a) Money – we would all love to be a best seller and have fame and fortune like the ‘big’ names, such as Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and the like. However, we need to be realistic – firstly can we manage to get a publishing contract with a big publishing house? How many years are you willing to wait for that? If you use the self-publishing route how much of your time (unpaid) can you sacrifice for promotion? Should you give your work away?
These links will give you an idea of the practicalities of writing with monetary visions foremost:
b) Success – once again we should temper our expectations. Global sales are a dream we want to make real but maybe measure our success on more of a local level. Do you have your books in local bookstores, the library, offered at local events? The more you attend and promote within your own locality the more your ‘success’ becomes tangible. Articles in the local newspaper could have people approach or question you in regard to your being an author. Social media allows us to expand our locality, of course, but starting small will give us a firm basis from which to start. Never under estimate the power of word of mouth for promotion.
c) Satisfaction – Although this is third on the list, I feel it is the most important of all, as having your words, ideas and stories readily available for people to read now and for future generations, is the penultimate success. Our narratives will be enjoyed and relayed long after we are gone. It is our legacy.
Authors and their books – Great reading suggestions!
What is your latest release and what genre is it?The Rython Kingdom – adult fantasy
Quick description: Set in medieval England a travelling troubdour is the unwitting pawn in an vengeful witch’s plan to escape her confinement and kill the king.
A Canadian resident, Mandy Eve-Barnett has a wealth of experiences to draw from for her writing. She has lived in South Africa, England and Canada and the uniqueness of each continent left its essence within her. An avid reader her whole life, it wasn’t until she joined a local writing group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, that the writing ‘bug’ gripped her. Now Mandy writes with an all-encompassing passion and is deeply involved with the foundation and its members. Writing in various genres, Mandy has been published in anthologies, on numerous web sites and in the local newspaper as well as regularly blogging about her writing journey. She has successfully completed three National Novel Writing Month challenges in 2009, 2010 and 2012 with the subsequent volume of work resulting in three novels. September 2011 saw the launch of her first children’s book, Rumble’s First Scare, and August 2012 her adult fantasy e-book, The Rython Kingdom was released on Smashwords, Amazon.ca & Amazon.co.uk., and is now available through Create Space as a print version. Currently, she is editing a magical/fantasy children’s book, Ockleberries to the Rescue and has completed a collaboration for a ‘how to’ write your memoir workbook, Your Lifetime of Stories.
My own experience has been good and I count myself fortunate on having found Dream Write Publishing ( http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/) to publish my novels. This company has published a couple of novels of authors who were unfortunately, the victims of scams. Their money is lost and there is no recourse unless they want to spend even more money pursuing these fly by night companies through the courts, with no guarantee they will be successful. Many of the scamming sites change their name or dissolve to appear elsewhere on a regular basis. They use these loop holes to avoid detection and prosecution.
It is understandable to get wrapped up in the excitement of getting your first work published but please take the time to do thorough research and find independent reviews on the companies you are viewing before committing yourself to paying any money.
Circumvent – definition: to avoid by artfulness or deception; avoid by anticipating or outwitting
The argument of choosing traditional publishing versus self publishing continues to be discussed at length on many social media sites. The option to release your novel into the world without waiting months or even years for a traditional publishing house to pick it up, has revolutionized the authoring world and our options within it. There are still pitfalls as well as concerns about the quality with self published works, but on the whole it is seen as a great opportunity by many struggling authors.
A twist in the tale is now emerging, where self published authors are being approached by the traditional houses – some accept, some do not. Again there are advantages and disadvantages – drastic reduction in royalties, publicity coverage, cover design, prestigious outlets, contractual restrictions or conditions.
Even some famous authors utilized the self publishing route, it is not a ‘new’ concept by any means.
Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
John Grisham, A Time to Kill
L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics
Irma Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box
Jack Canfield and Mark Hensen,Chicken Soup for the Soul
James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy
Beatrix Potter, creator of the Peter Rabbit Classic Series.
Today’s indie authors have the added advantage of using technology to realize their publishing dreams and at a greatly reduced cost. There are numerous sites advertising publishing options and this is where care needs to be taken. Research each one thoroughly and get personal recommendations from other authors, not from the website! Unfortunately, some sites are preying on inexperienced authors and charging a great deal of money for ‘services’. Always check http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/ they have a list that is constantly updated of sites to avoid.
How do you view self publishing?
What do you feel are the advantages for traditional versus self-publishing?
Amicable – definition : characterized by or showing goodwill : friendly.
Today’s word certainly describes my next interviewee, C.S. Lakin. One look at her web site will show you how generous she is with her experience and support for other authors and struggling writers. Susanne is also a prolific author in several genres.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer and why?
