I’d like to welcome back author Robert Eggleton. Hi Alex. Thanks for inviting me back to your great book blog to update you about my debut novel.
Please recap briefly about your book: Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary fiction with a science fiction backdrop. In a nutshell, it is the story of victimization to empowerment taking readers from tragedy to comedy and satire, including political allegory that predicted the rise of Donald Trump to political power long before he became a household name. Lacy Dawn is a most unlikely saviour of the universe, genetically manipulated for millennia, who builds a team of zany characters to resolve an imminent threat to economic structures, one that could destroy all life – a longstanding feud between the political ideologies of extreme capitalism and democratic socialism.
What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news! The biggest news item is that the final edition of Rarity from the Hollow was released to Amazon on December 5, 2016. When I last visited with you, my novel was being circulated as an Advance Review Copy (ARC), gathering praise and criticism by independent book reviewers and critics. One book critic had already compared the writing style to Kurt Vonnegut. https://electricrev.net/2014/08/12/a-universe-on-the-edge/ Another, a Retired Editor of Reader’s Digest, found that it was the most enjoyable science fiction novel that he had read in several years. http://warriorpatient.com/blog/2015/05/18/58/ After you interviewed me, Rarity from the Hollow was awarded Gold Medals by Awesome Indies http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/ and Readers’ Favorite https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow. A Bulgaria critic named Rarity from the Hollow as one of the best five books of 2015, along with Revival by Stephen King and The Martian by Andy Weir. http://codices.info/2015/12/top-5-for-2015-ventsi/. The ARC received twenty-six five star and forty-three four star reviews by independent book blogger on Amazon. Since release of the final edition, after its political allegory became much more obvious with the election of Donald Trump, a few reviewers took a second look at the novel and have upgraded their findings and ratings.
On January 6, 2017, the first of the final edition was published, five stars. The closing lines were: “…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for-rarity-from-the-hollowby-robert-eggleton/ On February17, 2017, Dan’l Danehy-Oakes, a critic whose book reviews often appear in the New York Review of Science Fiction, published his review, five stars: “…I know this all sounds pretty whack, and it is, but it’s also quite moving. Lacy Dawn and her supporting cast – even Brownie, the dog – are some of the most engaging characters I’ve run across in a novel in some time….” http://sturgeonslawyer.livejournal.com/ On March 8, 2017, the 93rd book review was published by a book blogger, five stars: https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/RCL7S5MDYE791?ref_=glimp_1rv_cl
I’m continuing to promote Rarity from the Hollow by submitting articles and guest posts, participating in interviews, just about anything that I can think of to get the word out about the novel. As you are aware, author proceeds support the prevention of child maltreatment, so especially since the Trump administration has proposed budget cuts in domestic programs, I believe that any money that I can raise is important and will help a great nonprofit agency. http://www.childhswv.org/
Since the final edition of my debut novel was finally released, I’ve also gone back to work on the next Lacy Dawn Adventure, Ivy. One of my poems won first place in an international competition last year and I’ve submitted another to an online poetry magazine. I’m putting finishing touches on a short story that I plan to submit to a magazine before the deadline on April 15, 2017. Things have been “hopping,: Thanks for the great question.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Maybe some writers can self-edit, but I’m terrible at it. I tend to read what I intended to write rather than what was actually written. One of my pet peeves is finding typos in emails and posts, such as on Facebook, that I’ve sent. My wife will sometimes look over stuff that I’ve written, but I’ve been so prolific that she’s often not available. For something like a novel, I would never submit it for publication without a “professional” edit. That doesn’t mean I have the money to pay for one, so I’m not sure what I’ll do if Dog Horn Publishing, my traditional small press, doesn’t survive in the marketplace. Rarity from the Hollow was first edited by a friend, an English teacher, and then professionally edited by the editor of one press, the Acquisitions Editor for the University of Michigan’s Library system, and then by two affiliates of Dog Horn Publishing. So far, nobody has commented on any editing issues or typos with the final edition of Rarity from the Hollow. I got lucky. I’ve never paid for anything to do with publication of my novel, including its free editing.
Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Prejudice against indie/self published authors used to be a lot worse. A book blogger recently published my take on the history of this controversy: “I Found God in Cyberspace.” https://gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/i-found-god-in-cyberspace-by-robert-eggleton/comment-page-1/#comment-755
Some well-known authors, including Stephen King, have more recently turned to self-publishing. https://www.bookworks.com/2015/06/why-stephen-king-j-k-rowling-joe-konrath-and-others-are-switching-to-indie-publishing-at-least-on-some-of-their-books/ However, for authors with little name recognition, this emergence of the traditionally published authors into self-publishing is not particularly encouraging. There have been a few self-published books that have sold well. Perhaps because he’s also a children’s psychotherapist, my personal hero is James Redfield, author of The Celestine Prophesy. He sold the first 100,000 copies of his book out of the trunk of his car before it was picked up by a traditional publisher.
