I was asked to be the guest blogger on Stephen J. Price's blog. He runs a blog dedicated to writing.
Posted in Writing on October 4, 2010 by stephenjamesprice
Today’s Blog Guest is John O’Dowd, the author of “Mahko’s Knife” and “Pale Blue Jesus.” Both novels are available as eBooks on Amazon and Smashwords and in Trade Paperback on Amazon and at Create Space.
Let’s jump in:
SJP: John, please describe both books in one sentence.
“Can it be a Faulkneresque sentence?”
SJP: What’s that?
“A sentence that goes on for two pages.”
SJP: Let’s try a simple sentence.
“OK, ‘Mahko’s Knife’: Drug lord, Juan Martinez, kidnaps the teenage son of Mahko Anaya only to discover that he has made a very bad mistake.”
SJP: See, that wasn’t that hard.
“If you say so. ‘Pale Blue Jesus’: Marshal Geoff Walker discovers the crucified body of an old man and soon figures out that it may not be a crime as he understands the law.”
SJP: That sounds strange.
“It is. My mother refuses to read it. She was so disturbed by several of the scenes that she was worried that she might go to hell.”
“Seriously. She said that she is too old to be taking chances. This is not a book written for 82-year old women. It contains disturbing images and a disturbing plot line. I’m proud of it. But then again, I’m disturbed.”
SJP: Where did you get the ideas for your books?
“The idea for ‘Pale Blue Jesus’ came to me at an art exhibit of Southwestern and Penitente religious art.”
“I don’t want to give away too much, but it is a religious order in the Southwest that practices a very basic form of Catholicism. They believe in suffering as Jesus did as a form of payment for sins. It results in whipping and, with some of the more extreme practitioners, crucifixion.”
SJP: And you got this idea at an art exhibit?
“If I tell any more it will spoil the story. ‘Mahko’s Knife’ was inspired by any number of people I knew in the army. I know that you were in the army, so it doesn’t surprise you that we have some very talented and dangerous people wearing the uniform.”
SJP: No, it doesn’t surprise me. You’ve published both books through the eBook system, becoming known as Indie Publishing, why?
“Scott Nicholson, author of dozens of horror novels including ‘The Red Church,’ ‘They Hunger’ and ‘Drummer Boy’ convinced me that it was the future of the publishing industry. As an Indie Publisher you have full control of what you publish and when. Along with that comes full responsibility if what you publish is crap. You can publish for free and while that sounds great, you don’t have a publishing house promoting your book or getting your name out into the public. All of that is on you.”
SJP: Why do you think Indie Publishing is the future?
“The simple answer is dollars and cents. Book stores are closing, paper is expensive and there is an explosion of eBook readers. On Kindles, Sony Readers, Nooks and any number of other products you can download hundreds of books and carry a library with you. Schools are going to eBook readers and the industry is changing faster than they can put out the readers. I can write a book today and have it published by tonight. Soon it will be hard to find new paper books. You’ll have to go to antique shops and look in the sections set aside for 8-track tapes, Betamax and LPs. Even VHS is disappearing to be fully replaced by DVD and BluRay. No one thought that LPs would die, when was the last time you saw a record store with new records?”
SJP: Records are still released on wax.
“Sure, but they are rare and getting rarer. Amazon is now selling more eBooks than paper and brand name bookstores, Walden and Barnes and Noble, are closing daily. It’s a new world.”
SJP: That may be true but I notice that you published both books in paper in addition to eBook format. I know because I formatted them for you.
“True and you did a great job. I did it because I could do it easily and cheaply and because I have family and friends who still don’t own readers. The number is fewer and fewer every day but they are out there. Indie paper through Amazon is great because it is print on demand. There is no stockpile of books in a warehouse. The books are printed as they are ordered from a single copy to 1,000 copies. I will note that they are considerably more expensive than eBooks.”
SJP: Good point, how did you price your books?
“With the eBooks I followed the crowd. Most new eBooks by unknown or new authors are priced at $2.99. Paper books set a minimum print price based on size and quality. I chose the best quality Trade paperback and Premium distribution. For premium distribution channels I’m making about $1 a book. They won’t let you price below the minimum print price.”
SJP: Is there anything you would like to end on?
“Of course I would like everyone to read my books in either format. Of equal importance is that they review the books. All of the Indie Authors are walking in new territory and would like feedback on how it’s going.”
SJP: How can people contact you?
“My blog is: http://mahkosknife.blogspot.com/ and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org I’d like to hear from any reader.