Friday, July 31, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with MD Moore, Author of 'Waiting for the Cool Kind of Crazy'

Name: MD Moore
Book Title: Waiting for the Cool Kind of Crazy
Genre: Fiction/ Family Saga
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Purchase on Amazon

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
MD: It’s funny, actually.  My first writing forays weren’t even in fiction and weren’t done for me.  At the time, I worked for a guy who had no writing ability whatsoever, but who was responsible for writing professional letters to the medical community.  He asked if I would look over what he wrote and it was terrible.  I gutted it, rewrote it, then gave it back to him.  He was amazed at my writing ability.  I began editing all of his correspondence.  One day, one of my co-workers saw what I was doing, was impressed, and told me I should try my hand at writing.  The idea was intriguing so I took some classes at the local community college on fiction writing, bought some books, and attended local writer’s conferences.  I entered a writing contest and was a top finalist among several hundred entries, giving me validation that I actually could write so I decided to pursue it as a career.  As far as penning this particular book, the subject actually came fairly easily.  I worked in my state’s most acute mental hospital and there were stories all around me; peoples whose lives were so effected by their mental illness that a writer working in that environment couldn’t help but want to tell their stories.  One of my main characters, Cece, is the schizophrenic mother of my protagonist and her character is loosely based on a patient whose family came to visit her nearly every weekend.  As she was the only patient I worked with who was married with children, she intrigued me.  The pain as well as the patience her family showed every week made me want to tell a story about how mental illness touched the life of my protagonist and how it manifested itself in him from his childhood to adulthood.  
Is this your first book?
MD: Yes.  It is the first book I completed though there were a lot of misfires now crammed in drawers.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
MD:  My book was published by a small press, Black Rose Writing.  I went with them because I felt they would be able to nurture my career along better as a first time author than a large, traditional publisher would be able to do with a debut novelist.  I’m not saying that I wouldn’t be willing to work with a large publisher for my next novel when expectations and understanding of the publishing business are better understood, but for my first novel, this was a great way to go and Black Rose has been great to work with. 
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
MD:  This has been every bit as difficult as you hear it will be.  You keep hoping that you are going to be the one who is going to find the best New York agent – hell, I half expected that someone would hear through the grapevine and come calling to get a first peek.  In reality, I had to practically beg my family to take a look (an exaggeration, but
not by much).  At first, I did the agent search – nothing.  Then I edited my book again thinking it might not be as ready as I thought it was.  This actually turned out to be a good idea as the book wasn’t as polished as it needed to be.  In all, I wrote and rewrote this book no fewer than five times over nine years.  I then sent it out again to agents and, hanging in the slush pile with no writing credits to my name or great platform, again I heard crickets.  I finally decided that a small press was going to be my best option so searched through them and found Black Rose who ended up being a great fit.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
MD: There are two lessons I learned well.  First, an author, especially a first time novelist, has to get their manuscript as close to perfect as possible.  This means learning your craft through classes, self-teaching through books, peer review and critique groups to name a few methods.  Then you must write and rewrite and rewrite then rewrite again, then cut out half of what you’ve written and rewrite again.  It’s grueling, but it takes what it takes. I’ve judged writing contests several times and am always amazed at some of the entries where it is clear that the entrant didn’t bother with so much as a spell checker before submission.  This is an extremely competitive business and a first time author has to understand what they are up against to get any one to take notice of their work.  If you don’t work to get your writing in the best condition possible, you’d be better off spending your time on another endeavor because you won’t likely be rewarded in this one. 
The second lesson is perseverance.  If you do work to be the best writer that you can be then you must take that next step and get it out there for others to judge - be it a critic, an agent, an editor, a publisher – someone who can help you take your book to the next level, either personally or professionally.  You won’t likely reach your goal in the first week after completion.  It took me nearly a year of dedicated searching to find the right publisher for my novel, but ultimately it was worth it to finally hold my novel in my hands with a real cover on it, not just a three-ring binder.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
MD: It’s hard to recommend a certain way of publishing to aspiring authors.  This way worked well for me, but for someone else a large, traditional publisher might work great.  A lot of people self-publish successfully.  The small publisher worked well for me and I would recommend it strongly as a generalization, but would have to know the author and what they are trying to publish to offer more personalized advise on how they should publish.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
MD: The first piece of advice I would give would be to really soul search to be sure that this is what you want to do.  This is a hard business to break into so make sure that you are in this for the long haul.  This leads to my second piece of advise and that is, if you do have what it takes and you have a story in you that you have to get out, by God, stick with it and get your story told.  Fight to make it the absolute best it can be then work your tail off to get it to that next level.  You work so hard to write the book, finish the journey and let the world read it, however that has to happen.  The last piece of advice is to listen to people who have done this before, especially successfully.  They have so much to teach and most people who I’ve met in this industry are truly the nicest people and they want to help you.  They generally have really good advice, even if it’s not necessarily the advice you want to hear.   Two quotes from Winston Churchill seem to sum up my advice:  “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen” and  “Never, never, never, never give up.”



Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Gabriel Valjan, Author of the 'Roma' Suspense Series

Book Title: Turning To Stone
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, and Thriller
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: Gabriel Valjan
Is this your first book?
Gabriel: Turning To Stone is Book 4 of the Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing and available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and digital formats.
Some background for readers: Bianca started work as an analyst at a time when legislation against white-collar crimes was lacking in the U.S., so she is recruited for her hacker and pattern-recognition skills. After the initial excitement wears off, she realizes that many of the subjects of her investigations end up dead. Fearing for her life, she flees to Italy, assumes a new identity, and attempts to live a normal life. She falls in love and develops a circle of friends, who happen to do work similar to the kind that she had done in the U.S., but within her adopted country’s law enforcement agency, the Guardia di Finanza. A computer correspondent named Loki contacts her on occasion and feeds her challenges.
Bianca is in Naples for Turning To Stone. Loki, her mysterious contact, is now giving her baffling anagrams. They seem to lead to a charismatic entrepreneur who has a plan to partner with organized crime to manipulate the euro and American dollar. Against a backdrop of gritty streets, financial speculation, and a group of female assassins on motorcycles, Bianca and her friends discover that Naples might just be the most dangerous city in Italy.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Gabriel: Winter Goose Publisher is a small, but growing, indie press in California, with titles in a variety of genres in fiction and poetry. WGP had published Roma Series Book 1: Roma, Underground in 2012 and remains my publisher and supporter.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Gabriel: I started writing in 2008 when I was between jobs. In 2010, I started getting published, with one notable accomplishment: being short-listed for the Fish Prize, a prestigious literary award in Ireland. While I continued to write short stories, winning an award from ZOUCH for a flash fiction piece, I started writing novels. The genesis of the Roma Series was a challenge from a colleague to write a compelling, but flawed, female protagonist.
Alabaster/Bianca came into existence, with Roma, Underground written between September and November of 2010, submitted to Winter Goose Publishing in 2011 and published in 2012. I continued writing novels, three more of which WGP published, and I had anthologies and publishers accept more of my short stories.
I count my blessings that I did not languish for years before I was published. I’m grateful that my publisher has been both gracious and supportive, allowing me a say in editing and cover-art design. Cons, if there are any, have to do with doing my own PR and social media. I’m somewhat introverted and reserved so I had to cultivate an outgoing persona. It is important to remain positive and patient since there are so many authors out there, so many books, and it takes time to develop a readership.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Gabriel: In terms of social media, I follow Kristen Lamb’s 80/20-Rule in that I tweet or discuss what is important to me 80% of the time, and promote myself 20% of the time. I usually don’t do more than three tweets a day, and I never DM or automate messages to folks on Twitter to buy or read my books. I mention writers and other artists I like for good karma. I avoid trolls, as they are best left under bridges unfed. I understand (and accept) that not everybody will like my books, or that readers may not leave reviews, but it is important to remain positive when I feel as if my voice has the range of a kitten’s meow in the wilderness; it’s a big world out there in publishing, but I have four tangible books to hold in my hands and a growing body of blog posts and short stories out there with publishers.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Gabriel: A small press has its up and down sides. The positive side that I have experienced is having a greater say in how my book will appear to readers. In addition to my own editorial process, which includes a proofreader, a cultural editor, since my book involves a foreign culture, and a line-editor, I have two editors at Winter Goose whom I have found to be receptive and congenial. The design process for the book cover has been collaborative. I am not a graphic designer or artist, but I have a grasp of my story and ideas do come to me, and Winter Goose has listened, taking what I say and creating compelling covers for the Roma Series.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Gabriel: Stay positive. Don’t be discouraged. Keep writing and hone your craft such that each story and every novel improves for your loyal readers and the future readers who will discover you.



