Wednesday

Kindle Author Interview: Cliff Feightner

Cliff Feightner, co-author of Views from Sandhausen: Experiences from a Foreign Service Assignement, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Views from Sandhausen?

CLIFF FEIGHTNER: Views from Sandhausen is a diary of an American couple on their first Foreign Service assignment in Europe. He is an experienced international traveler who is an Information Technology Professional, then working for an American Fortune 100 company—assigned to Germany. His wife is a well-tended adventurous woman who revels in the good life that being married to a successful mid-level executive provides.

Views is a series of over 100 notes (with photos), sent home to their friends and families—to keep them updated. Views, is funny, heart-breaking, informative, thought-provoking, and provides the reader with a look at what is entailed in ripping a successful middle-aged couple from their comfortable life in the United States, and dropping them into an entirely new set of circumstances overseas. Views is a perspective that you will not read in Fodor’s, and is not commonly available in any other venue.

With very little support from “The Fortune 100 Company” this loving couple learns lessons the hard way, and overcomes the challenges with grace and determination. Views will serve couples faced with a similar challenge as an essential guide. For others, it is a quick, humorous, entertaining read about a world that only a few will experience. It is an emotional investment in a new opportunity, a journey of triumph as obstacles are conquered.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

CLIFF FEIGHTNER: Our target audience includes:
  • All readers looking for a quick, emotional journey with many cheers and a few tears.
  • General readers who enjoy learning new ideas in a humorous, 1st and 2rd person presentation.
  • Expatriates serving or planning to serve overseas—Corporate or Governmental
  • Corporate organizations and personnel interested in the subject
  • International travelers
  • Readers interested in Europe
  • Anyone wishing to take a walk through Europe
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

CLIFF FEIGHTNER: I have written all my life. In my previous careers as a software engineer and a global Program Manager for a Fortune 100 corporation, written communication was a necessity. The fact that many of my written reports were read by top management, is a great incentive to hone your craft! Similarly, I have sold ideas and concepts during that journey. I have served on the Editorial boards of Computer Graphics World magazine, as well as the Executive Programs Board for CIO Magazine. I co wrote Lynn’s Story with my beloved wife Lynn—documenting her losing battle with RCC Cancer. She is also my coauthor on Views from Sandhausen. I just love to write and I think that I am happiest when I’m doing so; I know I miss it when I’m not. I even write blog posts on my iPhone, sitting in my “Cheers.”

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

CLIFF FEIGHTNER: I am a great observer of life; I don’t miss much. My iPhone is never far away, I jot down ideas and themes when I see or think of them. I’ll take these and flesh them out at home, usually free writing ideas.

Then it is a matter of outlining and fleshing out those ideas. I may have others look at what I’m doing or not. I’m going to do what I want to do, and I rely on others to provide alternatives and to teach me what I don’t know. I am an active member of the LinkedIn group: Book Writing, Self Publishing, and Marketing for Business People and I consider the members there to be my mentors and teachers. Others that have helped me along are Matt Jacob at http://EDITmeFast.com, and Walt Shiel at http://FiveRainbows.com. Carol White has also challenged me on occasion and I owe her a debt for not allowing me to take a very bad turn with my last book http://ViewsfromSandhausen.com.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

CLIFF FEIGHTNER: J K Rowling, Nelson DeMille, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edger Allen Poe, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, and many, many more. I have been (almost) successful in reading a book a week for the past 55+ years.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

CLIFF FEIGHTNER: What a Great question! I’m not usually given pause like that, but I think Society of the Mind: a Cyberthriller by Eric L. Harry

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

CLIFF FEIGHTNER: During our three years in Germany, I took many photos, and sent those photos and a short experience back to our friends and family. Early on, many of those photos weren’t of sufficient resolution for print; during the later years, they were. Going through the best, I selected a great shot of the center of our village of Sandhausen Germany. With PowerPoint and a good graphics editor I cobbled together an idea. I sent that idea to my book cover and interior designer, Walt Shiel at Five Rainbows Services. I consider him to be almost a Renaissance Man, given his varied background and wonderful skill sets. He also created a custom interior for the book, to mirror an email format, given that the original Views were first seen as emails.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

CLIFF FEIGHTNER: About halfway through the assembly process, I became more active on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook—more that I had previously. I started scanning the Internet for resources and advise, I read books like The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, and I started investigating the “Getting Published” process. I almost made a disastrous mistake by sending my work to a “Publish on Demand” company. Carol White and my friends on LinkedIn convinced me that I was making a huge mistake. Consequently, I formed FlaAuthor Publishing, LLC and am publishing it myself, with a prospect of helping others in the future. I will sell through all major ebook outlets; I will leverage Lightning Source and their Ingram connection, for Hard and Soft cover distribution. I am having a custom built website built by Smart Authors Sites. I have created a wonderful blog at FlaAuthor.wordpress.com, and I have been increasingly active on that and other author’s blogs. Lastly, I have started freelance writing on http://suite101.com, as I have time.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

CLIFF FEIGHTNER: Not such a great question—J. Amazon and Kindle will be looked upon in the future as foundational in the emergence of ebooks as a major force in publishing, and a book’s connection with the readers. I am offering my book on competing e-readers and competing formats, but I wanted to start with my favorite source of purchasing all things books and music. Do you hear me Borders; my previous favorite source of books?

Kindle and Amazon are more than fair with authors, and have a wonderfully executed website. (I deployed websites for that Fortune 100 Company—across ALL of Europe. I know a good website!)

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

CLIFF FEIGHTNER: Do everything that is required of writing for a paper-based audience. You need a good Story, you need world-class (developmental) Editing, you need an accomplished Designer and you need to Market, Market, and Market. Publishing on Kindle is the easiest (of their current competition) to publish on and part. Getting the book right and marketing your head off are the keys.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books




ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Cliff Feightner:

A Senior Information Technology and Program Management Professional and a Certified Computing Professional whose career has primarily focused on Professional Project and Program Management in domestic and international settings.

He has worked in Research and Development and Corporate Engineering settings, and served as Global Program Manager, Fortune 100—Year 2000 Program. He was also a leader in the design through deployment phases of his company’s eCommerce presence in Europe.

He is an internationally published invited speaker and author for organizations such as: IBM, Goodyear, Automotive Industry action Group (AIAG), IEEE and Computer Graphics World. His published work has been primarily technical in nature, but he has recently published Lynn’s Story, a book dedicated to his wife’s struggle with Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC).

Until recently he was married (43 years) to his lovely wife Lynn. They have two children and four grandchildren and he lives in Homosassa, Florida.

Lynn Feightner:

Wife of 43 years, Mother of two wonderful Sons, Grandmother to four outstanding Grandchildren, Daughter, and Sister to four sisters—and the best friend and partner a man could ever have. Lynn went back to school at 30 to earn her Medical Assistant degree and graduated class valedictorian. She brightened everyone’s lives and will continue to do so after passing. Tragically, Lynn was taken from us by Renal Cell Carcinoma in April of 2010. May we fight and defeat this scourge as we did Polio!

There was never a question of traveling to foreign lands; she reveled in new experiences, of which she had many. No matter the challenge, Lynn was up to it and overcame all with good humor and grace.

I will donate 10% of the author profits from this book to the American Cancer Society.

Visit their blog.

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