Tuesday Toss-Up: Publishing Interview With Quonus10
Interview Andrew_Q_Gordon Writing Tip
Here is the second of our two-part interview with Quonus10, focusing on his publishing experiences. Enjoy!
What made you decide to pursue publishing the story, first on GA as a Premium story and then through a publishing house?
GA approached me last year about providing a novel length story to be used in the Premium Content section. Aside from the rush of being asked to do that, I hoped it would be a way to give back to GA. I think the readers and reviewers on GA helped me enormously. The readers helped me understand what people like to read and the beta readers and reviewers gave me insight into how to write better stories.
As for publishing it, well that has always been something I wanted to pursue. I started writing seriously with the hope one day I’d be able to get published. After all the time and effort I put into Chosen of Honorus and the cost of having it edited, I had hopes of ePublishing it myself. Before I incurred the added costs of ePublishing something, I decided to shop it around first. I had nothing to lose except a bit of time. For those who’ve never tried to ePublish something, there is a lot of time and expense involved – it needs to be properly formatted for multiple platforms, you need to submit your story separately for each platform – Kindle, Nook, Sony, iBook, etc., or you need to pay a service to do it, you need cover art all of which either costs money or you do it yourself.
How did you decide what publisher you wanted to submit your story to?
This is something of a trick question. Anyta Sunday and I had a nascent relationship with Dreamspinner Press since agreed to publish (Un)Masked. Anyta and I were talking about ePublishing novels now that we were working with Dreamspinner. One of issues we raised was genre. As anyone who has read my body of work can tell, I don’t really stick to any one genre. But because (Un)Masked fits the classic M/M romance – even if it has a bit of a twist – Chosen is a M/M fantasy – a different genre. We didn’t know if Dreamspinner would be upset by my ePublishing something just before they published our book so I wrote to them, asking if they had any issues with me ePublishing a story in such a different genre using my same pen name. The Publisher wrote back to say it was not a problem, but if I wanted them to look at it, they’d be happy to review it to determine if they were interested publishing Chosen. This was nothing like what we went through when we were shopping (Un)Masked around. All things we needed to do, query letters, synopsis, author background, etc, I didn’t have to do this time. If they had not picked it up, I was going to ePublish it myself.
How did you feel when you found out that a publisher wanted your story too?
When I got the email, I must have looked like a silly fool grinning to myself in my office. It’s a feeling that is up there with getting into the college of your choice, or getting a job you really wanted. Writing is different in that it’s so personal. It’s your world, your characters, your story. While a part of me thought it was good – even my editor thought it was very good – I don’t think I truly believed it was good enough for a publisher to pick up, invest time and money in it and then publishing it. Hearing I was getting published gave me renewed energy toward pushing forward with other projects.
Give us some details! Are they creating an awesome cover? Do you have a release date yet? Will this be put out in print?
Uff! So many questions. The publication date is set for early 2013. The publisher thought that given the length, the editing process would take a bit more time. They do provide artists to help make with the cover, or – as Anyta and I did with (Un)Masked you can provide your own and they will evaluate it and most likely use it. I have ideas for what I want the cover to look like, but I’m not sure how easily my vision will transfer to the artist’s hands.
Whether this will come out in print is not clear to me just yet. The contract specifies they have the right to release it electronically, in paper, audio and in foreign countries. Whether they will do all the above is not clear yet.
Do you have any words of advice to any new writers starting to venture into the world of publishing?
Something I learned is that publishers are looking at books that are character driven, not plot driven. It’s been said in several forums on GA and elsewhere that there are but so many plot lines out there and everything is just a variation of something that has already been done. What makes the story stand out is characters. Focus on creating likable characters that will draw the reader in. Once you’ve made the reader care about your characters, then you can keep them with a strong plot.
Another thing is to find someone who knows what they’re talking about and will be honest with you. Then follow their advice. One part that stuck out in the editing process was toward the end I was tired of working on the story. I’d read and reread and read it again. I wanted to move on to the next project. The editor said I needed to do something to make it better. I balked, saying it was good enough. Whew, did I get an earful. As I said before, our characters are personal, we own them, we are them to an extent. But that also makes us too close to them. Finding someone who isn’t invested in our characters and our story as much as we are is extremely helpful because they provide a perspective that is closer to what the average reader will experience.
Last I’d say don’t give up. If something isn’t picked up to be published find out why. Ask someone who is in the business to look at it and tell you what’s wrong. Then learn from it.