After part one of this discussion post last week Saturday here, I am back again and this time interviewing Jeff Altabef, author of Wind Catcher and Shatter Point about being traditionally published. This is the method I personally would prefer to use, so I was curious to hear his answers!
Do you have any role in the advertising of your book?
Absolutely. Whether a book is self-published or published through a traditional publisher, the author has to be the team leader for his or her projects and that includes marketing. I'll take it a step further. Advertising for authors is as much about the author's brand as it is about a particular book and no one can tell that story better than the author. Besides, marketing can be fun. It's really storytelling in a different form. This time about yourself as an author and your book.
Only the top selling authors these days can get away with exclusively letting the publisher advertise their books. Even then I bet most of those authors stay involved. James Patterson doesn't strike me as the type of guy who sits back quietly while the publisher makes all the decisions!
What do you think the future holds for you, writing-wise?
Sometimes I wish I had one of those Magic Eight Balls to answer this question for me. I like to write thrillers and young adult books. My first two books were thrillers. Now I'm in the middle of a young adult trilogy with my teenage daughter as my co-author. The first of which is called Wind Catcher and will be released on March 23rd (shameless plug but I have to advertise-see question 1). I love both genres and plan on writing both, but my focus will have to be on young adult for the next year or so. Still, I have this great idea for a new thriller that I'd love to....
I write because I want others to read and enjoy my books. That sounds obvious, but it's not true for all authors. Some write to unburden themselves or for some esoteric reasons involving craft or to prove how incredibly brilliant they are. Since I primarily want readers to enjoy my books, reviews are extremely important to me and I take every one seriously. Before finishing a manuscript, I always hand it to my beta readers. I'll change aspects of the story depending upon their feedback. Once a book is published I look mostly for patterns among the reviews, whether good or bad and will adjust in my next project. For example, my first thriller, Fourteenth Colony, uses humorous footnotes as funny asides about characters and the setting. Half of my audience loved these footnotes but the other half found them hard to deal with mainly because Kindle placed them as endnotes. So I adjusted in Shatter Point, doing away with footnotes and adding the humor directly into the story. The results have been great.
How does having a contract to abide to affect your freedom in writing?
When working with a publisher, there's always going to be some give and take. They also have a stake in the book's success. Luckily, Evolved Publishing is an author first type of place, so I can't think of any negative issues we've had.
I have to admit that I was a little nervous when we (my daughter and I) signed the contract to write the Chosen Trilogy for them. We had to produce outlines (that I normally don't do) for books two and three and have submission deadlines to get them done. So far, the deadlines have proven to be a benefit because they keep us focused. Now those outlines are another story. When starting a project, I usually have a beginning, a mid-point, and an end in mind. Other than that, I let the characters take the story where they want it to go. It keeps the story fresh and surprising. Honestly, I haven't looked at those outlines since I submitted them. I hope the publisher lost them!
I enjoy writing, editing and even marketing. I don't have any interest in logistics or finding the right editor or cover artists. I admire those that can pull the entire package together, but that's not ideal for me. Besides, Evolved Publishing is really a great fit for me. First, they are highly selective and have a tremendous catalog. Every author should check out the other books that a publisher releases to get a feel for the quality of their work. If those other books don't look good, search elsewhere. Second, Evolved spends an incredible amount of time on editing, which shows in the end products. They have made me a better writer and that's pretty darn good!
Olivia’s Question: Would you want to publish a novel in the future?