Welcome to Day 7 of #NJ12DaysOfAuthors (May) Series! @OverbeckRandy #CrimsonAtCapeMay @RRBC_Org
At the end of this series, 1 lucky visitor will win a (12) Kindle e-book pack which will include a copy of each book featured in this series + a $10 Amazon gift card! Simply leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing!
On the 7th day of the May “12 Days of Authors” Series… Nonnie’s gift to you…
AUTHOR, RANDY OVERBECK!
Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker, capturing state and national accolades for his work. As an educator, he served children for more than three decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things Still Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.
NJ: Hi, Randy! Let’s get to it! So, is your author name a pen name or your birth name?
Randy: Randy Overbeck is the name I’m known by for almost everything, though my legal name is Oliver Randolph Overbeck, Ph.D.
NJ: How long have you been writing?
Randy: I’ve been writing, in one form or another, nearly all of my adult life.
NJ: If you are traditionally published, can you give our audience a pointer or two as to how you found a publisher, in the event that someone reading this interview is attempting to go the traditionally published route. By the way, I am a strong advocate for Indie publishing and would not have it any other way.
Randy: Initially, I tried to secure an agent to represent my work, with some limited success, but he was not able to interest a major publishing house deal for my first work. For my latest mysteries, I sent over a hundred query letters to agents who represent my genre. Though several agents asked for partial or complete manuscripts, in the end, none expressed sufficient interest to agree to represent my work. Then I researched small presses who published mysteries, I queried three and received two offers. I accepted the offer of one.
A new bride discovers a secret too horrible to believe
A coach betrayed and forced to start over again
A ghost’s desperate plea: Help me and save the other girls
A murder mystery, a ghost story, a bride betrayed at the altar and a teen runaway in trouble all combine to make this a suspense thriller unlike any other.
No matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.
Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. Now, with his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might be just the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast.
NJ: Where can readers purchase your book and how much is it?
Randy: Amazon, B & N, Book-a-Million, Apple books. Crimson at Cape May audio will be available this summer.
NJ: I have been in this business long enough to know that quite a few readers have a purchase price point and will only spend so much on an e-book. How do you price your books and what is your logic behind the pricing?
Randy: Since I’ve gone the traditional route, the publishers have set the price. However, I researched the small presses in advance to be certain that their publishing format and their price was competitive. (For example, I chose not to go with the press which would have published my novel in hardback. While there is a certain prestige to have a hardback print book, I believed the price point—upwards of $29.00—would eliminate too many potential readers.)
NJ: I got on Twitter many years ago because my social media manager at the time, told me that I needed to be on Twitter. He did not give me an actual reason as to why (I had to learn my “why” on my own), just that I needed to be there. What was your main reason for getting on Twitter? For support? For fun?
Randy: I am not the most facile in several areas of technology. In fact, I have a tech team that I lean heavily on to guide me in several areas, especially social media. I am active on Twitter, though my activity is almost exclusively professional, often to support other writers.
NJ: Supporting others is a huge part of my identity. I believe that when you invest your time and support in others, you find that your circle grows by leaps and bounds of others giving the same to you. When I first got involved heavily on Twitter, I was pushing others more than I was pushing myself – I continue to do so. Do you support others on social media? If so, how?
Randy: Again, keep in mind my experience in social media is still quite limited, but thus far, the vast majority of my activity has been to support other authors. I try to allocate time to engage with SM (usually Twitter and Facebook) about three times a week and that time is devoted almost exclusively to supporting other authors. I only tweet about my works if I have a noteworthy event—a new award, a great new review, a new contract, a new blog.
NJ: Randy, I can’t resist – you mention “I only” and then you list a laundry list of times when you only tweet about your works.
I’m sorry, that was just so funny to me. Maybe my tickle box is turned on. Now, do you actually take the time to read tweets from others before you retweet them, or do you just hit “retweet” without ever engaging in the tweet?
Randy: I never retweet unless I’ve read the tweet. If the content interests me, for example I’m intrigued about a blog post, I’ll dive into the link. But I only retweet those I read, understand and can forward.
NJ: If you could map out the perfect way that you would want others to support you on social media, how would you ask your followers to support you? Just imagine that everyone who reads this interview will run out and follow you. What would you have them do?
Randy: I always appreciate my fellow writers’ support and I do what I can to support them. I recognize my responsibilities as a member of the literary community and take these responsibilities seriously. So of course, I’m gratified when other authors follow me. But, I try to focus my attention and time on avenues to gain new readers, not writers. Of course, some writers become my readers, but I’m striving for a larger audience of readers than merely fellow writers. Any way other authors can help me connect with potential readers would be helpful and much appreciated.
NJ: Randy, luckily for us writers, our fellow writers ARE readers. There’s no way to separate the two. Because I’m an author, does in no way mean that I am not a reader – an avid reader, and book purchaser and reviewer, at that. So, I do want to make that very important point. We all learn something new almost every day while on social media and I like sharing what I have learned with other authors, in hopes that it will benefit them in some way. Have you come across any writing resources that might benefit other authors?
