With children African, English and American, and myself born and raised in a country of five names, I consider myself… a citizen of the world.
My wife and four children think of me simply as a thorny old man – and thus my symbol…
One of the most influential people in my life was my Godfather. A man of absolute integrity, remarkable intellect, and fine character. He taught me tolerance, and intolerance, together. He showed me that every conflict has are two sides, if not more. It was thanks to time spent with him that I developed a guiding principle in my life, namely that the most fundamental sign of intelligence is the ability to change one’s mind. It is to honor him that I use his name as my pseudonym, yet I know my efforts fall far short of what he deserved.
In my memory, C.G.Ayling lives forever. Is that not as close as any man can come to immortality?
Visit his website at www.cgayling.com/malmaxa.
Welcome to Beyond the Books C.G.Ayling! Can you start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
I’ve published multiple works, including two full-length novels, several short stories, and dozens of technical manuals and articles dating back almost thirty years – the technical works were written under my real name, not my pseudonym. In addition, I’m actively working on three new titles, along with the third novel in my Malmaxa series, which is title Vengeance Cost.
When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published, or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
From a novel perspective, I tried the mainstream route, contacting dozens of agents and at least ten different publishing houses. My efforts showed me that Catch-22 is alive and well – traditional publishers don’t want to deal with authors without agents, and agents don’t want to deal with authors who aren’t published. I investigated small press publishers, however their submission criteria are highly restrictive and my particular genre had virtually no chance of placement. I would never consider a vanity press – for me, the conceit needed to pay someone to print your work, so you can claim you’re published, is hard to imagine. The only remaining option was self-publishing – which is technically taxing, though extremely satisfying if you follow through completely.
How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
For printed copies of my work, I use a company called CreateSpace. Not only is there is no contract, but there is no cost to the author – provided you submit print ready material already formatted to their stringent specifications. Once I clicked the final “submit” button in CreateSpace’s online submission, I think it took about three days before customers could actually purchase physical copies. CreateSpace uses a “print on demand” model, which means copies are only printed when orders for the book are placed.
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
The feeling of holding my first “proof” copy of my novel “Malmaxa I – Beltamar’s War”… I’m a writer, so I wouldn’t dream of describing it as indescribable, but it came awfully close. In many ways it felt as it did when I held our first child – here, in my very hands was something wrought from my soul, torn from my heart, and as near to a physical part of me, as anything could be. Take a pinch of philosophy, add a dash of anticipation, simmer in a troubled soul over a heated heart, for years – the result grants rare satisfaction.
What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?
Pretty much nothing. I labored under the misguided belief my audience would find me – though I’d still like that to happen, reality assures me it won’t, and thus my Blog Tour, of which this is a stop!
Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
Even though I’m past middle aged, perhaps it has matured me. I’m realizing that some clichés really do have more than face value. For example the one that goes, “If you’re doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Then the skeptic in me kicks in, and responds, “What about the work you have to do, to pay for the time to spend doing what you love…” Though I’m as filled with contradiction as ever, I’m struggling to pay the dues the writers’ club demands – time will tell if I succeed.
What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
The thing that surprises me most, is how it has managed to last as long as it has. We live in a changing world, the publishing industry needs to change with it. Instead, it has dragged far behind the curve, and still tries to do business the same old way – even after the failure of dozens of publishing houses, ranging in size from small to massive. It seems that in the publishing industry, there is no such thing as too big to fail. Many years ago, one of my older brothers told me, “A sure way to fail in business, is to gain an increasing share of a decreasing market.” Only recently did I finally understand what he meant. Sadly, the traditional publishing industry is the perfect illustration of his argument. The big publishing houses are consuming the smaller, even while the industry sees horrific returns, and rapidly dwindling sales. Unless it radically changes its diet, an animal that eats itself isn’t going to last long.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
Within each of us are tales begging to be told – few consider telling them, of the few that do, still fewer begin, and even less finish. In itself, each step on the path to publishing is an accomplishment, with the most difficult hurdles to overcome being those of self-doubt. Even with the widespread acceptance of self-publishing, and its relative ease, releasing your work into an insanely competitive and often caustic market is a daunting achievement. What is the most rewarding thing? For me, it’s the satisfaction of knowing I created this amazing thing with such a simple name – a book.
Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Dreams, are the things that make life bearable – never trade them away.