· My Splendid Concubine, 3rd edition
· Running with the Enemy
· 26. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 4, Episode 26 of 26
· 25. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 4, Episode 25 of 26
· 24. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 4, Episode 24 of 26
· 23. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 4, Episode 23 of 26
· 22. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 4, Episode 22 of 26
· 21. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 3, Episode 21 of 26
· 20. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 3, Episode 20 of 26
· 19. Runing with the Enemy - Chapter 3, Episode 19 of 26
· 18. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 3, Episode 18 of 26
· 17, Running with the Enemy - Chapter 3, Episode 17 of 26
· It is Time – Relief for Victims of Lone-Wolf Killers such as James Holmes
· Living on the thin side of Black Ice
· Getting Oriented
· Learning to Love and Hate while teaching ESL in the Middle Kingdom
· The Release of The Concubine Saga is another Cheap Marketing Ploy
· The Story behind the National Debt
· Using Alchemy to Disarm Psychological Vampires
· Learning what Win-Win Really Means
· Review for Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
· In Defense of Tiger Mothers Everywhere
· The birth of a child called Prose
· The Luxury of Heartache
· Learning from Death
· Putting Cupid's Arrows on Ice
· The Never-Ending Book Promotion Blues
· Walking the Path of Dead Explorers
· LIttle No More
· News for “Running with the Enemy”
· A New World of Publishing
· Honorable Mention at 2013 San Francisco Book Festival
· Please support this vital Amazon.com petition
· Found Guilty because of Reckless and False Speech
· A Goodreads Giveaway for Runing with the Enemy
· News to Share December 2012
Lloyd Lofthouse, click here
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1/5/2009 12:29:00 PM
by Lloyd Lofthouse
|Published in the American Chronicle, December 31, 2008
An interview published in the American Chronicle
Lloyd is now the author of a brand new historical fiction, My Splendid Concubine. We interviewed Lloyd to find out more about his exciting new book and his life as a published author.
Thank you for this interview, Lloyd. Can you tell us briefly what your latest book, My Splendid Concubine, is all about?
First, I want to thank you for having me.
My Splendid Concubine is based on a love story. Robert Hart lived most of his life in China during the 19th century. It was there that he found the kind of love that most only dream about. The story is also about sex. But it's about sex of a kind most people are unfamiliar with. Robert was not familiar with it either. To survive, he transformed himself — a change so dramatic that he ended up becoming the Godfather of China´s modernism, all because of love for one woman, his concubine Ayaou.
Can you tell us what (or who) was the inspiration behind your book?
My wife introduced me to Robert Hart while we were dating in 1999. She said, "Since some of your ancestors were Irish, you may be interested in an Irishman that went to China and became the most powerful Westerner in China´s history."
Due to that introduction, I read Robert´s journals and letters and identified with Hart due to his religious upbringing. However, it was the love story that he tried to hide by burning some of his journals near the end of his life that captured my curiosity. Bringing that love story to life is the passion that drives My Splendid Concubine.
Is this your first published book and if so, can you tell us your experiences in finding a publisher for it?
Yes, My Splendid Concubine is my first published novel. However, the journey to find a publisher started before I was introduced to Sir Robert Hart. It started in 1968 soon after I heard Ray Bradbury speak. My next move was to sign up for a creative writing class and write my first manuscript.
To give an idea how close that first manuscript came to being published, here´s what Shirley George, an editor at Aurora, wrote, "Your manuscript, Moiety Man, is still under consideration. Unfortunately, our first reader, a professor at Vanderbilt, did not give it as good a report as I. However, I am going to obtain another reader´s evaluation. Personally, I enjoyed it very much."
Shirley George´s letter is an example of what I experienced for almost four decades. I have encouraging letters from Ben Bova when he was editor at Analog magazine; Avon Books; Penthouse; John F. Blair, Publisher; Ace Books; Ashley Books; Polaris Press; Tor Books; Doubleday, and Charles Scribner´s Sons. Many of these publishers are gone now.
During that forty years, I wrote and attempted to find a publisher for a dozen manuscripts. Several agents represented my work. I spent seven years attending writing workshops out of UCLA, and started an MFA at Cal Poly Pomona that I finished through another university, before I decided to self-publish through iUniverse.
How has iUniverse been to work with?
I was impressed with the evaluation process. iUniverse offered a variety of publication packages. I selected the top package but decided to promote My Splendid Concubine since most authors, even in traditional publishing, get no support from the publisher. For most books, it´s like throwing a baby in the pool to see if he floats or sinks. If the book sinks, forget it. There´s seldom a second chance from a traditional publisher or agent for beginning authors. In traditional publishing the process is mostly about money.
After checking out a half dozen POD publishers, I went with iUniverse because of the evaluation process and the possibility of earning an Editor´s Choice distinction and another possibility of earning a Publisher´s Choice distinction. My Splendid Concubine earned both.