Randy: The most valuable resource I’ve found has been attending writing conferences. I found each conference to be good for support, for “priming the pump,” and for networking with other writers. Perhaps, the second resource I could share is a skilled and caring editor. At writing conferences, I’m met several who have impressed me and have used their services with my works. Of course, a good editor can clean up your work and help you avoid mistakes. But, what I’ve learned is that a trained and knowledgeable editor can also see things the author cannot. And a really skilled editor can give you perspective on the work, because she, or he, has seen so much writing.
NJ: Can you share with our audience 2 or 3 of the top methods you use to market your books?
Randy: My predominant marketing tool has been in-person author talks—pre-pandemic of course. I organize a number of author talks and presentations as a way to get my books noticed by potential readers. I share a program with groups and organizations and in the process I’m able to slide in some promotion of my works. When groups are meeting as normal, I try to schedule one or two a week and have sold thousands of copies—autographed of course, at these events. I’m only now starting to schedule these events for this coming fall. These meetings also give me a chance to solicit new readers for my newsletters, which I send once or twice a month.
Also, I work with local and regional media—TV, public radio, newspapers—to achieve some positive coverage. Wherever I go, I try to use these routes to obtain coverage of book launches and author talks. It’s a great deal of work but sometimes pays off.
NJ: What is the one bit of writing advice you would give to any author, experienced or newbie?
Randy: Some of the best advice I received (and have benefited from) is to find a strong writers’ group and become an active participant. I’ve been a member of writer’s group for years – 5 or 6 active members—who write different genres and who run the publishing gamut. Some have been traditionally published, while others have been indie published and one has not yet been published. Because they look at my work critically, they can see issues I’m blind to and they make suggestions I would never have thought of.
NJ: Is your reputation as a writer important to you, OR might we look up one day and find that you are in a Twitter brawl with someone?
Randy: My reputation is important to me whether as an educator, a parent, a person and a writer. I try to only use social media for positive purposes, such as supporting other writers.
NJ: Good answer! In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between the writers you see today around social media, versus the writers of old? (Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, even Stephen King)
Randy: It is difficult to make any real comparison between authors from a different time to those of today. The market and writing world was different for Charles Dickens or Mark Twain or even Stephen King. For example, Stephen King devoted a regimen of 12-hour days, 364 days a year to produce his works. (I’m not willing to do that.) All of these writers clearly had talent and were able to adapt to their own market. Today’s authors must do the same.
NJ: If you have ever received any, how do you handle not-so-flattering reviews of your book(s)?
Randy: First of all, I realize, my books are not for everyone and sometimes a negative review reflects that mismatch. Other times, a reviewer simply didn’t get some aspect of the telling, maybe didn’t connect with a character the way other readers do. But I try to consider any negative review for what I can learn by it—either for this book or a future writing project.
NJ: Do you appreciate honesty regarding your writing because you know that only honest feedback allows you to grow as a writer, or are you one of those who would prefer that others lie to you and tell you only what they know you want to hear?
Randy: All along my writing process, I encourage criticism of my work, both positive and negative. For example, when beta readers are reviewing early drafts of my writing, they’re asked to point out what’s not working as well as what is. In our writers’ group, we don’t spend much time on complimenting each other’s work. We strive to suggest ways to strengthen the writing. I find all of this feedback invaluable in helping me to become as good a writer as possible.
NJ: Do you blog about any specific topics or are you a random-topic-blogger?
Randy: Again, I need to admit my experience here is limited. I share a new blog post about once a month, usually in connection with an issue pertinent to the month. When possible, I do my best to tie the issue I’m discussing to my novels. (March, 2021—Women’s History Month, I shared a post about women whose voices are seldom heard, those trapped in human trafficking, which is the social issue at the center of Crimson at Cape May.) Although my novel is mentioned, the focus of the post (and the video blog) is on the plight of these women and organizations which are trying to help them.
OTHER QUICK FACTS ABOUT RANDY…
- Writes under Thriller & Mystery genres
- Writing is somewhere between a hobby and full-time
- Traditionally published
- 3 books published to date / Crimson At Cape May is his favorite
FOLLOW RANDY ON…
Guests, thank you so much for dropping by to support Randy on Day 7 of the May “12 DAYS OF AUTHORS” Series! It would be awesome if you would pick up a copy of his book above, and after reading, share your review to Amazon. Ensure that you leave him a comment below, and also LIKE his feature before you leave, for your chance to win the grand prize package listed above! We’d both appreciate it if you would share his feature to Twitter and Facebook, as well.
To follow along with the rest of the features in this series, visit the “12 DAYS OF AUTHORS” home page! There will be a new feature tomorrow! I’d also love it if you would #follow my site, as well as following me on Twitter @NonnieJules, as my truest joy is in service to others. I’d love to support you, too!
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