We’re talking today to Jess Money, author of the political thriller, Public Enemies. Raised in a politically active family, Jess Money majored in Political Science with a minor in Economics. He sold his first magazine article at the age of 16 and has since written everything from ad copy and political mailers to a screenplay for DreamWorks, which earned him membership in the Writers Guild of America. Along the way he had a career in professional motorsports, worked with the U.S. Women’s Olympic Volleyball program, managed two of the entertainment industry’s most acclaimed screenwriting programs, and worked as a bar bouncer when that’s what it took to keep the wolf from the door.
Thank you for this interview, Jess. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I'm a single, straight guy who's into a variety of things from sports to politics to carpentry. I live in an L.A. area beach city and have been writing since I sold my first magazine article at the age of 16.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
At it's core, PUBLIC ENEMIES is about three people: a domestic terrorist/patriot (take your pick), the FBI agent trying to stop him, and a young female radio talk show host caught in the middle. On the larger canvas it's about the war on the middle class, the corruption of our government, and the looming threat to the country we once had. You know, the one we learned about in school.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
The story was always paramount. I was inspired to tell this tale and it just happened to fall into the political thriller genre. It wasn't like I set out to think up a political thriller.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
First, just getting the massively over-written 192,000 word first draft finished, then whittling it down to the final 106,000 words which reviewers have called a "Great read that kept my attention from start to finish" and "Action packed with tight and edgy story-telling and an awesomely intricate plot."
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
Self-published on Amazon for Kindle, paperback, and in a few more weeks, hardcover.
Was it the right choice for you?
Absolutely. The way the publishing business has changed, unless you're J.K. Rowling, John Grisham, or Stephen King, I think it's the only realistic way to go.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
I've hired PumpUpYourBook.com. They do a great job of getting out press releases, notices to reviewers, setting up blog tours, etc. Soon I'm starting a test campaign with ads on a few select political and economics blogs. Once we find out which of those sites work best, we'll expand on those sites and go test additional ones.
How is that going for you?
Since we've just started it's too early to tell in terms of sales, but through blogs like The Examiner we are definitely getting the word out.
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
120 of my high school classmates keep in touch via a mass email list. When PUBLIC ENEMIES first became available, I temporarily marked the e-book price down to 99¢ and sent an email to them with a short blurb and a link to its Amazon page. A number of them took advantage of the opportunity to take the book for a drive cheap. In fact one, (who it turns out, owns a used book store) even wrote a totally unsolicited and unexpected review of the book.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Although I was still working when I started the book, fortunately I'm now retired.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Once you can see the finish line as far as the writing is concerned, start planning the marketing. There's a lot of lead time (and for new writers, research and education) involved.
What’s next for you?
The writer's equivalent of real estate's "location, location, location" is promotion, promotion, promotion. You have to spend time, and in some cases, money (no pun intended) to establish yourself in the market. Once I get that going at a satisfactory pace I have three more books planned.
Thank you for this interview, Jess. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?