Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Jane Tesh, author of 'Butterfly Waltz'

Name: JaneTesh        
Book Title: Butterfly Waltz
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Silver Leaf 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?
Jane:  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing my own stories, poems, and plays, so I must have been born an author.
Is this your first book?
Jane:  No.  I’ve written many books, probably twenty-five, and I’ve been lucky to have ten of those books published.  This is, however, the first fantasy novel that’s been published.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Jane: All of my books have been traditionally published.  There are two reasons I chose this method.  First, when I started trying to get published, traditional was the only way available, and second, I could not afford to self-publish.  Back in the Sixties, self-publishing was very expensive and the product did not look as good as it does today.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Jane:  In 1968, when I was 18, I started sending out manuscripts and queries. This involved typing a manuscript, finding the right size box, and mailing it to a publisher or an agent in New York. When it came back, I sent it to the next one on my list.  I did this until computers came along.  Then I emailed my queries.  At one point, I did manage to get an agent, but she and I disagreed on the direction my book was taking, so we parted (on good terms!) and I continued to send out manuscripts and queries.
Pros: I got what I wanted, a good traditional publisher.  But it took a very long time.  I got the contract for my first book in 2005.
Cons: It took a very long time!
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Jane: As I mentioned above, I had an agent for a while.  She wanted me to change my main character in the Grace Street series from a man to a woman.  This would’ve radically changed the entire universe I had set up for all the characters in the series.  I was really upset because I had tried for so long to get an agent, she was telling me what I needed to do to get published, and I couldn’t do it. Everything worked out in the end.  I found a publisher who took the characters as they were.  But I had to say to myself: how much am I willing to compromise to make my dream come true?  As it turned out, I wasn’t willing to make such a drastic change.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Jane: Publishing has changed so much since 1968.  Today, new authors have so many more choices and can choose which method suits them and their pocketbook.  If you have the money and want to control all aspects of the process, then self-publishing is for you.  If you want someone to pay you for your work and to take care of distribution, reviews, and publicity, then traditional is the way to go.  I would recommend traditional.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Jane:  My favorite author, Terry Pratchett says, “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”  Relax and have fun with that first draft and don’t worry about it being perfect.  Everything can be fixed.
And one more thing.  I started trying to get a book published when I was 18.  I didn’t get a book published until I was 55.  I never gave up.  Neither should you.

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