Posted on December 17, 2018 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

You’ve heard the cliché “happy wife, happy life,” right?

Maybe it’s not true for everyone, but it proved accurate for author C.A. Lear.

A few years ago, Lear began submitting short stories to contests — and winning some — but he was happy to set aside a novel he’d finished and move on to a new project.

His wife, on the other hand, argued that if he didn’t want to bother querying agents, he could at least try self-publishing.

A skeptical Lear nevertheless agreed to do a survey of potential readers — as in, ask coffee-shop patrons to read a sample chapter and tell him whether they wanted to continue reading the story.

The survey said Lear’s wife was right.

Happy to have been proven wrong, Lear filled in a few more details about what this journey has been like.

SADYE: What was it like, asking people in a coffee shop to read a stranger’s book on the spot?

C.A.: It was easy. I got my wife to do it! Actually, we worked together.

My wife is my biggest fan and supporter, and a successful marketer and blogger in her own right.

Because she really wanted me to write a novel based on one of my short stories and then publish it — while knowing of my fear of publishing — I was able to persuade her to help me persuade random people to do the survey.

My wife’s tack was smooth — big smile, ask nicely. A glimmer of interest was all she needed to close the deal.

We had better luck with solo folks that didn’t look to be in a hurry on a Sunday afternoon.

We considered compensation, or to buy their coffees, or send a free ebook if published, but moved away from that because it wasn’t necessary.

It’s amazing how nice and helpful people generally are. Though more than half of the potential subjects declined to participate, we still managed to obtain over thirty surveys in about four weeks.

SADYE: How smug has your wife been since you realized she was right about publishing your novel?

C.A.: Now that the novel is out and getting some good reviews, my wife is as smug as a bug in a rug…ha!

No, not really. She’s positive, humble, kind, confident, and giving.

She’s the founder of Spooky Pooch Fest in support of the Humane Society in California, and she promotes other worthy causes such as One Warm Coat. 

SADYE: You describe The Hover as historical fiction with elements of fantasy, more than just a vampire story. So during your research, did you encounter any really strange facts that didn’t find a place in the book?

C.A.: There are lots of strange and horrifying devices of torture that didn’t make it into Book #1.

One of the simpler devices is called pillywinks. It’s a thumbscrew or vice that slowly crushes the thumbs.

Some of them have spikes that penetrate the thumbnails — as if crushed thumbs might not inflict enough pain? 

Bearing in mind these are horror stories, you might find a pair of flattened thumbs in Book #2.

SADYE: Once that sequel comes out, what will be next?

C.A.: I have two projects in the works.

One is about a young man whose unusually quick reflexes are put to the test in a spectacular swordfight against a yakuza gang-lord.

This alternate history sci-fi is loaded with psychotic vengeance and greed.

The other is about an English naval commander’s daughter turned pirate in eighteenth-century Bermuda. 

SADYE: Beyond “publish your book,” what was the best advice you’ve gotten about writing and what has been the worst?

C.A.: I think the best advice was (don’t quit your day job) to write every day for the love of writing, not for the sake of making money.

The worst advice was to write a vampire story — just kidding, dear.

SADYE: Beyond coffee shop polls, how else have you worked to get your work out in front of potential readers?

C.A.: I’ll be honest; I haven’t done as much as I should to get my work out there.

My strength is writing marketable stories, but my weakness is marketing those stories.

I clumsily use social media to promote my work: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. I’ve tried group chats.

All these avenues help, but sale discounts and book reviews seem to generate the most interest.

I follow a number of super-reader/reviewers. These avid, passionate readers can create a lot of buzz around books they review.

Finally, I’m looking into ARCs and cover reveal and release parties to hype up the forthcoming sequel to The Hover.

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Learn more about C.A. Lear on his website, where his books can also be purchased; like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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Categories: Author Interview

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