Friday, December 19, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of 'Miracle Man' William R. Leibowitz

William R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment/media law in New York City for a number of years.  He has represented numerous renowned recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses.  At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest ‘indie’ music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group). 

William has a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University.  He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George. 

William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times – when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero –and that, of course, is Robert James Austin, the protagonist in Miracle Man.  Miracle Man won Best Thriller in the National Pacific Book Awards.
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Q:  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?

 A:  I wanted to be an author to express myself creatively and to be able to use the
entertainment context of a novel as a means to share ideas with my readers that are important to me.  Specifically, I wrote Miracle Man because I wanted to create a believable modern day ‘super hero’ who is an ‘anti-celebrity’.  I thought that a literary character like this could be inspirational when contrasted with the meritless celebrities that dominate media today (e.g., the reality TV stars who are famous for being famous, but have no real talent).  The cult of self-centered “non-entity” celebrities has undermined our social fabric and in my opinion, created a bad role model for kids today.  The protagonist in Miracle Man, Robert James Austin is an antidote to this—a refreshing change.  I also wanted Miracle Man to be the vehicle within which I could convey, in an entertaining format, certain spiritual and humanistic messages.  Miracle Man also involves the reader in the crisis that we all are facing today with Big Pharma failing to want to cure diseases.

Q:  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?

A:  The biggest perk is when you get great reviews and feedback from readers telling you, not only that your book has entertained them –but that they were touched by the characters that you created.  The negative is that writing novels is really demanding and takes a great deal of discipline, mind and soul searching, and focus.

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

A:  After speaking with several lawyers who represent authors and then doing research, I decided to self-publish Miracle Man because the financial and marketing opportunities for new writers of fiction that were once available from major publishers no longer are.  I decided that I’d have more control by self-publishing.  I’ve been very pleased that I made this decision.

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

A:  Any industry that relies on “gate-keepers” is fraught with problems.  The publishing industry is similar to the music industry in that certain people (often of dubious vision) are put in charge of deciding what is worthy of the public’s attention. J.D. Salinger’s  Catcher In The Rye was rejected by publishers over 50 times.  The Beatles and The Who couldn’t get record deals.  What does that tell you?

Q:  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?

A:  I think my family reacts with an odd combination of support and skepticism.  Because they know that writing is important to me—and they see how hard working and enthusiastic I am about it, they want to be encouraging and supportive.  But at the same time, they know that the reality is that such a venture is highly speculative and very difficult to succeed in.

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

A:  I was sitting on a New York City bus checking my email one morning, when I received an email that told me Miracle Man had won a national Best Thriller award.  I was so dumbfounded and excited that I wanted to scream out loud, “I won, I won,” but I knew that wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do on the New York mass transit system.

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

A:  I think facebook, twitter and linkedin are helpful.  I actually haven’t had any bad experiences with social networks.

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

A:  I’ve done several things to spur sales.  Firstly, I’ve told everyone I ever met in my entire life that my book was available for purchase.  Secondly, getting reviews is very important-- as is working social media.  I’ve had PR releases that are geared to be entertaining in and of themselves, as opposed to just being informational -- and  I’ve also done quite a few radio interviews. 

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

A:  I wish I could reach a truly large number of people and tell them about  Miracle Man’s unique plot and protagonist –and ask them to check out the reviews on Amazon or on my website (  I think that if they did—their interest would be piqued.

Q:  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?

A:  If you are proud of what you’ve written that’s a great feeling.  Your work defines you and written words will survive you as they can always be found somewhere.  Writing fiction is an art form and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to express oneself artistically and communicate with people on that level.

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