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Interview with Kim Smith, Author of Avenging Angel: A Shannon Wallace Mystery

avenging-angelKim Smith was born in Memphis Tennessee, the youngest of four children. After a short stint in a Northwest Mississippi junior college, during the era of John Grisham’s rise as a lawyer, she gave up educational pursuits to marry and begin family life.

She has worked in many fields in her life, from fast food waitress to telephone sales. “I always got the seniors on the phone who were lonely and wanted someone to talk to. My boss couldn’t understand why in the world I spent so much time talking to them and not enough time selling. That was when I realized I love people and care deeply about their lives.”

After the birth of her two children, she gave up working outside the home for the more important domestic duties of wife and mother. When her kids decided they wanted to pursue theater as an extracurricular activity, she gave up her free time to drive them to rehearsals, training classes, and plays. During those years, she found herself bored with nothing to do to while away the hours stuck in a car. She began thinking of stories to entertain herself and pass the time. Before long she started telling her husband about her stories and he assured her she could write a book if she really wanted to. She put the idea away once she landed a job as a network administrator for a small corporation, and together the Smith’s started their own video production company.

Writing was a dream, hidden but not forgotten, and soon Kim began to talk again of trying her hand at it. She played with words, and wrote several poems, one of which was picked up for an anthology

One day in the early nineties her husband came home with a desktop computer and sat her in front of it. “Now you have no more excuses,” he said, and she realized the truth in his words. Procrastination, now no longer an option, she took off on the pursuit of penning her first book. Though that book, a young adult fantasy, was lost due to unforeseen circumstances, she kept going, writing a historical romance, and another YA.

When she decided to try out her hand at mystery writing, she discovered her true love and niche in the writing journey. She has since had four short stories, and her first mystery novel accepted for publication.

Kim is a member of Sisters in Crime, and EPIC. She still lives in the Mid South region of the United States and is currently working on her second book in the mystery series.

You can visit her website at www.mkimsmith.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kim. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

Avenging Angel, a Shannon Wallace Mystery is my first published book, but not my first book per se. I have written three other books, although I decided to keep working on them rather than seek publication.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

The Realm, my very first book, was never published as it was not publish-worthy. I do not even have a copy of it anymore, and that is probably a good thing as my writing has improved dramatically since then.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

More than ten, maybe less than twenty, and all from agents. When I gave up trying to get an agent, and began submitting to small publishers (who accept submissions direct from the author) I was accepted straight away.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Initially, the rejections stung a bit. I was not mature enough to know that they were not rejecting my writing, but the book instead. I believe that if I were to seek an agent today, rejections would not bother me at all.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Avenging Angel was published by Red Rose Publishing, and I chose them upon a recommendation by someone who works for them. I have never regretted taking their advice.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I have to tell you, it felt wonderful. I kept going back to the buy page just to look at the way MY work looked to the public. I went out to dinner and celebrated with good food, good friends, and dessert.

What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I didn’t wait until my book came out to begin promoting. I think that is something that a lot of folks do that is a bad idea. I set up my website, streamlined my blog, and began joining every social networking sites I could. I belong to 35 yahoo groups, and seventeen other groups like Facebook, Myspace, and Gather.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

Yes, my journey was a little different with this book than most authors have to travel. I actually pulled this book from my very first choice publisher and took it to Red Rose Publishing. I would advise authors to investigate your publisher thoroughly.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

Yes, I have had the next book in the Shannon Wallace series accepted, titled Buried Angel, as well as a novella, A Will to Love, and a short story, Love Waltzes. I believe that I understand the writing process and the publication phase of the writing process better now and that has “grown” me as an author. I would tell aspiring authors to be sure and remember that there is nothing you write that doesn’t need rewriting.