I believe that there are good and bad books self and traditionally published. I can’t think of any right off the top, but it used to be common to find typos in books long before self-publishing was available. I feel that the biggest advantage that traditionally published book have over self-published books is the advertising. While not true about small presses which seem to be going down faster than seals in an oil slick, some traditional book are marketed by high salaried publicists who buy reviews printed in popular magazines.
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? In general, I think that it’s bad form for an author to publicly comment on a book review. As long as it’s done politely as part of a thank you note, I don’t see anything wrong with a private comment by an author about a book review. Of course, book bloggers moderate comments if submitted to their sites rather than by private email, so making an author’s comment would entirely be at the discretion of the book blogger. Competency as a book blogger or as an author, of course, varies. So does ethics. In my opinion, the skill is in the pitch for a book review, as written and as read. In my opinion, some book reviewers are so busy, perhaps overwhelmed by requests, that they may not fully read pitches and may prefer cookie-cutter type novels with which they are already familiar. Others look for those books which fall outside of mainstream releases. Online, I’ve met several wonderful people who have contributed to the promotion of Rarity from the Hollow. I’ve also met a couple who I now wish that I’d never pitched for a book review. In any case, reviews are critical to the potential success of the author and the book blogger, neither of whom are likely to make much money by their contributions to the World of Books.
When buying a book do you read the reviews? Yes, I always read every review that is available before I buy a book.
What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? Perhaps more traditional than full reviews, authors writing blurbs about books have been a standard. Again, this question addresses ethics. I suspect that there are some authors and editors who primarily review books as a strategy to sell their own books or services. Of course, authors trading glowing reviews with other authors would be unethical. So are friend reviews, or, in my opinion, sharing posts on social media simply because of friendships instead of the merits of the posts. While it’s a World Wide Web, our participation on it always involves ethics. But, it’s so hard to compete simply by writing a good book. Many, if not most, traditional publishers definitely have the upper hand, so I’m a little lenient in this consideration. You know the old saying: “What’s fair for the goose is fair for the gander.”
Looking back what do you wish you’d known when you started writing? Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t know then what I’ve learned since. I was a total novice, and to some extent, that remains true today. If I would have realized that the odds of having a good book ever appear in a book store, much less than 1%, I may have been too disheartened to have written Rarity from the Hollow. I’m very proud of my accomplishment. Especially so by two book review findings that it may outlive me: “…I would even say it could be read in a college setting both for the craft itself and its unique brand of storytelling….” http://tabbyafae.com/rarity-hollow-robert-eggleton/
Do you have any unpublished novels under the bed/in a folder anywhere which you thought were awesome at the time, but now will never see the light of day? No, I don’t have any unpublished novels that fit that description, but I have several short stories that are so dated now that they seem silly. Rarity from the Hollow was my first attempt to write a novel.
How have you progressed as a writer since you started? Technically, I’m somewhat more highly skilled in word processing, and that’s very important to writing. Most of the short stories that I just mentioned were written on a manual typewriter. I’m struggling with the craft of writing and not fully sure if my motivations to change style would be a progression or a regression of my craft. Part of me wants to remain semi avant garde and hope for a niche, while part of me wants to meet more mainstream expectations. It kind of feels like back in junior high when one struggles with wanting to both be unique but to also fit in with the crowd.
What are your views on authors offering free books? It’s a modern marketing strategy that supposedly can be used to build rank on Amazon if done through that company, but I suspect that most recipients of free books never read them or remain loyal to their authors. That’s a guess. I’ve thought about trying it on Goodreads, but since my writing doesn’t fit mainstream expectations I’ve been hesitant. Plus, many of the authors there seem to be much younger – kind of a social club – and, I may not have similar youthful interests or knowledge.
What are your plans for the future? When will we see your next book? Tell us about it. The next full-length Lacy Dawn Adventure is Ivy. It’s been ready for editing for quite a while but I’ve delayed for a couple of reasons: (1) I’m still promoting Rarity from the Hollow to build improved name recognition; (2) I’m now retired on a low fixed-income, unsure about whether my traditional small press will survive to publish Ivy without me incurring expenses, but even more unsure about the actual costs of self-publishing given my poor skills in technology. Ivy is the story about a unique alien invasion of Earth and asks the question: How far will a child go to save a parent from drug addiction?
Give us a bit of information about your primary character(s). Lacy Dawn is an empowered victim predestined for millennia to save the universe. A good way to get to know her would be to check out a character interview by Lisa the Robot Girl. It’s very funny, and deadly serious: https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/rarity-from-the-hollow-on-lisa-burton-radio/
Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.
Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.
“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”
—Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest
“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”
- Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review
“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)
“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” —Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)
“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author
“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review
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