Friday, November 29, 2013

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Anna Erishkigal

BRoP Logo RevisedThe Blog Ring of Power (BRoP) is a consortium of five speculative fiction writers who have banded together to bring you highlights from the current speculative fiction market--news, reviews, and interviews with speculative fiction authors--with an emphasis on small-press and self-published authors. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and relax. Have we got a story for you...

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Author Bio:

Anna Erishkigal is an attorney who writes fantasy fiction under a pen-name so her colleagues don't question whether her legal pleadings are fantasy fiction as well. Much of law, it turns out, -is- fantasy fiction. Lawyers just prefer to call it 'zealously representing your client.' 

Seeing the dark underbelly of life makes for some interesting fictional characters. The kind you either want to incarcerate, or run home and write about. In fiction, you can fudge facts without worrying too much about the truth. In legal pleadings, if your client lies to you, you look stupid in front of the judge. 

At least in fiction, if a character becomes troublesome, you can always kill them off.

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Part 1 @ Sandra - Monday, November 25
Part 2 @ Vicki - Tuesday, November 26
Part 3 @ Terri - Wednesday, November 27
Part 4 @ T. W. - Thursday, November 28
Part 5 @ Yup, you made it this far! - Friday, November 29

Section #5: Words of Wisdom

BRoP: Tell us about your route to success – how/when did you decide to self-publish? Did you query an agent first? How did you handle the editing, proofreading, cover design, etc.
    1. A.E.: Since 2001 I've had a non-fiction legal self-help manual I've been self-publishing because a traditional publisher wouldn't let me bootleg copies and hand them out for free to the low-income and battered women I wrote the book to help.
When it came time to start editing up some of my fiction stories I wrote 'for fun,' (when I got up to 17 manuscripts, most of them crap, my husband started dropping hints it was time to start looking for a publisher), I treated it like I would any other business venture.  I subscribed to all the prestigious writing magazines.  I went online and researched 'how to get your book published.'  I read fiction-writing craft books.  I joined a prestigious writers group (not Plot Bunnies) full of serious, traditionally published authors and picked their brains.  I borrowed 'how to find an agent' books from the library.  And most importantly, I went to several conferences and pitchapalooza's where publishers, editors and agents stood up in front of us and told us how unworthy we were, how likely it was our book would fail, and even if we did meet success, they expected us to do all the work of building our own social media platform to market our own books. 
Huh?  I do all the work and you give me 7%?  I decided right then and there I would rather give away every book I ever write away for free to readers who like my work, the same way I give away my legal self-help manual to low-income women who need it, before I'd hand over control of my 'babies' to those pompous jerks!  I never did pitch an agent.  I will succeed, or fail, on my own merits. 
Being an indie is a long, hard slog.  But if you keep persisting and constantly seek to improve your writing, gradually you begin to build a readership.
    1. DIY:  Formatting is easy once you know how to do it, as is the physical process of digitizing things into eBooks or print-on-demand and uploading it to all the major distribution platforms.  I do that 100% myself.  I still do as much of my own editing, proofreading and cover design as I can, but these days I do pay somebody to final-proofread my work so I don't get embarrassing reviews about missed typos or possessive plural apostrophes in the incorrect place.  And Rochelle does my cover art, though I graft on my own graphics.
The thing with being an Indie is that, to survive, you always have to have a cost-benefit analysis running in the back of your mind of how much it will cost versus how much you're likely to recoup in sales.  The truth is that most books don't sell, especially Indies who don't have the benefit of discovery vehicles such as major bookstore chains where people can find their work.  Even exceptionally well-written, traditionally published books often fail to sell.  Write the best book you can.  Edit it to the best of your ability.  Run it by your critique group and beta-readers.  Then send it out into the world, praying it is enough.
My first book I had no choice but to do everything myself.  It's kind of like that first baby you have when you're young and broke.  You do the best you can with what you have, line a dresser drawer with a blanket from a thrift shop, buy second-hand clothes, breastfeed and puree your own baby food.  Even though it's less than perfect, if you love that baby and lavish it with every bit of attention you can, most readers will intuit that and love your story as much as you do.  By the time you get to your second or third baby, hopefully you've taken any money you've earned on the first one and poured it back into things like taking classes to fix areas your writing is weak, hiring a professional proofreader, and paying somebody to design your next cover. 
Most of my professional Indie author friends, by the time they get to book 6 or 7 and their writing career becomes self-sustaining as a means to earn a living, go back into their backlist, hire the editor they couldn't afford in the first place to rip apart their first story, then re-release their firstborn with the book cover and 'shoes' they wish they'd been able to afford at the time.  These are the Indie authors who are now defying the odds and hitting the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.  I hope to someday join them.

