Sunday, 23 December 2012

Tom Ukinski, author of Divine Play

Divine Play by Tom Ukinski is available for Kindle from Amazon:
US: Divine Play: An Epic With Commercials by Tom Ukinski
UK: Divine Play: An Epic With Commercials by Tom Ukinski

Divine Play: An Epic With Commercials by Tom Ukinski
Author Quiz interviews Tom Ukinski...

What's the best and worst thing about being an author?
The best thing is being totally in control of your creation, and realizing that words have limitless potential.  The worst thing is that the work is never quite finished.  No matter how many times you go over the text, you will always find something to correct or improve.  This is especially troublesome after you have published the thing, and wake up at 3 a.m. to tell yourself, “That would have been so much better/funnier/more poignant than what I wrote!  Stupid, stupid, stupid!”

What is it about your usual genre that appeals to you most as a writer?
Science fiction is like philosophy in 3-D.  You can take any social issue, moral dilemma, or spiritual insight and expand it to the size of the cosmos.  It is also the ideal format for satire, since the macrocosm equals the microcosm and vice versa.  The analogies and symmetries provided by mankind, nature and the universe are inexhaustible. 

Would your book, Divine Play, work best as a movie adaptation or as a TV series? 
I cannot help but envision it as a film, but the book is long enough that it would be best presented as at least two or three movies.  OK, maybe one movie—with a ton of deleted scenes!

Without being too specific and without revealing too much about the plot, have you ever killed off a character who you felt particularly attached to and if so was it an emotional experience writing the relevant scene?
In Divine Play, I killed off one major character.  I really grew to love all of the main characters.   In my early development of the plot I planned for the death of one of the major characters and rapidly chose one, but as I developed the character in the course of the novel, it was difficult to let that character go, but I found a way for the character to reappear after death.

Have you ever used online advertising to promote your book(s) and if so which sites would you recommend as having produced the best results and where have your ads produced less than hoped for results?
I’m currently using Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.  I tried “Authonomy” and “American Author.” For “Authonomy” one had to have his/her novel chapter (or entire novel) read by a large number of authors (while one reads their chapters/novels), all for the hope of being considered by the sponsoring publishing company.  One rose gradually up the rankings, until the prerequisite number of readers had been accumulated (also known as “achieving critical mass”).  In my opinion, authors, by and large, did not actually read other people’s work, but scanned enough to write a review of sorts.  I consistently stayed so far down on the list that I finally jumped ship.  I don’t know that one would get any more consideration by the publisher this way than by submitting one’s unsolicited manuscript directly, but I cannot speak to that with any credulity. Other authors may have had more success with this method, and I understand that the policies have changed since I went off the rolls.  For “American Author,” one must pay a monthly fee.  I had all manner of trouble getting the author page set up (though that was 99% operator error).  I think my page was viewed by two people, both my friends, who recommended that I sex up (my words) the presentation, but this is beyond my capacity.  Perhaps others can offer more positive reports.  At present, I don’t see much point in going beyond Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for marketing (unless one can afford a publicist). 


How do you see the publishing industry changing over the next few years?
I think the printed word will continue to thrive, but self-publishing and social media marketing will continue to grow.  I thank God for the Internet and for e-publishers such as iUniverse.  I can well recall the hours of exhaustive effort I devoted to trying to interest an agent in my work, which was (I was often told) the only way one could approach conventional publishers.  The difficulties of achieving success by the traditional method (and the odds against success) have geometrically increased over the years, in my view.

What strategy do you use for getting reviews? 
I paid a sum for a publicity campaign to be developed for my book, and I am in the middle of it.  I can’t offer any self-help tips in that regard.  I hope my book will be reviewed!

Would you rather sell 1000 books at $10/£10 each or 2000 books at $1/£1, i.e. what gives you the greater sense of satisfaction; overall earnings or overall sales?
The platitudes are true:  writing is about communication; and books are written to be read.  One has to be willing to sacrifice royalties to discount pricing to get one’s book to the maximum number of readers.  The only durable part of writing is the impact that one’s work can have on others.

What advice would you give to a new author who has just finished writing their first novel and is unsure as to what steps to take next?
It won’t hurt to make an attempt to contact an editor who has expressed an interest in taking on new clients.  There are also contests for which one can pay a nominal fee for consideration of one’s work.  One can get information on both of these approaches in The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Poets & Writers Magazine, and others.  I would never advise someone not to explore these avenues.  If one has the means, one should also consider self-publishing or online publishing, which are far less expensive and far more effective than the “vanity presses” or “subsidy publishers” of old. 

Why should people buy your book, Divine Play?
It’s a great story with compelling characters.  One gets to be in the minds of each of the seven protagonists and comes to know them as people.  The settings are inventive and varied.  I have incorporated many social issues, cultural references, and philosophical and scientific concepts.  If one enjoys satire, I am very generous with acerbic comments, irony, caricature, burlesque, etc.   It is one of the very few “multimedia” novels of which I am aware, utilizing a range of methods to tell the story, including multiple languages, neologisms, slang, dramatic and narrative forms, multiple viewpoints, scripts for commercials and movie promos, song lyrics, sham newspaper stories, faux-sound bites, Shakespearean parodies, and something akin to an historical “blooper reel” (what historical figures said after they uttered the pronouncements with which they are identified).  I am very precise in my language and love to play with words, love to find bon mots and archaic terms that have added to the richness of the English language.  I also enjoy creating some words of my own.  Most importantly for me, Divine Play contains genuine, complex, amusing and tragic characters.

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Thanks for your comments, Tom, and good luck with your writing.

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Divine Play by Tom Ukinski is available for Kindle from Amazon:
US: Divine Play: An Epic With Commercials by Tom Ukinski
UK: Divine Play: An Epic With Commercials by Tom Ukinski

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