I’m sure most authors say this, but I’ve written since I could hold a crayon. I even “published” a neighborhood magazine back when I was about eight called “The Stone Canyon Gazette.” It was in those ancient prehistoric days before copy machines and electric typewriters. I organized a handful of neighbor kids and we hand wrote ten copies of each issue on construction paper, including drawing the same drawings ten times. We charged ten cents. The mothers complained I had too many entries in the magazine and didn’t feature the other kids enough. Already hogging the limelight! After that I helped my mother with her scripts, collating and offering ideas. I got my first rejection letter at age twelve from the producer of Woman from Uncle regarding my script idea. (I was raised in the TV industry.)
Who is your favorite author and why?
Patricia A. McKillip is my favorite author. She is an amazing fantasy writer and is a master at wordsmithing. I try to write as well and as beautifully as she does but I’m sure I fail miserably. When you read her fairy tales, you feel shifted into a different dimension of time and space. I like a lot of writers, but not any as much as her.
What has been your greatest moment as a writer?
I actually had a most exciting experience that few ever had—my book was a finalist in a big contest—the Zondervan First Novel contest at Mount Hermon in 2009. I knew I was one of three finalists, but only learned I had won when my name and book were announced in front of an audience of 400. It was very thrilling. Although Someone to Blame won, it was not the first novel I’d written. In fact, it was my sixth. Shortly after that, I contracted with AMG Publishers for my fantasy series, the first three books I’d already completed. I’m hoping there will be many more to come!
What genre do you read and why?
I’m very picky. I’d make a terrible book reviewer as I tear things apart. Being a professional copy editor and writing coach makes it hard for me not to want to redline all the books I read. And I find mistakes in almost all books, even highly acclaimed releases. I mostly read NY Times best sellers, to study what makes them popular (since that’s what I’m aiming for with all my commercial mysteries). I also read a lot of literary fiction, international authors, classics. I don’t read Romance in any form—not my thing. Otherwise I like anything from historical (not romance) to sci-fi to westerns. I’m a big fan of Walter Moers (who draws really hilarious pictures in his books), and I’d say my favorite books I read in the last year are The Art of Racing in the Rain (Stein), The City of Dreaming Books (Moers), The Thirteenth Tale (Setterfield), This Body of Death (Elizabeth George) and The Shadow of the Wind (Zafon).
What genre do you like to write in and why?
I mostly write fantasy/sci-fi and intense psychological suspense. I suppose both genres bleed a bit into each other, since my fantasy plots always contain mysteries and intense relationships, and my contemporary suspense novels often use evocative language and metaphor. I think my leaning toward literary fiction and poetry seeps into everything I write.
What do you want readers to know about your newest book?
Conundrum is 95% autobiographical. I didn’t really want to write it, but I felt compelled to explore my father’s mysterious death as well as deal with my mother’s cruel betrayal of my family. I felt it important to show that sometimes survival depends upon cutting out family members who are toxic and intent on destroying you, and that it’s the healthy thing to do. I also wanted to show a person cannot just survive but thrive by doing so, however painful. So many people tolerate family members in their lives who are like a cancer, and they feel guilty thinking about separating from them. I wanted this to be a very life-affirming story, and a heartfelt journey about a young woman trying to understand the father she never knew. In the process I felt I got to know my father a bit (he died when I was four) and as my character journeyed, so did I.
What has been your greatest challenge as an Independent Author?
I think handling over twenty years of rejections and frustration over not getting published. Not really a writing problem. I had agents that loved my writing; they just couldn’t sell my novels. As far as the craft of writing goes, I always have minor roadblocks in trying to hone the craft and push myself to be a better writer. Mostly what has helped me is prayer and waiting on God. For example, I’m working on plotting book #11, intended for Harm, a modern-day story of Jacob in a dysfunctional family. Yet, as much as I want to start digging in and writing the book, there are some key elements missing to the themes and I know God is working with me on this. I’m waiting for him to help me finalize the last bits and get that aha moment of the pieces all fitting together. Like all my books, I know there is a reason I’m meant to write it and a message it means to impart. I could just start writing, but I send his hand holding me back. Wait, he says. Not ready yet. I am thinking there is something I’m going to see, some revelation, that is going to smack me in the face and then I’ll have my green light. Writing as a believer is way different than writing when in the world. It’s all about God and what he wants out there. We want to produce much fruit, but Jesus also says without me you can do nothing. Zilch.
How do you come up with your titles? Do you have your title first or the story first?
Most of the time I already have a title in mind, since I start with a basic plot idea and theme. Often I just have the title, and that inspires the entire book, as was the case with Conundrum, Someone to Blame, and Intended for Harm (which comes from the Bible: Genesis 50:20).