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Name: R.M.Cartmel
Genre: Mystery/Crime
Publisher: Crime Scene Books
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: I had recently retired from my main job, and the last thing I wanted to happen was for me to go moldy in some corner. I have always played at writing since I was a teenager, so I thought I would give it a go. So waving goodbye to the medical profession, I set off to the part of France I wanted to set my book in in order to go and do some research.
Is this your first book?
Author: No Charlemagne is the second of what is at the very least a trilogy. The first book, The Richebourg Affair was the adventure. Charlemagne is the sequel and the third book is called The Romanée Vintage. I had more or less decided to create the three right at the beginning, with Richebourg set in the spring, Charlemagne set in high summer, and Romanée being set, as the title says, during the vintage. It is a mystery series set in among the wine-making community in Burgundy. Being a fairly avid reader of fiction, I was surprised to be unable to find any fiction set there either in French or in English, and therefore I decided to create some.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: It is a Small Press Publication. And like so much about Richebourg and Charlemagne, I didn’t choose it, it chose me. Richebourg was a fairly stream of consciousness novel, and there were times that I had wandered so far off the point that I had lost the plot altogether. There were times when the plot and the characters and I nearly came to blows. When it finally came together in some sort of coherent form, I then knew, that before I even thought about attempting to get it published, it needed a damn good going over by someone else. It needed editing. The first contact I made with a firm who had best remain nameless, but they advertised on the internet, and I contacted them. Twenty four and a half hours later, the half hour was ear-bending on the telephone, and the person on the other end was telling me all about how he and his firm were going to arrange the film rights for my book, which I had yet to tell him anything about. He was also telling me how much I was going to be paying for the whole thing.
At that point I ended talking to a very old friend on the phone, who told me all about this editor her husband had been in communication with about a project of his own. This sounded more like it. I met Sarah Williams in Woodstock, and she offered to look at the book and see if she could do anything with it. Well over the next 6 months we knocked the thing into shape.
Her next tip was to go to Crimefest in Bristol, and meet all the people who were there. My socks were blown off! There were all those people whose photos I had seen on the back covers of the books that I had read. I also pitched my book to a couple of agents. They both liked the pitch enough to ask to read the whole thing. One of them came back fairly rapidly with a thanks but no thanks response, and the other went very quiet. Meanwhile I started working on Charlemagne, as that part of the season was now happening in Burgundy, and it was that time of year to do the research. I spent most of that summer in Burgundy talking to winemakers and police, and in the autumn I was writing the book.
Meanwhile the agent was still silent. I wasn’t hopeful as there was no reply from my, admittedly very polite e-mails.
By the end of the year the first draft of Charlemagne, which was a much easier book to write, and it too pretty much wrote itself, but behaved considerably better. In due course it reached Sarah.
At this point I went to Monterey CA for its Left Coast Crime festival, and ended up talking to Sue Grafton. She advised me not to sit around waiting for this agent to happen, but to become excited. I also enlisted my editor to try to get a response from the Agent.
We finally got a response saying ‘No’. Fair enough, sad it had taken that long.
Some three months before, Sarah, my editor, had already suggested that she would like to publish Richebourg. She had already worked in publishing for a number of years, and was just in the process of starting up her own publishing house focusing exclusively on crime fiction. She very much wanted my books to be among the first on her list. After some thought, I finally said yes. And she now had two books to hand, with a third on the way. Monterey had produced two other people in the plot. Jeffrey Siger had offered to read Richebourg and see whether he was able to write a blurb, and also I ran into Maryglenn McCombs, a publicist, when someone wandered in off the street brandishing a manuscript. When I turned round and explained to him that that wasn’t quite the way you did it, of course my very English vowels stood out. And she was also given a copy of an early edit of Richebourg on a memory stick.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: We had worked on Richebourg awhile so the next step was the copy editing, and then typesetting, while the maps were drawn and the covers were designed. The covers were designed for all three books at once. At the end of July 2014 Richebourg was on the street. Thereafter I have been at conferences on both sides of the Atlantic, or on one occasion, when I lost my passport over here, so I never got to Killer Nashville last year. I have little idea whether being the ‘missing author from Britain’ helped or hindered my place in the market.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: It takes a very long time and a lot of effort to be discovered. Never consider JK Rowling was an overnight success. I have no illusions that I will write a ‘Bestseller’ but those who have read what I have written tell me that they have liked what I wrote. They like the story, and also the lessons about wine and how Burgundy works that are built into the books.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: It really depends on whether you can survive without advances. I have a reasonable income from my medical pension, and therefore I don’t need money from the book to put food on the table or cover my living expenses. I hope one day for this situation to become more interesting. On the other hand, working with a small publisher, I am in much closer touch with what is going on. Everyone involved in the whole project is someone I have come to know well. I have talked to some authors who have told me that they send an e-mail to their agents about something or other, and a couple of months later that agent gets back to them … That I would find seriously irritating. On the other hand the larger publishing houses have bigger budgets if they do decide to back you.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Firstly, write what you want to write. Then be prepared to let it go. Like a child, a book must be allowed to spread its wings, and the first person must be an editor to see what they can make of it.

