D.W. Richards is a member of the Canadian Authors Association and beyond being a novelist he is also a script-doctor and freelance writer. An excerpt from Pairs will appear in the October 2010 issue of the international literary PDF quarterly Cantarville as a standalone fiction piece. In addition to creative writing, D.W. Richards has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from Carleton University and is a Certified General Accountant. He divides his time between Venice, Italy and Ottawa, Canada.
“Pairs” is my second novel. My first was “The Fifth Pillar”, which is being reworked and re-titled in preparation for republishing. I love that book. In addition, I’ve also written articles and short stories for e-zines.
Q: 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?
Much to the ire of an editor friend of mine, I grew impatient with the process of shopping for a publisher and went with a vanity press. I won’t call it a mistake, for I went in with eyes open, and they delivered exactly what they said they would, but I will say that with what I know now I would not have gone that route. If you are going to do it yourself, commit fully to the sentiment. I would recommend to anyone considering a vanity press that they look into self-publishing.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
With the vanity press it was very quick process if I recall, perhaps a month or two.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
My joy came from the feedback of those who had read my book, particularly if they were really excited by it. As an aside, being my first time out I found it an interesting study in psychology as people would explain my story back to me, or talk about scenes or characters as if they were real. I knew I wanted to achieve that again.
My launch party was my celebration. It was nice to see a restaurant full of people sharing in my achievement.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I managed to get myself reviewed in a local paper, “Capital Extra”, and in an Ottawa based e-zine, “(Cult)ure Magazine”. As well, an independent bookstore, “After Stonewall”, carried my novel. Directly beside that bookstore was the restaurant, “The Buzz”, where I had my launch party. I invited friends and the press and engaged anyone in the place who wanted to participate. My daughter worked the crowd, encouraging people to buy, as I read excerpts. It was nice seeing people that I’ve never met before purchase my book.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
I am still finding my voice as an author but I am much less focused on writing and more on what is being written. The process flows more naturally now. Prior to my first novel I had been reading dry, technical, accounting textbooks for roughly eight years, and my readily available verbiage for self-expression had suffered as a consequence.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
Nothing really leaps to mind. My impression so far is that it operates in a similar manner as any other industry that I’ve been associated with. You can work for yourself, or you can work for someone else.
To work for someone else you are up against the same old “Catch 22” of needing experience to get a job, but how do you get a job if you don’t have experience? Only, in this instance, replace “get a job” with “get published”.
Self-publishing as an alternate route is similar to opening and operating your own small business, which I’ve done. You have to be prepared for several missteps during your initial education process, and you need to remain on vigilant watch for new opportunities and be adaptive to take advantage of them when they present themselves.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
Hearing from a reader who has enjoyed something I’ve written. Not even necessarily my novel, anything. If I have successfully entertained someone, I am happy.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?