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Writer’s Round Table – On Publishing

Writer’s Round Table – On Publishing

Getting Published
Melissa Ohnoutka
Getting Published
Stella Riley

We’re back at the round table again, catching up with three of our favorite authors. Melissa Ohnoutka, Will Graham, and Rusty Rhoad.

For many of us fledgling writers, we wonder, what does it take to get published? Over the next few articles we’re going to demystify the process. Hopefully. Does this mean that you’ll get an answer that will get you published? Or rocket your latest book to the top of the charts? As you’ll read here, and in many other sources, Lady Luck plays a major role.

Here’s more from our faves!

What did it take for you to become published?

WILLIAM: Luck, pure and simple. I was extremely fortunate to win 'wild card' slots in the anthologies MURDER BY MAGIC and THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER. Both received extraordinary submissions, but I was fortunate enough to make the final cut in both.

RUSTY: Talent, sheer talent. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Hold on a minute, my tongue seems to be stuck in my cheek. OK, Luck. I met a local writing-and-writers shaker and mover who sent my book to an editor who loved it.

MELISSA: Determination and a huge learning curve. After years of conferences and requests by agents and editors, I decided to go the indie-publishing route. This meant learning how to format, create covers, find editors, etc. But it's the best thing I ever did. It's all about control for me and not being under so much pressure to reach a deadline.

What was the one thing that surprised you more than any other when you were published?

WILLIAM: The shout-out Publisher's Weekly gave to "Spider's Tango" in T3. I can remember staring at the screen, not quite believing what I was reading.

RUSTY: The cover. Never in my wildest imagination could I have come up with a better cover. I guess that’s why I’m a writer and not an artist. If it wasn’t so self-aggrandizing, I’d get it tattooed somewhere.

MELISSA: How much time, effort and money the marketing side required. To be honest, I'm still working on finding the right balance.

What role do you see the Indie (self)published as having in today’s publishing environment?

WILLIAM: The goal of any writer is - in my opinion - to tell the story you want to tell. Publishing is such a subjective environment to start with, the option of going Indie has opened the gates for some fantastic writers who otherwise may have not had the chance to get their work out to a broad audience.

RUSTY: On the plus side, it allows the entrepreneur to make money in publishing without the crap game of agents-and-major houses. Plus it’s broken open the whole business—whether or not for the better, it’s hard to tell. On the minus side, it has unleashed a lot of really bad books on the book reading-and-buying and public. Will they become jaded and just quit? Again, hard to tell.

MELISSA: I don't think this is any different from a traditionally published author. We all want to write a great story, get it out to the readers and then start on the next one. It's what drives me as a writer, even though at times my writing has to be put on hold due to life. But that doesn't mean the voices in my head stop.

I do believe indie publishing has changed the role of an author though. It's made them stronger, more knowledgeable about how the publishing industry works and that in itself has made the entire process better. Now of course there are cons as well. With so many people able to publish their own work (ready or not), it can make getting your book noticed more difficult.

What role does Amazon play as you see it?

WILLIAM: Right now, Amazon is the 800lb. Gorilla in Indie Publishing. The broadest possible reach (worldwide), and the work is always there. A traditionally published work has an average shelf life of two to six weeks. With Amazon Indie, the work is there until the author decides to make it no longer available.

RUSTY: I agree with Will. They set the rules. So far, they seem to be a benevolent dictator, with no intention of developing nuclear weapons. I’m going out on a limb and say their influence is overwhelmingly positive.

MELISSA: Aw...Amazon. Have to agree with Will and Rusty. Right now they are the ones holding all the cards. You want your books on their site because of the number of people they reach daily, but you have to play by their rules. This takes away some of that control I so love. LOL

RUSTY: Think Confessions of a Control Freak will be the title of your next book?

MELISSA: Great title, Rusty! I love it! Wait a minute! Now how on earth did you know what my next book was about?? LOL Boy are the wheels turning now…

WILLIAM: Well, I guess the secret is out now. I was under the impression Melissa was working on Confessions of a Control Freak, Volume 3How to Deal with Writer Friends already. Or maybe that was Volume 4. I don’t recall.

The cool thing is, all three of these authors also can be found contributing on many blogs. Next week, I’ll add the blogs that they contribute to. Or the ones they star in! And we’d love to structure our articles around what you’d like to read about. Don’t hesitate to shoot me an email with interview questions.

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