What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I wasn’t really devoted to getting an agent, and so I spent a lot more time researching them and waiting on them to tell me that they didn’t want my book than actually trying to get published. I would not do that again. I believe that your work will find a home if you are devoted to sending it out.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

Avenging Angel made it to the publisher’s number six spot on the bestseller list, and that was a big deal to me. I would love for the cover to win and award, or for it to final in a contest.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I do have another profession, in fact I have two. I am a network administrator for a small remanufacturing company and I am a professional videographer/ photographer.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I could never give up writing, no matter what happened. I have tried, and it wouldn’t let me alone. So in answer, I believe that I have accepted that writing is not something that I do, it is instead, a part of who I am.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Old. Old as dirt, in fact, but wiser, a whole lot wiser. I will have a LOT of work out there for my readers and fans, and I hope in ten years they love me even more.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Keep going. There is nothing stopping you from being published, but you. It’s like I tell some of my brides(as a videographer)- if you can’t wait to find a place to get married, go see a JP. You are still just as married. If you are unsuccessful at finding an agent, or a NY publisher, try a small press, go the ebook route. You are still just as published.

Interview with Marvin D. Wilson, author of Between the Storm and the Rainbow

Marvin D. Wilson is a published author who has been awarded the prestigious AVATAR award for excellence in spiritual books. Wilson has had articles published in several Ezines, and has been interviewed on hundreds of blogs, radio and TV shows, both over the internet and on the airwaves. Marvin is a prolific blogger/essayist. He maintains his internationally acclaimed award-winning blog at Free Spirit, and also his other very popular “Old Hippie” blog. Free Spirit was awarded first place in the 2008 Book Blogger Appreciation Week award contest, in the Christian/Inspirational Fiction category.

marvin-wilsonWilson is a family man, married for thirty three years, with three adult children and six grandchildren. He has been around the block of life several times, through the ups and downs, and has survived in good enough spirits to desire to write about life, to write about living life on purpose. Wilson is a self-described “non-religious,
dogma-free, Maverick spiritualist Christian.” He writes books that deliver spiritual and inspirational messages in an engaging, thought provoking, often times humorous, more than often irreverent, sometimes sexy and even ribald way, through the spinning of an entertaining tale.

Marvin D Wilson is an editor with All Things That Matter Press and also does freelance editing.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Marvin. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the titles of your books?

Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure. Well, if three counts as multiple, then I would say I’m a “multi” published author (smile). My published books so far are, I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie), Owen Fiddler, and the just released Between the Storm and the Rainbow.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

I wrote a book length manuscript nearly a decade ago. It was titled, “My Daughter the Muslim.” I never had it published because, while it did have some good chapters and writing in it, and even though friends and family and even a couple “trusted” critical readers said it was worthy of publication, I just didn’t feel it was good enough to be my first book. With what I’ve learned over the past several years about excellence in the art of professional writing, I may go back one day, dust it off and see if I can’t turn it into a book that has enough literary merit to warrant publication.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I could write a whole book on this subject. I have written a lengthy article about the arduous road to obtaining that elusive first publication, the different routes available and the pros and cons of each.

My first book, I Romanced the Stone, is a memoir, the story of how I overcame a deadly narcotics addiction that had ruined my life in my mid-fifties, through a profound spiritual experience. Due to its unusual combination of Christian salvation themes and the vivid depictions of scenes in the crime and drug-infested streets of inner city America, it was rejected by all the “traditional” pubs. The Christian pubs considered it too graphic and worldly, and the secular pubs thought it to be too “religious.” Go figure. The book is not religious at all, it is a tell-it-like-it-is truth telling. But anyway, I eventually gave up on getting a contract with the big boys and started submitting the manuscript to smaller, quality POD’s – the ones that only print books that have gone through an evaluation process by their staff and been deemed fit for their standards. I finally got an affordable deal with a fine outfit. This whole process took nearly a year.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

They motivated me. I kept all the rejection letters and emails from pub houses and agents and still have them in a hard copy file cabinet. I used to pull them out occasionally and re-read them just to get fired up and try harder. I would prove them all wrong!

