Cyber Monday Sales

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Hey Space Cadets, how are you guys enjoying your Cyber Monday?  I’m fine, spending time with my family and writing.  I wanted to share some awesome deals with you, in honor of the Day of Epic Interwebs Sales! Hopefully, you manage to find your special deals, without ending up in some Dickens Novel poor house! Continue reading

WARRIOR WEEKEND: Chris Kennedy

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Chris Kennedy Book Reviews

Hey Space Cadets! Not much happening on the home front, except more writing.  So as I have nothing to add to the equation, let’s talk about today’s featured veteran!

I wanted to introduce you to another author from my WARRIOR WEEKEND INTERVIEW SERIES.  You might remember him, I’ve previously interviewed him about his publishing house but today we focus on him, not his business.  The introduction will be the same, because Chris Kennedy hasn’t morphed into someone else in the interim but for those of you who missed his earlier interview, check it out here.  If some of this is repetitive, then your memory is longer than most people’s online these days!  Kudos to you!

To help you appreciate why I chose to interview him, let me tell you more about Chris.  He is a bestselling Science Fiction/Fantasy author and speaker.  Chris Kennedy is also a former naval aviator (we forgive him for not going Army) and elementary school principal.  Chris’ stories include the “Occupied Seattle” military fiction duology; “The Theogony” and “Codex Regius” science fiction trilogies; and the “War for Dominance” fantasy trilogy.  You can also get his free book, “The Death of Atlantis,” at his website.

 

Chris Kennedy

Chris Kennedy

Chris has been called “fantastic” and “a great speaker,” he has coached hundreds of beginning authors and budding novelists (including yours truly) on how to self-publish their stories at a variety of conferences, conventions and writing guild presentations.  He is the author of the award-winning #1 bestseller, “Self-Publishing for Profit: How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Into the Stores,” as well as the leadership training book, “Leadership from the Darkside.”  You can find out more about having him talk to your group here.

Chris lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with his wife and family.  He is currently working with the Navy to help shape Navy training processes for the year 2025.  He is the holder of a doctorate in educational leadership and master’s degrees in both business and public administration.  On a more personal note, like so many in the Indie Writing Circle, Chris is very willing to mentor new writers (though they all likely regret accepting my friend request!) through his social media presence.  He’s an overall decent fella, the kind you’d enjoy doing business with.

Now for the man, the myth and the legend to speak for himself!

 

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Without further ado, let’s gzet this interview cranking!

 

Tell me a little about your military service?

I am a retired naval aviator who spent 20 years in the service. About half of my flight career was spent flying A-6E Intruder attack jets off the carrier and half was flying the EP-3E ARIES reconnaissance aircraft. I have over 3,000 hours of flight time and over 300 arrested carrier landings. Even though I’ve retired from active duty, I’m still closely tied to the military, as my day job is managing the curriculum for enlisted sailors learning to maintain the FA-18 Hornet fighter jet.

How do you feel that your military service has influenced your writing?

Having spent time in two communities, I have a good feel for how a number of services operate, and have worked closely with a number of organizations in each branch of the military. While I certainly know and can write aviation (including space fighters!), I’m also passingly conversant on other military specialties, as well.

Do you think your military service, and more specifically your training, adds to the realism in your books?  If so, how?

Absolutely, it does. With me, you get authentic actions and communications, as well as knowing what it’s like to have to “embrace the suck.”

When did you start pursuing your writing more seriously?

I started about four years ago. Writing wasn’t something I’d always wanted to do, but something that just kind of happened. One day, I had an idea that I thought would make a great book or two, and rather than throwing that idea away, I pursued it to its conclusion (it turned into Red Tide and Occupied Seattle).

Of all your work, which was your favorite to write?

I don’t know that I have one story that is my favorite, but lots of little parts of each. If I had to pick one, I would say, “Terra Stands Alone.” It showed I could bring a series to a successful conclusion (I think so, anyway), and I also got to use A-6E Intruders in the story.

How many of your characters were inspired by your military service?

I’m sure all of them have at least a little piece of someone I’ve known in the service, as I draw upon lots of people I served with when I’m writing.

How many of the scenes you wrote were inspired from your service?

I don’t know how many actual scenes were inspired by my service, but the interactions in all of my scenes, how people relate and talk to each other, definitely are inspired by my service.

Do you feel like your writing has served any therapeutic value for you?  Has it helped you process your experiences?

