Book Title: Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power: The Kings Book I)
Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Silver Helm
Purchase at Amazon
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?
J. J. Sherwood: I’ve been writing since kindergarten and working on this particular world (and the characters within) since I was—literally—seven years old. It was never a choice—it was always a calling. Once I discovered the fantasy genre, I was entirely hooked and despite my previous love of sci-fi, horror, historical fiction, fiction, and even non-fiction, I can’t see myself ever leaving the fantasy genre. The world’s history holds crucial information for the readers and so this particular book was chosen.
Is this your first book?
J. J. Sherwood: It is the first I have chosen to publish, but it’s far from the first I have written.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
J. J. Sherwood: I chose to Indie publish so that I could maintain control over the series—my editor, my webdesigner, my artists, my deadlines, etc… I know exactly where I want the series to go and quality is top on my concerns: Indie publishing allows me to ensure the series meets those high standards.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
J. J. Sherwood: The biggest thing about self-publishing is the time. Not only in researching just how everything has to be done, but in things like finding your artist, running social media, and managing all other business ends. Writing a novel is a full-time job—the business end of publishing is easily a part-time job even after having the help of two fantastic individuals.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
J. J. Sherwood: Go big or go home. There are thousands of books to compete with—don’t cut corners—not in art. Not in editing. Do not go with a cheap cover—everyone judges a book by its cover. The cover is the reflection of the work within. Do not self-edit your book—get a real, professional editor. It makes all the difference to be able to look both professional and sell a high-quality novel.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
J. J. Sherwood: If you have the money, drive, and discipline to work for yourself, yes. Let no one tell you that Indie publishing is the cheaper or easier method—it is infinitely more work and more money than traditional publishing—but you get to keep your rights and ensure that your book reaches your high standards. I cannot stress this enough: hire an editor—a good editor—and a great cover artist. Covers draw readers to your book and once they open your novel up, you need to be certain—without a shadow of a doubt—that the content inside meets traditional publishing standards.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
J. J. Sherwood: Write. Everyone says it but so, so many authors say they are too busy or hit a writer’s block. Write. Even if you are “too busy” and even when you have hit a writer’s block, write every day. Even when your writing is terrible because you don’t know what to write—write anyways. Barrel through it and edit it later. The most important thing is to actually write. And then, when your book is “done” but still “not perfect,” edit/rewrite/revise as long as you see an error and know how to fix it. Once you still see/know there is “something” wrong but no longer have a solution, your book is done. We are all our own worst critic and trust me, you will always find something supposedly “wrong” with your own work. Work on the novel as long as there is a known solution. After that, it’s time to take a deep breath and publish.