Saturday, June 18, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Brian W. Matthews, author of 'The Conveyance'

Book Title: The Conveyance
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: JournalStone
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?
Brian: I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. I took a creative writing class in college, did quite well, and found it fun. I dabbled with writing for years but didn’t start writing stories on a regular basis until 2010, when a friend asked me to contribute a story to a cyberpunk anthology. I enjoyed the experience so much I decided to try writing novels.
Is this your first book?
Brian: Conveyance is my third. My other two novels are Forever Man and Revelation, which are part of a series. Conveyance is a story separate from them.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Brian: Conveyance was published through JournalStone, a press specializing in horror, science fiction, and fantasy. I’ve been under contract with them from the start, when they bought Forever Man and liked it enough to offer me a three book deal.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Brian: My journey in publishing differed from what I’ve heard others went through. After I finished Forever Man, I knew I wanted to release it through a publisher and sent a sample out to two. JournalStone wrote back asking for the full manuscript. Soon afterward, I was offered a contract. My understanding is this doesn’t happen often (getting a publisher on your first try), so I consider myself fortunate. Had I not found a publisher, I was prepared to self-publish.
I strongly recommend you try and find a publisher for your book. You receive the benefit of professional editing. The publisher is responsible for creating the cover, perhaps with your input, perhaps not. They will also print the book or format it for e-readers. These are parts of the process a writer has to do if he or she self-publishes.
Whether you self-publish or go with a publisher, be prepared to be your own marketer. No one is going to do this for you. You have to be active on social media, be willing to do blog tours, and arrange your own book readings/signings at book stores. It’s a difficult part of the publishing process, but it’s one you have to accept if you’re going to be an author.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Brian: Publishing is the business of selling books, which is often counter to the business of writing books. Publishers naturally look out for themselves, and writers should do likewise. Do not be afraid to cross out parts of a contract, especially the clauses giving away film and foreign language rights. Don’t be afraid to argue for your benefit—and be prepared to walk away if you don’t get what you are reasonably asking.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Brian: Absolutely. Swing for the fences. Query as many publishers as you can. Do not give up. If you don’t snag a publishing contract, either self-publish it or take a critical look at your book and decide, if you couldn’t secure a publisher for it, should it even be published? The latter is a tough call, since a writer puts a good year or more into a book, and shelving it can be painful.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Brian: Don’t be afraid to say no. No to a bad publishing contract. No to the people who say you can’t succeed. No to the devil on your shoulder that whispers doubts and fears in your ear each time you sit down to write. Writing is a difficult and lonely journey. Don’t let others make it worse by being negative.

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