The dust has settled and all those attending AwesomeCon are likely experiencing the fallout. I was lucky enough to snag a Q&A with the always busy, but very approachable author, M.L.S. Weech regarding a panel he and Russell Nohelty (founder of Wannabe Press) hosted at the event.
The panel covered what to expect after you finish writing your book. Namely, the soul crushing battle of getting published. I had mentioned to Weech, if he could manage the multi-tasking, I would like to get a recap of the event. The next day my messenger started blinking.
M.L.S. Weech: So I’m back from AwesomeCon. I’m still recovering, but do you want to talk about the panel?
Quintessential Editor: Absolutely! Did you manage to get a picture of yourself with Summer Glau?
Can I put it in the blog?
No you can’t.
(awkward pause) Well let’s talk about the panel then! What did you end up covering?
The biggest things we covered regarded marketing. The three major talking points were waiting until you have multiple books before trying to publish, understanding how publishing companies make money, and how to deal with editors.
Why wait until you have two books before trying to publish?
To be honest it’s much easier to market and sell products when you can give your readers different options. Additionally, being able to offer bundle deals is a big advantage.
You mentioned how some self-publishing companies make money, did you get bamboozled?
I don’t know about bamboozled, but not all publishing companies are equal in what they provide authors. Some self-publishing companies make their money off authors by conducting marketing campaigns, which come out of the author’s pocket. In my experience, these marketing campaigns didn’t sell any extra books. I think the most important thing is to do your homework and understand the hard fact that no one wants to sell your book but you. I was ignorant, and that ignorance cost me. I don’t blame anyone but myself.
What all did you talk about regarding editors. Be gentle, I dabble as a freelance editor after all.
Editors. If they want the money up front, and you pay them, how exactly are they motivated to do a good job or even do the job at all? I lost $14,000 last year, most of which was to editors who never finished editing my book, or to marketing campaigns like I already talked about.
It sounds like you had some bum luck with the editors. If you had it to do again, what would be different?
I would have done a lot more research. I would have sent my work to more than one editor for sample edits. Then I would have looked at what each individual did. Russell mentioned sending a revised sample to some alpha readers to see which version they liked as well.
Russell brought up the value of a well thought out contract. Make sure you and the editor come to terms with how many drafts you’ll work on together, and how long you’ll spend between edits. One of the things I really liked that Russell brought up was to include standard penalties if deadlines are missed.
How important is an event like AwesomeCon to authors? What kind of response did you get?
I do a majority of my sales through conventions. It’s how I meet readers. It gives me a chance to tell people about my book. Just like when people come to a bookstore to meet their favorite authors, it’s the same for these conventions. I do the same thing.
The other value of events like AwesomeCon is the ability to add names to my newsletter. Russell and I both put a lot of stock into newsletters because they build a relationship with readers. People like to see consistency out of artists. Newsletters combined with multiple appearances build a rapport and let readers know you’re serious.
You have a new book coming out soon – Caught. How are you feeling about it and what can people expect?
I’m growing to like Caught more and more as I revise it. It was always a good book. What I like about this book is its pace. The Journals of Bob Drifter was a drama. While there were thrills and action sequences, JOBD was about development and character. I’ll always believe stories center around character, but I wanted Caught to be about pace and intensity. There’s a balance between pacing and character, and that’s what these edits are about. Caught is darker that JOBD. It’s a horror novel. I want people to be unable to put it down before bed and unable to sleep after they read it.
Well as a beta reader of Caught, and someone who did a little editing on it, I can say I am eagerly awaiting the release. Thanks for sharing your insights on AwesomeCon, publishing, editors, and everything else.
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That’s it today. A few more tips and tricks for the ol toolbox. Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always -stay sharp!