Sunday, June 28, 2009

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Dana's Book Store

Dana: Introduction and Q

Hi Katherine,

Katherine has written Publishing Step by Step, The Naked Author Exposing the Myths of Publishing, Love the Vicious Cycle, and I'm Tall and Your Not So That Makes Us Even.

I hope I have listed all your books Katherine. If not, I apologize...please add them if I missed any. This is an impressive list!

Can you tell us a little about each book? And what inspired you to write each one?

A: The Naked Author – Exposing the Myths of Publishing, strips down and examines the responsibilities of everyone involved in bringing a book to market; the author, agents, editors, publishers, reviewers, distributors and wholesalers to name a few.

The Naked Author is a must-have, go-to reference for everyone who writes and seeks a successful career as an author. Learn tips on how to work with the media from a broadcast professional, manage your time by qualifying appearances and events, and how to protect yourself from publishing scams.

Whether you have just completed your manuscript, or are weighing the decision to query an agent for traditional publishing, or starting out as an independent publisher, The Naked Author will walk you through from career planning to the design and printing process, and
ultimately to marketing yourself and your book.

I’m Tall You’re Not – So That Makes us Even is a short book about Tall women. I am 6’2” and wear heels. This book deals with the humor of being a statuesque female in today’s society, while enlightening these grand beauties on just how envied they are. Chapters include the science of being tall (ScienTALLogy), growing up tall, and the art of dating women who are looked up to.

I’ve laced the content of the book with several lists of successful tall women in various industries, because I feel that inspiration moves deep within the souls of tall women. It’s important to note that we each have something uniquely designed by God. This is what makes us even. I I’m Tall, You’re Not emphasizes this for tall girls and women.”

Though many see being a Tall woman as disadvantaged, I uses humor to show that Tall women have varied interests and many great skills other than basketball or reaching things on top shelves. For instance, if the lock on the bathroom stall is broken, we can still pee and hold the door shut at the same time.

Love... The Vicious Cycle Is a poetic journey through the various stages in a cycle of love, attraction and infatuation, romantic love, lost love, self-love, love for humanity and ultimately... true and ever-lasting love.

The Book Seller’s List is a resource directory for book marketing, listing bookstores, libraries, media sources etc. to help build a solid book marketing campaign.

I was a very shy child and writing was my emotional release. I wrote my collection of poetry and while learning how to get published, I came up with The Book Seller's LIst and Publishing Step-by-Step, which shares what I learned about the industry.

This year, I combined most of what is in The Book Seller's List and Publishing Step-by-Step into The Naked Author. I added information about contracts, what agents, editors (The different kinds of editors), publishers, PR Agents, etc do and working with printers and many tips for navigating through interviews and book marketing.

Interviewing was inspired from my years with ABC Radio Networks, Inc. where I hosted morning radio show and on Wednesdays I had a one hour show called A Woman's Point of View. While there I interviewed several guest who had not a clue about how to interview well. So in order to help others get all the information presented in an interview and be an interesting and entertaining guest, I added media coaching tips in the book.

Dana: Q

I just want to clarify: The Naked Author has tips on getting interviewed? We have lots of authors
on The Diva Within. I have read many books on publishing, but I don't recall ever reading anything about media coaching.

Who is your publisher?

Which book has been the most successful?

I understand that you are also a speaker. What types of presentations do you give?

The Naked Author touches on each aspect of the publishing industry so that writers understand who does what in the industry. It starts off with helping writers think of their writing as a career and planning. Then it addresses each individual that a writer comes in contact with during the publishing process. It explains what they do to assist you in understanding your position in the process as it relates to them. From seeking an agent, contract, editors (and the differences between and editor at a publishing house, line editing and content editor), publishers, public relations professionals and the media.

There are lots of tips on book and self marketing from working with a printer, what is required for bookstores, the legal aspect of printing books and how to be most effective in promoting yourself and your product.

I founded my publishing company, TomKat Productions in 2004. I published all of my books and products and handle most the marketing and promotions for he company.

The Naked Author has been the most successful thus far and with I'm Tall You're Not - So That Makes Us Even coming out, I have partnered with a social network to highlight the grandness of the Amazonian Goddesses of the world.

