Author: MICHAEL BERG
Author’s website address: www.michaelcberg.com
Books in Print: Just one, "Abandoned in the Maze".
Books in Process: The name of the novel I’m working on is called, "Pigskin Meconium". The novel takes a comparative look at a man’s relationship with sports as opposed to their marriage. It will extract the truth out of today’s macho new fangled religion: fantasy football. Although the general tone will be a comedy, I will once again tackle social issues by incorporating discussions about drug and alcohol use, homosexuality, spousal abuse, and politics. Pigskin Meconium will reveal what makes men tick, while addressing the question: How much disturbing behavior should a wife tolerate?
1. When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing songs about twenty years ago, and one of the first choruses I wrote was on the subject matter of kids living in a group home. This wasn’t surprising since I was employed at the time working with kids in the system. When I finished the song I just felt I had so much more to say. The song slowly morphed (about 8 ½ years later) into a novel.
2. What inspired you to write your first book?
The subject matter of kids living in a group home was near and dear to me, so I worked hard to reveal the horrific and neglectful behavior of my home state of Florida. Once again, a work of fiction uncovers the truth.
3. How did you approach writing your first book?
To be blunt, I was: haphazard, clueless, idiotic and sophomoric. Somehow I felt that the idea of writing a novel along with some clever antidotes would carry me from start to finish. This is the reason for spending almost a decade on two-hundred and twenty-four pages. If you do the math it’s about .07 pages a day. Talk about inefficient and pathetic. Now and then I’ll read parts of the first version and say to myself, "Man, you sucked."
4. Who or what influenced your writing?
I’d like to come across as somewhat of an intellectual and mention a long line of classic authors, but like I said before, I started out as a songwriter. So with that, I’d have to say it was people like Tom Waits, Shane McGowan, Lou Reed, and Peter Himmelman that influenced me to pick up a pen. However, if you do read my novel you’ll certainly recognize the influences of Harper Lee.
5. Why do you continue to write?
I absolutely love the process, whether it’s putting a song together, a short story, or a novel. Writing is also another way for me to vent. We live in such a fast paced world that nobody really has time to listen to somebody else prattle on and on about what they think and feel except in a book.
6. What do you hope to accomplish through your writing?
I hope to improve my skills as a writer in order to articulate my story in a more poignant way to the reader.
7. What has been your experience as a published writer?
Now it’s time to go to work. I always thought that if I could just get my novel published I’d be satisfied; but the writing is the easy part. Now that I’m published I have a second job. My novel was published by a small company, which makes me my own agent, marketing director, public relations director, financial manager, secretary, and sometimes, just sometimes, I get to play author.
8. How do you promote your book(s)?
All the available resources the internet can provide is step number one. I started my own web-site and then paid a company to help promote the site. I joined book forums and gave away my novel for free to other readers to spread the word. Obviously I contacted on-line reviewers with the hope that I’ll be reviewed. I also incorporated some traditional promotional ideas, such as actually mailing the novel to newspapers and magazines at the local and national level. Furthermore, I contacted my local libraries to set-up speaking engagements and workshops.
9. What advice would you like to share with other writers?
Tip #1. Rejection and criticism must equate to motivation.
Tip #2. You are not your own worse critic. How detached and self-absorbed can somebody be in order to say something like this? When somebody else critiques you it’s coming from a different reader’s perspective, a perspective that you might not have considered. It’s extremely important to listen to the critics and the feedback, but at the same time don’t get discouraged; remember tip number one.
Tip #3. If you’re like me you write for the enjoyment of creating, but please understand that it is a business. If you’re looking for your first novel to be published then you’d better approach it in a business like manner. Your query letter to agents or publishing companies is your resume. So don’t hesitate; build up your qualifications now. Submit short stories to web-sites, magazines, and newspapers in order to make yourself a more viable product.
Tip #4. Your novel might be five-hundred pages, but at the end of the day your fate will come down to about two pages; arguably two paragraphs. When you submit your query letter remember that you’re one out of thousands; so make sure you show immediately that you’re a talented writer from the first sentence of your query.
Tip #5. Embrace the world of technology. This is a tough one for me, but the modern business of getting published and selling books depends heavily on the Internet. With that in mind, you should start your web-site today and have links to web pages of your work. Don’t wait until you’re published to begin your site, like I did, there are so many advantages to having one today.
10. Any other comments you would like to add?
Thank you to Kaye Trout for giving me this opportunity. Also, thank you to everyone at American Book Publishing Company, (www.american-book.com) Eric, Jeffery, Todd and Jada. And of course, thank you to my family and friends.
Thank you, Michael, and good luck with promoting your book.
Interviewer: Kaye Trout - December 6, 2006