The following is my ‘stop’ on author Stacey Cochran’s Blog Tour.
Bio - Stacey Cochran was born in the Carolinas, where his family traces its roots to the mid 1800s. In 1998 he was selected as a finalist in the Dell Magazines undergraduate fiction competition, and he made his first professional short story sale to CutBank in 2001. In 2004, he was selected as a finalist in the St. Martin's Press/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Dr. Susan K. Miller-Cochran and their son Sam, and he teaches writing at North Carolina State University.
Should you have a question or comment for Stacey, please utilize the below comment space provided. Stacey will answer as many questions as possible within the next few days. Please check back.
Without further ado, I proudly introduce Stacey Cochran. Thanks for visiting with us today Stacey…
STACEY: Thanks for having me.
GARRY: With all the components necessary to write a great thriller, like Claws 2, how come reviewers say you’re ‘the best’ regarding ‘Scene?’
STACEY: Someone said I was “the best”? I’m sure they had me confused with someone else.
I’m kidding, of course. The truth is that I pay them.
GARRY: Do you teach ‘Scene’ as the more critical element to your writing students?
STACEY: I’m a big fan of scene writing. It’s true. It’s right up there with character, plot, and setting. Novels where there’s pages of internal monologue or someone’s wandering thoughts in some undefined setting aren’t interesting to me.
A good scene has at least two characters who have different wants and needs, and their wants and needs should conflict. This should be shown through the characters’ actions and dialogue in a specific setting (a car, a bus, a living room, a meeting room for members of alcoholics anonymous, etc.).
GARRY: Stacey, your first Claws book is generating more sales now that Claws 2 has come out -- is this the benefit of having a series?
STACEY: Definitely. And this is something I didn’t wholly anticipate. Seriously. Like when I first conceived of the books as a series, I could not have imagined how they would sell, where they would sell, or how they might work in tandem. In fact, eBooks were not even on my radar when I wrote the novels back in 2004 and 2005. At that time, there was no viable market to sell them.
And so, yes, I was surprised to see how strongly the first novel was selling during the first month of launch for the second book.
In recent weeks, I’ve even lowered the sequel’s price and actually raised the price of the older novel.
GARRY: A lot of my readers who are ‘self-pub writer-types’ are beginning to understand the importance of ‘marketing,’ which even the big traditional publishers are doing less of for their author’s...what word of advice can you contribute about marketing?
STACEY: The single best marketing tool is to write a great novel. After that, though, you’re absolutely right. Marketing is everything. It’s so much a part of everything that I do, I don’t even know where to begin.
I guess the best piece of advice I can give to your audience is to be absolutely fearless. Fear no one. Fear no critic. Fear no establishment. There is a sense among relatively new authors that they don’t want to say or do something wrong for fear of being perceived as a bad author… or an author behaving badly.
The best publicity comes when you’re getting tossed out of a place for doing the right thing. That alone will sell more books in the long haul than any ass-kissing, well-behaved douche-baggery.
GARRY: Stacey...like JA Konrath, I’m a big believer in this eBook thingy, it’s become a phenomena with Amazon, eReading devices, lower book pricing...what does a long-time author like you think about this new ‘industry?’
STACEY: You should read my 2004 introduction to the paperback version of THE KIRIBATI TEST. It’s remarkable to me in that I was basically saying that the time was here for a proletariat group of writers to change major publishing. In 2004.
So in a lot of ways, none of this is surprising to me.
GARRY: Your so damn young with a lot of writing ahead of you...does all this publishing industry confusion encourage or worry you?
STACEY: Great question. I find it immensely encouraging. It is the single most democratic thing to happen in the history of publishing. Period. Readers are deciding which books thrive. That is a good thing.
GARRY: You had mentioned somewhere that you’d really like the Claw’s series to be picked up with movie-rights...what’s happening with that?
STACEY: Realistically, nothing. That said, I have completed one short film project on my own under the Stacey Cochran Productions banner. We are currently shooting our second film. I could (at least in my own imagination) see one day filming the CLAWS movies on my own, if I have to. I could probably shoot the first book for under 200 grand, in case there are any investors in our audience today who want to get in early.
GARRY: Many writers rush their works to publish (like me) less some needed editing...is this ‘editing component’ the critical aspect of the book writing process?
STACEY: It’s definitely critical. I can’t tell you how many dozens of drafts CLAWS went through before the final published version. I had feedback from a writers’ group, a literary agent, and nearly a dozen of the best thriller editors in major publishing. And still I spent about four years in the editing phase once the first draft was completed.
GARRY: I see by your site ‘pic-page’ you’ve met James Patterson...tell us about that?
STACEY: I met Patterson at Thrillerfest a few years ago. We were staying on the same floor in the hotel, and we struck up a conversation waiting for the elevator the night of the awards banquet. I think his wife took the photo actually. Inside the elevator.
GARRY: Stacey, please accept my sincere appreciation for you taking the time to participate in my Authors Tour today...is there anything you’d care to say generally?
STACEY: Thank you for having me. It was my pleasure.
Thanks again to Stacey Cochran. His next tour stop is August 30th, at this blog location.