Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Publishing Secrets of Steve Dunn Hanson

I've lived in places that grew me . . . from a small Idaho farm town, a run-down neighborhood in St. Louis, and a middle-class southern California community, to Sydney, Australia, and Bucharest, Romania. My experiences are as varied as the places I've lived. I have a hopper full of "reality" including being a volunteer jail chaplain and flying with a U.S. presidential candidate in his small plane when an engine conked out. And all of this is fodder for my writing.

My latest book is the action/adventure/suspense novel, Sealed Up.

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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?
Steve: I decided to be an author some decades ago. I just haven’t had time to really get into it until the last few years when I haven’t been so swamped by things that keep me from doing it. As far as my book, Sealed Up, is concerned, I’ve had a compulsion to write about this for the last six or seven years. It’s literally unlike any other book out there both in its subject matter and its conclusion. It just may be that I was prescient in writing it. We’ll see.
Is this your first book?
Steve: It’s my first book for the general market and my first “full length” novel. I have three previously published books for a sectarian market.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Steve: I went Indie. I tried the agent route at first and may have gone that way if an “acceptable” agent took it. Ultimately, I decided to go the Indie route because of the control I would have. I’m glad I did. It has been a learning process which I have thoroughly enjoyed, and the results so far are very satisfying.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Steve: Journey is the right word! There are so many nuances with self-publishing that unless you are willing to put in the time and effort to learn the game, and willing to spend some money, don’t do it. You are the writer, the publisher, the promoter, the marketer, the advertiser, the reviewer recruiter, etc., etc. For me, this all has been very interesting, even fascinating at times. The downside is that it takes me away from writing and adds months to my schedule for getting my next book in the series out.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Steve: The market is hugely competitive. Agents, by their own admission, are highly subjective in what they choose to represent. If you don’t have a track record, you’d better have an “in” or no matter how good your book, you are not likely to get the kind of agent representing you that you want. On the other hand, Indie publishing is extraordinarily competitive too. For example, there are some 4 million eBooks on Kindle. That’s what you are in competition with. The upside is if you do your homework and—VERY IMPORTANT—you have a really good book, you are going to be okay. It’s lots of work, but it can be done. Many thousands of Indie writer-publishers have proven that.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Steve: If you can find the kind of really good agent that will work their tail off for you, I’d go that route. On the other hand, if you are willing to learn and work hard, and you have a Cracker-Jack of a book, the Indie route works!
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Steve: If you know you have talent, just keep plugging along. You will need to learn how to write for your market just like you learned to walk. It’s not an overnight process and most of the really good (and successful) authors would consider their first offerings trash. And it probably was. Be patient with yourself and try to be objective about your writing. Seek out and listen to folks you respect who are willing to be candid about what you are putting out. And read, read, read! That will help you more than just about anything.

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