Monday, November 11, 2013

Aiken Standard Interviews Sasscer Hill For Article on Self Publishing

Self-publishing has become a trend within the last few years.
1. Write a book. Remember, you make your own deadlines.
2. Edit. It is advised to get another party to do this, recommendly someone with editing experience.
3. Design. This includes cover art and formatting to the publication type.
4. Print. You can go through certain agencies to help finalize your book.
5. Market. Once your book is out, you have to make it known.
For more steps and information, visit
Last year, the number of self-published titles increased by 59 percent. That’s 422 percent since 2007, according to information agency Bowker.
“The most successful self-publishers don’t view themselves as writers only but as business owners,” Beat Barbian, Bowker director of identifier services, said in a press release.
Some local authors that have chosen this route are David Tavernier, James Osbon and Sasscer Hill.
Hill has experience with both traditional publishing and self-publishing.
To date she has seven books. Some are novels, while the remaining are short stories.

This short story was self-published by local author Sasscer Hill.

Hill's first book, “Full Mortality,” was published in November 2010.
It took her years of rejection to get to that point.
“I sent out 40 query letters (before I found my agent),” Hill said.
Once she was interested, that agent had to go to work trying to attract attention to Hill’s novel.
The agent went to mainstream publishers with no success.
Finally, Hill met the publisher of Wildside Press, and he liked her book.
Wildside Press is an independent publisher based out of Maryland.
It has now published three of her books.
Her short stories are published with Wild Spirit Press – a company that Hill created.
She explains self-publishing simply as “you do it yourself,” she said.
She writes her stories in WordPerfect. Publishers often prefer submissions from Microsoft Word, she said.
With a publishing company, editors are often available.
When it comes to self-publishing, you are your own editor.
However, “you should have someone else do it,” Hill advised. “You never see your own mistakes, no matter how careful you are.”
This other person can be referred to as a “book doctor,” according to David Carnoy, CNET executive editor and self-published author.
He or she can be hired or be a friend.
If you hire an editor, you might be getting more than you expected.
“After I made the changes (my editor) suggested, he made some calls to agents he knew, and some were willing to take a look,” Carnoy wrote in his CNET article.
Ways to find an editor are to ask around, contact a local university or just look inside a published book.
Self-publishers have control over their covers.
Hill hired artists to produce some of her covers.
The process has been as simple as giving the designer a photo and letting him or her work with it; this was how the cover of her “Rare Highs, Killer Lows: True Tales from the Track” book was created.
When it comes to publishing with a mainstream company, you often have no say on your cover, Hill said.
For example, she was a fan of “The Sea Horse Trade” book cover but not so much of the “Racing from Death” one.
A piece of advice for producing your cover – make it look good small.
This mainly comes in handy when it comes to marketing and selling your book online.
“Your book has to stand out as a thumbnail image online because that’s how most people are going to come across it,” Carnoy wrote.
Which brings up one of the following issues – publishing a print book versus publishing digital one.
Hill did both for her novels. Her short stories – her self-published works – are only available as digital books, or e-books.
Three leading ebook manufacturers are Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook and Apple’s iPad.
There are many advantages found to ebook printing and e-books in general.
Local author Alice W. Ross finds e-readers – the device that holds the e-books – convenient.
“It’s so much easier to deal with and more economical,” she said.
Ross got her first Nook when they were released in 2009.
She loves the fact that you can download and store several books on one device and then take them to go.
Those editions are usually cheaper, too, than their print versions, she said.
This helps when it comes to selling your book, Carnoy pointed out.
There are certain requirements attached to publishing an e-book, though.
Ross said each e-book company has its own rules when it comes to formatting the book.
However, there are companies out there to help with this process.
SmashWord is a website Ross uses for this.
Ross’s book “The Pictorial Adventure” is only available as an e-book. This will also apply to her upcoming novel.
However, if you prefer to print, there are companies out there that will simply just print your manuscript for you, without taking control of your book.
For example, Tavernier published “Stories of the Rich and Famous” with OutSkirts Press, while Osbon published his book “Sand River” with Xlibris.
A function with each company is aiding self-publishers.
When your book is out, you have to get the word out about it.
“Marketing is all I do,” Hill said.
Ross and she use Facebook and Twitter to help make contact with readers and publicize their books and themselves.
They both have their own blogs, while Hill also has a website.
Hill also attends conferences regularly.
For more information on the self-publishing process, visit or

Read more: E-books offer authors alternative to traditional publishing process | Aiken Standard 
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

RARE HIGHS and KILLER LOWS: True Tales from the Track

"RARE HIGHS AND KILLER LOWS: True Tales from the Track," Now Available on Amazon!   

“Rare Highs and Killer Lows” contains four true stories from the life of racing mystery author Sasscer Hill. Share the experiences that allow Hill to write her fiction with both authority and passion. 

From the gutsy racing filly whose tongue was sliced in half, to the colt who beat the odds by living, these stories give the reader a true insider look at what goes on behind the scenes in the world of Thoroughbred racing.

