Monday, January 20, 2014

Starting a writing career at 55, an interview with K. Robert Campbell

K. Robert Campbell
Our first self-published author of the week for 2014 is North Carolina's K. Robert Campbell, who is the author of the Cameron Scott book series. 

TL: Thanks so much for stopping by, and congrats on being 2014's first Self-published Writer of the Week. Tell me a little about yourself and your writing. 
KRC: I have an undergraduate degree in Recreation and Park Administration and started a first career as North Carolina state park ranger. I went back to school and got my law degree at Campbell University in North Carolina, and I have been an attorney since then. An artisitc bent runs in my family, and I've used my share to sketch and craft over the years and to participate in community theater. Many summers working as a camp counselor led me into the recreation curriculum, and during those camp years, I was often a campfire story-teller. Fast forward a few decades and the story-telling merged with all the writing I've had to do as an attorney until my first novel was born. Coincidentally, my main character, attorney Cameron Scott, was once a park ranger.

TL: What inspired you to write The Cameron Scott Suspense Series?
KRC: Oddly enough, boring trips to the courthouse (which is 20 minutes from the office) were what 'inspired' the series. I'd listen to music during those trips and a particular number from the Blade Runner soundtrack CD kept conjuring an image in my mind, which eventually became a scene toward the end of the first book. Once that scene infested my mind, I found myself creating an entire story to lead up to it. Once I published the story and found out that readers actually liked it, I decided that I liked the process of creating the books and kept going.

TL: Why did you decide to self-publish? 
KRC: I'm afraid that I didn't have the patience to go through the regular route to publishing, having started writing in my mid-fifties. Frankly, I can't remember how I found out about them, but I learned about North Carolina's own Lulu self-publishing company, who predated CreateSpace, I believe, and started looking into the process and learning all the how-tos I could.

TL: What challenges did you face as a self-published author and how did you overcome those challenges?
KRC: One of the big challenges is having the fortitude to go through the process it takes to produce a professional-looking and readable book. I had enough sense from the start to seek out independent editors, even though I have a pretty good store of grammar and writing skills due to my profession. I also did a lot of studying about the self-publishing proecess and the steps it takes to produce one's own book. Art in the blood has been an additional help to me in being able to design my own book covers (through the Print Master program).


Sticking with the writing is another challenge. Over the last few years in particular, we've had a lot of health problems in the household, including surgeries, that make it difficult to find the time and concentration to keep at it, but it's important and fulfilling enough for me to do so. I don't like imposing a regular writing schedule or deadlines on myself but other folks might need that type of self-discipline.

Another huge challenge in self-publishing is marketing. Even after the number of years I've had books in print, I still keep looking for affordable ways to get the books out there and entice people to buy them. Even if you were with a regular publishing house, you'd face a lot of the same challenges unless you were a celebrity to begin with. The book won't sell itself either way.

TL: Thanks for the great interview. Is there anything you would like to add? 
KRC: I'm certainly not adverse to the traditional publishing model; in fact, I've been pitching a finished literary fiction to agents and trying to maintain the patience to let it go the traditional route. Then again, I'm not getting any younger…

If you would like to connect with Ken, you can find him on the following sites:

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