Writers Spotlight: Second Glance

When the order came across the headset for a pitcher of iced super sweet, Red answered, “I got this one,” knowing full well who was in the M3 Coffee Shoppe. She scanned the café floor and spotted her target easily. She was surrounded by a throng of young people with assorted tees and backpacks emblazoned with fairies and skates.

M3: I knew Red Tash was here just by the all the fairies in the M3 Coffee Shoppe. Let me see what you have. Troll or Derby! Loved this. So, everyone is dying to know about the second time through. Easier?

RT: Yes!  Definitely!  Everyone should publish for their second time, first!  (Huge grin) 

Seriously, though, I found the process to be much less harrowing this time.  I wrote a stronger book, I knew it, and I had the confidence of having forged friendships and built relationships with an audience that was waiting for my book!  What could go wrong?

M3: I can only think of a handful of things…fortunately, you have mentioned none of them! With your recommendation, I chose CreateSpace for T3. Give the M3 Readers something practical for a trip through for the first (or subsequent) time.

Red Tash

RT: Be patient and don’t freak out.  If you use a word processing program with any frequency, you can format a book for CreateSpace no sweat.  The cover can be a little trickier, but the text is pretty much a cakewalk if you use CreateSpace’s templates.

I am also noticing more and more small press publishers are using CreateSpace instead of commercial versions of POD (print on demand).  Almost no one is doing “old fashioned” print runs anymore, unless they have long-standing trad pub contracts with booksellers.  Your book is going to look fantastic off CreateSpace!  Order a proof copy, make any changes you need to make, then have at it!

M3: You have just bridled a ton. Patience is a virtue. How long did it take to write? A week will not kill you to make sure your copies are perfect. Did you make any changes to the way you are marketing Troll or Derby?

RT: Oh, definitely.  I was starting from scratch with This Brilliant Darkness.  No one knew who Red Tash was and they had no reason to read her weird (but good) book!  I had to reach out and find my audience from scratch and I experimented with a lot of promotions to do that.   

Troll Or Derby was different in a lot of ways.  I knew Troll Or Derby was going to appeal to certain groups: fantasy readers, rollergirls, and people who just love to snarky, funny stuff.  Fans of my first book know what kind of writer I am, so they slurped up Troll Or Derby right away.  I’m presently still reaching out to new readers and letting them know the book exists.  It’s quite a job, but it’s all good.  When you feel GREAT about what you’ve written, it’s a joy sharing it with those who will love it.

M3: This one is a really easy share. I am not in any of your standard demographics, and I love it! I adore allegory. Tell the M3 Readers what sets Troll or Derby apart from the sea of others in the YA genre.

RT: Honestly, there might be a sea of YA novels, but there’s precious little out there like Troll Or Derby.  The closest fit would be the Tithe urban fantasy series by Holly Black, but even then, Troll Or Derby is quite different.  TOD has a queer protagonist, romance isn’t the focus of the story (although it’s definitely there), and there’s a genuine love of skating.  The fairies are dark and the setting is gritty, true to the reality of life below the poverty line in much of the rural US.

Growing up in rural Indiana and then being sort of shaghai’d into living there for the better part of a decade, I know the grim reality that many teens grow up with throughout the US, where a clean and well-lit Wal-Mart stocked with foodstuffs and clean clothes can seem like a magical fairy world of delights.  People can and do scoff at the “white trash” who frequent these places.  The characters in Troll Or Derby are observers of this lifestyle, as well as participants.  They deal with what they’ve got to, and do their best to make the right decisions in a very scary world.

M3: The reality of the world in which fantasy characters coexist with real world characters seamlessly is where the writing of TOD takes another step ahead of the pack, which I am sure will be hot on the trail after reading it. Give the M3 Readers an honest look at going exclusive with KDP.

RT: I did *not* go exclusive this time, because I wanted to try and make in-roads on B&N and Apple.  I am not exclusive with any books on KDP Select right now because book sales are pitiful the world over for all but the big names.  Wrong time of year for book sales, evidently.  Readers who speak of having hundreds of unread books on their Kindle definitely are telling me there’s little point in offering a book for free download.  The audience I want to reach are those who are looking for something they REALLY want to read (not just collect tons of books that won’t be read).  I’ve found that people who are willing to pay for a book are more likely to read it, review it, and tell their friends.  Freebies just aren’t valued that highly.

Having said that, I still give away The Wizard Takes a Holiday for free.  It’s getting close to his one year anniversary on the web, and I just added two bonus stories to it by some fellow quirky writer gals.  Ash Krafton’s work-at-home Mom scientist tale and Claudia Lefeve’s dark civil war flash fiction piece are great company for my lonely wizard.  I think people who love my work will enjoy these two ladies, and we’ll see if the reverse is true, as well.  I hope this meets the needs of those who are looking for free reads, and encourage those who like what they see to buy the books of these two, or of myself.

M3: Collaborative efforts always reap rewards because more hands are pushing the ball. Are you planning on taking a break now?

RT: A break from what?  From being awesome? Never.  (Laughter)

M3: I think the word you are looking for is Fabulousness. So, my darling, what is next for Red Tash?

