Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets: Interview with David Burnsworth, author of 'Southern Heat'

Our guest today is David Burnsworth, author of Southern Heat, and is published by Five Star/Gale.  He is here to give his experiences as a traditional published author.


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?
First of all, thank you for asking.  My story is probably typical.  From as far back as the eighth grade, I’ve always enjoyed writing.  I can remember getting jazzed up about writing assignments, even though I was not the best student.  Instead of following my writing interest in college, I went into Engineering.  While that decision has provided a
nice livelihood, I knew there was something missing.  It took encouragement from my wife to get me to sit down and write.  And thanks to her support, I have a book out there with my name on it.
Is this your first book?
Yes, but I’m working hard to make sure it isn’t the last.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
My publisher is Five Star / Gale.  It’s a small imprint within a big publisher and they have been wonderful to work with.  I didn’t choose this path in as much as they chose me.  I knew I wanted to publish the traditional way, and I found a great match with Five Star.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Let’s start with the cons.  I have a file full of rejection letters from agents collected over about four years of submissions.  I don’t blame them—my work wasn’t ready and they knew it.  It took help from a professional editor to get Southern Heat to the point of being ready for a contract.
The pros are much better.  I believe it doesn’t matter what your personal story is, you will not succeed in getting published without the help of others.  I have been fortunate enough to have joined a great organization called South Carolina Writers Workshop.  Through their critique sessions, I learned how to write.  The networking opportunities I received while attending SCWW conferences have proven invaluable.  That was how I found a reputable editor.  And then there are the folks at Killer Nashville who bend over backwards to help authors.  My first time there and armed with a decent manuscript, I found a publisher and an agent.

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
The publishing industry is a business.  They are there to make money, or else they won’t be there for long.  There are no free rides.  You have to be serious about writing something people will want to buy.  And you have to be serious about marketing your work.  I’ve been blessed in my publishing journey.  The right people were there to tell me when my work wasn’t ready.  And the right people were there when it was.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
While there is something to be said for the total control self-publishing gives authors, I’m not sure I’d have known enough to make the right decisions.  I have a phenomenal agent, a hard-working publicist, and good relationship with a publisher.  That is what I know and that is what I would recommend.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Decide what you want out of your writing.  If you like to write because it makes you happy, then by all means write.  If you want to have your work published and sell books, you will have to learn the business.  Find a support group of other writers like SCWW and go to conferences.  Network with those in the publishing industry.  Be intentional.

David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Southern Heat is his first mystery. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife along with their dog call South Carolina home.
His latest book is the southern noir/mystery, Southern Heat.

Visit his website at

Connect & Socialize with David!

No comments:

Post a Comment