Kindle Author Interview: J.I. Greco

J.I. Greco, author of Take the All-Mart!, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Take the All-Mart!?

J.I. GRECO: Take the All-Mart! is the kind of road movie Crosby and Hope would have made if they were post-apocalyptic cyborgs.

It's about two constantly bickering brothers, Trip and Rudy, and how they're on the run after Trip left a warlord at the altar. They make for the Wasteland, the mostly barren remains of the US' East Coast, hoping to escape the warlord's wrath. But the wrath inevitably catches up with them in the form of cannibal bounty hunters. After having to deal with that, Trip falling in love with a girl he just met and heading into a sentient, zombie-infested department store to rescue her just sounds like the thing to do.

Oh, and there are orgy-loving nuns, a town full of drunks, snarky robots, and a lot of reckless driving,

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

J.I. GRECO: I start with the good old archetypes—the hero, the wise-man, etc.—and make them either despicable or idiots. Sometimes both. Then I make up a funny accent for them in my head and they take over from there.

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

J.I. GRECO: My stuff, as you've probably noticed, isn't everyone's cup of tea. And I accept that—revel in it. But anybody who thinks The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai in the Eighth Dimension, Tank Girl, and Darkstar are some of the best movies ever made should get me.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

J.I. GRECO: Got my first typewriter from my grandfather when I was nine, a portable, manual Royal. Been bashing keys of one sort or another since. I eventually learned how to type.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

J.I. GRECO: I have a regular writing block set aside each weekday—two hours—where I try to bang out 500 to 1000 words. And sometimes they make sense. Prep work is underrated, so I end to write fairly detailed outlines—5,000 word outlines filled with snippets of dialog and action before starting a project that I can just expand when the time comes. It's like brainstorming on paper.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

J.I. GRECO: Hunter S. Thompson, Douglas Adams, William Gibson.

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

J.I. GRECO: Goodnight, Moon. I would have put in a lot more swears.

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

J.I. GRECO: I do a lot of Twitter, and I reach out to book review blogs. Reviews are key to promotion these days. I'm also training my cats to pass out bookmarks at supermarkets, although I don't have high hopes for that—so far, every time I've sent them out, they've just ditched the bookmarks in the gutter and gone raving.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

J.I. GRECO: Traditional publishing is fine, and I've gone that route with short stories, but publishers chase the largest markets they can. My stuff is more niche—weird sci-fi—so publishers are wary of it. Indie publishing direct to the Kindle lets authors reach audiences of any size, and since most of us do it because we love it and just want to entertain people, the size of the audience doesn't matter.

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

J.I. GRECO: Do all the prep work you can, rewrite & edit until your eyes bleed, then just leap in head first. Formatting counts. And your cover can make or break you. Reviews are critical for word of mouth—especially honest ones—so line up every potential reviewer you can. Keep writing. Always keep writing.

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


J.I. Greco is the writer and artist responsible for the webcomic Warlord Unit 23. He lives, writes and draws in southwestern Ohio with a bitchin’ wife, two generally annoying cats, a yard full of trees that make Autumn a real damn chore, and what is either a ghost or a smudge on his glasses.

Visit his website, find him on facebook, and follow him on twitter.

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