Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dan Pollock - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Dan Pollock. He is the author of the thriller novels and a member of the International Thriller Writers.

Author Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Inspirational Publisher

Author's Blog: Dan Pollock's Thrillerblog
Twitter: @danielpollock
E-Mail: dbpollock@gmail.com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Dan Pollock was born in New York City to a family of writers and grew up in Laguna Beach, California. A former syndicate editor with the Los Angeles Times, Pollock is the author of four thriller novels in addition to Maroc--Lair of the Fox, Duel of Assassins, Orinoco (originally published as Pursuit Into Darkness) and The Running Boy--and a specially commissioned "logistics" thriller, Precipice.

With his wife, Constance, he has edited and published three literary, inspirational volumes: The Book of Uncommon Prayer; Gospel: The Life of Jesus as Told by the World's Great Writers; and Visions of the Afterlife: Heaven, Hell and Revelation as Viewed by the World's Great Writers.

The Pollocks live in Southern California with their two children.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

In April I plan to republish on Kindle DUEL OF ASSASSINS, a Cold War-era thriller originally distributed by Pocket Book (in the U.S.) and Heineman (in the UK). The title is a literal, on-the-nose story description—two assassins, an American and a Russian, ex-friends who become deadly rivals, cross swords (and other weapons) in a series of escalating duels. It was inspired, in part, by Jack Higgins’ SOLO.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that? How much has it changed your book launch process?

Twitter is the only social media I spend time on. I don’t know how much it’s helped me sell books, but it has helped me relieve the isolation of my trade and enjoy the sympathetic company of writers all over the globe. I’ve learned a lot from these folks—most usefully about marketing. In growing my followers, I pursue those who follow other writers I admire.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Decades ago when I was published by Pocket Books and Harper Paperbacks, I did a lot of signings, interviews, book chats, etc. These days most of my reader interactions are done online, via interviews like this one, while I concentrate on writing and self-publishing. Any future online or personal appearances will be noted, or trumpeted, on my blog, http://danpollock.blogspot.com

You have great covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Originally my book covers were out of my hands, done entirely by the publishers—and done quite well. But one of the joys of indie publishing is that a midlist author like me is not shut out of crucial decision-making meetings. For my thriller covers, I have worked with a couple of talented graphic artists, and can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with for DUEL OF ASSASSINS. I offer my ideas, but try not to be too limiting.

What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I’m a member of the International Thriller Writers and the Mystery Writers of America. Both organizations offer marketing tips and opportunities to members, but so far I’ve profited far more from the advice of colleagues I’ve met on Twitter.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

Because I’ve recently retired from my last day job (I hope!), I’m able to devote myself to rewriting, editing, self-publishing and marketing. When I’m not doing household chores, that is, or editing my daughter’s college papers, or watching my high school son play baseball. But I’m itching to start a new novel, and when I do, I know I’m going to have to cut back on absolutely everything else—except watching my son play baseball.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

Like so many other indie writers, I signed up for Kindle Direct Publishing with an eye to making big bucks by giving away my books for free. Like so many other indie writers, I discovered that stratagem no longer works. But I have had a measure of success with 99 cent promotions on Kindle Countdown when combined with modest ads on various bargain-book email sendouts.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

I’ve recently been collecting ideas from other writers and marketers, with an eye to drawing up a coordinated launch plan for my next release, DUEL OF ASSASSINS. Because the truth is, I don’t have such a plan, and didn’t have when I republished LAIR OF THE FOX, ORINOCO and THE RUNNING BOY. I just sent out a bunch of emails and started Tweeting. Ask me again in a couple months, and I’ll share my seasoned wisdom!

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

The last-named method (“rely on your reading audience”) is definitely the best, but it’s only just happening for me after some months. For each new title I found it necessary to prime the pump with some arm-twisted reviews from friends and family, plus a few from fellow writers I met through Twitter. It’s exciting these days to see new reviews (the positive ones, I mean) cropping up from total strangers.

With your background in editing, do you think that gives you an advantage in creating a will structured book or do you have someone else do the editing? It is okay to give Constance credit here.

My editing background is mainly an advantage, but sometimes it slows me up. That’s because I tend to rewrite and edit as I go, often sentence by sentence. (I don’t recommend this kind of compulsive second-guessing. Better to get that first draft down as fast as it flows.) Then I edit each chapter before I go on. Then the entire manuscript. Then it goes to my wife, Connie, a wonderful editor, who is always right—except when she critiques my flawless output. Somehow our marriage has survived this perilous process.

