Interview with Patricia E. Gitt
Wednesday, September 21, 2001 – Interview by KSR Writer
Interview with Patricia E. Gitt, author of “CEO” and her latest book, “asap –as soon as possible”. Both of these books have great female main characters in high corporate positions and examine the effects this has on the women.
1. Patricia, Can you tell me a little about your background and how that influences the types of books you write?
I have enjoyed a challenging career in public relations during which I met and worked with many outstanding, smart and capable women. These women reinforced my belief that we can achieve our goals if we work hard enough. Unfortunately, popular novels have been focusing on women shopping, lunching with friends and discoursing on their various love interests. I felt that these plots, also known as ‘chick-lit’, demeaned those of us who spent the majority of our time building careers. This led me to write novels about strong women in business settings as they try to balance dynamic careers with their personal lives.
2. How would you describe your writing process?
I begin each book with an observation. In my first novel, CEO, I wondered if a woman would lead a company differently than a man, or would be the chief executive officer of a major corporation change the woman.
I start with a pen and spiral-bound notebook and handwrite the first chapter. The next day I reread Chapter 1 and ask myself what I wanted to know next. This becomes Chapter 2 and the process continues until I have about 10 chapters written. At this point, I key these early pages into my computer. Usually, the first several chapters of the draft begin as a handwritten exercise.
For my newly released book, asap –as soon as possible–, I asked myself how a woman balances her already overscheduled life being a wife and mother with a dynamic career as co-founder of a company. My premise is that in the process she loses touch with her own needs.
3. You self-published both of your books, “CEO” with Xlibris and “ASAP” through Amazon–what were those experiences like and what were the differences between the two?
I published CEO with Xlibris when print on demand was a relatively new concept. The experience was an education and the representatives I worked with were extremely helpful. I do wish, however, I had taken advantage of a professional editor since the final book contains some errors. Xlibris released the book in hardcover, paperback, and e-book editions. As for the subsequent experiences with POD, I found that the prices they charged for the hardcover and paperback versions were much higher than those charged by traditional publishers. In today’s book-buying marketplace this is a hindrance to sales. I have also taken advantage of a couple of Xlibris’ marketing campaign offerings. While they were also well done, they did not contribute to CEOs sales. With Xlibris, I retained ownership of my work, which was not the case with some of the other POD organizations of that time.
asap –as soon as possible- was published as an e-book with Amazon’s Kindle Publishing Division for downloading on personal computers,-i-pads, i-pods, Android and Kindle platforms. In this experience, I was fully responsible for cover art, editing, and delivering copy for uploading to their site. The program enabled me to set prices and parameters for sale. And, while I retain ownership of my book, Amazon is the sole seller of the e-book. This time I did avail myself of a professional editor and designer for my cover art. Still, I was new to text formatting and had to upload the document three times to correct things like spacing and color of the text. These changes were facilitated via emails with the Kindle technical group. Another of the responsibilities I have is that I am solely in charge of all marketing efforts to gain visibility for the book. This requires research into the appropriate outlets in the online community.
4. How have you marketed your books?
asap –as soon as possible- went on sale at the beginning of August. My first efforts were to send emails to my personal contacts announcing the book and suggesting that they share the attached announcement with their friends. My next step was to begin to identify and contact women’s websites and introduce the book as one that they might like to share with their readers. I next contacted reviewers of CEO and requested that they review asap
I am in the process of reaching out to new online sources and developing ways to announce the book with a link to Amazon. Having learned those techniques that didn’t work with Xlibris, I have decided to explore contacts on a one-by-one basis. This process proved highly successful during my career in public relations.
When CEO garnered several reviews, I established a blog as a showcase for the book. The blog enables readers to click on the book and link to Amazon. Entitled ‘Savvy Lady’ (http://ceo-author.blogspot.com) recently announced the publication of asap –as soon as possible-. A link to Amazon is located under the photo of the book’s cover.
I have also announced both books to my Facebook and Linkedin contacts.
5. What advice would you give to other authors about self-publishing?
I am finding that new and established authors are availing themselves of self-publishing in order to obtain control over their work. E-books seem to be the easiest entry into the marketplace with downloading to computers, i-pads, i-pods in addition to e-readers. But be prepared to either work with a company to ready your book for publishing or learn to edit, format and design your final manuscript. And don’t forget to copyright it and obtain an ISBN. Unfortunately, all marketing will also be the author’s responsibility. So if you only want to write, then engage a publisher. If you want to continue the journey, then be prepared to learn about production and marketing.
6. Please provide a favorite excerpt from one of your books.
From asap –as soon as possible –
Crowds of people mostly dressed in the New York Fall uniform – a trench coat – rushed by, missing her by a hair’s breadth. Somehow the true New Yorker could dash around the city with blinders on, unaware of anyone else in their path. Stopping in a building doorway just down the block, she pulled out her cell phone. If Brad’s number hadn’t been on autodial she doubted if she would have remembered it. Closing her eyes, she thought back to the early days. What was it Brad had told her about his phone number? Oh yes, now she remembered. He said it was funny that his new phone number spelled Brad MIT. Suzanne hit the button for his pre-coded number and silently prayed that Brad was at home.
“Brad,” she shouted into the phone, hoping she could be heard over the honking horns of a taxi trying to drive through a gridlocked intersection.
“Suzanne? Where are you, the reception is terrible?”
“I’m on 58th street. I have to talk to you. I wasn’t sure if it was safe to call you from the office. I’m on my cell.” Suzanne’s heartbeat was returning to normal. Brad would tell her how to secure their offices. He was the systems security genius. While she was a graduate engineer her responsibilities were to run their business. She was the marketing and operations half of the team. Brad took care of acquiring new technology and working with Secure Homes’ special customers.
Thank you, Patricia! I enjoyed hosting you today! You can find both of Patricia’s books on Amazon.