Friday, June 28, 2013

Straight From the Mouth of 'Grim' Joseph Spencer

Joseph Spencer is the author of the Sons of Darkness series from Damnation Books ( Spencer’s debut release, Grim, has garnered an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon reviews. His latest title, Wrage, which will be released on June 1st, picks up the story where Grim left off.

Joseph worked for 10 years in newsrooms at large regional daily newspapers in Peoria, Ill., Burlington, Iowa, Grand Junction, Colo., and Martinsville, Va. His crime fiction is inspired by his current career as a supervisor of an emergency 9-1-1 communications center. He graduated with a Bachelors of Arts from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 2000. You can connect with Joseph at, on Twitter (josephspencer00) or Facebook ( ).

Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I had a 10-year career as a print journalist before I decided to switch careers and work alongside police in public safety. I had no idea how much I would miss writing when I switched careers. When I started work on Grim, I had no idea it would become a professional product. I just wanted to prove to myself I could finish writing a novel. I am humbled that Michael Garrett, who worked with Stephen King, and Avril Dannenbaum helped edit my work and Dawne Dominique created a fantastic cover.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

It’s extremely rewarding when someone tells you they enjoyed your story, and it’s hard when someone else tells you they hate it. Honestly, I cried one day when a publicist skewered Grim and told me it was awful. I’ve made promotional trips to Las Vegas, Chicago, Lexington, Ky., and several libraries and book stores. When you’re an independent, you do a lot of promotional work on your own. It’s demanding, but I’m proud of my work and I do it because I love it.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I went the traditional route. You’ve got to deal with a lot of rejection. All the agents I queried sent me back form-letter rejections, and there were publishers who turned me down. You just have to keep plugging away and believe in yourself and your work. I never gave up, and I used ( to find a horror publisher – Damnation Books – that welcomed me enthusiastically and has never let me down when I need something.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting
your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

My wife and family have been great. They’ve bought books, visited me at shows and listened to me droning on about my experience in the publishing process. I feel sorry for my wife because I talk a lot about my writing when I get excited about a new scene, but she’s always supportive. She’s also picked me up during rough days. I had a scheduled appearance at a library in Galesburg, Ill. The local paper wrote a fantastic piece, the appearance was marketed well and when I showed up for it absolutely no one came to it. I felt sad that day, and my wife helped a lot.

This is for pet lovers.  If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

No, Murphy (15-year-old orange tomcat) is very vocal. He lets you know when he’s hungry and doesn’t stop until you feed him.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

I tried to create attainable, measurable goals each day. I made it my goal to write at least three pages every day to chip away at finishing. I couldn’t always do it when I had long days at work, but I did it more often than not. When you hit a lot of little goals, it adds up to finishing the book.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

My book was accepted by Damnation Books the day after my wedding (March 14, 2012). It was quite an exciting week in the Spencer household.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

I think Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest help. I try to stay on top of the other ones, but it’s difficult to manage accounts with every social networking site.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

I find the best way is by making appearances like on your blog today. Readers respect opinions and content from blogs. I also send people free bookmarks, postcards and other swag. I make appearances at horror conventions close by.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

I talk to a lot of people wanting the secret to getting a book published, but they don’t want to put in the work. It’s not an easy process. You’ve got to be willing to work long hours on the book and have realistic expectations. Most of us aren’t going to come out of nowhere and be on the bestseller list, but if you gradually build up a readership you will have a loyal group which will appreciate you as you learn and grow as a writer.

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I love the sense of accomplishment. This was a life goal of mine, and I saw it through to the end. Several people doubted I could do it, but I found a way. I think too often in life we’re told what we can’t do. I want to encourage everyone to try their hardest to make their dreams happen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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