Author's Book List
Standing tall against these landscapes, in his ranch hat and tooled-leather boots, is the larger-than-life figure of Sam Warrender. An Oklahoma wildcatter turned maverick CEO, Sam has never yet walked away from a fight. After battling a corporate cabal led by his hand-picked successor, he hustles his twin-prop Cessna two-thousand miles south into Venezuela's mesa-studded Gran Sabana to stop Caracas politicos and anti-globalist protesters from shutting down his company's mining operation. Once on the ground, Sam finds a new perspective (and a surprising May-September romance), but even more enemies--including his Korean corporate rival, Duk-Won Lee, now actively blocking Sam's every move. And a far more ruthless adversary awaits--an aging caraqueƱo guerrilla who has emerged from retirement to settle old scores with one last grand act of terrorist mayhem. The book races to an explosive finale with a life-or-death pursuit down the serpentine tributaries of the mighty Orinoco. In the words of thriller master Len Deighton, "a riveting read!"

Orinoco will surprise and delight readers who enjoy thrillers, including action adventure, terrorist thrillers and corporate thrillers.

(Note: Orinoco was first published by Pocket Books in 1994 under the title Pursuit Into Darkness.)

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Lair of the Fox
Terror on the Bosphorus: From an acclaimed thriller writer (Duel of Assassins, Orinoco, The Running Boy) comes an action-adventure tale Clive Cussler called "as exciting as you'll want to read." A terrorist crisis explodes in Istanbul. Fanatical Kurdish freedom fighters have seized a three-masted movie ship right on the Bosphorus. A worldwide media storm ensues. The film's glamorous leading lady contrives to swap herself for the hostages. Authorities are aghast, counter-terrorist forces assemble, and a young American diplomat, insulted by the fiery actress during delicate negotiations, vows to risk everything to become her unlikely rescuer. The N.Y. Times Book Review has called Lair of the Fox "a can't-put-down book."

An action adventure tale that moves from the exotic backdrop of Istanbul to the little known Greek island of Kastellorizo, Lair of the Fox will surprise and delight readers who enjoy thrillers, including foreign intrigue, spy thrillers and terrorist thrillers.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Running Boy
A hideaway lake in the mountains above Los Angeles. A woman journalist on the run with a mystery boy, a step ahead of hired Red Mafia killers. A reclusive bachelor in a chalet high above the lake, staring down through binoculars. These are the initial ingredients of a full-throttle, nonstop chase thriller that accelerates from its opening pages to a breathtaking finale.

Andrei "Andy" Morozov possesses a secret that could bring down the new Russian president, a media darling who conceals imperial ambitions. With geopolitical stakes this high, a secret directive is given--the boy must be hunted down and silenced forever. Thus, from the heart-pounding opening sequence, the thrilling helter-skelter race is on. Yet, as we see in vivid flashback, this is only the deadly home stretch of a six-months' pursuit that began explosively in Moscow and has careened across Europe and America to reach its lethal climax amid the neon dazzle of the Russian neighborhoods of West Hollywood.

A story of revenge and relentless pursuit, The Running Boy will surprise and delight readers who enjoy thrillers, including action adventure and chase thrillers. Dan Pollock, a member of the International Thriller Writers, is also author of Lair of the Fox, Duel of Assassins and Orinoco.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Logistics expert Jane Malcolm got her training under fire literallyin the Gulf War, where movement of supplies and equipment meant the difference between life and death. Eight years later, she’s running her own logistics consulting firm. But as shestands on the brink of her greatest victory, she will be swept into a new, high-stakesgame with an opponent she may not even recognize–until it’s too late.Poised to close a multi-national deal, Jane learns that a plane crash has claimed the life of her father, Royal Akers, head of a faltering superstore chain. Determined to restoreher father’s legacy, she races against time to find ways around the Akers dynasty’swoes and undercover their source. For it rapidly becomes clear that these are not random mishaps, but corporate sabotage. International trading partners suffer the fallout, ratcheting the stakes even higher. Economic disaster threatens to topple a fragile govern-ment. If Jane makes one false move, it could be her last. Tense, taut, Precipice is an edge-of-the-seat thriller, creating an all-too-plausible nightmare scenario.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

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