Today, I intereview Anne Hart, an amazing writer who churns out 4-5 books a year. Anne's been an accomplished writer for decades and I'm honored to have her on the blog today. Read about her life journey writing and why she chooses now to publish most of her books through ASJA Press (the iUniverse imprint of ASJA) Print on Demand (POD) publishing.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Since June 17, 1959, I have been writing freelance full time—mostly books and magazine articles. My Web site is at http://annehart.tripod.com/ where you’ll be able to see the links to my Blogs and articles or book excerpts. I’ve written 79 paperback books, mostly published by ASJA Press (http://www.iuniverse.com/) and one book published by Career Press (http://www.careerpress.com/) that will be available in July 2007.
Those are the books currently in print and recent. During the 1980s decade to 1998 I wrote an additional 11 books published by Barron’s Education Series, Simon & Schuster, Tab Books, Mills & Sanderson, VGM Books, and other mainstream publishers that are out of print. I’ve been writing one or more books per years for what will be my 50th anniversary in 2009 of writing books. I love writing books and magazine articles. I design most of my own book covers. One of my minors in college was illustration. I use original artwork of my acrylic paintings with collages of digital art software, and work online.
On a part time temporary basis, I taught 3-credit/unit creative writing and journalism courses at the university level until I retired from teaching online in 2004 to resume full-time writing again. Half of my writing are multicultural ethnographic, historical, time-travel, or contemporary mainstream and suspense or adventure novels and the occasional play, and the other half are how-to non-fiction books and magazine articles, specializing in personal history, DNA-driven genealogy, and books on nutrition, behavioral science, or how to write, finance, and produce documentaries.
Tell us about your latest book.
I’ve recently written three published paperback novels –one set in ancient Rome, 150 BCE, one contemporary humorous mystery/suspense novel, and one medieval novel set in 10th century Kiev.
1. My latest published paperback historical novel is titled, Proper Parenting in Ancient Rome: A Time- Travel Novel of Love as Growth of Consciousness & Peace in the Home. ISBN-978-0595429776 and/or ISBN: 0-595-42977-7. This ancient Roman family time travels to study the human condition and world peace. They recommend finding inner peace in art galleries in order to find peace in the home.
2. My next ethnographic medieval time-travel novel set in Kiev and where the Volga flows into the Caspian Sea is titled, A Perfect Mitzvah Gift Book: Time Travel with the Kagan's Kids to 10th Century Kiev, When Jews of Eastern Europe Had No Hope Other Than the Grace of the Almighty or the Coming of the Khazars.
My 396-page contemporary, humorous suspense thriller (novel) titled, How to Start Engaging Conversations on Women’s, Men’s, or Family Studies with Wealthy Strangers, A Thriller, features the American-Sicilian-Greek heroine psychoanalyst detective character, who directs the Women’s Studies Department of a small liberal arts college.
You've written everything from "how to" books for writers and authors to fiction. What drives you to swing the spectrum from genre to genre?
I cover the various genres for the purpose of achieving five objectives: primum non nocere; (first do no harm), primum non tacere; first, do not be silent; tikkun olam (repairing the world); namaste (I bow to pay homage and respect to the inner light of life in every part of all universes,and Bodhi (बोधि) (to awaken to ‘knowing’ or enlightenment and to notice or observe—from the Sanskrit verbs, bodhati or budhyate). My how-to genres represent the worldly selves of all creatures, vegetables, and minerals. My novels and plays represent the higher, spiritual nature.
By combining the two genres—fiction and nonfiction, the writing rises above the genre’s differences and connects each genre (and each book) to the readers I bow to, respecting the symbolic of joy and efforts for those who read all books and for writers who create wombs in world—caverns of deep physical thinking. Some books also reflect my 50 years of being vegetarian.
My how-to books present a practical, useful, instructional way to show people how to solve problems, obtain measurable results, and follow guidelines or techniques step-by-step in plain language so that the complex becomes easy to understand and holds attention and interest. For example, my latest how-to book is titled, How to Open DNA-Driven Genealogy Reporting & Interpreting Businesses: Applying Your Communications Skills to Popular Health or Ancestry Issues in the News. At the same time, my other how-to book was published this month, titled, How to Launch a Genealogy TV Business Online: Start Family History/Ancestry Shows Globally, Produce Videos & Publish Hobby Learning Materials or Life Stories. In July 2007, my how-to book from ASJA Press will be published titled, How to Video Record Your Dog’s Life Story: Writing, Financing, & Producing Pet Documentaries, Drama, or News.
