Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the two hundred and ninetieth, is of multi-genre author and interviewee Danny Fisher. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Danny Fisher began her writing career in 2007 as a direct result of a failed job interview. The personal statement she was required to write as a part of the application process didn’t land her the gig, but it did impress the interviewing panel so much so they suggested she write a book. Danny purchased her mini-pink Acer laptop that day, and the rest as they say, is history.
Currently, Danny is the proud author of four fictional novels (Burnt Stones, City Vamps, The Exit Strategy & Lucky). She does not contain her writing to any one specific genre, but rather allows the story to reveal itself in the form of a “What if?” question to be answered in a few hundred or so pages.
Born to parents Mel and Mona Fisher in 1970, Danny surprised everyone when she arrived on the scene as a little girl instead of the bouncing baby boy the doctors had told the young couple to expect. They planned to name their son after Conway Twitty’s version of “Oh, Danny Boy.” Consequently, the name Danny (which her mom was too fond of to let go) stuck.
After tragedy struck in 1974 taking the life of her husband, Mona moved her children around the country eventually landing in New England where Danny would be raised for the majority of her formative years. Life would once again take a sharp turn. Danny’s mom would take up with a man who would abuse her severely for six years before making her escape back to Ohio.
In 1989, Danny would return home from photography school to find that her family had relocated. After a short stint sharing an apartment with her best friend, she would collect up her life savings (two hundred dollars cash) and her photography portfolio and hop on a plane to join her family in the Buckeye state.
Shortly after arriving, Danny would become pregnant with her first child. Her second child, born to yet another man, would arrive a couple years later. Before the age of twenty-three, Danny became the single mother of two of the greatest sons a mother could have the pleasure of raising (in her biased opinion). After a brief stint at marriage, Danny is once again single, although her boys are now adults. She divides her time between writing, marketing her writing via public appearances, working at a local casino as a poker dealer a couple days a week to pay the bills, and anything else she can get into in the name of living life to the fullest.
And now from the author herself:
When I took the plunge into the world of writing, I did so with little knowledge of how this whole “writing as a career” thing actually worked. Admittedly, I’m still probably eons behind the times, but oh well. I’m that girl that had kids and then went to school, got pregnant and then got married, and so on. I tend to do things a tad “ass backwards” as we say in the States. So it only made sense that I wrote a book, published it and then bothered to learn anything about marketing, publicity and sales. While what I now know could hardly fill a book (or even a really long pamphlet), I have learned one lesson that I consider extremely valuable. So grab a juice box, pull up a cushion and settle in as I share with you the one thing I absolutely know to be true with regards to being a writer.
After I published my first book, I jumped into the social world of book marketing. I set up my Facebook page, my Twitter account and my profile on LinkedIn. Then I began reading…and reading…and reading. The information came at me from far and wide, fast and furious. There were absolute (and still are) scads of people out there willing to tell me how to do IT (the “IT” in this case being how to succeed as a professional writer, a.k.a. actually getting paid for this stuff). My inboxes were inundated with offers from other professionals: people who could edit my manuscript, people who could set up my eBook and still more who could publicize my efforts. Then came the offers to review my book. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours kind of reviews. You review my book and I’ll give you a free copy, and then I can review yours for free, and we can pretend that we didn’t kind of pay for that service and that the reviews will actually be honest. When all is said and done, we can be sure to “Like” each other’s social media pages until our fingers fall off.
Now let me say this: I am not knocking social media and what it has done for self-publishing. Self-publishing would be but a twinkle in the eyes of many a would-be writer if not for social media and the internet.
What I am trying to say is this: Authenticity Trumps Everything.
The above quote came to me via Josh Shipp, a renowned youth speaker. His words are posted above my computer to remind me to stay true to who I am as a writer and a person because the little known fact is this: if you want to sell books, you gotta be real.
I’m not going to sit here and suggest that I’ve never followed someone on Twitter because they followed me. That would be a lie not worth telling. What I am advising is that when it comes to marketing your work or even letting other people participate in your work (say graphic artists, publicists, editors, etc.) don’t just follow the crowd. Understand that no matter where you sit on the how-good-of-a-writer-you-are spectrum, your work is uniquely yours and worth protecting. The buzzword of the day is organic, so I’ll use it. Find and cultivate organic relationships by making real connections with people because that is when the art shines. I have found in my short five years of writing (two published) that it’s when I put the relationships I make ahead of my career that my career actually evolves. It’s crazy how that works. People gravitate towards authenticity, and their BS scanners are as keen as ever. Assuming that you are in this amazing profession because you possess a calling to write, I will also assume that you care about what you write and the effect it has on the reader. If your words are so important that you would spend hours perfecting just the right sentence, then why not spend five minutes making a connection?
I introduce myself to everyone as a writer. When and if they reply with, “Me,too,” I don’t roll my eyes and think, “Great, another one!” Instead, I say, “Oh? What are you writing?” and go from there. When they tell me they are an artist, I ask them what their favorite medium to work with is. When they tell me they are a chef, I say, “What’s your favorite dish to prepare?” I ask these questions because the best way to get beyond the niceties of a first meeting and to get someone interested in you is to show them that you are interested in who they are, too*. It’s called making a friend. If that comes first, the sales will follow. Why? Simple. We are not selling books. We are writing books, and selling ourselves.
*Just a word of caution: Be authentic in your efforts to connect because although it’s okay to have an ulterior motive (find someone who doesn’t), it’s not okay to be completely full of doggy-doo.
Happy writing, happy reading. ~Danny
You can find more about Danny and her writing via…
- 1. Danny holding “Lucky” taken by Christy Petersmann
- 2. Burnt Stones cover done by Infinity
- 3. City Vamps cover done by Danny Fisher
- 4. The Exit Strategy cover done by Danny Fisher
- 5. Lucky cover photo by Danny Fisher, graphic art by Zach Sowers
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As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.