Today’s Debut Author Q&A represents my first chat with a writer who goes by a nom de plume. Oooh, how mysterious!
Name of book: Zeigler, through Vidster’s Eyes
Book genre: True Crime, Wrongful Convictions
Date published: October 2011
Publisher: Vidster via NOOK Pubit
What is your day job? Lawyer/educator
What is your book about? The eBook is a compilation of the trial and crime scene analysis blog posts I wrote about a quadruple murder. The fifth victim became the accused merely because he survived his attack. DNA analysis supports what he said for the past 35+ years. He remains on death row in Florida.
Why did you want to write this book? I want to reach people who do not (yet) read blogs but who are interested in true crime stories and who care about wrongful convictions.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? Explaining in plain English what is clear to me concerning the trial and the crime scene. I have tried to build that up layer by layer so people could follow my train of thought.
What motivates you to write? Mr. Zeigler has a DNA hearing coming up on December 1 in Orlando, Florida. It might be the last time we will have the chance to make our case in court. Much of the evidence has only been blood typed but not tested for DNA. DNA testing is crucial in this case because some of the victims are related by blood. Some of the victims not related by blood have the same blood type. We already have evidence that the blood stains on Mr. Zeigler did not belong to the victim for whose death Mr. Zeigler received the death penalty. That blood actually belonged to his attacker. Both had the same blood type.
Did you experience writer’s block? No, I am so new to all this that the most I experienced was anxiety to push the “publish” button!
How long did it take you to write this book? The eBook is an edited compilation of blog posts. Those blog posts were written between March 2010 and September 2011.
Why did you decide to self-publish? It is fast to upload, and it reaches the fastest growing reading community in a snap!
Was the self-publishing process easier or more difficult than you thought it would be? I must admit that I dreaded the process but Nook’s Pubit system is quite easy. I do regret that they do not support links in the text so I had to disable those and refer readers to my blog where they would be able to find the text and the links for further reading. Also, the limitations to photography make it difficult for the eReaders to read the documents but they too are on my blog and can be enlarged there. Now that we are at it, the eBook contains graphic crime scene photography.
What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? That anyone can do it! I just don’t believe that! When I started to place pieces together from the blog posts, all kinds of things occurred to me that I had never considered when I wrote the text as a blog post. Pacing, tension building, character building, use of past tense or present, and so many more issues that I skipped because I initially just wrote blog posts. Turning those posts into a real book would require massive editing. That is also the difference between blogging and writing a book, I guess. They both have their own particulars, requirements, freedom, audience and goals.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? The excitement when the first review pops up, and it turns out that someone was able to follow my train of thought! YEAH!
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion? I am so new to this that I feel utterly unqualified to give any advice. To promote the eBook, I placed it on my blog, on my LinkedIn profile, in my Twitter bio, and have of course tweeted about it. My followers have retweeted the news as well so it is spreading.
How has life changed for you since the publication of your book? Not! Still blogging, still analyzing cold cases, and still wondering why those cases get so little media attention.
Do you plan on writing another book? Yes, I have a string of other case analyses and do plan to Pubit those as well to reach those people who do not (yet) read blogs.
My favorite last question: Oprah once famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? Well, I don’t consider myself a writer. I am a lawyer who blogs. But to get back to Oprah, there has to be a moment of opportunity. And you have to take that opportunity. It is there for a flash of a second and depending on your gut instincts, you recognize it and take it, or you don’t.