August 28th, 2012 | Add a Comment
Jason Halstead is a science fiction and fantasy author who spends his daytime hours as an IT Manager in the automotive industry. In his spare time Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, writing, and power lifting. He enjoys reading and responding to fan mail as well, so if you liked any of his books, don’t be shy! Find him on the web, visit his blog, email him, or follow him on Twitter: .
His last published book, Black Widow, was made available to the public on 8/17/2012. Sales have been slowly ramping up on it. The Lost Girls series is only marginally well known, although the series as a whole is gaining in popularity over time.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
I’m a bit of an idiot-savant when it comes to the writing process. As far as marketing goes, I’m an idiot. I have Twitter, my blog, my website, and a Facebook fan page. I use those to the best of my ability, which is hit or miss on a good day.
The savant part? That’s the number of words I can chew up and spit out on any given day. Full time day job, family, and an obsessive hobby in weightlifting but I still manage to churn out an average of 2000 to 3000 words a day. Even better, my editors usually don’t make me erase very many of them!
What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
Mostly I beg and plead, although occasionally I’ll throw some whining in. The net result has not been very satisfying. I’ve reviewed other people’s books and I’ve written blog posts about reviewing, to little or no avail. I’ve even included personal notes in the backs of my books encouraging readers to review my books. I have not been an avid searcher of third party blogs and sites that focus on reviewing books, however.
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
Black Widow was edited by Lisa Shalek. We found her practically by accident. I put out a twitter call looking for beta readers for the first book in my Lost Girls series. Lisa was one that responded and the beta reading feedback she gave me knocked me out of my chair. I couldn’t believe how detailed and in depth she went. I talked to her about it and she admitted she’d had some editing classes and wanted to do more with them. Push came to shove and she was excited at the prospect of getting some real world editing experience under her belt. Thus our relationship was born! She’s edited five books for me now and I’m working on a fantasy novel that will cross her desk in September.
Who formatted your book? In how many formats is your book available?
I formatted my book, with the assistance of Mark Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide. I haven’t found formatting to be much of an issue, to be honest. I keep the raw file as simple as possible. I don’t add any pictures to my books, which might make it easier for me. When I’m finished I upload them to the various websites (Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo) and they convert them from there. The end result has been more than satisfactory for me.
The one exception is Createspace, which I use for my print versions. I download their template then copy and paste my book into the appropriate area. I tweak other parts as needed, then upload it and voila! It beats paying somebody a couple hundred dollars to do something that takes me no extra time.
Black Widow falls under the fiction / women sleuths genre. Do you tag it with other genres? What do you see as the pros and cons of writing women sleuth fiction on the publishing scene?
Black Widow falls under a lot of genres. I could list it as lesbian fiction, since the main character is constantly struggling with a relationship with another woman. I could list it as paranormal – there’s magic and spirits in this book. I could list it as a mystery & detective thriller because it also has those elements. I could call it a lot of things, but I prefer to just call it a book about a person struggling to do the right thing and not get screwed over because of it. Kind of like the rest of us (or at least I like to think that most of us try to do the right thing).
My books usually fall under science fiction and fantasy genres, but I don’t consider myself hidebound by genre. In fact I will quite often ignore genre. To me a story is about the character or characters portrayed in it. Whether they’re sailing on wooden ships with magical sails through space or trying to use charged plasma rifles to take down alien dinosaurs, the background isn’t as important as who the character is and what they’re going through. My books are about people, no matter what environment they end up in, not about the environment themselves.
Certain genres give certain advantages inherent to the style, but there are disadvantages as well. For example, I have a lot more leeway with a fantasy book regarding physics or the supernatural than I would if the book were mainstream fiction or a crime drama. The caveat to that is science fiction. Sci-fi can be peculiar, depending upon the fans. A space opera may do well or it may be blown out of the water by lovers of hardcore science fiction. It depends on the level of science versus fiction, and I haven’t found a way to measure how to apply x amount of each ingredient since they seem to vary by date, time, and lunar phase.
Thank you Jason for taking the time to answer a few questions for us and best of luck with your writing career.
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