RT: Right now I’m looking forward to the release of a couple comic anthologies, one horror and one steampunk.  I’ll have two comics in the first, and one lengthier one in the second–I wrote or co-wrote them, and artists have done the hard work in illustrating them.  My work will also be included in a few upcoming short story collections this fall.  I’m personally producing a holiday ebook including short stories from several fantastic up and coming writers.

At the same time, I’m working my way through the first drafts of a couple of novels, including sequels to Troll Or Derby and This Brilliant Darkness.  And there’s more, too.  I just wish there were more hours in the day to write, draw, and create!  I’ve still got a full plate homeschooling my kiddos and getting other “life” business squared away, so it’s a heck of a time right now!

M3: Another reason we are such kindred spirits…so many commonalities! Congratulations on the newest addition to your bookshelf. I feel quite certain we will be doing this again…quite soon.


Darling M3 Readers,

Take a few minutes to pass by Red’s blog and check out Troll or Derby in the many markets where it is currently available. This Brilliant Darkness is available at most of your favorite outlets. For a taste of Red’s signature style, stop by and pick up your copy of Wizard Takes a Holiday. You will not be disappointed.

Check out my review of Troll or Derby. I hope you find it helpful.

When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hashtags #WW, #authors and #books. Thank you for sharing and your unending support of the talented artists of the M3 Coffee Shoppe.



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  1. *Slurp* Ah, delicious!

    Thanks for having me! I’m so glad you enjoyed the book!
    Red Tash recently posted..laughingsquid:

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  2. Another Red, how confusing, but charming!

    Interesting, I went to CreateSpace upon recommendation of a friend to publish my first book, but I saw it need PDF files, so I had to bail.

    Congrats on your 2nd book!
    Alexandra Heep recently posted..You Might be a Facebook Addict if:My Profile

    • That is not true. I did not upload a PDF and used their Word conversion. It was free!

      • Really? I must have missed something very important then …
        Alexandra Heep recently posted..You Might be a Facebook Addict if:My Profile

        • When I talked to the rep, he was pushing uploading a PDF, but I had already looked over the submission box and Word is a definite choice. There are also sample templates for the popular sizes, so your margins are right. Easy as pie.

          Plus, since it is Amazon owned, the mobi translation is provided for you to submit to Amazon.

    • Red Tash

       /  August 1, 2012

      Thank you!

  3. I’ll be buying both RED’s books, and am looking so forward to your poetry book, too, Red! I will be publishing my first memoir with CreateSpace this year, using their Word conversion. I sent an email and was contacted by CreateSpace within a week to answer any questions I might have. Real person customer service, and helpful too!
    Gail Thornton recently posted..Poem – The Promise of a LetterMy Profile

    • You will love Red’s books. I think you will be very happy with CreateSpace as well. They really do read your emails and answer your questions. No cookie cutter checklist responses. I really like them. 🙂

    • Red Tash

       /  August 1, 2012

      Thanks so much for your kind words!

  4. Hello Red and Red… I entered the contest and wasn’t sure which Red .. hahaha kidding I mean I did enter but …. your writing style and story sounds very interesting.. and I love fairies..

    and your banner looks amazing up there… my what bright eyes you have 🙂 I like it. Just saying..

    Love bigger then a four letter word can begin to resemble ,and hugs… (hahaha its good I looked cause I typed hogs.. ) Lizzie
    Lizzie Cracked recently posted..Strength in Weakness, Mid-Afternoon Mental MomentMy Profile

  5. There’s a whole lot of Red around here! Well, it’s my favorite color, so that’s good.

    I think the idea of giving away a short book (or maybe a long preview) is a very good idea. Now that anyone with an internet can publish a book, there are probably a lot of them out there that aren’t the best. So if you prove to your audience you’re a good writer, they’re much more likely to buy your later offerings.
    Binky recently posted..Shallow LifeMy Profile

    • Red Tash

       /  August 1, 2012

      Mine, too, Binky!

      It’s tough. Give too much away and your work is diluted in value. Don’t give enough, nobody reads. Before the Internet, I used to go to the bookstore and read the back of the cover, or maybe the jacket flap if it was a hardback. I felt badly if I damaged a book by flipping through the pages–I’d never dream of cracking the spine & reading the first chapter!

      Now with online booksellers, I wouldn’t dream of NOT reading a sample!

      It’s a tough decision, how much to share. I hope I’m doing it right. 🙂
      Red Tash recently posted..realityayslum:

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  6. Maegan Morin

     /  August 2, 2012

    Hi Red! Thanks for the awesome giveaway 😀

  7. Penelope Crowe

     /  August 2, 2012

    Hey all!
    Great interview–thanks to both.
    And no!! No vacations from awesomeness!!!

  8. Nice interview. Sorry I’m not into fantasy but I read your Amazon review and it does sound fascinating.
    tess kann recently posted..Is It Too Late To Follow The Dream?My Profile

    • I am definitely not into fantasy, but in her book, the characters being fantasy do not get in the way of the story. She pulls it off so well.

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