M. E. Patterson is an author of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and thrillers, as well as an information technologist. He received an English/Fiction Writing degree from Virginia Tech, where he studied under nationally-recognized writers and poets. He has published short stories on RevolutionSF and his first manuscript for his book, Devil’s Hand, placed in the top five in the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest.
Devil’s Hand is my first published novel. I have previously published a short story or two in some small venues.
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?
Devil’s Hand has been self-published. I wrote the first draft of the novel quite a few years ago and started down the traditional submission/query/rejection path with agents and editors. Seven revisions and many, many full reads later, it became clear that the market was changing so rapidly that a book like Devil’s Hand could potentially do as well, or better, through self-publishing channels. So I went that direction and haven’t looked back.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
As a self-published book, it was really just a matter of days to finish tidying up the files and making the book available through Amazon, B&N, and Createspace.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
It was gratifying to finally feel as though the work I had labored on for so many years was available for other people to enjoy. Even if only one or two people bought it, I was happy knowing that it was now out there. I didn’t do all that much to celebrate, short of having a beer and stepping away from the computer for a couple hours.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
My initial marketing strategy involved quite a bit of Google Adwords ads, Facebook fan cultivation, and an email blast to everyone I’ve ever met. The latter sold quite a few books and garnered several reviews from people that I wasn’t even expecting to hear from. Google and Facebook had mixed results, though I’ve managed to cultivate a pretty solid Facebook fan group that I interact with regularly now.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
It hasn’t been that long since the book hit the (virtual) shelves, so I can’t say I’ve changed all that much, though I have polished my marketing and self-promotion skills quite a bit.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
I’m more amazed right now about the scale of change that’s occurring in the industry. Watching the wave of self-published and small/indie press books wash in on top of what has traditionally been a pretty exclusive club is really a neat experience. I like that we’re now seeing so many indie books garner solid fanbases and serious sales for indie authors.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
For me, at least, it has to be building new relationships with readers. Having someone send you an email or a tweet telling you they just finished your story and loved it is extremely rewarding.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
I could be cheesy and say “don’t stop dreaming” or whatever, but the truth is that it’s really hard and a ton of work if you want to build any reasonable size of audience. If you’re not up for either of those things, you might want to rethink the whole writing biz. That said, if those two obstacles don’t deter you, then the best advice I can give is to read, read, read, write, write, write and edit constantly. You’ll only get better.