Purchase the book on Amazon!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Terry Jackman, Author of 'Ashamet, Desert-Born'

Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Terry: Deciding to write wasn’t a conscious decision; I needed to write, though for a long time I let other things get in the way. Eventually I took the leap – and took a writing course, the idea being to find out if I could write anything actually worth reading. I recall being disappointed when it began with articles rather than fiction, but hey, I followed instructions and wrote three articles – and promptly sold them all. So I became a writer almost despite myself.
I didn’t really ‘decide’ to become an author either. I got trapped into writing articles for another ten years. When I did turn to fiction I soon realized SF and fantasy were where I felt at home, but Ashamet himself stepped into my head, fully formed, when I was feeling cross about a writer who made powerful characters idiots, to make a poor plot work.
Ashamet made it clear from day one; whatever else he might turn out to be, it wouldn’t be stupid.
Is this your first book?
Terry: My debut, yes. It’s very exciting, and very scary waiting to hear how readers react. Especially now we’re being told, so loudly, that we females shouldn’t dare write SF or fantasy at all. While as for muscular warrior heroes who are attracted to… other males? I suspect I’m being modelled in wax somewhere out there J
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Terry: Ashamet is published by an up and coming American publisher specialising in original fantasy. Perfect. I wouldn’t have self-published, not from any elitist attitude but because for me finding out if someone out there loves it enough to bet on it is part of the validation process. Just as being paid for my articles was my proof they were good enough.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Terry: The first publisher I talked to held onto the script for a year. The second said it was “too difficult to market”. Ouch. I knew it wasn’t a familiar concept, but I’d stupidly thought that might be a good thing.
Happily the third was Dragonwell Publishing, who heard about it from a third party and asked to see it and after that it was a ball. I’d heard some harrowing stories about editors and publishers but mine were involved and helpful, and my editor makes me laugh! So far I couldn’t have had more fun.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Terry: Comparing my experience with others, I’ve learned finding the right editor or publisher is very important, sometimes worth thinking twice before signing. Although I think most are genuine. Certainly, judging by the British Scifi community there are a lot of friendly people out there, from publishers to readers. If I don’t know more of them it’s more my fault than theirs; my own diffidence is the biggest barrier. But I have stopped being quite such a coward. If people speak to me I can speak back now.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Terry: I’d say yes, go for it, as long as you find a home for your book that’s as comfortable as mine?
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Terry: obvious bits of commonsense, really. Don’t even think about trying to get published until you’ve:
1: finished the book
2: got informed feedback on it from a pro editor or a suitable critique group. (General fiction groups don’t count for genre. Family and friends don’t count, full stop)
3: done some serious reassessing and rewriting.
Still, while you’re busy with all that at least you can get to know your genre. Read, a lot. Attend conventions, listen to panels, join in. Research how and where you should best submit your script and choose only those who are likely to be interested in exactly what you’ve written. And always, always, follow the guidelines.
I wish anyone setting off down that road luck, because they will need it. And just think, if they are lucky they too could end up shaking in their shoes as they wait to see if people like what they’ve written!



