Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
ANDRE: I decided to write the book, I didn’t decide to become an author, so that’s purely by default.
I decided to write the book because of my passionate love affair with my wife and Paris. Over several years of visiting Paris (we have a home there and in Brooklyn, New York) I came to love the place; firstly in a superficial way then once I learned more history and culture, I understood why it was such a uniquely romantic city. My wife is Parisian so it absolutely helped me get in touch with elements not available to a normal tourist.
Paris had already been written about from so many angles; historic, culinary, fashion etc. that it would have been unnecessary to add another tourist book. For me Paris represents fantasy, enchantment, romance and a sense of vibrancy, and that’s what I wanted readers to feel.
Many aspects of our lives are bland. It’s wonderful to have a heightened event to aspire to. For a couple in a relationship, one exquisite night in Paris is as “heightened” as heightened gets.
ANDRE: Yes, it’s my first book; though I had been writing little things for myself and keeping a journal, I never planned to write a book. But once it seemed fun, engaging, and presented a fresh angle, I felt I wanted to do it. In fact it got stuck in my head and I just have to get it out.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
ANDRE: Indie was my choice mostly because I had heard the horror stories regarding engaging a publisher. It’s one of these things I wanted to get out and get done without a protracted and agonizing wait period. Writing itself takes long enough then submitting to a professional editor, making corrections etc.; that sucks up about a year of your life. You have to like what you’re doing and get it done.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
ANDRE: The publishing journey starts with absolutely loving the subject that I wrote about. If not I couldn’t get through it. It’s writing, editing, re-writing, researching, edit and rewrite to make it nice.
I only have good things to say about the actual publishing process as supported by Create Space. The people there are marvelous. They tell you what they’re going to do, and they do it, all the while available and helpful, from editing, to cover design to interior design; they made the process easy.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
ANDRE: My publishing journey suggests that unless you feel in your blood from age two that you need to be a professional writer OR as in my case, you just want to have something said, then don’t bother. If you simply want to take a shot at making a few dollars then publishing is not your place.
The publishing industry is vast and fragmented with hundreds of thousands of books published every year. A minute fraction ever sells significantly well. However as an indie you must do your own marketing which accounts for about 85% of the writers effort; and even then you’re not guaranteed successful sales. There is the illusion that through social media etc. there is the possibility of reaching your audience. It is possible, but it takes consistent work.
The publishing industry is incalculably brutal so unless you’re in it for love, don’t bother.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
ANDRE: The indie method, I would definitely recommend. Not as a way of writing rubbish and avoiding censoring and critique. However if an author will put in authentic work, develop a craft but doesn’t necessarily want to be constrained by the publishing-house gate keepers then indie is the way to start. She/he must understand that they need to be, must be, a marketer too. There is evidence that if one is successful through the indie route then publishers start calling.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
ANDRE: Absolutely love what you do, love who you’re writing for, learn marketing, learn the industry, find a way to say something differently, then work from the best understanding that it’ll be a long, long haul.