Red was cooling the last of the jars of raspberry jam when she heard Claret ask Bruno to start a pot of Evangeline. She knew the English muffin would be the next item across the screen, so jar in hand she headed out to see what Dr. Theodore Homa had in hand. She wondered if time travel was in the mix, but suspected something entirely different.
M3: Ted, some of the newer M3 Readers do not know you yet, so give them your publicist’s version of Dr. Homa.
TH: Dr. Theodore Homa is a practicing physician, seasoned history buff and an avid science fiction enthusiast. Among his favorite themes are time travel, the unknown and places of unique historical interest. He is currently working on a sequel to his first novel.
M3: I am sure there will be quite a few ready to snap up a sequel to Archimedes’ Claw. This book is not in the same genre. Was it difficult to jump genre?
TH: Skipping from genre to genre is difficult only if you are unfamiliar with the genre in which you are writing. For me to write a western, for example, would require more than imagination. Readers like to be entertained. If what they are reading is not at all plausible it becomes boring.
M3: That is what makes research so important. I shake my head at fiction writers who believe there is no research to fiction. It seems this book came together more quickly.Was this trip through the writing process easier?
TH: The first book Archimedes’ Claw required honing skills I did not know I had and tremendous dedication to research so that I could tell a plausible fiction in the historical, sci-fi thriller genre.
In writing the new book Standing at the Gates of Heaven and the Precipice of Hell-A Doctor’s Experience with the After Life, the new book came together rather quickly as I had firsthand experience of all that I reveal on those pages. Additionally, I was pressured by people that I had told about my experience with the afterlife to organize it into a book, so that others might learn from me.
M3: Memoirs tend to fall together a bit more easily. Certainly, mine did even with the research involved. With the proliferation of faith-based memoirs, what makes yours stand out from the crowd?
TH: My faith-based memoir stands out from the crowd in very simplistic ways. I am a scientist, and obsessive compulsive one. I require clear understanding of what I consider to be truth. In the spiritual journey from agnosticism to faith, I witnessed and studied miracles that I report about in the book.
In the afterlife experience, I am convinced what I perceived is real. We all use faith in our everyday life. When you see a light switch before you turn it on you have faith that it will work. In truth, you believe in the science and engineering that went into the building of that light switch. Experience tells you that is why it works.
M3: OCD and science are the basis of most everything I touch. What motivated you to donate the proceeds of this book?
TH: Mary TV will benefit from the sales of the book as will The Franciscans of the Holy Family in Paterson, New Jersey, and an anonymous, penniless, retired priest who is a personal friend. The motivation to give the proceeds to charity has to do with the work done by the Franciscans in ministering to the poor and the ministry of Mary TV spreading the gospel around the globe. Helping an elderly poor priest was added because I saw the need to do so.
M3: You join the ranks of quite a few authors I enjoy who donate proceeds. Do you see a break in the near future?
TH: I have considered taking a break from writing but find myself dabbling in it as a hobby. My blog site is a product of that.
M3: Blogs have a way of calling to the inner writer. What is next on the horizon?
TH: I have the sequel to Archimedes’ Claw outlined and half written. A third novel crystallized in my mind just after the recent election that would take the reader on a fictional journey to the future of the USA. I can also relate that I am anxious to write about the state of medical care in the USA and include pointers on how to be sure you are getting the right care.
M3: The last one could be a companion piece to my next one. Your books enjoy really good reviews. How do you feel about soliciting pre-release reviews?
TH: I am currently awaiting a Kirkus review on Archimedes’ Claw, and I think it should help sales. I have had two journalists review the memoir Standing Between the Gates of Heaven and the Precipice of Hell: Robert Manniello, MD, a freelance journalist for the Capistrano Valley News, and a retired newspaperman from Arlington Heights, Illinois, named Bob Swartz. Both have been beneficial.
