Name: Donald Joiner
Book Title: The Antioch Testament
Genre: Historical Fiction/Christian
Publisher: Seraphina Press
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published, Donald Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Donald: I had always been intrigued by the remarkable transformation of Jesus’ apostles after his resurrection. Earlier they had been a motley collection of fishermen, laborers and revolutionaries seeking the restoration of David’s Jewish kingdom. The gospels tell us a lot about them before the resurrection, but very little afterward.
What happened to them? Where did they go? What did they accomplish? How did they die? The gospels are silent. The Antioch Testament is a historical novel that attempts to complete the story based on early church traditions. I thought it was a story well worth the telling.
Is this your first book?
Donald: No, but it is my first novel.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Donald: Indie. I wasted considerable time seeking agent representation. Found that authors’ agents were literally swamped with manuscripts so I elected to investigate and identify the very best self-publishing companies. As a result, I selected Hillcrest Media which owns Seraphina Press based on the quality of their work and their unique distribution system which closely approximates the distribution system of traditional publishers.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Donald: My first published book was entitled Antebellum Churches in Georgia. This was a pictorial history of churches in Georgia constructed before the end of the Civil War. At the time color photography in books was prohibitively expensive so I elected to publish in black & white through Lulu Publishing. Later, when color photography sharply declined in price, I expanded my collection of churches and selected VirtualBookWorm Publishing to publish a color pictorial history entitled Faith of Our Fathers. I did not solicit representation for either of these books.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Donald: When I began work on this historical novel, I had no idea how difficult the task of being accepted by a reputable author’s agent would be. I must have approached a dozen recommended agents, but none were in a position to help me. Those who responded to my query cited a backlog of manuscripts awaiting their attention or they were not at the moment accepting religious historical fiction. Being a senior citizen, I knew I had a limited time frame to work in so I eventually elected to go with the best self-publisher I could identify. It has been a costly enterprise, but thus far I have been pleased with this choice.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Donald: Yes, if the author has adequate financial resources. There are many self-publishing companies out there, but an author must be careful because some are not as reputable as are others. My advice is to do diligent research on self-publishers, looking closely at each service they offer. If possible, try to communicate with a fellow author who has used this particular publisher and get his/her take on the company. If the author is aware that going this route means by and large he must manage his own marketing effort, self-publishing may be an answer.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Donald: Persistence counts! Don’t be intimidated if you do not meet immediate success in approaching agents or publishers. Keep at it. By all means don’t rely solely on your work being edited by your wife, girlfriend or mother. Your work might look wonderful to you and to them, but you should always have it professionally edited before you submit it to prospective agents or publishers.