Miguel Lopez de Leon is a prolific fiction writer with over 30 short stories published in a variety of international literary magazines and anthologies. De Leon, who prefers to write in the mornings, began working on his first novel as a hobby. That first book blossomed into the Galadria trilogy. “One part of the writing process I really enjoy is writing the first draft of a novel…For me, it’s the time when you can lose yourself in the story the most.” De Leon lives in Los Angeles and enjoys reading historical biographies and collecting vintage comic books.
His latest book is the fantasy novel, Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Knights of the Leaf.
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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Miguel. Can you start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
Thank you for having me on Beyond the Books! Yes, my work has been published before.
Before I started writing fantasy novels, I wrote short stories. Over thirty of them were traditionally published in various literary magazines and anthologies. When I wrote the first novel of my fantasy trilogy, Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Rites of Passage, I was traditionally published as well. For the first edition of this novel, I went the usual route and sent a list of publishers a query letter. One publisher was interested, and after they read the whole manuscript, they offered me a contract and published the book.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
A little less than a year.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
It felt great to have my first novel published! I was happy to have the opportunity to get my work out there to as many people as possible. How did I celebrate? When the first book of the trilogy was published, I was already writing the sequel, which for me, was the best possible way to celebrate!
Q: What was the first thing you did for promotion when you were published for the first time?
On the day the first edition of my first novel came out, Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Rites of Passage, I remember I was booked to be interviewed on a local television show. Before filming, the host of the show walked up to me and was holding a paperback copy of my book, it was the first time I ever saw it!
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
Since the first edition of my first novel was published, a lot has happened. After the completion of the initial run of the first edition of Galadria: (Book 1) Peter Huddleston & The Rites of Passage, I then published the entire trilogy myself, including Galadria: (Book 2) Peter Huddleston & The Mists of the Three Lakes, and Galadria: (Book 3) Peter Huddleston & The Knights of the Leaf. Once I took over the handling of my fantasy trilogy, I really learned a lot about book design, promotion, pricing, eBooks, and all the details that come with publishing and marketing a book. In the last few years, the publishing industry has changed so much. These days, publishing your own books isn’t a cliche anymore, in a lot of ways, for a lot of writers, it’s more practical. For myself, I enjoyed the process of taking control of my own books, just as much as being traditionally published. One is not better or worse than the other, it just depends on what you want, and what you are able and willing to do.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
What constantly surprises me about the publishing industry is the way it is constantly changing. With eBooks, POD, online retailing, the evolving of social media, and the way most people are completely dependent on technology (Their phones!) for everyday life, the way books are thought of has changed as well. Books need to be just as convenient to find and buy online as any other product, which has led to a growing shift to eBooks, online editors, online book promoters, and every other online author service you could think of. The playing field between self published authors and traditionally published authors is evening out considerably.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
Simply doing work that I love is really its own reward. I love writing fantasy novels, and whenever I meet a reader who has enjoyed the books I’ve written, I am all the more grateful.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Don’t give up! If what you want is to be traditionally published, then go for it! Write the best query letter you can, and be patient in terms of agent or publisher response time. If you have the inclination, check out all the opportunities to self publish. Either way, just know that their are a lot of options for writers out there, it just depends on what you want.