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

I went with Global Authors Publications. My manuscript had been approved by three “selective” POD’s by then, and I felt that the quality of their books, the level of scrutiny they put a new author through, combined with their fees-to-royalties-paid ratio was the best deal on the table for me.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It was like seeing and holding your first born child. Exquisite joy, I was ecstatic. I took the wife out for dinner to one of those gourmet restaurants that are definitely not in the normal budget.

What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I started promoting months before the publication release date. I joined writers and readers Yahoo groups, and other online groups like Goodreads and Shelfari. I networked and interacted with other authors, read and learned everything I could. I prepared media releases. I created a marketing plan. I lined up radio, TV and blog interviews in advance, created a website about the book, started cross-linking and inter-linking it, and marketing it as best I could. Once the book was out I put my marketing plan into full swing. I had personal speaking engagements lined up, a couple local book signings, I did the shows and interviews online and on the airwaves, made online announcements about the book’s release to all my groups, e-blasted the news to all my email contacts, every possible tool at my disposal I used to its fullest capacity.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

Only if I could have gotten a contract with a large mainstream traditional publishing house. And even then maybe not. I’ve heard horror stories about novice authors getting taken on by the bigs. Often they will edit the book (you have to give them this right in many cases before they will agree to “take a chance” on you) to the point where they feel it will sell better to their readers but you scarcely recognize it as your book anymore. You give up a great deal of say in the finished product.

For most aspiring first-time authors, especially if you are an “unknown,” I recommend going with a good quality POD or a small traditional press. The exception would be if you are already a household name, someone who is popular because of some previous notoriety, or perhaps if you have an inside connection – like your relative or friend is a decision maker with a big pub house or literary agency. Aside from those situations and the one-in-a-million perfect Cinderella story opportunity, the POD and the smaller traditional pubs that give greater control to the author are the best choices.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

Well yes, as I said previously, I have since had two more books published. The second book, Owen Fiddler, was published with Cambridge Books. They are a small traditional pub, one of the new breed of “cross-over” presses that offers contracts for the rights to publish your book, but they also print on demand. I even got a small (okay I admit, it was “tiny”) advance! Woo Hoo! They don’t have the budget to print up tens of thousands of books and then hope that they all sell. This, by the way, is I believe the wave of the future. If you read the news articles in the literary world, even the bigs are moving away from huge advances to the author and the automatic printing of masses of hard copy books. Ebooks and advance orders for print books are part of the new “green” movement. I submitted my manuscript to Cambridge Books under the recommendation of an author friend who had used them before. I was elated when they voted to take my book on. They are very selective. They have to be because again, they are small and have only so many resources of staff and time. And they have to make sure the books they choose will turn out to be profitable for them, since they take on all the costs of production.

My third and latest book, Between the Storm and the Rainbow, was published by another fine quality POD, All Things That Matter Press. Another “cross-over” pub house, they are “traditional” in that they do not charge the authors fees to print the books they choose to publish, but they are very selective. They actually contacted me and requested a submission from me. How cool is that?

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I would have done more homework on which agencies and publishing houses I submit to. I also would have studied how best to write an effective query letter before starting to send them out. Each pub house and literary agency has different preferences with regard to what format they want queries and submissions to come in. They also will let you know on their websites what genres they are looking for and whether or not they are even accepting any new submissions at all – especially from first-time authors. I highly recommend going to http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/ for extremely valuable information when putting your submissions plan together. An informed, skilled and targeted submissions process is the most effective in terms of energy and time spent procuring a contract for your book.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I always wanted to be an NBA All Star. But as an aging short white guy with no shot left who can’t jump and is getting slower every year, I’ve had to give up on my dream – ha! Seriously, my first love was music. I was a Hippie rock and roll musician back in the late 60’s, and all through the 70’s and wanted to make it as a big name rock star, helping to change the world with original message music. But that career never made the big bucks or the cover of the Rolling Stone, so I went into business. Had to. I had gotten married and had a kid on the way. Everybody has to grow up some time. So I raised a family, and now in my golden years I feel writing is my calling. And it’s starting to work out for me.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

