Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Book Publishing Secrets with #Scifi #Fantasy Author David H. Reiss @davidhreiss

While growing up, David H. Reiss was that weird kid with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He was the table-top role-playing game geek, the comic-book nerd, the story-teller and dreamer. 

Fortunately, he hasn't changed much.

David is a software engineer by trade and a long-time sci-fi and fantasy devotee by passion, and he lives in Silicon Valley with his partner of twenty-six years. Until recently, he also shared his life with a disturbingly spoiled cat named Freya.

(Farewell, little huntress. You were loved. You are missed.)

David's first book, Fid's Crusade, has just recently been published; this was his first novel-length project, but it certainly won't be his last—he's having far too much fun!

About the Book:

Author: David H. Reiss
Publisher: Atian Press
Pages: 365
Genre: Scifi/Contemporary Fantasy

Consumed by grief, rage, and self-loathing, a brilliant inventor rebuilt himself to take on a new identity: the powered-armor-wearing supervillain, Doctor Fid. For twenty violent years, Fid has continued his quest to punish heroes who he considers to be unworthy of their accolades, and the Doctor has left a long trail of blood and misery in his wake. After a personal tragedy, however, Doctor Fid investigates a crime and uncovers a conspiracy so terrible that even he is taken aback.

Haunted by painful memories and profound guilt, the veteran supervillain must risk everything to save the world that he once sought to terrorize. Every battle takes its toll…but the stakes are too high for retreat to be an option.

In the end, it may take a villain to save the entire Earth from those entrusted with the Earth’s protection.


"Fid's Crusade by David H. Reiss is one of the most refreshing and lively takes on the superhero genre I've seen in years. His title character's crusade is colorful, compelling, and takes wonderfully unexpected turns, and the novel delivers an impressive emotional punch (to go along with the super-powered ones). It stands easily alongside other character-driven superhero novels like Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible, Carrie Vaughn's After the Golden Age, and Paul Tobin's Prepare to Die!." - Hugo award-winning author Tim Pratt



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?

In my earliest childhood memories, I was already a writer; I’ve been fascinated with reading and storytelling for my entire life. As such…becoming an author wasn’t much of a stretch. Writing this particular book, on the other hand, was a strange mix of luck, inspiration and stubbornness.
I’d been working on a different novel and run into a road block. After beating my head against that metaphorical wall for a while, I decided to start a new project just to clear my mind. Given that superhero stories are ubiquitous these days, I decided to write a piece of superheroic prose…with a twist. Fid’s Crusade was originally intended to a short story, a nonlinear stream-of-consciousness deep-dive into the mind of a supervillain, informed by the works of Faulkner and Vonnegut—a literary take on a popular genre that focused on the perspective of a traditional antagonist.
The first draft was well-written but painfully dry, so I tore it apart and started over in a slightly different style. And then tore that one up and started again. At some point, I realized that I’d come up with an entire novel’s worth of story that I wanted to tell from these characters’ perspectives.

Is this your first book?

Fid’s Crusade was my first finished novel, yes. I’ve since made quick work of a sequel and am currently putting the finishing touches on a third in the series.

As I mentioned earlier…I’ve been writing for all of my life. I’ve probably penned
hundreds of short stories, but I’d always had trouble with longer works. Sometimes, I think that the real reason that I was able to finish Fid’s Crusade (and now feel confident in my ability to write further novels) is that I stumbled across software to help me outline my plots. I think that every writer is different and that the software package that works for me may not work for other writers…but I do highly recommend that writers experiment to find a tool that helps them put their visions to paper.

With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?

I had begun the process of querying agents with the intent to publish this book traditionally, but in the end decided that being published in time for my grandmother’s one-hundredth birthday was more important…so I made the leap to self-publish. I’ve never regretted that choice. The book was dedicated to her and I was able to give her a signed copy as a present.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?

The main ‘pro’ of self-publishing is that there are fewer gatekeepers who must be appeased in order for your work to be published. You don’t need to find a literary agent who happens to be a good emotional and professional fit for your career ambitions, and you don’t need to wait for that agent to find a publisher who shares your vision.

The main ‘con’ of self-publishing is that there are fewer gatekeepers. Literary agents and publishers provide useful services in making sure that your book is ready for release and that it is ready to be marketed to the correct audience. If you self-publish, you need to learn all of those skills on your own.
(Hint: It’s not easy. I’ve found some wonderful online communities that can provide useful advice, but…in the end, all the work falls upon the self-publisher’s shoulders.)

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?

First and foremost, I’ve learned the importance of developing a marketing plan well before one hits the ‘publish’ button. That’s a place where I failed, honestly…I didn’t have a platform, I didn’t have a strategy in mind, I didn’t even have a firm idea as to who my prospective audience was or how to reach them.
If ever I successfully build a time-machine, my first act will be to leap back to a few months before I released Fid’s Crusade and punch my younger, more innocent self in the nose.
Actually, there are several points in my life that would probably have been improved by nose-punches. If I ever show up to a sci-fi con looking like I’ve spent a lifetime working as a substitute punching-bag at a heavyweight boxing gym, you all know why.

Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?

Yes, and no. For one thing, I still believe that the traditional publishing model provides a tremendously valuable service. For another…If you’re the sort of author who wants to focus upon your writing and nothing but your writing, then self-publishing is not the path for you.

But if you are willing to put in the time and effort to learn all the completely-not-writing-oriented skills necessary to successfully negotiate to get a professional cover created, to have your work professionally edited, to market and advertise and promote your work…I do genuinely believe that self-publishing can be a very rewarding path.
(Note: If you take the time to learn those skills BEFORE you start self-publishing, you will be far happier in the long run.)

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Read a lot and write a lot. There is no substitute for experience.
Also…don’t get discouraged. If your first story isn’t as perfect as you would have liked, feel free to close the file and start another one. And another. And another.
You’ll get there.

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