Some questions and my answers about writing:
What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
The most important thing I’ve learned in my writing experience is to keep writing. Some of my favorite sayings regarding that: “The worse thing I ever wrote is better than the best thing I never wrote.” and “I can edit trash. I can’t edit a blank page.”
Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
I have been published traditionally, self-published, and self-published through Createspace. What it comes down to for me is distribution. With traditional publishing, the publisher has distribution channels through libraries, bookstores, schools, whatever. This is good for your books. However, it takes a long time for a traditional publisher to decide if they want your book or not, sometimes over a year.
With self-publishing through a small press, cost is a factor. How much are you willing to spend to see your book in print? With my self-published book, I wanted it printed now, not years from now, so I wasn’t willing to send it out to publishers and wait to see if they would accept or reject it. I knew it didn’t have a large market appeal, just regional appeal, and thought I could do just as well publishing it myself for such a small market. However, ten years later, I still have almost a thousand books in my garage. That is a huge drawback.
With changes in technology, and the creation of Createspace and other online and print on demand publishers, self-publishing became cheaper. Because Createspace is affiliated with Amazon, it has built-in distribution. No books in the garage, either, because of print on demand. There are other online publishers like Smashwords I am not as familiar with as Createspace. Using these other publishers allows ebooks to be published for different devices and operating systems, whereas Createspace manuscripts can be converted to Kindle ebooks.
For my two books published with Createspace, I did not use professional editors or cover artists. For one book, a devotional, that worked pretty well. I think the other, a novel, would have benefitted from professional editing and design. At the time, I didn’t want to spend the money to do that.
These are my books and how they were published:
My first book, Molasses Cookies, was published by Hendrick-Long Publishing. They are in Houston, TX.
Many Places, and So Many Places to Go were published as reading resource books by Steck-Vaughn publishers in Austin, TX.
Santa’s Angels, my first romance novel, was published by Avalon Romance, which is now Montlake Romance, a division of Amazon.
I self published Patchwork Trail, a companion book for Molasses Cookies, using GASlight Publishing as my book shepherds to guide me through the process.
I’ve published the ebook version of Patchwork Trail with Amazon and Smashwords.
I published The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Devotional with Createspace and Smashwords.
Guardian Angels, a romance novel, with Createspace and Smashwords.
Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I think ebooks are wonderful! When Avalon Romance became Montlake Romance, Santa’s Angels became available as an ebook, giving it extra life (and extra royalties for me!). I love the concept of print on demand as well, which gives people a choice of how they want to buy books.
Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
No secrets. Just keep writing what you love to write and keep sending it out. It helps to join writers’ organizations like Romance Writers of America or the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators because of the seminars and conferences they offer where one gets to meet editors, agents, and other writers. (One doesn’t have to be a member in order to go to the conferences, but there are many benefits to being a member.)
What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
I am a slow writer. It takes me years to write a book. I’d thought back in the 90s when I first started writing for publication that it would be a career. I now realize it is a hobby, and I’m happy with that.