An interview with author-poet, Jason Leonard, whose book In Shadows is out now.
Tell us something about your book. The basics: what’s it about?
In Shadows is a book of poems, chap book if technical terms suit your fancy. I wrote the book in my early 20′s so there some popular themes there, i.e. struggling with relationships, self-esteem, love, etc., etc.
How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published traditionally?
I did not try and find a traditional publisher. While it was a ton of work, I learned a great deal about publishing and it made more sense to self publish. If I was going to owe someone else money for an advance/expenses why not pay for it out of pocket and save myself the aggravation of the search, especially since there is no guarantee I could find a publisher.
What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?
I used BookBaby, they have a great deal for starting authors and I am happy with their service. I decided to sell direct on my website so I’m doing all the distribution. Next time I will probably not do that, although I did learn a bit about e-commerce so it’s all good.
What avenues have you taken to market the book? Have you gotten reviews, interviews, TV, print media coverage?
I have just started marketing, so no reviews or coverage as of yet. This would be my only interview thus far but I’m hoping that I can generate a few more with some of the promotional services through BookBaby.
What drove you to write this particular book?
As I mentioned earlier I wrote 99% of the poems many years ago. That time in my life was filled with such expectation and sorrow. I was trying to come to grips with having to make it on my own and become a man. Writing is like therapy to me so there was definitely an emotional need to get all my feelings out at that time.
Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?
I couldn’t say it fits into a genre other than just General Poetry.
Who are your greatest writing influences?
Edgar Allan Poe. The man was a genius when it came to writing.
What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused? Focus when writing?
Ya right. I try to write everyday BUT I never force it. If it isn’t there, it isn’t there. Charles Bukowski had a popular quote “Don’t Try” when asked about his writing. My approach is similar. The best time to write is in the middle of the inspiration, positive or negative. While it is not always possible, all of my writing is more raw and natural when I write when I’m experiencing the actual emotion. Your point of view changes if you have to look back, say 5 years, at an event and try to write about it. You have to grab it while it’s hot…
Would you self-publish again?
Yes, absolutely. It’s the way to go for me…
Any final words of advice for those looking to self-publish? Be prepared.
You’ll work harder on publishing than you did on the actual writing. it can be exhausting but in the end it’s worth it.