An Interview With Author Whalen Klift

Whalen KliftTell us something about your book. The basics: what’s it about?
Untamed Silk is an erotic romance about a hard-charging marketing consultant who, though sexually adventurous, has a history of emotional trauma that makes her unable to commit to a serious relationship. That all changes after a one-night stand with a fellow executive/adventurer/philanthropist who she pronounces “The best kisser she ever met.” She tries to forget about him with a series of other encounters in a variety of situations, including a haunted nineteenth century mansion and a Parisian swingers club. Then, after a traumatic event forces her to resolve her inner turmoil and accept her love for him, the two are finally reunited in the middle of an African war zone.

How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published traditionally?
Initially, I prepared my manuscript for submission to traditional publishers, but found the submission process absurdly time consuming and self-indulgent. I wanted to be writing, not reformatting my work to every different set of submission guidelines. By self-publishing, I was able to offer my book to the public when I wanted in the way that I wanted.

What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?
I used BookBaby to convert my Word document into ePub, Mobi and PDF formats. They then placed my book on a dozen bookseller websites (of my choice) for me. Not only did they place the “buy” links on each bookseller site, but also on my own author page within their system that allows the full price to come to me. Coming to this venture as a complete eBook novice, using BookBaby was the right way to go. I’m still learning, but the curve was not as steep with their program.

What avenues have you taken to market the book? Have you gotten reviews, interviews, TV, print media coverage?
BookBaby provides a Quick Start Guide that lists many websites through which one can market. Besides Self-Publishing Review, I am listed on GoodReads, NoiseTrade, Readers’ Favorite (through which I have gotten 3 reviews), BookRiot and BookDaily. I have created a website (UntamedSilk.com), a Twitter account and YouTube audio of an author interview. I am considering using a Print On Demand service so that I can create giveaways and hard cover promotions.

What drove you to write this particular book?
I conceived the idea of my main character, a strong female business woman. The more I thought about her, the more I became interested in the psychological forces that drove her. I wanted to find out what happened to her, so I wrote the book.
Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?
Its a contemporary erotic romance., the first that I’ve written, though I specialize in exploring the inner lives of my characters in the stories I write.

Who are your greatest writing influences?
Probably the best writers of sexual themes today are Nicholson Baker and Mary Gaitskill. Overall, as a novelist, I’m very influenced by the work of George Simenon, the grand master of the modern psychological novel. [Also the most prolific; he wrote several hundred books in his lifetime.]

What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?
I generally spend time in the morning exploring ideas for new projects and writing blog entries or essays. Afternoons are devoted to my next book. Keeping focused is a matter of forcing myself to sit at the computer and put something on the screen whether I know where I’m going or not. It’s often said that writers have to write in order to find out what their stories are all about. That’s the way it is for me. There’s always a new plot development or aspect of a character to try out to see if it fits into the overall scheme of my story. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t, but I always learn a little bit more about what is happening, and trying out new ideas kick starts my imagination into coming up with more ideas to try. Eventually, a story takes shape.Untamed Silk cover

Would you self-publish again?
I think self-publishing is a viable option. It’s taken seriously now, and there are a number of services that provide professional guidance through the process. Readers get to make their own decisions about what to read, instead of having a traditional publisher do it for them.

Any final words of advice for those looking to self-publish?
Treat your book as a product that will sell to some subset of the people who hear about it. Therefore, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to let people know it exists. There’s a market for everything; you just have to find it.

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