Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Publishing: Interview with Robert J. Dornan, author of '23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.

Robert J Dornan is someone who wishes to leave a better world to his children. He realizes that the odds are slim but he will do whatever he can to increase the probability of success.  He is always open to discuss new and innovative ideas and hopes someday to see the building of a functional solar city as well as a fair and community-driven compensation system.

Robert’s latest book is the historical fiction, 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.
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About the Book:

In the early morning of her sister's wedding day, Mila Kharmalov stared in stunned silence at the coloured sparks streaming from Reactor Four of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant.  At that very moment, her life and the lives of everyone she knew changed

Years later and on another continent, Adam Byrd was writing biographies for everyday people looking to leave their legacy in book form. When the woman he loved phoned from Kiev offering him the chance to write the story of a lifetime, he jumped at the opportunity not realizing that his voyage would be a bumpy ride through a nations dark underbelly. With the help of his friend's quirky cousin, Adam is nudged into a fascinating adventure of love, greed, power and psychotic revenge, culminating with a shocking finale.

23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is a work of fiction based on factual events from Chernobyl and villages throughout Ukraine.

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  • 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is available at Amazon..
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

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?
Author: To give a proper response, I’d have to offer a brief description of myself. I am a quiet environmentalist and a closet revolutionary that agrees entirely with climate control advocates. My transformation from weenie to greenie is a byproduct of my research on 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.
The thirtieth anniversary of the Chernobyl accident has received mild press attention this year, but the nuclear disaster that has been linked to the fall of the Soviet Union, has remained a mystery to many and even worse, forgotten or made irrelevant.  Cancelled television shows are irrelevant; an accident that has arguably caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands is not irrelevant and cannot be swept under rug like a childhood secret. The story must be engrained in our psyche.
The Da Vinci Code was chock full of interesting facts and/or beliefs. It was more than a suspense; it was a learning experience.  23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. is a compelling work of fiction filled with facts that will cause readers to question the need for nuclear power as well as question the long arm of the Russian bear.  That’s why I wrote the book.

Is this your first book?
Author: No, I have penned several books or at least have been involved in the writing of several books.  I have a series of books called Jack City geared towards teens. I released Part One a couple of years ago but have since made revisions and will re-release in November followed by the sequel.  Early next year, I will release another teen book called Gwydion and in mid-2017, my second adult fare, Sins of the Samurai, will be made available.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: I’m not a young, up and coming novelist with years of book writing ahead of me.  Few if any mainstream publishers would take a risk on me.  I realize the notion of being published is exciting or even romantic but unless you’re an old school author, your books will get limited shelf time in corporate bookstores that have turned their attention to more profitable items such as greeting cards and lattes.  You’ll end up marketing your own book just as I am doing right now but unfortunately for a smaller margin.  
Self-publishing is an art form to itself and allows someone like myself to control my own destiny.  I don’t fear failure and I don’t write stories to make vats of money.   For someone like myself, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the like, are perfect partners.  There was no better option.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author:  When you take the self-publishing route, you have full control.  Unfortunately, having full control also means preparing for what feels like an endless number of hours of editing before you give it to someone else to edit.  Make no mistake about this; editing sucks. Editing is like screeching chalk on a blackboard.  It’s the Brussel Sprouts of writing.
Your family cannot purchase an infinite amount of copies of your book. Eventually you’ll have to unlock the front door, step outside and beg your neighbors to buy it too.  No?  Then lose your insecurities and hop on the marketing bus because selling a total of ten books is not a conversation starter.  Being somewhat of a border line introvert, this is not an easy task for me but it has to be done so here I am, hoping you continue to read my nervous dribble.
If you’re not careful, you can get scammed along the way.  One person may charge you twice as much for a book cover than someone equally as talented.  Don’t ask a friend or family member to do your book cover!  Keep family away from your creativity.
The benefits or pros is that I write at my own pace and I write whatever I please. I don’t worry if a publisher will accept my manuscript. I don’t worry about deadlines or being pigeon-holed into a specific genre.  Best of all, I release a book when I’m ready and only when I’m ready.  That’s kinda cool.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: With respect to everyone who has signed a publishing contract or works for a Publishing House/business, the industry has changed drastically in the last ten years and will continue to veer towards e-books and self-publishing.  Hard cover books are comfortable and nostalgic to a degree but so are LP’s and 45’s yet I still prefer to download all my music. 
Why should I pay twenty dollars plus shipping and/or gas for a new novel when I can download the e-book for one-quarter the price (or more). Nostalgia? To fill up my ancient bookshelf or hide a hole in the wall?
The common argument that publishers garner higher standards Is not holding as much water as it used to because established authors are going the self-publishing route and the smaller publishers are sticking to niches with the sole purpose of reducing budgets. 
23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. was edited a dozen times and I researched well over four hundred hours.  The lesson I learned is that if you take your time, research and edit until you’re blue in the face, you will produce a quality book.  A quality book that didn’t require a publisher.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Most definitely. Everyone has a dream and if your dream is to see your name on the front cover of a novel, then go for it.  I would emphasize that it is YOUR name on the book cover so if your effort or lack thereof has produced crap, then you may wish to rethink your bucket list.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Have no fear.  If you worry about offending a specific group, your family or whomever, then your target audience should be readers who worry about offending their mom’s and whomever.  Good luck with that.
Include as many interesting tidbits as you can as long as they are relevant to your story.
Research. Research. Research.
Grow some thick skin because not everyone is going to like your story and many will try to debunk your claims.  No big deal…they read your story and hopefully paid to do so.
Thanks s much for your time.  If you’d like to discuss my books or the environment, feel free to email me at

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