M3: The M3 jury is still out on paid reviews, either before or after. Another difference which is of note for SBGHPH is your choice to self-publish through CreateSpace this time. What was the Author House experience, and did it lead you to self-publishing?
TH: My experience with Author House was less than satisfactory. Essentially, when it came to the promotional aspects of the book and the sales pitches, it was very difficult to find the value in some of their offerings. I can say that the editing department was extremely helpful, and I would use them again for only that purpose. The best thing about Author House is that I found Leigha Landry.
M3: She is a jewel, and I am glad you brought her with you. Both of you tell me how the marketing of this book will be different from Archimedes’ Claw.
TH: Marketing this book is less of a challenge than marketing the novel. I have social media in place and press releases done and have a familiar staffer in Leigha, who is essentially my publicist for both books. There are differences. Mary TV is one of the internet TV programs involved with evangelizing to more than a million viewers. They are committed to the book’s success.
LL: Because Dr. Homa’s new memoir explains the events that led to writing and publishing Archimedes’ Claw, we are targeting the same audience and expanding. Some people will read Archimedes’ Claw for the thrill of the plot, the conspiracy theories, and the twists and turns of unpredictable time travel; others will read more into the main character’s journey and the philosophy and theology themes that play into it.
While we focused on thriller and science fiction readers for Archimedes’ Claw, we did include Christian readers, philosophers and theologists. I think it’s obvious that we market to that latter group more with Dr. Homa’s memoir. Other than tweaking the target audience, the marketing plan is very much the same. Dr. Homa has a blog, Facebook fan page and Twitter account. We use those to engage potential readers, as well as other writers, and spread information about his books.
M3: We all know how effective social media can be in finding and engaging readers. Which social media market do you use the most and how do you capitalize on it?
LL: While Dr. Homa has an active Facebook fan page and Twitter account, his blog is the crucial element. We use Facebook and Twitter as a means to drive people back to his blog where they can find information about the book and where to buy it, as well as read posts relating to themes and events in the books. The blog is all about the books and Dr. Homa’s stories and writing. It’s also a place where readers can better interact with him by asking questions and leaving comments.
I also help Dr. Homa find other relevant blogs. Following other bloggers by reading their posts and establishing relationships with them can be very beneficial. Blog traffic typically doubles with a well-placed guest blog, whether you are the guest or host, if you promote it. Facebook and Twitter are great avenues to find new people who might be interested in the books, but we use those outlets to talk about other information.
For example, time travel is an essential element in the plot of Archimedes’ Claw; but the book is a thriller. Dr. Homa has blog posts about time travel, but there are many more that don’t mention it or use memory as a mode of time travel. He writes about ancient and modern heroes, places and experiences, as well as expounds on small mentions in the books. But on his Facebook fan page, he posts mostly about time travel in pop culture. His fan page hosts links to all of his blog posts, but it’s a place where he can focus on time travel, which is trending across all media formats and is one of his personal interests.
M3: It helps when there are bloggers who host interviews as well. (Grins) One of my first introductions to this new book was a press release. What are some of the avenues you have used with the press release?
LL: Dr. Homa has a press release for both books. Actually, he has multiple press releases for both books. When I pitch journalists, I include a press release tweaked for that particular journalist. For example, if the journalist writes for a paper local to Dr. Homa’s residence, then I would use a press release that makes his location and involvement in his community prevalent. However, if the journalist has recently covered a slew of science fiction or time travel topics then I would make that theme of the book prevalent in the press release. I do the same when I pitch book bloggers for a review or interview.
Press releases can be a great tool and should significantly help the journalist or blogger. I also post a press release on his blog and include links to it in Facebook updates and tweets. A press release can also help a potential reader decide if they want to purchase the book. And if it is interesting or newsworthy, other people will share it through their own updates and tweets.
M3: So, Ted, tell the M3 Readers in 15 words or less why they should buy your new book.
TH: People will enjoy reading my memoir because it’s brutally honest.
M3: I look forward to seeing you when the sequel is released.
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