Friday, April 10, 2009

Writers' Angels On the Internet — Ernest Johnson

I came across Ernie Johnson over the Internet.
To get my books noticed I joined various web sites to do with writing, publishing, and marketing. With all the various sites, groups, and interesting individuals I am now in contact with, my aging brain soon became confused with what is what, and who is who. You may have been there yourself? When you have every day crammed with activities, as well as engagement on the Internet, and continually meeting new people — most of them across the pond or the other side of the world — life is not easy for wrinklies.

So it has taken a while for individuals to emerge clearly in my mind, that is, enough to hold a picture of them with name attached. Ernie is one of them.
Why? Because he reaches out to people, and to put it simply - he touched me because of his enormous generosity.
Ernie has kindly agreed to answer a few questions.

Q: Ernie, where is your home, and has it affected the kind of stories you write?

ANS: I live in Billerica, Massachusetts, a rather large town about 25 miles north of Boston, MA. I can't say that my location has affected the kinds of stories I write, mainly because I write in a variety of genres, from Paranormal, Mystery, Suspense, Romance, War, Disaster, well you get the idea.

Q: Gosh, that is quite a spectrum of writing. It takes a lot of dedication to write books. What inspires you to write and go on writing day after day?

ANS: There's a whole world of people out there who like reading good, well thought out, stories. When I started writing, back in the early 1980's, I didn't have the slightest clue as to what I was doing, but I did it anyway. I poked along, like most newbies to this profession, getting critiques along the way, and each one making me a better writer. In the early 1990's I took a hiatus from writing, because of all the rejections I was getting from both agents and publishers. I started writing again in 2001 and I've not looked back. I've now got one traditionally published book and 5 books via POD (Print On Demand) with the sequel to my traditionally published book all written, edited, and in search for a publisher.

Q: I can certainly empathise with the rejection story. Great that you came back and produced so many books. That’s a lot of work. Ernie, would you like to tell me what motivates you to help other authors the way that you do?

ANS: As a newbie (a new author) I knew the struggles I was going through to get the word out about my book. Even book stores don't want to take a chance on me, because they don't know who I am, and are afraid to risk losing their valued customers on an unknown author. That said, I'm 63 years old, or young, whichever way you want to look at it, and by helping other authors succeed, or even remotely succeed, then I can feel better about who I am as an author. Word is getting out about concerning Author Ernie Johnson and his book DESTINY OF THE DIVAS, and a lot of the reason is because I take the time to help a few of those individuals who are just starting the arduous task of Marketing Their Books.

Q: So in helping others you are also making authors and booklovers aware of your own books. That is a lesson for all us authors. Would you like to mention things you have done already, before your latest venture?

ANS: As most authors know, one of the keys to their success is having a website where people can go to learn about the author and what they've written. To date I've helped 9 authors build their websites and taught them what I know, or have learned from experience. I also created the blog AUTHORS AND THEIR BOOKS. This was done as a free posting of one book, complete with a synopsis and a link to where the book could be purchased. I learned early on, that as good an idea as that was, the drawback was that those who were posted first, were continually being pushed further back into the archives of blogdom, and no reasonable person, wants to go back 7 - 8 - 9 pages or more to find out what books we have and the authors who wrote them.

Q: Yes, that is a problem. So now we come to the Bookhouse. Explain what it is, and your hopes for this feature.

ANS: THE BOOKHOUSE was my solution to the problem created on the BLOG. As a website, I could offer authors a chance to promote more than one book, and I could also keep the books of the same genre in one place, or close by thereto. I put myself in the shoes of a prospective book buyer. If I went to an online bookstore, what would I want to see? Using that criteria, I developed the pages to accommodate a prospective buyer's needs and still make the author happy at the same time. An author can promote up to four books. One book (their choice) is complete with cost, number of pages, book cover, author picture, buy now button and a link to where the book can be purchased. The other, up to three books, gets only the book cover and a buy now button with a link to where it can be purchased.

I kept the cost to the author at a minimum - just $2.00 for one year's posting and I get nothing for the sale of their books. They get to keep whatever their publisher has agreed to. The money I charge the author, goes into keeping the website running and advertising where I see fit to attract buyers to our website.

Q Do you have more things planned?

ANS: THE BOOKHOUSE is my final online project. I have one more manuscript that I'm searching for a publisher for, but THE BOOKHOUSE is a full-time job online.

Thank you, Ernest Johnson, for giving me your time and being frank about yourself and the work you are doing to help other authors. I for one truly appreciate all that you have done for some of my books, and I am sure other authors feel the same. I hope you soon find a publisher for your new book and I wish you well with sales of those already in print

Ernie has kindly given me a page on the Bookhouse web site, in the Romance section.


Sheila Deeth said...

Lovely interview. And lovely to find two of my on-line friends talking to each other. Ernie is a wonderful friend to writers.

Donna Erickson said...


I was so surprised to see you on my blog. You made my day. It's nice to have a face now, to go with your name. I'm the Senior Editor at AGP and some of your work has run by my desk. You are quite a writer! Best of luck, Donna