I first met K.D. McCrite when she offered to critique the manuscripts of five lucky Ozarks Writers League members. I submitted the first chapter of Broken Dolls, and met with her one-on-one for a detailed critique. I remember being impressed, not only with the comprehensive and thoughtful review she gave me, but also that she volunteered her time to help new writers to become the best they can be.
In the year and a half since then, I’ve seen many instances where she has offered her advice and support to writers, all while being prolific at both writing and marketing.
After enough wondering “How does she do it?” I decided to interview her to see if I could discover her secret. I hope you discover it too!
Q. With all of the time authors must spend promoting themselves and their books via social media, how do you balance your promotion time with your writing time? Do you have a structured schedule? What forms of promotion do you find most useful?
These are tough questions. I don’t have a balance right now, but I’m trying to figure one out.The first few weeks after a book comes out can be hectic, with invitations to speak, to sign books, to attend parties.
In spite of all the hype and chatter I hear, I’m still not completely convinced social media actually is the great “be-all” marketing tool we’re told it is. Does Twitter really help you sell more books? Do people actually follow the multitude of hash tags and links, looking for good books? Does blogging entice readers to want to read your books, or is it vice versa? Would time spent promoting yourself be better served at your desk, writing the best story you possibly can?
Maybe I’m just old school, but I continue to believe word of mouth is superior to all marketing tools. It creates best sellers. If you like my book, for goodness sake, tell someone about it! And in that case, Twitter and Facebook, et al is an invaluable resource.
Q. K.D., in your book, In Front of God and Everybody, you created a series of funny, “relatable” characters. But my favorite, of course, is April Grace, your teenage main character. Who was the inspiration for April Grace? How is she different and how is she the same from that person?
Much of April Grace is based on my younger daughter, Joy, who as a child had a big heart, but often spoke before she thought. And my older daughter, Holly, could come up with some of the funniest observations about people and events.
April Grace is also a little bit based on my own inner sassy self and what I’ve thought, felt and seen through the years. I would hope all three of us can keep our feet out of our mouths better than April Grace does!
Click here to read an excerpt.
Q. Can you describe what your writing path has been? For instance, did you start with short stories? Contests?
As a young girl, I wrote stories. Lots of stories. But, as an adult, when I started writing with serious, professional intent, I jumped right in with writing novels, because I wanted to write books not stories. That’s a hard way to go, and it’s the slow way to see your work in print. When I finally began doing articles and short stories and seeing them published, it helped to build my confidence. Plus, when I wrote queries or pitched ideas to book editors, I had some credits behind me.
Q. What three things have you learned in your writing career that you wish you would have known from the start?
1) I wish I’d known my early works were not golden and that I needed a LOT of practice and learning.
2) I wish I’d known it’s better to start small and work my way forward. I’d have written and submitted more articles and short stories sooner to get my feet wet, rather than starting out by novel writing.
3) I wish I’d known you can’t write your true voice if you’re worried about offending someone.
Q. Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha, says his greatest “writer-sin” is debilitating perfection. What would you say is your greatest “writer-sin” and what do you do for redemption?
Seeing a story in absolutely everything, no matter where I am or who I’m with can be a great transgression. (It was murderously tough in school to pay attention when my head was spinning stories.)
Today, I had lunch with a lovely friend, and was completely distracted by an unrelated event going on outside in the parking lot. I immediately began to build a story around what I saw. It was rather hard to pull myself back into the real world and listen to my friend’s comment.
I drive my long-suffering husband crazy with my excess imagination. To redeem myself, I apologize, apologize, apologize. Those who know and love me, understand and forgive.
Q. What’s next?
Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks, the sequel to In Front of God and Everybody, will be out December 6. However, it can be pre-ordered on Amazon now! (Click here to pre-order.)
Also, I’m excited about two new books that will be coming out under the name Sidney Archer. (That’s a combo of my grandfather’s first name and my grandmother’s last name.) These are both dark, serious novels for adults, nothing like the funny, light reads of Confessions of April Grace. The first book, Redemption, will be out in December of 2012, and Whited Sepulchres will be out February 2013. (To read more about these books, click here.)
See what I mean? K.D. is downright prolific! After interviewing her, I see there is no magic solution to it — though I expect her “writer-sin” of seeing a story in everything is actually a gift. But, there’s no doubt that her greatest gift is her ability to just SIT DOWN AND WRITE!
Thank you for your insights, K.D., and best wishes for continued writing success!