Note: these stories appeared here for a short time, but have been unavailable for more than three years. Now, you can read them all together!

 See more:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Loaded with luggage and hungry, I arrived at the Albany Hilton late Wednesday. Imagine my delight to see old friends from the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime at a long table chowing down on pasta, salads, and steaks. I sat, the waiter came, and I pointed at Barb Goffman and said, “I’ll have what she’s having,” a bowl loaded with garlic pasta, sun roasted tomatoes, and shrimp. Yum!

Off to my room, where in the morning, I discovered I had a terrific view of the city. 

I schlepped my books up to the Empire Plaza,
Photo courtesy of Rhonda Lane
found my bookseller, and set up my titles.  

After some meet and greet,I zipped back to the hotel for an early lunch and twenty minute lie down before the afternoon panel. 

The panel was titled, "BALLAD OF BILLY THE KID: Writing Characters That Do What They Want," and it was awesome. I shared the stage with authors Sandra Brannan, Tricia Fields, mega writer Joe Lansdale, and Duane Swierczynski. Standing room only and sure do wish I had a picture of that panel! 
Joe Lansdale

Thursday night, my buddy Barb Goffman won the Macavity Award for Best Short Story! 

So I had to go out and party with Reed Farrel Coleman, Kate Pilarcik, Frank de Blase and dance with Laura Lippman, 

 and David Housewright and who knows who all until I almost collapsed. The band was great and played one rock and roll dance number after another. I might have had a few too many bourbons because my hotel room circled around oddly upon my return and I had an exquisite headache in the morning. All worth it! No question.

Friday I spent part of the day recovering, then met Margaret Maron, Laurie King, Louise Penney, and my buddy Rhonda Lane for drinks in the Albany Hilton hotel. Another failed photo opportunity. Rhonda and I rushed off with some other writers and fans for the Dorothy L. Dinner at the Pump House. 
The lovely and talented Sandra Parshal in pink!

Part of the Dorothy L crowd at the Pump House

It was fun, but after that, I went to bed early to rest up for my two additional Saturday panels.

First was, “IF I ONLY HAD THE WORDS TO TELL YOU:  Four-Legged Sleuthing.”

 Pictured: authors: Katherine O’Sullivan, Spencer Quinn, Neil S. Plakcy, Clea Simon, Sasscer Hill and moderator Carole Shmurak.  

Followed later that afternoon by my favorite panel, the one I moderated, “NOBODY KNOWS BUT ME: Writing a Book Is Like Making Sausage; Lots of Stuff Goes In.”  

 Me, presenting fabulous authors  Joe Samuel Starnes, Ariel Winter, Charles O’Brien, Roger Ellory, and Andrew Grant.

 Don't you think that Andrew is just as handsome as his older brother, Lee Child? I did.

Saturday night, my idol Sue Grafton spoke
 All my panels were over and it was time to play. So we did. Kate Pilarcik, the fabulous marketer and promoter had us pretend to be waiting in trepidation for our awards announcements, then respond to the overwhelming news that we had won! This occurred as we sat in the auditorium after Grafton and before the Anthony Awards. We had to do something while we waited

Rhonda Lane, Sasscer Hill, David Housewright, and Kate Pilarcik.

Go here to see who won the Anthony Awards:

After the Anthonies, everyone’s palms were so sore from clapping that we descended en mass upon the Hilton Bar and drank like only crime writers can drink. We had fun, too.
Program Chair, our beloved Judy Bobalik 

Hank Phillippi Ryan, Sasscer Hill, and Mollie Cox Bryan

Award winning authors, David Housewright and Hank Phillippi Ryan

Vamping it up with Joelle Charbonneau, Kate Pilarcik, and forgive me fourth lady, I never got your name!

Sunday morning everyone was feeling the end of summer camp blues. 
Tired and facing the trip home, the amazing Janet Rudolph of Mystery Readers International and Mystery Readers Journal

Everyone was dragging and for the record, Janet usually looks like this 

Tired or not, we are already planning for next year’s BoucherCon in Long beach, CA!

                                                     MURDER AT THE BEACH!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Writers Police Academy: Part 3 The Bomb!

Sasscer Hill hanging with the Bomb Robot. I thought he was very cute and suspected he had a predilection for hot women with explosive tempers.

Note the double barrels. When in doubt, blow the bomb up!
 Then I saw what else he could do after the bomb dog alerted to the backpack bomb! 

Keep in mind, this dude can "sniff," shoot pictures, X-Ray and relay all the info back.
Get that bomb out a here!

             Fully suited Bomb Tech attaches fuse to bomb.

 Bomb tech, the crew, bomb dog, and remains of back pack.

Bomb Dog gets a treat!


                              Yeah, we showed 'em!


The wonderful dogs that are a cop’s best friend and a criminal’s 
worst nightmare!

Sasscer Hill getting ready to bust into a town home and find a criminal during Building Searches. 

Some of the gear and weapons needed to do a building search. 

Firemen and their hoses . . .

I knew I was in trouble when they came after me in this vehicle.

Sasscer Hill arrested at last.