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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Interview with Caroline Miller-

1.Please tell us about your background. Are you a full time writer? what type of writing do you do?
~~I am a full time writer, and how. Sit at the computer writing my blog or a novel a good 6-8 hrs per day.

2. What have your experiences been, if any, with the traditional publishing world?
~~Have looked for an agent. Tough market to crack. Without an agent, there's no mainstream publishing. One does a small press instead.

3. What prompted you to take an alternative method to getting your book published?
~~I fell into small press which is more receptive to writers than the main stream publishing houses.

4. What has your experience been? Was it difficult to navigate your way through the process?
~~Not clear if you mean mainstream or small press. If mainstream, yes, very difficult to maneuver with an agent. Impossible without one. Small press requires lots of research as there are many of them out there (compared to the 6 or so mainstream presses with their subsidiaries). Some small presses have narrow guidelines. Many of them have different submission policies. Finding the press that might be interested in your work is work; submitting work in proper format takes time and diverts from writing. Mercifully more and more companies are taking e-mail submissions which cut down on the expense of postage and paper.

5. Have you been satisfied with your decision?
~~Mixed bag about satisfaction. My first publisher went belly-up in 2008 so they switched to self-publishing. I'm a royalty artist but people now think my first book was self-published. Also, company isn't really interested in doing much because they gave up representing writers two years ago. Contract was lousy. The second publisher, more careful in their production, a bit more generous contract, but again POD means all the promotion rests with the author.

6. Would you recommend this method of publishing to others?
~~Yes, I'd recommend POD. First, it's environmentally friendly. No waste with unsold books sitting in a warehouse or in my basement. I think it is the coming trend as printing books has become so expensive. Small presses can take more chances with a new author. Not every book has to be a blockbuster. Of course, with printing becoming so affordable and with small publishers having no promotion budget, I think the trend in publishing will be to self-publish. Why pay a middle man 60% of your sales just to have them print the book?

7. What advice would you give those struggling to get their books published?
~~I give advice on my blog from time to time but if I had to boil advice down to essentials they are the old chestnuts: a. know your craft. b. expect to spend money to get your book published even with a small press and start by paying for an editor. That will cost about $3 per page. Nonetheless, I recommend the expense. The competition for print space is fierce so don't get out on stage with anything less than your best. If you want help with promotion, you have to pay for that etc. c. DON'T EXPECT TO make any money and expect to work yourself to the bone doing promotion work which isn't writing and will take you away form your first love. d. Finally and most important DON'T GET DISCOURAGED. www.carolinemillerbooks.com

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