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Lynn Steward, author of 'April Snow'

Name: Lynn Steward
Book Title:  April Snow
Genre:  Literary Fiction/Women's Fiction
Publisher:  Lynn Steward Publishing
Lynn Steward loves to reinvent herself and her journey has taken her not just from New York City to Chicago, but from businesswoman to author. Her career in New York City was spent in New York’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the buying team that developed the woman’s department at Brooks Brothers.  Inspired by an intimate knowledge of the period and extensive research, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies featuring Dana McGarry. A Very Good LifeSteward’s debut novel and first in the series, was published in March 2014.  April Snowvolume two, was just released.
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author:
I always enjoyed business-related writing and thought a non-fiction self-help book, with life-lessons I learned along the way, would be a fun project.  But, as often happens when you put yourself out there, I discovered another path and took it: I developed a TV pilot about New York in the seventies because, as they say “Write what you know” and I know New York. I’m a native of Long Island, and between attending school and working, I spent twenty-two years in Manhattan. I was so overwhelmed with ideas, the TV series expanded to five seasons! Appropriately placed in the New York City of 1975, which was International Women’s Year, the plots in the series intermingle fashion legends, business icons, real events, and untold stories, providing a behind-the-scenes look at inspirational women in the worlds of art, fashion, and business. It is a time and world that I know very well.
After meeting with professionals in the entertainment industry, I realized that the main character, Dana McGarry,  needed more drama and the plots had to be developed, and I felt the best way to do that was to convert the pilot into a novel.  A Very Good Life, inspired by the pilot and first season, was published last year. My new novel, April Snow, is based on season two.
Is this your first book?
Author : No. This is the second novel in a five book series featuring Dana McGarry. A Very Good Life was published last year.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author:  I self-published April Snow, as I did A Very Good Life. I  spent three years researching, developing and writing before volume one was completed,  so by then, I was ready to publish. I knew it could take years to find an agent, and more time to be picked-up by a traditional publisher.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: There were no cons. I did extensive research, and found bloggers tremendously helpful. I also hired a good team: a graphic designer, a formatting company, two editors, a proofreader, and a lawyer to vet the manuscript. The Amazon community was great and responsive, and the whole process went smoothly.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: I am grateful for the opportunity to self-publish, and I appreciate the opportunity to be discovered by a traditional publisher if I am successful on-line. In the meantime, I am happy to be published, selling books, and ready to start book three of a five book series featuring Dana McGarry, who is enjoying a nice following!!
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Yes. Do your homework; all the information you need is on-line. It is a relatively easy process with the right support team.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Write about what you know and enjoy, and keep writing. Don’t worry about elements of style and grammar, that’s why we have editors. The more they edit, the better you’ll get.






Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Liane Brouillette, author of 'Help Your Child to Thrive: Making the Best of a Struggling Public Education System'

Name: Liane Brouillette
Book Title: Help Your Child to Thrive: Making the Best of a Struggling Public Education System
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Parenting, Education
Publisher:  Balboa Press
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Liane: Actually, I am a university professor. This is not my first book. However, I wanted to write a non-academic book that would be both helpful to parents and accessible to the general public. I also wanted it to be enjoyable to read.
Is this your first book?
Liane:  Although this is not my first book, it is my first self-published book. My other books were published by traditional academic publishers.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Liane: After writing two academic books about public schools, I recognized there was a need for a book that would explain these same issues to a broader audience. This book would 1) help parents to understand the problems faced by school-age children and 2) show parents how to support their children in meeting these challenges.
My academic books were full of citations and academic terminology. Written primarily for professionals and graduate students, these books were sold primarily in university bookstores. To reach the general public, I would have to find another route.
The book I had in mind would inspire parents with the confidence to effectively intervene when needed—without having to spend every evening tutoring their child. The focus would be on building resilience, confidence and strong family ties.  For parents to want to spend time reading it, the book also needed to be enjoyable.
To accomplish this, I would have to experiment a bit. So, I chose to self-publish the book. This allowed me to take as long as I wished and to change direction as needed.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Liane: I enjoyed working with State University of New York Press and Lawrence Erlbaum Associates on my first two books. However, such publishers quite reasonably wish to have a detailed roadmap of where an author plans to go with a book. 
The “pro” of going with an established publisher is the expertise of their staff as well as their established marketing network. The “con” is that this publishing route may not fit well if an author is working on work outside the established genres.
The “pro” of self-publishing is the freedom that it allows the author. The “con” is the lack of organizational support, which puts the burden of marketing on the author.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Liane: What I learned was that the publishing industry is fragmented, with each publisher focusing on specific genres. The industry is also under considerable financial pressure due to new technologies. Therefore publishers are reluctant to risk putting resources into a book that does not fit with their business model.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Liane: Yes, if the author is trying to develop an idea in a manner that allows for maximum freedom. However, an author taking this route should understand that there is no guarantee of a financial return. Self-publishing should be seen as a way of expanding your own intellectual horizons and getting an important message out.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Liane: In a world where day-to-day communication can be superficial, writing allows us to get to a deeper level and to thoughtfully engage with important issues. Because of the hustle and bustle of daily life, this sort of communication can be difficult to undertake face-to-face. But we can write when we find the time and inspiration. We can read when we feel motivated to do so. This communication can be vivid and real.

