Welcome to our weekly feature,
This weeks guest is not only an author of both fiction and non-fiction books, but she’s also a publisher. Together with NY Times bestselling author Bob Mayer, Jen Talty created Cool Gus Publishing (formerly Who Dares Wins Publishing). We’re certain that you’ll enjoy reading about her books and about her take on the world of e-publishing! So, grab a cup of coffee or pour yourself a cold brew — beverages are always on the house — pull up a chair, and enjoy!
Jen, at what age did you first realize you wanted to write books and how/when did you first share this ambition with “the world”? I didn’t always want to be a writer. It wasn’t until I was in my mid thirties that I sat down and wrote a book. However, I’ve always enjoyed a good story, so it was just a matter of time. I wrote 2 books before I told anyone I was writing.
Who in your life and what authors you read had the most influence over your decision to write? I had been reading a lot of Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts when I decided that I wanted to write a book. I really enjoyed their romances and the way the spun some mystery into the stories. The book Hello, Darkness by Sandra Brown helped shape the type of book I wanted to write.
Together with NY Times bestselling author Bob Mayer, you are the co-creator of Cool Gus Publishing (formerly Who Dares Wins Publishing). Do you think the availability of a self-publishing option has helped or hurt publishing, in general? The eBook revolution created an opportunity for authors to get their books to their reader. It’s taken out the need for many of the players between the producer of the product and the consumer of the product. In that sense, self-publishing may have hurt traditional publishing in general. But it hasn’t hurt two of the most important people in the publishing process: the writer and the reader.
What are the biggest mistakes you see new authors making when publishing their first books and what advice would you give them? Promoting ineffectively. Promotion is an ongoing process and it is often less about promoting the book and more about building a brand and a community. The book is usually the first interaction a reader has with a writer. The key to having a long career is creating content your readers will care about, so the writing always has to come first. Promotion is simply another way to connect with the reader. There has to be a balance, and the balance needs to be equal from the time the book is released to the time the next book is released.
We always recommend to the self-published author to wait until they have 3 books uploaded before really spending a ton of time and money on promotion. Why? Because when a reader loves a book they do two things. First, they tell everyone they know what a great book it was and second, they go looking for anything else the author has written. Content is your sustainability as an author. Promotion is your discoverablity. You need both, but the focus has to be on the promise you make to your reader.
For the author who is traditionally published we always recommend to find a way to balance meeting your deadlines and finding ways to connect to your readers. You can’t rely on your publisher to do it for you.
You’re an author of dark romance novels but you also have co-written non-fiction books geared toward helping authors to effectively market and promote their careers. Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction and why?
I love writing both.
Is there another genre you’d like to try and what attracts you about that genre? Paranormal and Science Fiction. I watch a lot of TV and Movies that are of the Paranormal or Science Fiction flavor. ET is one of my favorite all times movies. Close Encounters, Alien and Paul are close seconds. I also loved the original Poltergist. And of course, there is the classic Rosemary’s Baby, which is probably considered more horror, but I would love to be able to write something like that. Movie still gives me the creeps. I’m often drawn to films with religious undertones. The Exorcist I have watched at least a dozen times. The Devils Advocate and Constantine are two other movies I really enjoy.
My fascination with the darker side of human nature has led me to many horror type books. I’ve always said I wanted to write the female version of Hannibal.
Please tell us about your latest release and any releases we may look forward to soon. My last re-release is the book In Two Weeks, which is book one in the NY State Trooper series. Of all my books it is the most romantic, though my bad guy is still a pretty bad.
I will be re-releasing book two in the series, Dark Water, this summer. Dark Water takes the secondary character, NY State Trooper Frank Harmon, and gives him his own story. He’s haunted by the death of a young woman he felt he should have been able to save from an abusive husband. Instead, he pulls her lifeless body from the dark waters of Lake George NY. The story picks up when he has a run-in with a young boy on a Jet Ski. When he takes the boy home, he finds out the boy is the son of the women he couldn’t save.
Who are your favorite authors? I have so many. Of course, there is my business partner Bob Mayer. He is one of the best writers I’ve ever met. I love his books.
I also love Lee Child, Laura Benedict, Tim Maleeny, Toni McGee Causie, JT Ellison, Sandra Brown and many others.
If you could pick another author’s character and use him or her as a character in a novel of your own, what character would that be and in what type of setting would you write about him or her? I’d love to write a female Hannibal Lecter, but would also love to have Hannibal in the story. She’d be his creation, but she’d turn on him. Could make for an interesting lunch date….
You poll your readers and ask them to list five words that best describe your novels. What top five words would they list? I’m not sure. I’d like them to think they were edgy, dangerous, thrilling, sexy and romantic.
Are you more “a dog person” or “a cat person,” and what kind of canine or feline assistance with your writing do you receive, if any? I’m a dog person, but currently have no dogs. My DH and youngest son are allergic. But if I were to have a dog I would have a German Shepherd. I’ve had two and they were the best dogs ever!
You’re admitted to heaven and you decide to throw a dinner party to celebrate your arrival. What five people, living or dead, are on your guest list? Hmmmm, that’s an interesting question. Since I’m in heaven, I guess I wouldn’t be able to have all those dark and dangerous people I like to study…so I’d have to say I’d invite Joan of Arc, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Annie Oakley, Martha Jefferson and Amelia Earhart.
Where can you and your books be found on line? Please share your links.
Author Biography, Jen Talty: Jen Talty co-created Cool Gus Publishing with NY Times Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer, and runs the technical side of the company. She is a published romance author, and teaches Creative Writing at various writing conferences across the country.
Jen grew up in Rochester, NY, a city with the highest murder rate per capita in the entire state. With notorious cases such as The Alphabet Murders, The Genesee River Killer (Arthur Shawcross), The Murder of Kali Ann Poulton by Mark Christi, and the case of funeral homes stealing body parts from corpses awaiting cremation, Jen became fascinated by the darker side of human nature. She brings this fascination to her romances, creating dark villains who wreak havoc on the hero and heroine, and producing page-turning suspense.
Jen received a BS degree in Business Education with a concentration in Marketing and Sales from Nazareth College of Rochester. She taught Business Applications at both the high school level and in Continuing Education. She was a co-leader of Distributed Education Clubs of America and worked with students in developing marketing, sales and public speaking skills. After leaving the teaching profession, she worked as a product and sales trainer for various hardware and software companies such as 3Comm, HP and McAfee, and was the regional merchandising representative for Buena Vista Entertainment.
The E-Pub PUB thanks Jen for taking time out of her busy schedule to share with us about her writing and publishing career!