Most of the how-to books are written so I can earn some money. I’m a very low income senior citizen living in a tiny space and a non-driver, of low mobility with no day job or income. The non-fiction how-to books bring in a bit of royalty now and then that I can use for a bus pass, a lunch out, or a pair of walking shoes, and hopefully, a new computer. I don’t promote my books by doing speaking events, and so far, no bookstore has asked me to do a book signing, probably because I’m a white-haired older person leaning on a walker who speaks slowly, and very softly. So I rely on my Web site to let people know the books are in print just in case someone wants to buy a book. I love fan letters that praise my books, though. As a hobby, I play the organ, write poetry and plays, and do most of my own sewing and illustrating or photography for those book covers.
How do you come up with your ideas and then how do you know which ideas on which to focus?
The ideas arise when I’m meditating, relaxing, or in the shower, or in day dreams, when listening to classical music of the 16th and 17th century, harp music for healing, or new age music for relaxation and while listening to music from faraway places and distant times. I enjoy early music and ethnic music from all over the world. Sometimes I compose music for my own listening.
Many of your books have been POD published through iuniverse, with the ASJA imprint. Why do you choose to go this route?
Seventy-Eight+ of my books are POD published through ASJA Press imprint, but not all.
I chose to go the ASJA Press imprint route and be included in the ASJA Bookstore online because I can write a book on any subject that I want to research as well as find out whether or not there is a market for such a book title before I begin my research and writing. When anyone writes a POD published book—print on demand—you are free to determine the length of the book. You know pretty much what the price of the book will be for the readers, and you can write and revise the way your readers, audience, marketing, and bookseller’s feedback reveals to you.
Boiling it all down to a few words: I’m publishing my books POD because I can control the subject matter of the books. I can write the genre of novel I want, design the book cover, or write a nonfiction, how-to instructional book. I’ve written many how-to books on creative writing techniques. With POD, I can write good books on the topics I have researched for marketing potential and buzz appeal, edit in a way that gets feedback from my audience, make revisions, and email the manuscript. Within a month to six weeks, the book is ready to be purchased online by anyone, anywhere in the world. Also with POD, the book can be in languages other than English, if I want to have the book translated. I get 20 percent royalty on each book. With mainstream publishers, I got only 5% percent royalty. There’s no way I’m going to waste precious time for a mainstream book that takes more than a year to become available when a POD book is ready for the market in five or six weeks.
I recommend POD for anyone over age 65 or 70 who wants a novel or nonfiction book available right now, not next year.
What is the greatest number of books you've written in a year - and how do you do it so quickly?
Six books a year. I’ve written 5 books for Simon & Schuster in 1984. And one book for Tab books in 1984. That’s six books in one year. The books all were published in 1985. I had 2 ½ months to write each of the 5 books, same for the 6th book. All the books were done on time with a month to spare. I write about one book every 4 months now when I am inspired and motivated to do so, and that’s what I have been doing for the last several years. I can write fewer books and play more now, and that makes me joyful. After this last book, I’m going to write less books per year and focus more on spinning yarn, that is writing a timeless, ageless type of novel of universal issues or I may write more about topics with a great need for information on in society. What I’d like to do next is write magazine articles. They are shorter to finish. I don’t like to write the long POD published novels that I used to write in the past. Shorter novels sell better.
Do you hire an editor for your POD published books?
Since I trained in graduate school to be an editor, hold a masters degree in editing, fiction writing, and professional writing emphasis and English, have taught editing and writing at the university level, and am a winner of the editing and essay writing national competition scholarship awarded to me by Mensa in 1979, I edit all my own POD published books and have edited my own books since 1998.
How do you market your work?
My Web site is the only way I have marketed my work. Anyone is welcome to interview me by email and offer free publicity. I am always available to write magazine articles or newspaper columns if anyone wants to hire me on a part-time basis to write freelance. When I write a magazine article, I try to market my books by mentioning the title of one book that’s relevant in subject content to the article topic.
When is your best writing time?
I write from 10 in the morning to 6 in the evening. When I don’t have a tight due date, I’ll write for four hours a day and take a walk or bus ride to the zoo or park where I can see tall redwoods or pine trees and meditate in the fresh air, although the California city I’m in has close to the worst air in the country. I wished I lived near water, but I don’t. But I can’t dwell on that when my day is spent savoring the joy of life. My writing most often is about living in the moment and the joy of life or in the celebration of people’s lives. I’m a “celebration-of-life” book lady.
So I try to find even a creek to look at and if I can sit there, write or jot down key words. Most of the time I’m on my computer all day at home and listening to music without lyrics which helps me to write more fluidly. I like to write in the mid-morning ‘brunch hours’ best—from 10 to 2 pm.
Give us website information where your books can be found.
Home Page Web Site
Articles by Anne Hart