!

  11. @Bethany - Thanks! I tried to play the traditional route, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be. I like doing it by myself. I have complete control. It's the ultimate control-freak career. :D

  12. Really interesting interview! I'm in the querying stage right now (QT is my lifeline!) and I'm all ears about the indie side of life. Darke, thanks for sharing your story. Best of luck!

    1. Hey! I just discovered this reply thingie!

      Indie is hard, you have to do everything yourself or pay someone to do it (cover art, proofing, etc). There is not instant success doing it yourself either. If you choose this path, be prepared to stick it out for the long run.

  13. @Anita, my MC can dig into people's brains and take their memories. :P

    @Darke, that is weird because Mnemosyne isn't a well known goddess compared to the rest of Greek mythology. But I find myself liking the Titans more and more, some of them are sort of messed up or can mess someone else up. Hehe.

    1. I'd never heard of her before I went looking. Just goes to show you, you learn something new every day. :D