Not anymore, I don’t have the kind of youthful energy required for touring and playing a rigorous schedule of concerts, doing the clubs, all that. I still play my guitar, and I write and record music. Not professionally, but for personal enjoyment. I have a CD produced that I sell, but only on a small scale, it’s mostly for fun and diversion. So while I do not have the best of both worlds, I do derive satisfaction from both of my main loves, music and writing.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

That would be becoming a fairly well known and followed blogger essayist. I started blogging seriously in the summer of 2008. I post every day on Free Spirit and at least twice weekly on Tie Dyed Tirades. I’ve won an international blog popularity contest, a boat load of awards, and have a globally growing following of readers now. Free Spirit is read by people from nearly 70 countries last I checked the stats. Now when I publish a new book I automatically have a readership that likes my writing and it’s much easier to get a new publication paid attention to, talked about, and bought.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

I want to be known as a best-selling novelist and an author who creates positive, peace engendering effects on people, our society and planet through my spiritual/inspirational writing.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Never give up. No matter how many times you feel knocked down, get back up and try harder. Take criticism seriously, look at it with an open mind, and if it has merit, do the work to correct your errors and try again. But don’t let criticism and rejection affect you personally. Like any other art, practice makes perfect. Be a student of your craft. Work at it every day. Study, write, read other authors all the time, study, write, and never give up.

Interview with Brian L. Doe, Author of The Grace Note

Brian L. Doe was born in Ogdensburg, New York, and grew up on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. From a young age, he recognized his passion for the written word and committed himself to the pursuit of writing. He is currently an English teacher in Upstate New York where he lives with his wife and children. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in writing from St. Lawrence University, and a Master’s Degree in secondary education from the State University of New York at Potsdam College.

Mr. Doe is also an amateur violinist who works with John R. Lindsey, concertmaster of the Orchestra of Northern New York, at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York. He has been associated with the musical world in a number of capacities for years and has been involved in public performances ranging from concert presentations to musicals.

Brian L. Doe’s first novel, Barley and Gold, was published in 2001 and again in 2008. In addition, he is co-author of the trilogy, Waking God, with Philip Harris. His newest release, The Grace Note, was published in November 2008 by All Things That Matter Press.
More about the author, his writing, and music can be found at his official website, www.inkslingernotes.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Brian. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

I am a multi-published author. My first book, Barley & Gold was published in 2001 and again in 2008. I am also co-author of the Waking God Trilogy with Philip Harris. My newest book, The Grace Note, was published in November of 2008.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

The title of my very first book was Barley & Gold. I began writing it as a freshman in college while working at the university library. A song on the radio gave me an idea, and I wrote the last chapter first. Over the course of the next ten years, I finally finished the manuscript.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I was rejected by 38 agencies alone before one agency decided to represent me. With representation, I was then rejected by every major publisher that the work was presented to.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Although I was continually assured by my agent that the rejections did not mean that my writing was worthless, it still stung me a little each time. I did have the opportunity to read what many of the major publishing houses had to say about my work, and it was not all bad. Perhaps the worse phrase to read or hear again and again when trying to get published is that your book “just isn’t right for us at this time.” I eventually came to realize, however, that my writing was worth reading, and that I’d either be published or I wouldn’t. It’s all about confidence.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

iUniverse first published Barley & Gold, and at the time, it only cost $199.00. They were the first in their field to really market themselves as a POD publisher, and I wasn’t quite sure what it all meant. But I felt so strongly about my story, that I was determined to see it in print. After all, I believe even Laura Ingalls Wilder paid to have her work published in the beginning.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Seeing my writing in print was amazing and made me feel like I’d accomplished something. I didn’t really celebrate the event, though. I was surrounded by people whom I felt didn’t see the value of such a venture, and even then, others grumbled at the fact that I’d paid to have it published.

