Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today's Fresh Catch: A Super Secret Surprise Special Guest

Earlier this week, I constructed a sneaky snare trap and captured me a special guest: Mr. David Kazzie.

You might remember David from his prior visit on my QueryTracker Making Tracks series, due to his unconventional leap into representation. His agent, Ann Rittenberg of the Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency, came to him (instead of the other way around) after his "So You Want To Write A Novel" video went viral in the writing/publishing community.

You can read the detailed play by play on David's blog here.

Recently, David made another huge and unconventional leap to further his publishing career, and I dragged him over to talk about it because his savvy and courage so inspired me that I wanted to share it with you. Even if I had to fight him tooth and nail! Okay, small exaggeration. He didn't put up too much of a fight.

That said, I will take off David's gag, and give him the floor. ;)


About a year ago, as I was making my peace with my last manuscript, The Jackpot, reaching the end of the line, I started taking note of the developing eBook situation. As a reader, I loved my Kindle, but as a writer, I didn't want to believe what I was seeing. I wanted - no, I needed to believe that everything I'd learned about publishing still applied.

J.A. Konrath was a crazy person, I told myself. He was a known quantity, a writer who, via his traditional book deals, had laid the groundwork for success with self-publishing. I felt like the only option for me or any other unpublished writer was to query and hope for the best.

But as the calendar pages turned, as he began featuring writers I'd never heard of, people who hadn't had traditional publishing deals, people with no agents, but who were still selling eBooks like crazy, I had to pay closer attention to what he was saying. Still, my heart didn't want to accept what was happening, what my head told me was happening. I didn't want to accept there was a tectonic shift in publishing underway.

Then my animated videos took off last fall, and I started to think about how I could best use the exposure to further my novel-writing career. As the weeks and months went by, the evidence that publishing was changing radically continued to pile up. And then I had an epiphany - if I want to be in the business of writing, I needed to be making my writing-career decisions with an eye toward what was best for the business, not based on what my preconceived notions about publishing had been.

As J.A. Konrath (or maybe it was Barry Eisler) put it (paraphrasing here), a print book is merely a delivery system for a story. And for the first time ever, there is a viable alternative delivery system in place, one that had put down the necessary groundwork to give writers an option other than pursuing the traditional route to getting published. There's nothing wrong with print books and big publishing companies and so on, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't examine ALL your options.

I took a long look at the state of my writing career. I had these videos out there, plowing the road for me. Collectively, they still get about 2,000 hits a day. But the Internet being what it is, that probably won't last forever. A year from now, will people remember or care about a handful of short animated videos? Should they? Is that what I want to be remembered for?

And so when I looked at it as a business decision, the answer quickly became clear.

Self-publishing was the answer.

Isn't NOW the time for me to take advantage of the exposure I'm fortunate enough to have, especially when talking about my career as a novelist? Isn't that what any smart businessperson would do? And self-publishing provides me the vehicle to get my product to market as fast as possible.

So after discussing it with Ann, my agent, I set my sights on self-publishing The Jackpot. And I really enjoyed running the entire show myself. I worked closely with a really good freelance editor. I had total say over the cover, all the way down to the spacing of the letters. It was a ton of work, but it was well worth it.

Click cover for Amazon details and book blurb

But let's not forget, we're writers because we love to write and because we love books. 

And so all cold-blooded business aside -- seeing my book on Amazon for the first time last Friday afternoon, with a cover I loved, was the best moment of my writing career.

Thank you so much, David. And yes, that's a FANTASTIC book cover! :)

Now I'm opening up the floor to our readers. Are any of you out there considering going this route? If you'd like to know more about the process, this is a great time to ask our guest. (Not sure how long these ropes will hold, so get your questions in quick!)

Also, please support David by tweeting, face booking, and chatting up his blog and new book. Let's get the buzz started for him.

