Name: Joel Fox
Book Title: The Mark on Eve
Genre: Paranormal suspense
Publisher: Bronze Circle Press
Link to Amazon
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Joel: Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you. This particular book comes out of a combination of my love for history and a desire to answer the Great Writer’s Question: What if? This book is actually drawn from a Cape Cod legend in which a woman in colonial New England was suspected of witchcraft in drawing her pirate lover’s ship into a storm and the ship sank in 1717. The pirate ship was real and it was discovered and salvaged in 1984. I simply took some of the persons in the old legend and changed the story by asking: What if the woman was not a witch but was be-witched to live forever? It allowed me to explore how she would manage through different periods in American history. All the while suspense builds in the modern day story in which she tries to keep her secret while giving meaning to her long existence by helping a female governor run for president of the United States.
Is this your first book?
Joel: How to answer that question? I wrote a draft of this book a dozen years ago. However, I subsequently went on to publish two other books in a mystery series. I created a character, Zane Rigby, a senior FBI agent, who finds himself against his wishes assigned to Cases of Historical Significance in which he has to solve a puzzle from a president’s past history in order to unravel a modern day murder mystery. I have written two books in the series, Lincoln’s Hand and FDR’s Treasure. I went back to The Mark on Eve and completed it because I always liked the story and my wife said she thought it was different and her favorite.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Joel: I self-published this book. My first published book was with a small press. However, I felt the small press gave me few advantages whereas self- publication would give me more control.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Joel: As I noted above, I went from a small press to self-publication. While the small press gave me confidence that my writing was acceptable and gave hints on how to help market the book, most of the marketing work falls to the author. While the work falls to the author, the rewards are limited. My feeling was that if I were going to do the marketing work necessary to sell the book without very little help from the small press then I could continue the same work ethic but reap greater rewards. It seems to be working that way. Of course, with a small press, you more easily can get into distribution networks and you have a group of other writers, also members of the press, with whom you can team up with ideas on selling the book. But with no money for a marketing campaign from the press, you are basically on your own.
Another advantage to the small press is they will provide an editor and create a book cover. When you self-publish you have to create a cover, usually by hiring an appropriate artist. You should also hire a professional editor to look at your story and your writing. Especially with self-publishing you must be as professional as possible.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Joel: As we all know, the publishing industry is constantly changing. You have to do your best keeping up with the technological changes and the effects of those changes on the business. The major lesson I learned is that you have to be engaged in the business side of publishing. Authors must understand, unless they produce a major hit with a major publisher, they are the marketer-in-chief for their book. They must engage.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Joel: I don’t mean to cop-out with this answer but I would say, “It depends.” If you don’t mind taking risks and sailing out on a sea alone and are willing to do the work, self-publishing is a respectable avenue to take and one that can be more rewarding compared to some other publishing experiences. If you want the security and reputation of a recognizable house behind you, then an author should get an agent and attempt to go that route.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Joel: Publishing a work can be intimidating but first you need a work to publish. That means you have to write the work, finish it, and have a professional editor work with you. And the best way to move your writing along is to ask the Great Writer’s Question: What if?