What was the first thing you did as a promotion when you were published for the first time?

I was interviewed by the local newspaper that ran a story about a local teacher being a published author. It garnered some response, but sales of the book were never high.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

I don’t know if I would have any new options if I had to do it all over again at that time. Now, however, there many options for authors that don’t cost a cent. One of the newest movements in the publishing world is the independent publishing house. Piers Anthony, the New York Times bestselling author, even champions independent publishing houses. They tend to be smaller and more personal. My current publisher, for instance, is an independent, and my contract with them is more like a friendship than a business arrangement. The large publishing houses seem to be on the road to extinction.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I have been published twice since then, and soon to be three times when the next installment of the Waking God Trilogy comes out in a few weeks. The Grace Note, I believe, shows a tremendous amount of maturity on my part. I was 19 when I started my first book and 36 when I wrote The Grace Note. My writing is cleaner and more direct now.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I often wonder if I could have done anything differently. Back then, and in many ways now, agent representation and publisher marketing was a laborious and tedious process. The book industry is so overrun with poor writing (a problem agents and publishers themselves have created over the last decade) that moving from manuscript to printed novel involves many months of time and energy. And even if a large publisher picks up your work, it will take another 18 months to get it into print.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

I can Google myself and get pages of results. It’s overwhelming to realize how much of a presence you can make on the Internet just by being involved in the marketing and promotion of your work.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A professional violinist. I would have started playing much earlier than I did, and I would have wanted to play at Lincoln Center.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

That’s an interesting question, because my new book, The Grace Note, does just that. It is about a professional violinist who, after a tragedy strikes him, becomes disillusioned with his craft. In writing the book, I was able to combine both worlds.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully on the New York Times Bestseller List, or maybe having one of my books played out on the silver screen. I’ll take either.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t give up. Ever. Rejections are only jabs to a writer’s ego, and no indication of whether he can write. The world will decide if you’ve got a story worth telling. And in the end, if your writing is no good, those closest to you will let you know. But we must keep writing; we are the historians of our day.

Interview with Abe F. March, author of The Plotted Against America

Abe F. March is an international business consultant and author, living near Landau, Germany with his wife Gisela. An active retiree, he enjoys hiking and exploring the local vineyards and can also be heard singing with a regional men’s choir. Mr. March’s career has taken him around the world to work in many areas from his birthplace in the USA to Canada, Europe and the Middle East.
His first book, To Beirut and Back – An American in the Middle East was published in 2006, and is a memoir of his adventures that took him to Lebanon in the 1970s. Mr. March grew up in York County, Pennsylvania on the family farm, and he served in the USAF from 1957-61. His business career got underway with the computing sciences division of IBM’s service bureau where he held positions as manager of administration and operations analyst. He later joined an international cosmetic company where he rapidly achieved top distributor status and was promoted to vice president of sales development and product market management, an opportunity which took throughout the USA and into Canada, Greece and Germany.

With international experience and an entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. March started his own importing business headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, for the distribution of cosmetics and toiletries to the Middle East markets. With an ease about him and a talent for developing business relationships, he also functioned as a locator of goods and services sought by Mid-Eastern clients before the civil war in Lebanon destroyed his successful business enterprise. Mr. March returned to the United States to start over, and was soon working on an international level once again. His subsequent work involved Swan Technologies, Inc., a personal computer manufacturer in West Germany, and back to the US to work with Stork NV, supporting a fleet of 1200 Fokker Aircraft.

He officially retired in 2001, and has since completed his second book, They Plotted Revenge Against America, published in February 2009.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Abe. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published?

I now have two books published.

Can you give us the titles of your books?

“To Beirut and Back – An American in the Middle East,” and most recently, “They Plotted Revenge Against America.”

