Friday, February 14, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of 'The Black Song Inside' Carlyle Clark

Carlyle Clark was raised in Poway, a city just north of San Diego, but is now a proud Chicagolander working in the field of Corporate Security and writing crime and fantasy fiction. He has flailed ineffectually at performing the writer’s requisite myriad of random jobs: pizza deliverer, curb address painter, sweatshop laborer, day laborer, night laborer, security guard, campus police, Gallup pollster, medical courier, vehicle procurer, and signature-for-petitions-getter.

He is a married man with two cats and a dog. He is also a martial arts enthusiast and a CrossFit endurer who enjoys fishing, sports, movies, TV series with continuing storylines, and of course, reading. Most inconsequentially, he holds the unrecognized distinction of being one of the few people in the world who have been paid to watch concrete dry in the dark. Tragically, that is a true statement.

His latest book is the mystery thriller, The Black Song Inside.

Visit his website at

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? 

Sure. I was driven by the stories that I constantly make up in my head. Umpteen people had told me I should be a writer and it finally occurred to me they may be right. So I gave it a crack and people really enjoyed the stories I came up with. Since I enjoy writing them I set about trying to become a professional.

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? 

My experience with Thomas & Mercer has been fantastic; Last year they hosted their first annual On The Lam conference in Seattle and they paid for all the authors they published that year to fly to Seattle for three days, all-expenses paid. There I met several authors who had been traditionally published many times and they said the trip as well as the speed with which T&M responds to authors and the power they give authors in the publishing process is unheard of. So my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. The demands are locking yourself away form your loved ones to enter the world of make-believe.

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 started out small press for the novel I co-wrote with my wife, Suki Michelle, then went self-publishing for The Black Song Inside since there was only one publisher I would have been interested in signing with and I had no agent or way to reach them. Then, lo and behold, an editor from that publisher, Thomas & Mercer, discovered my novel, loved it, and offered me a contract which I was thrilled to accept. My experience was phenomenal. T&M is super fast, friendly, and professional.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)?

Having experience with only one publisher and having that experience be first-rate, I just don’t have anything snarky to say.

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? 

Well, since I moved far away from my family it’s just my wife, Suki, and me and but she is not thrilled when I lock myself away and type for hours but fortunately she is also a writer and she understands.

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

The craziest thing was something I already mentioned which was having the only publisher I wanted to sign with magically find me out of the thousands and thousands of self-published novels on Amazon. Getting that email was one of the great thrills of my life, even though at first I was sure it was scam. I checked it out every which way I could before making the fateful phone call to the number in the email. And then getting flown across country to stay in a great hotel and eat at wonderful restaurants and given perks, and all of the wonderful things T&M did that didn’t have anything to do with On The Lam like letting me pick my book cover, etc . The whole process was unreal. 

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

I think most social networks work as long as you aren’t trying to use them to sell things. What I mean by that is I have seen established authors use them well to create a buzz about an upcoming book and then to let fans know when the book is released. The most important thing is you have to enjoy using them for their own sake because just sending out tweets and posts constantly that basically say “Buy my Book” is counter-productive because then you are a spammer. I sort of avoid Twitter because I’m always afraid I’ll say something badly and it will go viral in a bad way.

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

Fortunately, T&M does a good job of promoting. They just got me into the 20 Kindle Books for $2 for the month of January. I certainly loved that month because even though the novel was half price I sold fifty times what I normally sell in a month so I’m still basking in that afterglow. As for what I personally do it’s blog tours and working on sequels.

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

Just what a great time it is for readers and writers! So many authors who had failed to break into traditional publishing are having great success with self-publishing. Some are sticking with that, others are switching to traditional and some are going hybrid, publishing some traditional and some Indie. It’s great for readers and writers because the more successful their favorite authors are the sooner they can quit their day job and write more and thus churn out more good books.

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? 

It’s a real thrill to get fan mail and reviews from readers who enjoyed my novel the way I enjoy novels from my favorite authors. So just getting confirmation that there are real people out there that I gave a good read to is just immensely satisfying and it makes the whole struggle worthwhile.

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