As a speaker, I do workshops on Navigating for Effective Interviews, book marketing and self promoting, women empowerment and self publishing. I have a down loadable media kit online at

Dorothy: Q

Hi Katherine: Thank you for your valuable time to answer questions. I am seeking a publisher for a non-fiction topic which is a little known topic. It seems that agents or publishers seem to fall into some people's lap. How does one get an introduction to a reputable agent and/or publisher? Or am I dreaming?

Hi Dorothy,

An introduction can be paid for when you attend conferences where you can pitch to agents and publishers. If you have friends or associates who are published, you can ask for a referral from them if they represent nonfiction and your topic.

To research agents, editors and publishers, try books like Writer's Market, Jeff Herman's Agents Editors and Publishers and writer magazines that list those who are seeking new submissions.

It is very time consuming and tough to secure an agent or publisher, but if your writing is good, then you will get picked up. You material has to something that will make money for them. This is a business decision, so unless you have credentials or some name recognition, the nitche market topic may not be something that everyone will jump to publish. But not to discourage you. Create the finest product you can and after researching who to submit to and how to submit to them, you may find a match. Good Luck!

Deborah: Q

Hi Katherine,

I just got published this year with my book "Home Cookin' for Dogs!" I am published by Authorhouse. They have been very supportive and informative throughout this process. I wish I'd read your book first, then I could be even more informed.

Hi Deborah,

Congratulations. Author House is one of the services that assist authors with print on demand or POD and marketing services. They help self published authors reach more readers. However, the author is responsible for his/her success. By being informed about the industry and who is responsible for what aspect of the production and promotion of the author and the book, you are armed with the knowledge of who will be your biggest help in the process.

Now, when are you coming out with the feline version of your book ;-)

Dana: Q

Hi Katherine,

I think any author that wants to be successful needs to continually educate themselves on publishing and marketing. Regardless of who published their book. Many authors I have spoken with are disappointed when they learn they have to market their own book. They assume the publisher will do all the marketing.

What is the best advice any author or publisher has given to you on the book industry?

What aspect of your career do you enjoy the most?

Do you have an agent?

Hi Dana, You are so correct when you bring up this point. this is one of the main reasons why I wrote The Naked Author. Authors are vulnerable when it comes to understanding what is required of them after they have written the book. In this day and time, publishers are investing very little in the marketing of authors and their books. Your success is your responsibility as an author. You must change the belief that your work is done and you can sit back and reap the rewards.

In my book, I have shared most of the wisdom given to me, including many facets on how to build a firm foundation for success as an author. From planing your career to book promotion. I tried to add helpful information on how to present your product and your self as knowledgeable and polished for interviewing and give an array of marketing ideas for increased book sales.

I enjoy getting in front of people and sharing what I have learned. Speaking and interviewing are ways to reach more people than your average reach will allow. We exhaust our friends and families, doctors, teachers etc., but we can reach so many more when we are prepared to speak to groups and do interviews. No one will find you if you stay in a box waiting for someone to make you a success.

I do not have a literary agent, but I have signed with a speaker’s bureau to help arrange and sell my skills for events.

Dana: Q
Where can we purchase your books?

The Naked Author is available at

All the books are available at TomKat Productions as well.

Dana: Q

Hi Katherine,

Do you plan on publishing another book? If so, what is it about?

Do you publish books for other authors? or just your own books?

Presently, I am editing a novel with a screenplay adaptation. I have several projects going at any given time. So far I have three screenplays, one collaborative novel with two other authors, a nonfiction self help book, and one children's book in a series that I am working on.

I am not taking on publishing for anyone else quite yet.

Kristin: Q

I have a few questions.

1. Who is your mentor?

2. Do you have another book in the works?

3. What is your favorite type of books to read?


I don't really have a mentor, but I have gleaned a lot of guidance from many people. From authors like Dan Poynter to Toni Morrison. I love helping others and so I put passion in my work. I love the quote, "When passion and skill come together, you create a masterpiece." (C. Rearie) I try to live my life by that and put passion in all I do.

Yes, I outlined them earlier. Probably when you and I were searching for the lost questions. LOL See above.

