Today’s guest is Stephen Wilson, author of the mystery, The White River Killer. Stephen’s first book was Harvey Couch – An Entrepreneur Brings Electricy to Arkansas, published in 1986 by August House publishers. He also has won awards for his screenplays which have been presented by the Writer’s Workshop program at the American Film Institute. His latest work, The White River Killer, was developed as part of the Summer Words program at the Aspen Institute.In addition to writing, he is a marketing and advertising professional.
Welcome to Examiner, Stephen. Have you always had an interest in mysteries and was this the reason you penned your book, The White River Killer? Or was it some other reason why this book just had to get out there?
Stephen: I was influenced by one of my favorite books Snow Falling on Cedars. In that book, the troubled hero investigates a possible murder that has important personal stakes for him as well.
Have any mystery authors influenced you?
Stephen: It’s embarrassing to say, but probably Franklin W. Dixon. I devoured the Hardy Boy books as a boy. I remember that the writer(s) always ended each chapter with something that made you want to keep reading. I tried to do that with my book.
What kind of research did you have to do to write The White River Killer?
Stephen: Not much, I base the book on a small southern town that I previously lived in. I hope the rhythms and manners of the south will seem real to people who have lived here.
I would love for you to take me through the self-publishing experience. It used to be self-publishing had such stigma to it and now it’s being embraced by the publishing industry with open arms and I am so glad for that being a huge Indie supporter myself. Out of the whole process, which step was the most frustrating in your experience?
Stephen: Marketing the book is the most stressful and uncertain part of the process for me. I didn’t have (still don’t) a great deal of knowledge on how to market a book on Amazon. I’m still looking for that magic bullet that will get my book in front of a large number of potential buyers. It got a great review from Clarion Forward and I think it’s a great read, I’m trying every possible combination of elements that will do the trick –and raise the profile of the book.
Did you design the cover yourself or did you hire someone to do it?
Stephen: I found the cover photo on IStockphoto. I then gave it to a graphic designer who was familiar with all the various formats. For example, Audible requires a square cover for their website but it wasn’t a problem because she was prepared for that and gave me a square version.
How hard was loading it to the Kindle store? That’s the part that gives me heebie jeebies. Was it difficult? Did you hire someone to do it for you?
Stephen: Well, I hired someone to format it for me for Kindle. I think that may the process very easy. It went right up without a problem.
How long did it take for your book to become ‘live’ at the Kindle store?
Stephen: I don’t think it took more than a day. It was pretty quick.
The million dollar question – why did you decide to self-publish and would you do it again?
Stephen: Yes, I would self-publish again. I would prefer a major publisher who was more adept at marketing. And an advance wouldn’t be bad either!
What’s next for you, Stephen?
Stephen: As I find the time, I will be working on a young adult novel about time-traveling teens. I also have an idea for a sequel to The White River Killer.
Where can we find you on the web?
Stephen: I know I need to be there and hope to find a spot on the Web soon.
You can pick up your copy of The White River Killer at Amazon.