Saturday, September 19, 2015

Interview with Deborah Camp

Today, I'm proud to interview best selling author, Deborah Camp.

Deborah's first novel was published in the late 1970s and her books have been published by Jove, New American Library, Harlequin, Silhouette, and Avon. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Authors Hall of Fame and she is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of the Author's Guild.

Her latest novel, Through His Heart was published June 30, 2015.

Before we get to the questions – I just have to say – wow- I am totally impressed with your blog and career. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

1)    Give us a glimpse of how you organize your files/time.

I keep a document that has character profiles and research notes that’s easy to access while I’m writing a book. As for time, I write every day and I write at least 10 pages every day or I edit a chapter a day. I’ve done this for years and it works for me. I do occasionally take days off for things like a mini-vacation, health crisis, etc.

2)    Explain how some of your opinions/views about writing have changed since you began your career.

I used to think that romances would be more fully accepted by the general public, but I don’t think that will happen in my lifetime. Women still bad-mouth romances right along with men. However, let a man pen a romance (Erich Segal and Nicholas Sparks, for example) and it’s a classic and bestseller and made into a movie. When a romance written by a woman is successful, the pundits make fun of it and scratch their heads in confusion and label it as “mommy porn.” (Fifty Shades of Grey)
It gets tiring and it annoys me that women play into this kind of denigration.
I also thought that good books would find readers. WRONG. Although my books receive very good reviews (for the most part) and I haven’t had trouble finding publishers for them, I’ve had to claw my way, shout, scream, beg, and bawl for people to read my books. It has not been easy and continues to be a major undertaking for me.

3)    What has been the strangest comment you’ve received from your readers?

Just received a review on Amazon and the reader said she could only read 30 percent of the book because of the objectionable language and the use of “God” in a blasphemous manner. I didn’t make any excuses for it, though. I just thanked her for the review and suggested that she try some of my “sweet” romances.

4)    Which book was your first bestseller? What did you do to celebrate the occasion?

I’m not sure I’ve had a real bestseller, to be honest. One of my books climbed up to the top 25 of Amazon – Too Tough to Tame – but that was during a special promotion. I didn’t do anything to celebrate. I was stunned and thought there was a mistake that would soon be corrected. However, days went by and no one said it was a fluke, so I guess I did make the bestseller list with that one for a brief time. I asked Amazon if I could list myself as an Amazon bestselling author and they said I could, so I guess it really happened!

5)    What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Do you mean creating the cover, etc? Or creating it as in writing it? As for writing, it is a constant discovery process. You never learn it all and you always keep growing and challenging yourself. I read great authors and they inspire me to greater heights as a writer. Other romance novels are my textbooks and I study them relentlessly.
If you mean creating an e-book, well the whole process astounds me. Finding a cover artist and then trying to get a cover you can live with . . . trying to figure out how to promote the thing without going broke . . . deciding that you WILL go broke to promote it because you love it so much and you want people to read it! I admit I have spent more promoting some of my ebooks than they have earned – but I remain optimistic that they will continue to sell and break even. ?

6)    If you were starting over, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

I actually think I did everything I should have done in the beginning. Although I have a degree in journalism and I was a newspaper reporter, I located writers in my area and joined writing clubs. I went to conferences. I took classes in writing novels. I joined a writers’ critique group that met every week. I learned the craft before I submitted my first manuscript (which sold, by the way to Simon&Shuster). I am a charter member of RWA and went to the first conference where I signed my first literary agent. I went to autograph parties, national, regional, and local writer conferences, and I was a speaker at many of them. So, I paid my dues. I approached it as a business and I still do.

7)    What has been the most successful method of reaching your readers?

I’ve tried a lot of things and I’m still out there slogging away. I can’t say that any of it has been that successful. I suppose the blog tours have given me my best return-on-investment. Personally, I think that placing ads in writers’ magazines is pointless. I do place ads in magazines such as RT and Affaire de Coeur, but I can’t say they are fruitful. I received my first “Top Pick” review from Romantic Times a few months ago – after 44-plus books! – but I’m sure that placing ads with them had nothing to do with it. In fact, they were surprised that they’d never given one of my books a Top Pick before. I have invested in promoting my books in the Affaire de Coeur calendar because I think those are well distributed to readers and the stick around all year.
Facebook and Twitter give me the most immediate reader feedback. I have a personal Facebook site and an author site and we have a lot of fun on the author one.

8)    When you finish your first draft, do you let it sit for a time before you begin editing?

No, I don’t. I’m always anxious to get it out of my door so that I can move on to the next book I want to write. So, I write the first draft in a fever . . . then I re-read the whole thing and do a major rewrite on it (usually), and then I read it again to finesse it, massage it, and tweak it. Then I let a friend read it and she tells me what sucks and what doesn’t. And then I do another rewrite with her suggestions in mind. By then, I’m ready to send it to my agent to see what she thinks about it. It’s sort of like dressing your kid in nice outfits over and over again and having the kid sent home because he/she has somehow defiled the dress code.

9)    What’s the worst advice you’ve received for one of your books or your career?

Harlequin bullied me into changing one of my outlined books into a baby/daddy/cowboy thing that was hell to write because I didn’t want to write it. It was one of the last books I wrote for them. I see that the baby/daddy/cowboy thing is still big with the serial romances. There is a good market for them, but it’s wrong to expect their writers to pen those plots over and over again.