The only negative I took with me from my service was how I felt about a couple of the leaders I served under, and choices they made which I knew were wrong. Certainly the leadership book I wrote was very cathartic in letting some of those things go.

If you could serve with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

I think that Shawn Hobbs and I would get along well together. In addition to serving with him, I’d also love to have a beer with him, too. That Dan Knaus guy is all right, too, but then again, he’s a red shirt of someone I actually served with.

If you would want to avoid serving with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

I don’t know that I could keep up with Master Chief O’Leary, and he always seems to be getting into the kind of “life-or-death” situations I always try to avoid.

What are you currently working on and when do you expect it to be ready for publication?

I am working on an anthology in the Four Horsemen universe called “A Fistful of Credits” which has some great names in it, like Brad Torgersen, Chris Nuttal, Terry Mixon and Doug Dandridge in it, among others. It will be released on June 30 and is going to be great! I also have a full length novel in the series, “The Golden Horde,” which will be released about six weeks after that.

How can people find you?

 

I hope you had a great time getting to know Chris. If this convinced you to find out more, look him up—he’s a heck of a guy!  If he doesn’t respond quick enough, bombard him with stories about nonsense!  Mwahahaha!!

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

->As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

 

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Chris Kennedy Publishing Interview

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Hello Space Cadets!  Today, I wanted to offer you a gift in the spirit of goodness, inspired by everyone who made my recently passed book releases a reality.  It still feels like a dream, but I appreciate you all getting into the trenches with me.  I don’t do want to pester you guys, so let’s get to it!  Today I bring you an interview with Chris Kennedy.  Chris works at his own publishing house, which he humbly named after himself.  I know most of my readers are also writers, so here is a chance to learn from another successful author and discover the publishing house that might print your next big idea!

 

To help you appreciate why I chose to interview him, let me tell you more about Chris.  He is a bestselling Science Fiction/Fantasy author and speaker.  Chris Kennedy is also a former naval aviator (we forgive him for not going Army) and elementary school principal.  Chris’ stories include the “Occupied Seattle” military fiction duology; “The Theogony” and “Codex Regius” science fiction trilogies; and the “War for Dominance” fantasy trilogy.  You can also get his free book, “The Death of Atlantis,” at his website.

 

Chris has been called “fantastic” and “a great speaker,” he has coached hundreds of beginning authors and budding novelists (including yours truly) on how to self-publish their stories at a variety of conferences, conventions and writing guild presentations.  He is the author of the award-winning #1 bestseller, “Self-Publishing for Profit: How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Into the Stores,” as well as the leadership training book, “Leadership from the Darkside.”  You can find out more about having him talk to your group here.

 

Chris lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with his wife and family.  He is currently working with the Navy to help shape Navy training processes for the year 2025.  He is the holder of a doctorate in educational leadership and master’s degrees in both business and public administration.  On a more personal note, like so many in the Indie Writing Circle, Chris is very willing to mentor new writers (though they all likely regret accepting my friend request!) through his social media presence.  He’s an overall decent fella, the kind you’d enjoy doing business with.

 

Now for the man, the myth and the legend to speak for himself!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

INTERVIEW:

 

Why did you decide to forgo a more traditional name for your company?  Most Indie Authors try to create the illusion of the Big Five publishers by giving their publishing house a separate name.

Hi JR, first, thanks for talking with me today. Hopefully, I can help out your readers. With that being said, it’s funny you would start out with that question, as that is my biggest regret, and the first thing I would change if I started all over again.

Why did I do it? Mostly because I didn’t know any better. I needed a name to give to Bowker for my first set of ISBNs, and I didn’t have anything thought out. Why would I change it? Because even though the stigma has abated, somewhat, from self-publishing, there’s no need to slap people in the face with it. Would I have done better with a different name? I don’t know, but I wish that I had come up with something cool like, “High Orbit Publishing: Our Books Take You to Outer Space.”

Now, however, I don’t feel like going through the effort to change it, and I have a number of imprints I publish under (like the Seventh Seal Press imprint of CKP that publishes the Four Horsemen Universe books).  Maybe I’ll rename and rebrand myself sometime in the future…but probably not.

I’d like to talk about your work publishing your other authors at Chris Kennedy Publishing. How did you come to this position of being ‘the boss’ for other creative types?

There were actually two things that happened, nearly simultaneously. On the non-fiction side, I was part of a marketing program with a number of people who had non-fiction books they had put together. They didn’t know how to publish their books, and they were either too busy or didn’t want to learn how to do it themselves, so they asked me to do it for them.

