I was invited to be a guest on a PodCast radio show earlier this year and they sent me a neat little Q&A prior to the show. I came across it today while I was looking for something else (but yeah, I’ve got this ADHD thing under control) and I thought it might be cool to share it with you. Squirrel!
What is your favorite book you have written?
My favorite book is always the one I’m currently working on. So right now, I’m working on a book called Black Friday.
How did you get that book published?
There are two main ways to publish a book: traditional publishing; and, self-publishing. I am a self-published author. The difference is pretty important. The easiest way to explain the difference is an author who is published in the traditional way essentially works for the publisher (the company who prints, markets, and distributes the books). The publisher can tell the author to change parts of their story, they decide what the cover art looks like, and they get to keep most of the money earned from selling the book. A self-published author (like me) gets to choose what he/she writes, can decide what the cover looks like, and is responsible for marketing the book.
Amazon.com and other online bookstores have made it very easy for self-published authors to sell their books as e-books or printed paperback books. The online bookstores give the authors most of the profit from selling the books, which is a better deal for us.
Describe the process of writing and publishing a novel or short story.
Even though I’m a self-published author, I use the same workflow (steps) as an author who is published in the traditional way. Here’s what that process looks like:
- First Draft: Write a draft of your manuscript (short story, novella, novel, etc.).
- First Read: The author then reads through the book and corrects any obvious spelling and grammar errors and makes changes as needed.
- First Edit: Submit the draft manuscript to an editor for review and suggested revisions. The editor is like the “grammar police” and they help authors find all the spelling and grammar errors in their story and even help revise elements of the story. Choosing a great editor is the most important decision a self-published author makes. They can make the difference between a good book and a great book.
- Second Draft: Once the editor marks up the draft manuscript, the author has to go back and decide which editorial changes to keep and which ones to ignore.
- Second Read: The author then reads through the entire book again to make sure no errors have been missed and that the story flows.
- Final Edit: The editor makes any final changes to the manuscript.
- Final Draft: The author makes one last round of changes to the story then “locks” the manuscript.
- Beta Readers: The author sends the final draft of the manuscript to a few trusted readers who get to read the book before it is published. They are asked to point out any remaining spelling or grammar errors, and to also comment on elements of the story that seem out of place, any weird dialogue, or anything that made them stop enjoying the story. Beta readers are the “quality police” and help authors write the best book they can.
- Locked Edits: The author takes the feedback from the beta readers and makes any last minutes changes needed.
- Publishing: The author prepares the finished manuscript for publication online and with the printing house.
What publishing company published your book?
I publish all of my books and short stories through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for eBooks, and Amazon CreateSpace for my printed books.
Do different publishing companies have different steps?
Traditional publishing companies all use essentially the same process (like the one I outlined above). Independent self-published authors are free to use any workflow they like. But the ones that are serious about putting out the highest quality work tend to use a traditional workflow.
If a publishing company says no to a book what do you do?
For authors pursuing a traditional publishing deal this can be the most frustrating thing in the world. It is not uncommon for a new author to send out a manuscript to more than 100 book agents in an attempt to get published. Most never get a deal. For every book you see in the library or bookstore there are ten more that never got published. That’s a lot of frustrated writers!
Companies like Amazon.com have changed the game by making it easy for anyone to publish a book. But this means that there are a lot of eBooks that are not very good floating around online bookstores. This is why I try to write the best stories I can and make sure that my books have as few errors as possible.
If the same publishing company says no many times what do you do, find a different company or try again?
Some writers spend years writing and writing and writing, but never get published. To me, that must be the saddest thing for an artist.
Since companies like Amazon have entered the publishing business, traditional publishing has declined a lot. There used to be hundreds of book publishers in the US. Today, there are four large publishers and a few dozen smaller publishers. This means that the path to getting published is even narrower for writers.
I’m very happy as an independent author. I get to control my product, and can communicate directly with my readers and fans without a publisher telling me what I can and can’t do. And…I get to keep a lot more of the money that people pay for my books.