Sunday, February 13, 2011

DEAD SPELL Author Belinda Frisch Tells All!

Belinda Frisch is one of those people (writers, readers, just all around cool cat, what-have-you), you make an instant connection with. I guess the first thing that struck when I came across her profile at was her picture (Ok, I'm a guy, what can I say?), but also her name: Frisch. Well, Max Frisch is one of my favorite German authors. Also, she comes from a town located very close to my own.

She is a dedicated writer, published author of both fiction and non-fiction, a family girl, and a bit of a romantic, all of which I admire. She's also a pretty smart cookie when it comes to the radical developments we are all witnessing in the publishing industry. She is one of those strong-willed types who will DIY and like LJ Sellers and Aaron Patterson, probably sell a kabillion copies of her new novels, which center on zombie and the paranormal.

She is the real deal and a friend, and you know what? I haven't even met her in the flesh yet. But I do plan on having her buy me lunch one day very soon. Ha! Okay, we'll split it.

When Vincent asked me if I’d like to guest blog on the heels of his posting “Are Literary Agents Required Anymore” I said sure, but the thing I know best is going the literary distance alone. He told me to go ahead and write about that so here I am.

A little bit of background on me: I have been traditionally published in a non-fiction capacity. I wrote a medical coding and billing textbook back in 2006 and was published by what was then Thomson’s Learning and is now Cengage. I learned a lot about royalties versus work for hire agreements, about the phases of writing from inception through final draft, I had to request permissions for reprint, and I had to code the entire ms for the printers with things like /H1/ which indicated a primary heading (and others for sub-headings) that needed to be bolded. To say it was tedious would be an understatement because it was all things I had to learn from scratch. Self-publishing has been no different. It’s learn as you go.

Fast forward to 2011.

Way before the textbook, like all the way back to middle school, I wrote. Poems, short stories, essays, whatever I could dream up. It was a form of escapism for me from a lot of things better left in that past and I was passionate about it. In the time between the textbook and now, I rekindled that passion. I had a few short stories published and wrote several novels, in part or in whole. Dead Spell, releasing in March 2011, is the first one where I went all the way.

Maybe it was what I remembered from doing the textbook--a different, but comparable experience to fiction--or maybe it was my innate perfectionism, but I knew there were phases. It wasn’t as easy as crank out a single draft and toss it up for sale on Smashwords.

While it is becoming debatable whether or not we need traditional publishers and literary agents, for me, the editor’s are all safe. Going the whole thing alone means you are 100% responsible for the product you put out for a decent cut of the payment. You assume all of the risk. To me this is a great thing. I like the control, but I have taken all the necessary steps to make my work as good as it can be and now face the possibility that it was all for naught. I wrote the book, revised and edited it to the point of my own insanity, hired a freelance editor (Glen Krisch), revised it again based on his recommendations, hired a cover designer (Kealan Patrick Burke) because I’m just not up-to-snuff on Photo Shop, yet, and am working now on formatting according to the Smashwords Guide specs. It’s taken about a year.

In that year, I’ve worked a FT job, worked on a blog for writers and readers that I’m proud of, I joined Twitter, Goodreads, Kindle Boards, and was already on FB. I “met” a lot of great writers, learned a lot from them, and have hopefully built not only a network of friends, but of readers. A potential fan base. Self-pubbers, you’re your own marketers, too.

Doing it yourself takes time, patience, and dedication and in the end, you’re left hoping that you’ll see sales nearly as good as Amanda Hocking, Terri Reid, and J.A. Konrath. First time out and with only one novel releasing for at least another several months, I’m not delusional. What all of those people have that I don’t right now is volume (except for Terri, she had two at last count and made $20K in the month of January alone) and I think that’s a big factor for any writer. How much do you have to offer? Nothing in publishing—finished product or fortune—is fast, even if you do-it-yourself. The important thing is to do it the best that you can, without cutting corners.

For Belinda's Blog:


  1. Great post Belinda. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am excited to check out Dead Spell. I read and write paranormal.It's one of my fave.

    Vincent seems to have a real talent for finding gems in newbie authors. Funny how his secret weapons seems to be his hormones...

  2. Lol. Thanks, Bri. Great to meet you.