We continue our interview series today with Parker Peevyhouse and Joni Sensel, who met up online to chat about books, the internet, and e-publishing.
Parker Peevyhouse: So, I’m anxious to hear how you’re going to tackle the next book in your Farwalker series. How are you going to prepare it for e-pubbing?
Joni Sensel: I talked to an editor who knows my work, and she’s going to edit the third book at a rate I couldn’t refuse. That will happen in another couple of months, so I hope to put out a POD and ebook around September or so… assuming the revisions don’t take longer.
Parker: What about the cover?
Parker: That dart is pretty cool. I love how it starts off the adventure. Very intriguing.
Joni: I’m really just doing it to have something for those who ask. And for psychological closure. I think it’s important for writers to find the rewards where we can.
Parker: I think that last reason is more important than people would guess.
Joni: I’m also working hard on a YA sci-fi thriller. I hope it’s thrilling, anyway. What are you working on now?
Parker: I’m between projects, really. And writing some short stories I hope to turn into a collection.
Joni: That might be an interesting e-project — worth experimenting with, anyway.
Parker: You know, P. J. Hoover is e-publishing a YA called SOLSTICE. It’s dystopian with mythological elements. Her agency is helping–they helped her get an awesome cover.
Joni: YES! I heard. I’m dying to know the story there–
Parker: I’m going to interview her in a couple of weeks for the blog, so you will soon have that story.
Joni: Cool. It seems to me that blogs and so forth have built up the writing community and a lot of support for each other even in just the last couple of years.
Parker: Yeah, I would say it has built up support, but has it “made” writers’ careers? I mean, with Amanda Hocking, it’s clearly a case of the Internet making her career. She would not be published or rich without it. But it’s hard to say if it will now be the norm for writers to find fame solely through online marketing.
Joni: Do you have any insights or conclusions about our Spectacle blog experience?
Parker: The blogging is fun, and I like chatting with commenters. I don’t know that it did a lot to increase book sales for our bloggers. So the real value is getting to talk about stuff we like to talk about! And meeting new people online.
Joni: Our readers have been very loyal. But I’ve seen several not-very-scientific studies that suggest the same thing–blogging and social networking are fun but probably don’t sell books.
Parker: If you’re already selling, then it helps, I guess.
Joni: Yeah, it troubles me a little that when it seems to work, maybe it’s not the books that sell, it’s the author’s personality. That only works if you’re funny!
Parker: I posted about that once on the Spec. I don’t really want to sell myself, charming as I am I just want to sell my stories.
Joni: I don’t think anyone would buy me, ha!
Parker: I’d throw in a few dollars for you…
Joni: We like to think a good story will do it in the end… I’m not convinced. But I don’t want to be pessimistic, either!
Parker: That question haunts me. Does a good book ALWAYS sell? USUALLY sell? Depends on LUCK?
Joni: Do good books ever languish? Undoubtedly, I think.
Parker: But why? Why doesn’t word of mouth always work? I read an article in WIRED magazine [Jan 2010] that said people are more likely to like what’s popular, even if it’s not to their taste.
Maybe part of the problem is that great books sell, and popular books sell, but books that are just pretty decent have a harder time than they should?
Have you read any SF YA lately that you love?
Joni: Oh, I’m always so far behind. I just finished MOCKINGJAY, which I liked with some reservations, and am reading THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO and enjoying it… what are you reading?
Parker: I’m reading NEUROMANCER, if you can believe it. From the ‘80s.
Parker: I tried reading it when I was much younger and couldn’t understand a word of it.
Joni: I’m waiting for when we can just put a book drip IV on at night, or a download… and know the story when we wake up! Then we could read so much more…
Parker: That would be my dream come true.
Joni: I think that’s a good place to end — looking forward to that utopian day!