Cindy Lynn Speer is the author of several novels, including The Chocolatier’s Wife and the short story collection Wishes and Sorrows. She loves mixing fantasy, mystery and romance and playing with the old stories. When not writing she can be found reading, teaching people historical fencing, and costuming.
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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?
Author: This book is actually the work of many years, because it collects short stories from the past decade or so. I write longer works, but short stories have a special place in my heart. Some stories are simply not novel shaped, they don’t have all the narrative strands – and I love that, I love the hard focus on one aspect of a story. So, whenever I get one of these stories in my head, I write them down and polish them in between bigger projects.
Is this your first book?
Author: No, it’s my fourth. Your readers are more likely to know me from The Chocolatier’s Wife, which is also published through Dragonwell.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: I choose this publisher originally because my previous publisher had gone out of business, and another author (Ania Kashina, an awesome fellow author) from my old press was already going to be published by Dragonwell. She suggested I consider them, and they have treated me amazingly.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Author: I started out my journey looking at the traditional manner of publishing…trying to get an agent, trying to get into one of the big companies. The fact is, that is the route a lot of people are going. It is extremely hard to get in because it is extremely easy for the traditional publishers to say no. That might sound like sour grapes, but if you look at the reviews for The Chocolatier’s Wife, I can assure you that it’s not that I was not good enough for the big places…but I was just one of a billion untried voices. Now I have settled in with two publishers…Dragonwell and Zumaya. I get fair royalties, and great editing…and my covers are awesome. So, my advice, always, is, if you desperately want to publish with a huge publisher go ahead and try. Half of being an author is being lucky. Get it out of your system. If you get lucky…woo! If not, then start looking at smaller presses. What you want to look for is the quality of the finished book…are the covers professional looking? Do people complain a lot about the editing? Because at the end of the day, no matter who you sign with, a lot of the work is going to be yours. You need something…I hate to say this, but a product…you can stand behind and sell to people with conviction. Something that looks good and is quality. Also, you can actually build a back list with a small press…that is almost impossible with larger ones.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: I learned, really, that a huge chunk of your success is based on hard luck and work…talent comes in, certainly, but you have to be willing to put in the time and really keep at it.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Certainly. Small presses give you some support, and better royalties…I think you have a much better chance building a career with a smaller press.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Someone out there loves your book. Don’t give up or think it’s impossible…keep looking for opportunities and be ready to jump on them.