And make sure you drop by here on Friday when I'll be having my last QueryTrackers Making Tracks interview until mid July. I'm taking off from interviewing for six weeks to make time for family vacations and home renovations. ;)

This week's QT guest will be Lisa Iriarte, a lady who had a whopping SEVEN offers of representation. Stop by to find out how she decided between them, and to learn what fluffy powderpuffs have in common with her book's characters.

Until then, have a great rest of the week!


  1. Great post David and Anita! :)

  2. Great post, and on a refreshing topic. I think it's important to get all avenues to success out there for aspiring writers.

    Great job, both!

  3. Awesome, awesome post! This is such an inspiring story. Congratulations David!

    I'm determined my projects will see the light of day- one way or another. I'm going to try the traditional route first, but if all else fails, it's nice to know there are other options available.

  4. Hi Amy! Thanks for stopping by this a.m. :)

    Mindy~ hey girl. I agree, we should always keep our options open. David is the perfect candidate for eBooks with his already successful platform to back him.

    Howdy-hi, Angela! I'm w/you. One way or another, I WILL introduce my stories and characters to the world. :)

  5. Great post! That is a pretty amazing story. Congrats, David! You are brave to let go of conventional/traditional ways and forge your own path. I wish you many successes!

    Hi Anita! Good to see you in the blogosphere, lovely ;)

  6. Hi Cherie, my effervescent pal. :)

    Yep, I was so intrigued by DAvid's choice since he's already snagged an agent. But again, the eBook route is perfectly suited for him considering all of the publicity he's already accrued online. I hope his book catches the same viral bug his videos did. :)

  7. Happy Wed Morning awesome lady!

    .... a link to a HYSTERICAL You Tube video & to David's Blog later (which I totally is stalk ... err I mean following David now) I finally triumph over my feline curiosity and finished reading the post. WOW what a Cinderella story ... well since David is a dude maybe Prince Charming story would be more appropriate?

    Anywho congrats to David & thanks Anita for 'borrowing' him for this post.

    I did have a question for David - how long did you query for & how many queries was sent out?

    What is your advice for aspiring authors in regards traditional publishing vs e-pub?

    And lastly, if you knew back then what you knew now, which route to getting published would you pursue?


  8. Sophie Li~ Good Wednesday to you, too, my nicey pants friend! :D No need to feel alone in your David stalkings! LOL. I should probably untie his hands so he can type an answer to your questions. Haha! Seriously though, he'll be by soon to check out the comments, I'm sure. Thanks for dropping in! I always enjoy seeing your smiling face.

  9. Sophie: BTW, just heard from David on twitter that he's trying to get into blogger to comment, but it keeps shutting him down. He'll be by soon to answer questions! ;)

  10. That's so cool - good for him! Still prefer the traditional route, though. I want to get those ARCs in my hands :o)

  11. Thanks for the great post. I loved the unique ways that David promoted himself.

  12. awww thanks! And yes please, untie the guy's hands! HAHA

    *looks around* I guess I'm the only dweeb who asked questions aye? Oh pooey I'm a confirmed dweeber!

    *kicks Blogger* Working yet?

  13. D.U. Thanks for stopping by! I have a few books "under the bed" that don't really deserve to be there (in my humble and very prejudiced opinion--LOL) that I might go this route with one day. But they all need some polishing first.

    Hi Rene! Good to see you. :) Yep, David is very savvy when it comes to self promo.

    Sophie, LOL! You're such a funny bunny. I know, blogger has been VERY naughty of late. #forshame

  14. I'll stick with the traditional route since I don't have the audience or the willingness to devote so much energy to marketing to go it on my own. Plus who doesn't dream of going into a bookstore and seeing his/her book on the shelf?
    - Sophia.

  15. Dave is one of those rare people the rest of us wish we were ballsy enough to be like. Well done, Dave!!

    Nice post, A!

  16. Haha, Sophia. It does take a lot of energy to market, no doubt! Even just blogging and tweeting can suck it out of you, right? ;) Thanks for stopping by!