However, I have decided not to publish through iUniverse with my second novel, Our Hart, the sequel. I´m going to publish it. Since I had success placing My Splendid Concubine in local bookstores (Barnes & Noble, Clayton Books, Bay Books, and Orinda Books) where the book sold well, I´ve decided I can do a better job promoting my work if I´m also the publisher.
Do you have an agent?
Not at this time. Over the years I´ve had several agents. However, when the work didn´t sell quickly, all of them dropped the project. The publishing industry is extremely competitive and to make money, the publishers and agents must be tough. That is another reason why I´m going to go it alone. I feel I can be more competitive without the middle man.
Can you tell us how long it took you to write your book and also how long it took from the time iUniverse sent the contract and the time it was released?
I started researching My Splendid Concubine in 1999. Eight years later, after many revisions and edits, the manuscript was ready. I started to mail queries to agents. Several expressed interest. I mailed out the manuscript and the waiting started. I´d been through that process so many times over the last forty years that I decided to look into self-publishing.
Then an agent in Southern California near San Diego called me and told me she was interested in representing My Splendid Concubine. By then I had decided to leave the traditional path and told her I was pulling my manuscript and going on my own. She wasn´t happy. It was like I had committed a sin of some sort. Maybe I had. After all, if more of us are successful on our own, who needs an agent or a traditional publisher? They will have to find another way to earn a living.
After I signed the contract with iUniverse, the speed to publication was fast. Most books that follow the traditional route may spend a year or more in the production process after the manuscript is accepted. My Splendid Concubine only spent a few months before it was for sale at Amazon.com. Since then, copies have sold all over the world. In addition to the United States, Amazon.com has Websites for Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Japan and China. My Splendid Concubine has also sold well through Barnes & Noble.com.
Do you have any words of inspiration from other writers who would like to be wearing your shoes?
Yes, learn the craft of writing even if it takes years or decades. Writing is a craft. Few if any writers are born with the skills a writer needs to compete in the arena where published authors struggle to reach an audience. Also, learn about the publishing industry and what it takes to find that audience. Writing is the easy part. Getting published can be easy too if the author decides to self-publish. The real challenge is to promote the book and that takes knowledge about the industry. An author should approach the process without false hopes.
As an example, a friend recently published a memoir through a traditional publisher. Once she signed the contract and the advance arrived, she quit her job. A year later when her book came out, it did not sell many copies. That friend had spent the advance, went through most of her savings and had to go back to a regular job to survive. Since her first book didn´t sell well, the agent and traditional publisher both dropped her.
Just because an author is published, that doesn´t mean he is going to be the next Steven King and make millions. I read a piece in a writer´s magazine that said about two hundred authors in the United States make a living from their writing. The other several hundred thousand have to work to support their writing even if they are published. They say the average book sells about five hundred copies. How does anyone make a living with those numbers?
I understand that you are on a virtual blog tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion. Can you tell us all why you chose a virtual blog tour to promote your book online?
That is correct. I contacted Pump Up Your Book Promotion in October for a virtual book tour to start in December and run through January. This virtual book tour is part of my three year plan to continue promoting My Splendid Concubine. The Internet is a great place to get the word out and reach potential readers. Thanks to Google, it´s possible months after an interview that someone interested may read it since a stop on a virtual tour doesn´t end up collecting dust like print magazines.
On the other hand, the promotion for My Splendid Concubine didn´t start with Pump Up Your Book Promotion. It started in January 2008 when I mailed out a thousand postcards to independent bookstores throughout America. That mailing led to my first author event at Clayton Books in Clayton, California.
I also mailed copies to reviewers and contests. All of the reviews, so far, have been great. In addition, My Splendid Concubine placed in the 2008 London Book Festival with an honorable mention in fiction.
Concubine also received a great blurb from a Writer´s Digest judge. I have also been a guest on more than thirty radio talk shows that broadcasts to millions. One show I was on reached 130 countries via satellite. A half dozen of those shows had Podcasts that I´ve linked to so anyone can listen to a show at anytime. The links are on my Website. The Virtual World is a great place to work.
What´s next for you, Lloyd?
I want to finish Our Hart, the sequel to My Splendid Concubine and start that small press I talked about. Beyond that, I want to find other authors to publish. That doesn´t mean I´m going to accept unsolicited manuscripts. Being a one man operation means I won´t have time to even open the packages. There are Internet sites like Authors Den, EditRed and Writer´s Café where there is a lot of material. If I find something I like, I´ll contact the author and see if they are interested in having my small press publish them. I hope to publish one or two a year.
Thank you for this interview, Lloyd. Can you tell us how we can find out more about you and your new book?
Yes, you may find out more about My Splendid Concubine at www.mysplendidconcubine.com. There´s a lot of information about Sir Robert Hart and China besides where to purchase the novel. If you like talk radio, there are also links to several Podcasts of a few of the radio talk shows I´ve been a guest on.
I want to close with a thank you for having me as a guest.
My Splendid Concubine