10)    What advice would you give to aspiring writers who have taken the time to learn their craft yet struggle with promotion (besides persistence)?

I’m in the boat with you and I’m also trying not to sink! Boost Facebook posts (I’ve found those to be worthwhile) and look into blog tours. I have been told that if you can get a couple of blog owners loving your books and talking them up, that’s worth a lot. Hasn’t happened to me – yet. I also see writers with their own “posse.” These are avid readers who sing the praises of that author all over social media. That also seems to be a big help, but how you organize one is a mystery to me. You see them on Goodreads. They start their own discussion groups and have “buddy reads” centered on one author. I started my own discussion group and I think I have six members. ? So, without a posse, it’s pretty sad.
I tout other authors also the time. I have no problem singing the praises of people like C.D. Reiss, Mia Sheridan, and Abigail Barnette. I want people to read every book these gals write because I love them. Don’t know them personally. I’m just a big fan of theirs and I let everyone know it on Facebook, Goodreads, etc. So, someday I hope that some other author does the same for me. I feel like it’s gotta happen sometime, right?

11)    Give us your point of view on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. What changes do you foresee for the future?

Self-publishing has its rewards and drawbacks. I have to get used to selling thousands of books (ebooks) instead of hundreds of thousands (which is what I sold with print publishers). I like having control over my covers and deciding when I’m going to release them. But I don’t like spending so much money and time just trying to find a few thousand readers for them – especially when they garner good reviews online. There are simply so many good books out there that it’s very difficult to push yours up to “top of mind” for readers.
Reviews of my books often go like this:
“I’ve never read anything by this author, but I really loved this book! What a surprise. It is everything I look for in a book and the author is a really good writer.”
So that tells me that there are plenty of readers out there who would enjoy reading my books if they only knew they existed. Fortunately, there is still plenty of fight left in me and I’m always ready to take on the next battle for more readers.
Traditional publishers will continue because they can distribute books worldwide and get them on shelves. Readers still enjoy shopping and buying books – the ones you can hold in your hands. I used to be one of those readers, but I’m ebook and audio book all the way now. I believe this is the future and will continue to grow as “traditional readers” gradually subside – sort of like people who mostly listen to digital music but also cling to and enjoy turntable LPs.

Book Trailer:
 Add it on Goodreads
Available at Amazon

Deborah Camp
Author of more than 40 novels, Deborah lives in Oklahoma. She has been a full-time writer since she graduated from the University of Tulsa. She worked for a few years as a reporter for newspapers before becoming a freelance writer. Deborah’s first novel was published in the late 1970s and her books have been published by Jove, New American Library, Harlequin, Silhouette, and Avon. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Authors Hall of Fame and she is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America. She is widely published in non-fiction and writes and edits for a magazine focused on small businesses. Deborah taught fiction writing for more than 10 years at a community college. She is currently working on a series of novels featuring two psychics who work with police nationwide to identify and track serial murderers.

In her personal life:
 She works with the Animal Rescue Foundation whose main mission is to rescue dogs and cats from kill shelters in her area. Most of the shelters are full to overflowing and thousands of dogs and cats that are euthanized every year around Tulsa, OK.
She's on the Board of Directors and  fosters dogs in her own home. Currently, she has two foster dogs now. It's fun and rewarding work.

In her Mind's Eye series, Trudy has a gray Chihuahua named Mouse. She, too, had such a dog. She traveled with her in their RV and was a joy. She now has another little gray Chihuahua named Mister Darcy (along with Gypsy,a rat terrier mix, Inky Dinky Doo, a 15-year-old black Chihuahua, and Dexter, a 13-year-old blind Chihuahua).

 |Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest |Blog |Website

All of her novels are available on Amazon as ebooks

Mind’s Eye (Amazon)
Through His Eyes
Through His Touch
Through His Heart

Amazon Historical Romance
To Seduce and Defend

Amazon Novella
The Madcap and the Miser

Silhouette Romances
To Have, To Hold
Devil’s Bargain
This Tender Truce

Silhouette Special Edition
For Love or Money
In a Pirate’s Arms
Just Another Pretty Face
Vein of Gold
Right Behind the Rain
After Dark
Master of Moonspell

Harlequin Temptation
The Butler Did It
Wrangler’s Lady
Hook, Line, and Sinker
Love Letters
Weathering the Storm
The Second Mr. Sullivan
A Newsworthy Affair
Destiny’s Daughter
Taming the Wild Man
Oklahoma Man

Rapture Romances
Sweet Passion’s Song
A Dream to Share
Winter Flame
Midnight Eyes

Serenade Romances
Tomorrow’s Bride

To Have and to Hold  Romances
They Said it Wouldn’t Last
Strange Bedfellows

Avon Historical Romances
Blazing Embers
Fire Lily
Black-eyed Susan
Fallen Angel
Cheyenne’s Shadow
My Wild Rose
Lady Legend
Too Tough To Tame
Tough Talk, Tender Kisses
A Tough Man’s Woman

Harmony Hardcover
Belle Starr, Bandit Queen

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! It's good to make another friend online. I enjoy your blog and will be checking back to see what you're up to! I also enjoyed your book and I'm looking forward to reading more and more!