My advice to aspiring authors: Write in a way that feeds your soul and gives you ah-ha moments that you want to share with others. This is where the joy of writing lies.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Joan Schweighardt, author of 'The Accidental Art Thief'

Name: Joan Schweighardt
Book Title: The Accidental Art Thief
Genre: Fiction, with a touch of magical realism
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Find The Accidental Thief on Amazon.
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Joan:  The Accidental Art Thief is actually my fifth novel, so I caught the writing bug quite some time ago. Regarding this book though, years back I misspelled my friend’s email address and my email went to a stranger and we became good friends. I always knew that bit of serendipity was something I would fictionalize one day. It doesn’t have everything to do with the plot of the book, but it is the event at its core.
Is this your first book?
Joan:  My other novels are Island, Homebodies and Virtual Silence, all published by The Permanent Press, and Gudrun’s Tapestry, a historical novel published by Beagle Bay Books. And, I have just finished a new novel, which I hope to have with an agent very soon.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Joan:  We would all be lying if we said that we went with small presses because we preferred small presses with small budgets to top presses with big budgets and connections to TV and other media. But that is not to say the quality of a book is determined by the size of the press. Big presses have their own agenda for choosing books. I know something about this because I was a publisher for a while and I have also done some agenting for various writers. Big presses for the most part want to see numbers. A writer who did super well with sales of a previous book can walk into a big
house and call the shots, no matter how bad the second book is. That’s what book doctors are for. On the other hand, if you’ve had a string of books published and none of them broke out, your doomed, unless you’re willing to change your name and turn your back on your “baggage.” All that said, Twilight Times is a good small press. I’m pleased with how many edits they’re willing to provide and how far they’re willing to go to ensure their writers are happy with their covers, etc.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Joan:  Collectively, my five books have been published by three publishers that range from small to medium. All my publishing experiences have been good.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Joan:  My first novel was published in the mid 90s. Back then if the book didn’t come out in hardcover, there was no way Publishers Weekly or the other trades would consider a review. And if you didn’t get reviewed in the trades, there was no way chains like Barnes and Noble would order your book from your publisher’s distributor. And if you didn’t get into BN…. You get the picture. The top publishers and the top chains and the top trades ran the show. If you couldn’t play by their rules, you didn’t play. Today we have democracy in the book world. Anyone can get published because if you can’t find a publisher or you want more control, you can affordably self publish. You can get books on demand, as you need them. (In the old days it was too expensive to do a print run of less than 3000 books, which could cost as much as $25,000.) And of course now we have e books. The industry is totally changed. The problem now is that there are so many writers out there competing for a piece of the pie, and the pie is shrinking all the time. There’s no good reason to get into this fray unless you are totally addicted to writing.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Joan:  I would recommend that all people who love to write write. It’s good for the head and for the soul too. You might be one of the lucky ones to go to the head of the class.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Joan: Marketing is everything. If you don’t have mega bucks to pay a PR team, learn as much as you can about how to do your own PR. And start your marketing campaign before the book comes out, not after. Books have the shelf life of a house fly.