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A Writer has been unleashed upon the World, and a new Publishing company born!  Watch out world!

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I'm proud to call Sharon Gerlach my friend.  A wonderfully talented writer... wait.. let me rephrase that--  She is  wonderfully talented PUBLISHED writer... hold on, I feel I must rephrase that also-- She is a wonderfully talented PUBLISHED writer AND PUBLISHER!  All of us who know Sharon and know how much passion she puts into her writing are feeling extremely proud at this moment.

Sharon was gracious enough to grant us a new interview and talk about the publishing business, her new book, and what the future holds for her and her partner in crime, NL Gervasio. Also,dear readers, I have included links to both Sharongerlach's and NL Gervasio's blogs and websites.  Check them out!

Now, on with the interview!

All right, so the last interview you did for SilverthornPress.com was … a long while ago, 2009! Wow, time flies!  You were writing and sending out query letters to publishers.  Now, we are sitting here in 2011, and you have published your book Malakh, through your own publishing company Running Ink Press.  How did that come about?

 

My business partner (NL Gervasio, aka Nikki) and I have always planned on starting our own publishing company and publishing our own work. We tend to work outside the very definite lines of most genres, which makes it hard to entice an agent or publisher to sign us on. Not to mention the fact that we don't always write what's currently popular. Instead of pandering to current trends, we write the stories inside us that are demanding to be told. It's hard to convince the Big Six and literary agents that your work can sell when no one is currently writing what you are. There's no sales history for them to base an acquisition upon.

 

Malakh seemed like a logical choice to a first release: it's completed, it's edited eight ways from Sunday, and it's a unique story. It's also only 23,000 words, so people are willing to take a chance on it to see if they like my writing style.

 

Before I ask you to tell us about Running Ink Press, I have to ask you how you and NL Gervasio come up with the name.   In case it has been lost on some of our readers, the acronym for Running Ink Press is RIP.

 

 Ha--I wonder how many people have caught on to the acronym? Yes, it was chosen deliberately. We were kicking around several ideas for names, and we both kept coming back to that one because of the acronym. Nikki and I both tend to write--and read--very dark fiction, so we thought it was apropos. Hopefully it's not a portent of doom for us. LOL

 

So, not only have you decided to self-publish your book, you have decided to take the plunge and create this publishing company.  Considering the state of our economy, the decision must have been tough.  What was the ultimate deciding factor?

 

Yeah, it hasn't been easy parting company with money in this economy, and RIP might still be in the "future dream" state of being if it weren't for a windfall. Remember that dog that bit me in September 2009? Yup, he's funded my business. Good boy, Fritz. Good boy.

 

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I think it is too early to ask you about your worst experience in self-publishing, so, I will ask you, what has been the biggest challenge thus far?

 

The biggest challenge has been time. I work full-time in a very stressful, busy office. Because of the crappy economy, two of my kids still live with me, along with my baby granddaughter, so there are many distractions and time-suckers. Add to it the fact that I'm uber-introverted and--as I always tell people--would have trouble selling ice water to someone dying of heat stroke in the Mojave. I leave a lot of the marketing (pimping, as I call it) to Nikki. I'm more comfortable coding and formatting and editing, although I am stepping out of my comfort zone and pushing the book.

 

The digital age is here to stay and seems to be hurrying along at a maddening pace.  What are your thoughts on the future of the printed book?  Are we moving into the era of paperless books?

 

I can't see a future without printed books. I just can't. And I don't want to. I never leave the house without reading material, and I love the fact that before I travel, I can load up my Android with more books than I can read in a year and not have to worry about how much space they're taking up. But there's something about holding a real book in my hands, something about the smell of paper and ink in a bookstore, that can't be replaced with electronics.

 

I'm hoping to see some smart decisions by the Big Six that can keep the price of printed books competitive, and I'd like to see them consider dropping the price of ebooks. I know there's a lot of work that goes into an ebook--I've published one--but I suspect it's not nearly as much as goes into a printed one.

 

I believe there are going to be more authors who choose to "go indie" and there are going to be more small publishers like myself popping up. The indie movement is demanding notice and respect; there are a lot of very good authors publishing independently. You simply have to wade through some crap before you find one--you have to do that with traditionally published authors too; the sell books because they have an established name, but the quality of writing and the depth of story are sometimes very disappointing. With most independent authors, you're risking less money to try them out, because most aren't charging $8.99+ for their work, even for full-length novels. Indie authors shouldn't be dismissed so casually by the general readership--they aren't being dismissed by the Big Six, as evidenced by Amanda Hocking's recent (and for some reason controversial) book deal.

 

Will RIP just concentrate on ebooks?

 

Oh no. Eventually we'll be producing printed books as well, probably as sales and demand warrant. We're currently getting everything into place for that venture.

 

You have a full time job, a family, you are a writer, and now you are running a publishing company; where do you find the time to do all of it?

 

HAHA  Find the time? No, I pretty much rob the time from other things I should be doing. It all comes at great sacrifice to my family; I've never fooled myself about that. My attention is usually claimed by writing or tasks related to writing. Housework slides. Gardening slides. If you're looking for advice on how to balance it all, don't look at me--and if you find some good advice, pass it along to me, will ya?

