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Interview with J. Boyce Gleason: ‘Writing is like playing an instrument. If you do it every day, you get better at it’



J. Boyce GleasonWith an AB degree in history from Dartmouth College, J. Boyce Gleason brings a strong understanding of what events shaped the past and when, but writes historical-fiction to discover why. Gleason lives in Virginia with his wife Mary Margaret. They have three sons.

His latest book is the historical fiction, Anvil of God, Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles.

Visit his website at

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Joe. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

This is my first time.

Anvil of God 2Q: 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?

I chose to self-publish through iUniverse (they call it assisted-publishing) because they mimic the actions of a mainstream publisher to get your book ready for primetime. I decided to self-publish because I believe Anvil of God is a great book and deserves to be in print. As a new author, I was having trouble getting the attention of agents and publishers and felt that if I could put the book in their hands, they would see it for themselves.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

About a year. iUniverse has a pretty thorough process. I especially liked their editorial group.

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

I signed up for an historical fiction blog tour and advertised on Goodreads. Both helped greatly introduce the book and give it a good boost at the start.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Writing is like playing an instrument. If you do it seriously every day, you get better at it. I’m a lot better writer at the end of the book than I was at the beginning. I’ve also had the good fortune to work with some fantastic editors who have taught me a lot. The biggest difference with publication is how others treat you. Before publishing Anvil, I got a lot of rolling eyes when I talked about writing a novel. Not so much now.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It is very random, much like the music industry. It is not just talent that matters, it’s talent plus luck and hard work. But luck is the key. If you don’t get a break, if you don’t get noticed, you can’t cut a hit record.   Same with publishing.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Seeing how my work can move people. I attended a book club meeting last month to discuss Anvil and it was clear that many of my characters really touched those attending. I love being asked “when can we expect Book II?”

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

It’s a big lift. That’s why so many start and stop. You have to be committed to spending three to four hours a day for months on end to get a book done. And then once you finish it, it has to be edited and sometimes rewritten until you get it right. And that’s just the writing. Selling a book is equally hard. It’s hard to get noticed, hard to sign an agent, hard to get published, hard to market your book, hard to write the next one. You have to be committed to seeing it through to the end. But, if you succeed, it is a very rewarding experience.


1 Comment

  1. […] Interview at Beyond the Books […]

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