Many times in life, our job is just that - work. It's a joy when our vocation can intersect with our passion. Today, I'd like to introduce you to someone who has taken something they enjoy immensely and created an enterprise of sorts from that love. I ran across Paul Martin in the twitter-verse one day as he was preparing to launch his new endeavor. He has been very kind in helping us present Guiamo Chronicles to a new group of readers. If you're looking for a place for readers to connect with new writers, spend a few minutes with me while I talk to Paul regarding Self Publisher's Showcase.
Anytime, Tracey. Thanks for having me; it certainly makes a pleasant change to be answering the questions.
~First, can you tell our readers a little about yourself and your background.
I’m a ‘thirtysomething’ married, father of 5 very hyperactive youngsters. My background, for the most part, is rooted in luxury hospitality in both the UK and the US. It may not be immediately clear how I have managed to end up where I am now(even to me) but I have always had a deep love of the written word; it was only always a matter of time before I found myself doing something in the world of literature. When I’m not Showcasing the work of a fantastically talented group of Authors I can also occasionally be found working with many author’s ‘elixir of life’ through a great Artisan Coffee Start-up in ‘eightpointnine’. Definitely worth a look for any UK based readers.
~Transforming an idea into an actual product or organization takes time. Can you share with us some of the background of Self Publisher’s Showcase and what inspired you?
This really should be the part where I explain the months, if not years, of arduous preparation. But it really hasn’t been that way. Around 12 months ago I found myself in conversation with a few authors whose work I had enjoyed, through social media. I then approached a close friend in Steve Taylor-Bryant at The Cult Den.com about the possibility of doing some interviews with these authors, that could then be published on his site. Having enjoyed the experience immensely and seeing the positive reactions of my author friends I set about coming up with a way to do this on a grander, all-encompassing scale. The idea for The Showcase was finalized after a period of brainstorming and went from the ideas stage to the launch stage in a relatively short space of time.
~There are many sites on the web offering publicity for authors. What sets Self Publisher’s Showcase apart from all the rest?
I had a clear idea in my head from the outset of how I wanted the site to work. Luckily working on the site myself has fortunately allowed me to keep incredibly close to these ideals. Other sites that I’ve visited have in my opinion always fallen down in 2 or 3 areas: A lack of good, fresh content, a lack of personality and most notably the ability to take what should be a clean and simple platform and turn it into a jumbled mixture that can turn finding something of interest to you into a kind of scavenger hunt...
The Showcase, to me at least says: Great original content – Whether it’s Interviews, Reviews, Short Fiction etc. A constant helpful presence; if you need us for anything we are always at hand. And, an easy to navigate site; If you come to us looking for something new in Fantasy to get your teeth into it won’t take you half a day to find what you are looking for.
~I know you represent many authors, but if you had to pick three stories that have personally intrigued you from the books that you offer, what would they be?
I’m going to cheat here and tell you about four, though in fairness one book predates the Showcase so maybe we can just pretend that it’s three after all? Firstly, I’ve always been a big Fantasy reader so it’s no great surprise that the first couple are Fantasy books. Before the Showcase was launched I came across ANGST from DavidPedersen, an author we are now lucky enough to feature on the site. The main character is a middle-aged, reluctant hero and the story is to this day one of my absolute favourites.
Secondly I was immediately intrigued by Marshall Best’s GUIAMO novels (someone I think you may be familiar with). The story shows such commitment to research and weaves fiction with legend seamlessly. In fact I am currently around two-thirds of the way through Cumoro, the second book in the planned 9 book series as we speak.
Finally, well out of my comfort zone, I recently picked up a copy of James Knight’s HEAD TRAUMAS and I have to say, the intrigue paid off in a big way. It is not something I would normally have read, and for me that just goes to prove what we are trying to achieve here at The Showcase. It really does pay to try something different every now and again, you really do find some absolute gems.
~What can readers expect to find when they visit your site?
If everyone sees the site as I do, and I really hope they do, they’ll find a plethora of fantastic authors across a multitude of genres. Many incredibly open and honest interviews, book reviews, original short fiction and giveaways. We’ve also just this week added a new section to the site. Some of our authors are utilising crowd funding to get amazing projects off the ground, so we’ve now made it possible for our readers to get involved without any hassle. There are some great incentives on offer and it goes without saying, any donations are greatly appreciated by our authors. All of this is presented in what we consider to be a fresh and well-designed platform; easy to navigate and a great place to visit time and time again.
~What are your goals with Self Publisher’s Showcase? What will make you look back with satisfaction knowing you have succeeded in what you set out to do?
My goals, for all of the right reasons, are constantly being reassessed. I started with the modest goal of hoping to make a difference in perhaps 1 or 2 author’s daily lives. Perhaps helping increase sales and my work was done? Now though, with the constant stream of positive feedback, I just want to take the training wheels off and see how far I can take us. Every day the interest grows as more and more authors take the step to be pro-active and join us on our exciting journey. I would love to sit here in 5 or 10 years time and tell you how hundreds of authors have found their audience through the work The Self-Publisher’s Showcase has done. In fact, that’s a goal, right? Pencil that interview in 5 years from now. Easier questions though...
~Is this a one man show? If not, who else is involved?
It is to a degree... The day to day running of the site, the interviewing, the social accounts, the back and forth between the site and our fabulous authors is all me. But then I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m lucky enough to be involved in something I’m very passionate about and hopefully that comes across with everyone who interacts with The Showcase. That said, I’m also lucky enough to have a very dedicated review team in place already in James [Fox], Reece [Jones] and Matthew [Cunliffe]. As the site continues to grow I’m sure that there will come a time where I have to lessen the role I play in some aspects of the site, I’m just not ready to hand over too much of my baby right now.
~If you’re looking for a place to discover new books and new authors, take a moment and head over to Self Publisher’sShowcase. Thanks Paul for taking the time to talk with us!
My absolute pleasure, Tracey. If you’re reading this, do pop by and say ‘Hello’, it’s always great to hear from anyone with an interest in what we are trying to achieve. If anyone has any questions at all about what we do I can be reached directly via paul(at)selfpublishershowcase(dot)com or via twitter @selfpubshowcase.
Happy Reading Everyone!