At the same time, I partnered with Mark Wandrey for the Four Horsemen series of books. When he pitched me the idea of joining him, part of the plan was for me to publish both of our books.  Several other fiction authors saw I was doing it for him, and asked if I would take them on, as well. As my support folks had the capacity (editing, cover design, etc.), and I believed in their books, I took them on as well.

You’re an author, with several successful novels under your belt. Tell us about your works and how your writing pulled you into the publication business.

It all started with my first book, Red Tide. I never wanted to be an author, but one day I had an idea and a little time, and the book just kind of “happened.” Once I had it, though, I liked it, thought it was pretty good, and wanted to get it out to readers. How did I get involved in publishing? 80 agents and publishers said, “no” to my story, and I finally got tired of hearing the word (from the small percentage that actually answered; most did not).

I looked at what was needed to self-publish, and I quickly realized I needed a plan. Happily, though, as a 20-year military officer, planning was something I could do. I built a plan and took the story through the processes necessary to turn it into a book. The hardest thing I ever did was to push the “Publish” button on Amazon, but once I did, a funny thing happened…people bought it.

As of January 13th, I will have 12 full-length books published and over a million words in print (and I now love writing), in addition to three short stories published both by themselves and in anthologies. Of the 12 full-length books, 10 are fiction and two are non-fiction. By the time you amass that many books, or even a fraction of that number, you’ve become pretty involved in the publishing business.

As the owner of Chris Kennedy Publishing, what are you looking for in submissions?

I’m looking for great scifi and fantasy stories that are ready to go. Unlike some of the bigger houses, it’s all about the story, not that it has to have a certain message or have the right characters involved. It’s all about the story.

How do you decide which books to sign and which ones to pass on?

In addition to the story (which should be pretty polished by the time someone sends it to me), I also look at the platform the author has, and how they intend to market the book. No matter where you go these days, an author is going to be chiefly responsible for marketing their books, so it’s important for them to have an idea of how they’re going to get it done.

What types of publishing do you offer? (Tradition Publishing, Co-Publishing, Self-Publishing)

I currently use all three types of publishing, depending on the book/author. If I am fairly sure that a book will be successful, a traditional model may be appropriate; otherwise, there may be some co-publishing involved. I also do some consulting for those authors who are self-publishing and just need a little advice and guidance on how to be successful.

What sub-genres of science fiction do you prefer?  Are you open to other genres as well?

I’m fairly open to most types of scifi, and fantasy as well, as long as the story’s good. With a recommendation from someone I know, I might also look at other genres (I just took on a psychological thriller), although those genres don’t play as well to my marketing strengths and mailing list (which is something I made clear to the author when he first approached me.)

With that being said, as I mentioned before, Mark Wandrey and I just started a new universe about mercenary service in future mech wars. We have opened the universe up to other writers, and if someone is interested in writing in that universe, they would probably get a bonus point or two. If anyone wants more info on what is canon in the universe, they should email me.

How does someone submit to you?

They can send the first couple of chapters to me at chris[dot]kennedy12[at]gmail[dot]com. I have a lot going on right now, but can always make room for a great story.

After a new author has signed with you, and the novel is done with the last editing pass, what do you expect of your authors?  What part of the process do you cover?

Depending on the publishing model and agreement used, I can (and usually do) cover everything, although I have a couple of authors who already had their own covers that they wanted to use (these are subject to my agreement; I will not publish a bad cover). What do I expect of authors? I expect them to spread the word on their books. I will do my part, but the author has to do his/her part as well. If you just want to turn it in and move on to writing the next one, I’m probably not the right publisher for you.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Two things. First, start building your platform as early as possible. It doesn’t matter whether you go traditional, self-pub, or some hybrid of the two, you’re going to need a platform. Somewhat related to this, you should start talking about your book early, as the books I’ve seen that have failed are usually due to a marketing failure. The right time to start marketing a book isn’t when it’s released; the best time to start is four months prior to release.

 

If this convinced you to find out more, look Chris at Chris Kennedy Publishing up here:

His Website

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Amazon

 

I hope you all had a great time getting to know about Virginia’s best publishing house!  Don’t be afraid to say hello here or on their own website.  They’re always quick to respond when not searching slush piles for the next big thing!  And for proof of their ability to handle a stressed-out author, Chris Kennedy is friends with my fat arse!  Quick, give that sailor a medal!!

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

 –> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.