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

The title of my first book was, “Santa Boy,” a children’s book. Starting to write about something less complicated may have been the idea, but trying to appeal to a specific age group is not so simple. The book would require pictorial illustrations and I was not in a position to hire an artist nor could I personally do the illustrations. I sent the work to numerous Children’s book publishers and received the standard responses, i.e., “Not suitable for our house.” “Not accepting new submissions at this time.” “We regret that your work does not fit our age group, etc.” I must have received at least 15 rejections.

Those were the days when the manuscript was typed on a manual typewriter, numerous re-typing to avoid ugly erasures, and had to be mailed with a return self-addressed stamped envelope. I placed the work aside to work on it at a later date and that is still on my list of things to do.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I was fortunate. I did not experience all the rejections that I went through on my first attempt at getting published. I was still very naïve about getting published, however I never considered being self-published or paying someone to publish my work. I guess I was just lucky. The first email query I sent with a synopsis resulted in them wanting to see my manuscript.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

The rejections came with my second novel. One book already published didn’t give me the advantage one might expect. Having learned much about the industry and participating on published Author Forums, I knew that rejections were common and to be expected. I therefore was mentally prepared to accept the rejections without taking it personally.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

My first book was published by “Publish America.” It was a random thing. I was living outside the country and couldn’t go to a bookstore with English titles to check on the names of would-be publishers. If I had gone that route, I would have experienced the normal rejection process. I would have learned that big-named publishers don’t accept manuscripts except through an Agent. Further, I would have had the frustration of finding an Agent with either no response or rejection.

I did a search on the Internet and Publish America’s name came up. I checked out their website, read their promotional material, and decided to submit my material according to their submission guidelines. As stated, they responded asking to see my entire manuscript.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I was elated. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I was expecting rejection and didn’t get it. I told my immediate family about my good fortune and we celebrated together.

What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I didn’t know what to do. Again, I was naïve and expected the publisher to do all the work. That was a rude awakening. The company didn’t place their books in bookstores but rather made them available for purchase directly from the publisher or by on-line stores like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I learned that I was expected to do most of the promotion. In addition to notifying everyone I knew, I joined various author forums and learned what they did to promote their work. I purchased promotional bookmarkers. I did a few book signings at bookstores. I notified my hometown newspaper and got an interview. The whole idea of course was to get my work known to the public.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

If you asked me that question two years ago, I would have said yes. However, the industry has changed. Getting published by a big publishing house is very difficult. Unless one is a celebrity or someone with a very high profile, the chances are remote. That does not mean one should not try.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

Yes, my second novel was published in February of this year. I now know what to expect and realize that most of the promotion is dependent on my own efforts. I have learned much from other authors – what worked for them and what didn’t. However, there is no guarantee that what worked for them will work for me. It does open more avenues for promotion. Creativity is the strongest element.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

Research. Learning more about the publishing industry. Learning how to write a simple error-free query letter and how to write a synopsis. More importantly, making sure the “Submission Guidelines” are followed exactly as requested. In today’s market, I wouldn’t send a query to just one agent or publisher and wait for them to respond. Some don’t respond at all. I would also make sure that the publisher or agent deals with the genre of my book and inquire if they were open to new submissions.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

Recognition as an Author. Becoming acquainted with a vast number of people who share similar interests. The greatest honor was becoming recognized and listed as an expert on my subject matter.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I would have chosen the teaching profession.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I think I have combined the best of both worlds. Writing is a great vehicle to educate.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

At my age I don’t look too far down the road, however I intend to continue writing about things that are important to me, and sharing what I have learned with others.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Follow your dreams. Don’t be discouraged. Learn all you can about the publishing industry. Remember that publishers are in business to make money. They not only look at how you write, but will your work sell. Above all, be persistent. If you believe in your work, you must do whatever it takes to get it published. Following traditional methods may not work for you. The industry is changing and you must change your mindset to follow the course of events and the avenues available that will result in getting your work published.
Don’t stop learning. It is a never-ending process. Give special attention to the techniques of writing that will give the story greater appeal. Write to a specific audience, and then promote your work to that audience. And finally, have someone else review or critique your work before submission.

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