I love to read inspirational/self help/metaphysical books. I love the positive energy that comes from them. I have a varied library; Victoria Holt, Toni Morrison, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Neal Donald Walsh, Sue Monk Kidd and on and on. I just love good thought provoking works of literature.

Dana: Q

What made you decide to open your own publishing company instead of going the traditional route? By traditional route, I am referring to sending manuscripts to a publisher. Are you happy with the route you chose?

What do you feel are the positive and negatives for self-publishing?

I tried the traditional route, but these days, agents receive between 2000 to 5000 submissions a year according to the size and diversity of their agency. From those, they may request 50 or so manuscripts and from those, they may read 8 and finally sign one client.

With those odds, I pulled these projects from submission to publish them myself. Since I am well aware of what is takes, I felt comfortable self publishing. As an Independent Publisher with more than one book to market, I simply practice what I preach when printing and publishing books for my highest rate of success.

I like the fact the I benefit from all the profits, but the work load is great. I get up every day as if I a going to work; shower, dress and head to my office. I work every day on some aspect of the business. (I'm single with no kids so I have no other responsibilities. Except for my two cats that I work for -lol)

As I site inside The Naked Author, The negative side is that we all have weaknesses. We are better at some things than others. So knowing what you are strong in helps you best apply your skills and you can barter, trade or hire for help in the other areas. That isn't really a negative, but some people won't admit when they are not good at something and put out marketing materials that does not represent them well, fail to provide the most effective presentation/interview or get in trouble from the lack of knowledge of either the printing industry or design services.

The positives of self publishing is that you and your business are one and therefore if writing is your passion, then you are living it. I love the fact that this is my business and I love what I do.

Kristin: Q

Thank you for answering the first set.

1. Has being an African American Woman made working in publishing harder, different, or do you feel it has made it easier in some ways being a woman?

2. Do you ever have writer's block and if so what do you do about it?

3. What is the one thing you don't like in writing styles?

I am not sure if race had made my job as a publisher any harder, but I have noticed that how I present myself plays a significant role. Let me explain; As a broadcaster, I was syndicated in 32 cities with my morning radio show. I interviewed many authors and entertainers, so I have credentials with that and with my books. I have also had experience modeling and acting, so presentation skills are very strong. However, there is a stigma that African Americans have to overcome (especially in the south) when promoting themselves in whatever they do. That stigma is that we will not be able to articulate well, that we will not be on time and that our presentation of self and products may be to "colorful" or ethnic.

If I wear my hair natural, I get a different reaction from some, but when I go straight, the mood seem to relax. On the other hand, when I am with African Americans, I have challenges there as well. You can't please everybody, so I just do my best in whatever circumstance and hope for the best. Besides, I'm 6'2" so if anyone gets too out of hand, I can grab them by the leg and hold them upside down until they apologize. LOL

Having credentials and knowledge of the industry really helps, because people understand that you know what you are talking about. This is why I wrote The Naked Author; To help writers feel more confident in pursuing their careers.

Writers block is an amazing thing, isn't it? Yes, I have experienced this challenge. I have an ability to work on several projects at once and so my mind sort of shifts back and forth with them. When I cannot get the flow going, I walk away and do something fun, like play a computer game, go for a drive and sing along with some great music, goof off at a happy hour with friends, etc. The next day or maybe even the next week, my mind has worked subconsciously on my project and I get some fresh energy. I started a book last year and wrote about seven chapters, then it sat for six months because it just wasn't feeling like it was going in the direction I wished it to, so one day I got it and re-worked the outline and I have new direction.

I am not sure if I am equipped to answer this one, but I love writers who involve all my senses or totally grasp me mentally and spiritually (nonfiction). I tend to get lost or bored when I read something that is too scientific/brainy or that reads like a history text book. Recently I helped an author write a book on blogging. He had been working with an educator who pulled together some very informative scenarios in history about our founding fathers and they created a "what if they had blogs and how they would read/who would comment" etc. The material was not trade publication material. It was more like an essay or book report and it was simply boring. So I took what I could from the material and restructured it to make it more related to today and more interesting to a younger more technologically savvy reader.

I hope that answers your question ;-)