  

How are you handling the marketing of your book Malakh?  In 2009 you told me you were terrified of it; has anything changed?

 

Nope, nothing has changed. I'm still terrified of speaking in public, despite my successes in class. We're pretty much promoting through social media and word of mouth. As things progress (as sales build, in other words), we'll branch out to more advertising. We don't want to build overhead costs so high there's no profit left, so we'll be very cautious and very smart when choosing how we go about promoting.

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Let’s talk a little about your book.  What is the meaning of the title?

 

Malakh--or mal'akh, as it's properly formatted--is the word for "angel" in Aramaic, Ethiopic, and Arabic. In modern Hebrew, it takes the expanded meaning of "messenger of God." Although the story deals with two angels (plural of malakh is malakhim), Icarus is the only one introduced until the very end of the story. So the title is actually referring to him. And despite the fact that the story is narrated by Suzanne, Icarus is actually the focus of the story.

 

Your characters have a strong voice, and they are what drive the storyline; how do you come up with these wonderful characters?  Is it difficult to keep their voices straight in your head?

 

One thing I've never had any trouble doing is keeping my characters' voices straight. Characterization is where I excel in writing, and my stories are almost always character-driven rather than action-driven. While writing action is challenging and can be fun, I'm more fascinated by the workings of the inner self, the motivations that make people do the things they do. When I conceive a story idea and begin to cast the characters, they generally spring into being with personalities intact. I simply attempt to capture it on page. I have a very personal relationship with each of my characters, which makes me able to write their flaws as well as their triumphs.

 

I do write most of them with a strong voice--I'm a strong person myself, and I have little patience for weak or codependent characters, which is why I had trouble reading that I-will-not-mention-the-name vampire series. I don't understand codependency, and have trouble accepting characters with that trait.

 

The only time I've had to be very careful with my character's voices was while writing my third novel (my second women's fiction novel), The Secret Dreams of Sarah-Jane Quinn. Both it and its predecessor, Office Politics, are written in first-person present tense, and giving Sarah-Jane a unique voice after penning a character like Frannie Freeman (the main character in Office Politics) was pretty challenging.

 

Will you be publishing more of your stories in the near future?  NL Gervasio is also a writer; will we be seeing any of her stories published through RIP?

 

As a matter of fact, I'm editing one of Nikki's books right now for publication. She has another one waiting in the wings, as well. As for my work--yes, I believe by the end of this year you'll see both of my women's fiction novels for sale. And once those are released, I'll be working on edits for my paranormal series.

 

Is Running Ink Press currently looking for writers to publish?  Will you focus on established writers, or new writers?

 

We will be looking for writers eventually, but probably not this year. We have an anthology slated to be released soon, plus Nikki's and my other work, and possibly a novel from another author we solicited. 

 

Once we've established ourselves and found our rhythm, then we will open up for submissions. We agreed early on in the planning stages that we're going to take chances on new writers. One of the reasons we decided to start our own company is to publish ourselves. It's not that we shun the Big Six publishers, but rather we realize there is more than one way to attract their attention. We also agreed that we will take chances on stories that don't necessarily fall within the strict confines of specific genres. We like to cross those lines ourselves, so it would be rather hypocritical of us to hold our authors to a different standard.

 

Something that should please anyone considering submitting to us in the future: we will not be asking for synopses, and we are not limiting the genres we publish. We will ask for query letters, but I'm going to make it clear that no one is to agonize over them. Just tell us what your book is about so when we read the sample chapters, we know what we're dealing with. Simple as that.

 

In our interview back in 2009 you stated you will keep submitting both short stories and novels until they are accepted.  Is that still true, or will you exclusively publish through your own company?

 

As I intimated above, there's more than one way to attract the notice of the Big Six. My own work is under our standard contract of two years. We feel that's an adequate time to build a readership and start a buzz about your work--a buzz that could garner the attention of a traditional publisher. We aren't discounting NY at all, which is why our standard contract is only for two years. If after the two years pass, our authors find themselves being approached by a traditional publisher, we want them to have that chance and not have their opportunities limited.

 

Whether I'd take a trade publisher contract would depend on how sales are for RIP--I have to make sure my company is taken care of--and what's being offered by the publisher. Money has never necessarily been my main goal for writing; it's more like a perk.

 

What’s next for Running Ink Press and its talented owners?

 

We're working on Nikki's first release. We have an anthology coming up, as well as my two women's fiction novels, as I mentioned earlier. Nikki has another one in the works as well. The first of my paranormal series is patiently waiting to be edited; the second is patiently waiting to be completed; and the third is being planned. I'm casually writing on the third women's fiction. All of my work--and possibly Nikki's, as well--will be released first by RIP and we'll see what happens from there. :-)

 

Busy, busy, busy!  Here at SilverthornPress we are rooting for your success.  It's a wonderful thing to see a new publishing company that's out there to make a difference for writers and the writing world.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down and chat with us!

 

Sharon's book Malakh can be purchased from the following websites:

 

Smashwords

Amazon.com

Amazon UK

 

 

 


You can read our first interview with Sharon HERE

Check out Sharon Gerlach's work AND NL Gervasio's work at the following websites!

 

Writer Unleashed (Sharon's Blog)

 

Running Ink Press

 

Jinxie's World

 

Forever Nocturne

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