    Hey there, B! No wonder we get on so well. We've been sitting next to each other in the alphabet for years. Hee. And yep, that ol' David is a wiz. He and Kalen need to hang out and exchange superhero notes.

  17. First off, Anita is an expert trapper. Although I probably should've been suspicious of a plate of chicken wings just sitting there under that me-sized box propped up with a stick. Rookie mistake.

    Second, thanks to all for the good wishes. I'm very excited about this, albeit a little nervous. In the end, you try and learn as much as you can, and you make the best decision for you, whichever route you pursue.

    And of course, thanks to my friend Anita for featuring me again. Very honored that you've followed my journey so closely. And you shouldn't let me get so comfy. I start putting my feet up on the coffee table, eating your Cheetos and whatnot.

  18. To answer Sophie's questions:

    Q: I did have a question for David - how long did you query for & how many queries was sent out?

    A: I queried this book for about a year and sent about 175 queries. I got about 20 requests for partials and fulls.

    Q: What is your advice for aspiring authors in regards traditional publishing vs e-pub?

    A: My advice is to be on MTV's Jersey Shore. Because this apparently guarantees you a spot on the NY Times bestseller list. Other than that, you need to read all you can about both options. Read JA Konrath's blog. Many agents have blogged about this, including, I believe Anita's agent. Read the success stories and the not-so-successful stories.

    Q: And lastly, if you knew back then what you knew now, which route to getting published would you pursue?

    A: I started querying The Jackpot at the infancy of this e-book business. BAck then, there still wasn't much of an option (other than the old-school self-publishing). I guess the only way I can answer is that I LOVED this book and really believed in it, so in the end, I knew I was going to do whatever I could to get it out there.

  19. Wonderful interview with him! It sounds like he has the platform to pull off self-pubbing well. Congrats to him, and best wishes!

  20. this is a great interview, and I do wish David all the best. Coming from a journalism background, I know the beginning of newspapers was basically in self-publishing. And it was a free for all. As the business evolved, editors, publishers, and ethics started controlling what was put out there. Then we had the golden age in the 1970s and now it's back to crap.

    All that to say self-publishing can work if writers are willing to work, to revise, and to put out the very best book they can. Unfortunately, it's been my experience w/self-published books that they're out there b/c the writers wouldn't (or couldn't) hear what agents and/or editors were telling them. That they needed to do more work~

    That's just my POV. :o) <3

  21. Hi Jessie! Thanks for stopping by. ;) Yep, David is a good interviewee. And I hope he scores big w/his book, too.

    Hello, Miss Leigh! ;) I agree, in the past a lot of self-pubbed works were a half-hearted effort. But I'm starting to see a change in that trend. Hop over to The Ending Unplanned's blog on my sidebar. She's featuring Indie and self pubbed authors for a week. I think she's found some good ones! Thanks for stopping by and for your awesome insights. :)

    Haha, David. No WAY are you getting that comfy. I share my cheetos w/NO ONE. Thanks again for the great post!

  22. This has been so helpful! I looked into e-publishing and self publishing, but most of the information was outdated or just opinion. Sophie Li asked some great questions. I'll head over to JA Konrath's blog and The Ending Unplanned.

    I wish I had a crystal ball to see where publishing is headed. It would make things so much easier ;)

    Anita, I hope you're recovery is going well and you enjoy your vacation.

    We'll miss you.

  23. Hey there Dawne! So glad this could help you. :) Good luck with what you decide for your own career. And yes, I'm all healed up and feeling 100% better. Thanks for your sweet words. And I'll still be posting on Wednesdays. Just no Friday interviews for a while. So I'll still be seeing you around here. :) Thanks for stopping by.

  24. LOL chicken wings!

    Thanks David for being triumphant over blogger and replied. And of course thanks to Anita 'Expert Trapper' for sharing.