BRoP: What are the most important elements of good writing?
    1. AE: Be true to your characters.  If you write compelling characters that resonate with your reader and grip them by the heart to take them for a wild ride, they will forgive all sorts of bugaboos in your writing.
BRoP: What tools are must-haves for writers?
    1. AE: Readers;
    2. Beta-readers;
    3. A critique group;
    4. Taking the time to analyze those 'I loved this story, but…' comments from your readers.  Those are areas you can improve.  An author should always strive to perfect their writing.  It can always be better.  This is just the nature of the beast.
BRoP: Do you have any advice for other writers?
    1. AE: Don't quit your day job.  Not only does writing not pay for 99.9% of the people who write content, but the people and situations you come across in  your day-to-day work will provide a great deal of the inspiration for your writing.
BRoP: What do you feel is the key to your success?
    1. AE: Success?  I'm just an indie still slogging along, but as a writer, I've developed some amazing relationships with readers.  I've got people from all over the world who write to me and I've found inspiration for future stories from cultures I'd never even considered.  Pakistan?  Malaya?  Vanuatu?  Brazil?  Each reader is a gift, and what they tell you they got out of your story when viewed from the lense of their culture is an even bigger gift! 
The other day a friend of mine asked me to compose a bunch of Tweets to broadcast through her social media network to drum up sales.  I'm kind of clueless on Twitter and didn't know what to say, so she went to my Amazon page and pulled out excerpts from some of the reviews people have written on my books.  It was like, wow!  People really said things like that about my work?  It was rather humbling

BRoP: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
    1. AE: If you love your readers, they will love you back, especially when they write to you and say things like, 'maybe you could…' or 'why didn't you…'  Yup … when a reader writes to me with a suggestion, I try to figure out if there's some way I can use that suggestion in a future book.  War camels, for example…  You guys rock!
BRoP: What are your current / future project(s)?
    1. AE: I've still got a bunch of rough draft manuscripts to edit and get out in the Sword and subsequent, related Knife series, but as far as new writing is concerned, I've got a second book in the Children of the Fallen series on the draft board, a merman story I'm plotting out.  Picture this … girl meets sexy oceanographer professor in a wheelchair … Nick … muscular … sexy … dark hair and eyes the color of the cold Atlantic in January and, oh?  What's that hidden beneath the blanket of his wheelchair?  A tail?  And oh, by-the-way, my heroine is afraid of water!  Yeah … this next one's going to be pure paranormal romance, but like all of my stories, it will be thoroughly researched and have a message beyond the romantic fluff. 
BRoP: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
    1. Join me doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November!  50,000 words in 30 days … the suckier the story … the better!  And then we can all get drunk together at the TGIO (thank god it's over) party in December and read our sucky, unplotted drivel out loud and shout huzzah at who has the worst story ever!  Whoo-wee!!!

Author Contact Information:

Book Back Cover Blurb – please include your book’s official back cover blurb below:

Agents of Ki won't be out until the Archangel Mikhail stops whispering to me in my sleep about last-minute edits, but why not download and read Book 1 of the series, The Chosen One, for FREE on most distribution platforms and, if you like it, move onto Prince of Tyre?  By the time you read through those two, Agents of Ki should be out.  [*Come closer, said the spider to the fly.  Just a taste … and then you'll become addicted to my series.*]

SWORD OF THE GODS: THE CHOSEN ONE (Epic Fantasy/Space Opera)
by Anna Erishkigal

At the dawn of time, two ancient adversaries battled for control of Earth. One man rose to stand at humanity's side. A soldier whose name we still remember today.

"A creative alternative to the history of what we call angels. It feels like...Star Trek meets creation mythos." (reader review)

*FREE* for a limited time at:


Barnes & Noble:

Apple iBookstore:

*Print edition qualifies for the Amazon Matchbook program.

Reader Reviews:

"Erishkigal excels at painting complex characters, with believable flaws and lovable quirks." (reader review)

"This book leaves me without words. For three days I read a story so unbelievably beautiful it stole the very breath from my lungs. If there is a true fantasy book in existence, it is this." (reader review)

"Much better than 90% of current science fiction ....would be epic as a cable series or movie trilogy." (reader review)

1 comment:

  1. My 14 yr old just self-published Confessions of a Middle School Nerd on Lulu & I really liked your insight on going indie & forging your wn way as an author. Best of luck to you on your journey!