Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for August: (8/3) Dianne Freeman (8/10) Daryl Wood Gerber (8/17) E. B. Davis's Review of Granite Oath, James M. Jackson's new novel (8/24) Rose Kerr (8/31) V. M. Burns.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kaye George Interview-Part 2

Kaye George is a mystery novelist and an Agatha nominated short story writer. She belongs to Sisters in Crime, Guppies, Writers' League of Texas, and Austin Mystery Writers. Her novel, CHOKE, will be issued by Mainly Murder Press in May, 2011. Her stories have been published both online and in print magazines and articles appear in random newsletters and booklets. She blogs often for two group blogs and one solo one. She, her husband, and a cat named Agamemnon live together in Texas, near Austin. Visit for more details.

Last week I interviewed Kaye George, who recently signed a contract with Mainly Murder Press for the publication of her novel CHOKE. This week I’m focusing on what happens after the novel is finished. To read the first part of this interview, please link to last week's interview.

EBD: In one of your blogs, you mentioned trying unconventional routes to publication, such as e-publishing a collection of your short stories on Amazon through Smashmouth, Thinking About A New Journey . Do you still want to do that now that you’ve accepted a publishing contract for one of your novels from Mainly Murder Press?

KAYE: Yes, I do want to self-publish my stories. I'm very proud of them and short story collections are, I think, even harder to get conventionally published than mystery novels. There are very few instances where I think self-publishing is not shooting yourself in the foot, but I think a short story collection is not one of them. Hope I'm not wrong!

EBD: The main difference between going with a smaller publisher such as Mainly Murder Press and getting an agent to sell it to a larger house is getting an advance as well as getting promotion and advertizing dollars. And yet, I’ve heard that few authors really get much promotion help from even the larger publishers. Isn’t the publisher’s distribution network another factor that can really affect sales?

KAYE: My publisher makes all their books available at Ingram's, Amazon, Baker and Taylor, or Barnes & Noble. I think it will be up to me to get it into bookstores, but any bookstore can get it. With local stores that should be no problem. I have no illusions about the burden of selling and know it will be on me. MMP does have a distribution network but I'm not sure how it works. I know they will provide ARCs as an electronic .pdf file before publication. A small number of free copies for review will be provided after publication. I've been collecting places to try for reviews. We are to notify each other of reviews. I can also buy as many discounted copies as I wish to distribute for review. I figure that, if a book is available on Amazon, I can sell it.

EBD: Has Mainly Murder Press been forthcoming with its distribution? This information would be vital in mapping out a self-promotion plan, I would think.

KAYE: I think the contract is very clear about distribution.

As my daughter said, it's not a contract Nora Roberts would sign, but it's good for a first-time mystery writer. (I imagine La Nora can write her own.) As a small press, they are not going to take out NY Times ads for me. But here's a big plus in my contract. As soon as my royalties amount to $25, I get a check.

What they will do is promote my book through Ingram's Wholesale Catalog and their own website. And I'll promote everywhere I can think of.

I appreciate the fact that I'll be printed in trade paperback, a more affordable option than hardcover. In fact, those are the only rights, English language trade paperback, that they are taking. I'm wide open on other rights.

EBD: For Amazon to offer a print book for sale, doesn’t the publisher have to guarantee to print a large number of books before Amazon will offer it, and will Mainly Murder Press make that guarantee?

KAYE: I don't know the specific requirements between Amazon and MMP, but I do know that all the books from MMP are available on Amazon on the first day of issue.

EBD: I understand that most major bookstore chains won’t buy from publishers who won’t take returns. Will Mainly Murder Press do so?

KAYE: Yes, they do take returns. But, with print on demand technology, the situation of inflated print runs doesn't exist. That's what makes a lot of returns inevitable. There should be very few.

EBD: How did you get the idea for Choke?

KAYE: The setting is a thinly disguised version of a place I lived for awhile. Until we moved there, I had no idea men still make a living being cowboys and working on horseback. I've tried to put the contrast of the harsh climate and the warm, friendly people into this work.

A vague idea for my main character had been flitting around in that strange place that is the inside of my head (I assume all mystery writer's heads are strange inside). But she sprang to life, fully formed one night. We were driving home to Taylor, past the Hutto High School football stadium, which is, incidentally, shown in the opening credits for the TV show Friday Night Lights. I had decided I wanted to write about a humorous Inept Detective, so I had those initials in mind. Some swirling around was done up there in my cranium that involved the Hutto team, called the Hippos, and the Taylor Ducks, both of which I consider humorous, and Imogene Duckworthy was birthed.

Here's a bit about the book:

Imogene Duckworthy, resident of tiny Saltlick, Texas, longs to be a PI. When her Uncle Huey is found murdered, a half-frozen sausage stuffed down his throat, and her mother, Hortense, is taken in for the crime, she gets her chance. Unclear on the exact duties of a PI, Immy busts Mother out of jail with a fire in the bathroom wastebasket. But, on the run from the law, along with Immy’s toddler daughter, Nancy Drew Duckworthy, now what? Time to consult her second-hand copy of The Compleat Moron’s PI Guidebook. That should work.

The writers here at Writers Who Kill congratulate Kaye and want to further our understanding and yours about the publishing process. We’ll catch up to Kaye in a few months to see what the pre-publishing process encompasses, what’s she’s learned, what she expects and how much contact she’s had with the publisher. Stay tuned here and follow Kaye’s journey at Travels with Kaye.


Ramona said...

Kaye, the adventures of Imogene Duckworthy sound like a hoot--or maybe a honk. (I see some bad puns ahead.)

Thanks for sharing your own adventures towards publication. You've put in the time and effort in the necessary PR to make the book a success. I'm looking forward to reading it and wish you all the best.

Pauline Alldred said...

I look forward to reading your book. I'm guessing you're working really hard right now to provide advance PR before your book hits the shelves.

I'm wondering if you consider giving readers a taste of your stories before self-publishing them. With the internet and social networks, I think it is possible to create interest in an unknown writer.

Good luck with all your endeavors.

Kaye George said...

Thanks, Ramona. Keep May in mind--that's when Immy sees the light of day. The light of actual pages?

Thanks to you, too, Pauline!I've been putting in PR time, but am derailed by a brand new grandson this month. In October, I'll be back hitting it.

What do you mean, a taste of my stories? I'm curious. The collection is of previously published stories. Some are available at the moment on my webpage, but I'll take them down when I start wanting to sell them. maybe leave one up as a tease. Is that what you meant?

Pauline Alldred said...

Yes, I meant having a story on your web page and suggesting readers could buy a book containing more of your stories. I see ads by publishers looking for collections of short stories but perhaps they mean previously unpublished stories. I've always been sorry books of short stories are no longer common. Sometimes, there's time to read a story and feel satisfied with the ending rather than having to stop after a chapter.

Congratulations on the grandson. Aren't they the greatest.

Ricky Bush said...

The Hutto Hippos, yeah buddy! Only in Texas. The high school I taught at for a long, long time, played against the Taylor Ducks. The principal cautioned the student body on choosing words for cheers (or jeers) that rhymed with duck. Good interview E.B. Good luck to my fellow Texan.

Kaye George said...

Pauline, where did you see the ads looking for short story collections?? Depending on who the publisher is, I might be interested.

Ricky, too funny, the words that rhyme with "duck". Thanks for the good wishes.