Sunday, April 17, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Randy Rawls, Author of DATING DEATH

Name: RandyRawls
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: White Bird Publications
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: I've been an avid reader all my life and wondered many times whether I could write a book. I started several during various stages of my career, but usually gave them up for lack of time. Finally, in the 1990's, I started one and, a year later, wrote THE END. That was my proof I could do it, and I've been doing it since. As for this book, it's book 3 in the Beth Bowman series. Like all my books, it's taken from news headlines.
Is this your first book?
Author: No, there were eleven (11) published before this one, two in the Beth Bowman series. Plus some others buried on my hard drive, never to see the light of day.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: DATING DEATH is published by White Bird Publications, a small press based in Austin, Texas. They are an independent publisher, catering to excellent authors in different genres. I was impressed with White Bird Pubs. It was the first time in my publishing experience that one of my manuscripts received three (3) edits from three (3) different editors. They were very professional in their approach to publishing, yet very cooperative.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: About every twist and turn you can imagine. After banging my head against the "traditional" publishing world, I opted to self-publish my first book—JAKE'S BURN, an Ace Edwards, Dallas PI story. That was long before the epubishing craze of Amazon and Barnes and Noble were dreamed of. JAKE'S did okay, so I self-pubbed the second in the series, JOSEPH'S KIDNAPPING. They gave me the credentials to impress an independent publisher, and the Ace Edwards series became more legitimate. That's been pretty much my track record since. Trying to break in on the "traditional" publishing world, while nibbling around the edges with independent publishers. After Amazon and the others came along and introduced epublishing, I even did a couple of books with them. And, I also got lucky and had the first two of my Beth Bowman books traditionally published.
          Pros: Using the opportunities I had, I've been able to have a dozen books published, DATING DEATH being the latest.
          Cons: The small presses don't have the assets the big guys do, neither in money or contacts. Thus, the author is pretty much on his own with promotion and book-selling opportunities.

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: Every writer's dream (at least, my dream) is to land a lucrative contract with a big NYC publisher and to watch my book receive first-rate promotion. Yet, to land such a contract, one must have an agent. And, to get an agent, you have to offer far more than a good book. You must be in a position to offer long-term income to the agent. Investing in a one-book wonder, or someone past the prime of life is not a successful way for an agent to survive. Every writer needs to know this and be prepared to go it on his own. The small, independent publishers are golden. They are our best opportunity to move forward. And, for the very lucky, it might be the door that opens the way to an agent and that lucrative contract with a big NYC publisher. It has happened before. It can happen again. 
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Yes, but only after you've tried the traditional routes. Patience is the key. It's hard to let your manuscript languish on your hard drive while the biggies are pushing out books of less quality, but you must do it. Give it a year, maybe two years. If you haven't connected by then, look for a small press. Then, as a last resort, self-publish.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Have patience and see the previous paragraph. The road to being published is long, twisting, and, often, ridiculous. You must have the stamina and the patience to weather all the storms along the way. Don't expect to rich or famous. Simply enjoy the writing and the fans who adopt you.

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