Name: Christopher G. Nuttall
Book Title: Trial By Fire
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
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: Well, that’s two separate issues. The blunt truth is that I saw a book I thought was a great idea, but really poorly executed, back in 2005, so I started to write a version of my own. My version wasn’t much better, but at least it was a start. Six years later, or thereabouts, I started to put together an outline for what would become the Schooled In Magic series.
Is this your first book?
Author: No. Trial By Fire is somewhere around my fiftieth published book, counting both indie and traditional published books. It’s also book seven in the Schooled In Magic series.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: Trial By Fire is published by Twilight Times Books, a small America-based press. Like most writers, I wanted to be published by a traditional publisher, so I submitted the first book in the series and everything just went on from there.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Author: To be frank, being published by a traditional publisher lends a certain degree of validation to the author. Someone has actually paid money to have this book edited, ergo they must think they can claw back the money, ergo they think the book’s good. (The author is seen as an investment.) The publisher also takes care of editing, obtaining a cover design and everything else the book might need, which frees up more of the author’s time for writing.
The cons, however, is that you give up a great deal of control. I haven’t had any problems with TTB, but I’ve heard hundreds of horror stories from other authors who tangled with the wrong publisher. Do some research before choosing a publisher. There’s also a delay between submission and publication that can be annoying, although getting the book edited is well worth the time.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: Do my research <grin>. I think that’s really the most important lesson of all.
But the publishing industry itself is changing. The rise of eBooks put power in the hands of the authors, rather than publishers, and while the bigger publishing houses have done their level best to argue otherwise, I think its inarguable that big publishing will have to adapt quickly or go the way of the dinosaurs. Small presses - and Baen Books - tend to be far better at adapting to the changing scene.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: It depends, really, on what they want from publishing. Having assistance from a small publisher is worth its weight in gold, so I’d recommend it to anyone who intends to write for the long haul.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: I think the best advice would be to get some critics - and then listen to them.
Yes, I know; it isn’t easy to put up with someone being critical about our work. We pour our heart and souls into the manuscript and it hurts - it really hurts - to watch someone tear it apart. But a decent critic and a good editor are really worth their weight in gold. They can make the difference between getting good reviews - and a good start in writing - or being crushed under a wave of negative reviews.
Frankly, there are quite a few well-established authors who have become editor-proof (I’m sure any well-read person can name a few) and their works rapidly become unreadable. Forgetting that you need an editor is disastrous in the long term.
And grow a thick skin. You’ll need it.