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Sandra L. Rogers from Zeus publishing.

Sandra L. Rogers is an author and co-owner of Zeus publishing, at the Gold Coast, Australia, which has published some interesting, offbeat books. Zeus produces books for authors for a fee, and it's an interesting option for authors looking to sidestep the otherwise closed doors of publishing. I asked Sandra L. Rogers about Zeus, and some of her own writing and reading.

The world of publishing can be a pretty closed shop to most authors. Even if you’re the greatest writer in the world, you can face all sorts of obstacles to getting a book published.
That’s why some authors are sidestepping the traditional publishing world, putting their money where their mouth is and getting people to produce their books for them for a fee. Zeus has produced a lot of interesting books like these over the years; including many first-time authors.

Sandra L. Rogers is co-owner of Zeus on the Gold Coast, Australia, and the author of the novel It Begins But Never Ends. Zeus started in 1997 as the first ebook publisher in Australia. “It was promising for a while but not financially viable. Four years later we changed to traditional paper books and we haven’t looked back since.”

READERSVOICE.COM: I was wondering what sorts of books you like to read these days, whether fiction or non-fiction or anything else, and could you recommend a few titles and maybe say a bit about why you liked them.

SANDRA L. ROGERS: I love nothing better than to curl up with a good book. Unfortunately these days I’m always so busy it’s impossible to find the time.

When you work in publishing it seems one is forever reading.

I do like action thrillers and over Xmas I read Witch Doctor’s Vengeance by Andy Semple – a political thriller set in Canberra and Queensland.

I also like some non-fiction and New Age books.

RV: Can you talk about how you constructed your novel, It Begins but Never Ends, back in the early 1990s. Can you offer some tips for writing a large work like this?

SR: I believe many first-time authors take parts of their own life experiences when they attempt their first book. I did this, though I did get carried away with my vivid imagination in some of the story.

At the time I started we didn’t have a computer so I wrote the whole novel in longhand. It took me about six months; I wrote six days a week.

Later when we had a computer my husband (who is a fast typist) typed it out. What a job that was!

In constructing the story I wrote notes, ideas, characters. I took parts of my life that I believed were exciting or crazy (like when I lived in Greece) and wove them into my spiritual beliefs on life and love.

I developed the characters I wanted; the antagonist, protagonist, love interest, other characters, the story arc, sub-plots and main plot etc. Then separated everything into chapter form, and more or less went from there.

Tips for writing a large work: Do your research and planning. You need to be disciplined and set aside at least five to six hours a day, maybe 30 hours a week. If you work full-time it’s difficult.

When I wrote I didn’t work; my husband worked and I stayed home: good planning I say! Financially it’s hard, but if you only write now and then it will take 10 years to do it.

RV: How did you end up working in Greece and how did this affect the content of your novel?

SR: How did I end up working in Greece? Well that’s a long story. A lot of the answer is in It Begins But Never Ends.

Living and working in Santorini was the greatest life experience: every human emotion becomes ten-fold. Read the book, most of it actually happened. Santorini was the inspiration, the reason for my novel.

I actually sat on a rock at the end of the Old Port a few days before we left. I looked at a seagull and the sunset then wrote some ideas on a scrap of paper. That’s where it began.

RV: Do you read a lot of trade publications about publishing? If so, which ones, or how do you keep tabs on the publishing industry?

SR: We are a member of the Australian Publishers Association and read their trade magazine The Book Seller & Publisher. We also read and advertise sometimes in Good Reading.

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-copyright Simon Sandall.