Tag Archive | Publishing

Author Interview – Mike Gullickson

Greetings, fellow bibliophiles!  Today I have the pleasure of introducing you all to Mike Gullickson, author of The Northern Star:  The Beginning.  You can read the Bookworm’s review of The Northern Star: The Beginning by clicking here.

Bookworm:  “Thank you for agreeing to do this interview!  First, Tell us about what inspired the story?Mike Gullickson_Headshot (1)

Mike Gullickson:  A lot of my novels start with images that pop in my head. I wish I could draw. My mom insists I can, but she’s referencing dinosaurs from 4th grade and that’s when I peaked.

For The Northern Star, I distinctly remember when it came into existence. It occurred about ten years ago while I was listening to Radiohead’s “I Might Be Wrong.” There’s a line in the song:

There is no future left at all/That I know

(I checked. It’s actually “There is no future left at all/That I think,” but it’s too late to go back, I heard “that I know” for the last decade.)

And that line haunted me with imagery that became The Northern Star. The story changed significantly since those first images, but that’s how it began. An inconsequential fact: I first wrote The Northern Star as a screenplay. It was horrible.

Other external inspirations that shaped me are Stephen King (like many authors, On Writing is my bible), Guillermo Del Toro, and Terminator 2, because as a kid, I wanted to be one.

Bookworm:  “So you are a RadioHead fan?  What are some of your favorite songs?  Any other music inspire your writing?

Mike Gullickson: It’s funny. Just by volume of listening, I’d be considered a huge radio fan (I’m 100% certain I’ve listened to “I Might Be Wrong,” more than anyone else in the world. I wrote the first two novels of The Northern Star with it looped), but it’s become almost a workman-like relationship. For whatever reason, Amnesiac and Kid A (two Radiohead albums) transport me to the place I need to go in order to write this stuff. It’s almost Pavlovian.

If you want to know what songs are “The Northern Star,” they are:

You and Whose Army? (Radiohead, Amnesiac)

The entire song reminds me of the latter half of the series when most of the characters, especially the bionics, are nearly unrecognizable from where they came. You forget so easy, is a line in it that still gives me chills.

I Might Be Wrong (Radiohead, Amnesiac)

Previously discussed. The catalyst that started the whole series. I don’t think the novels would exist without this song, which is kind of weird.

The National Anthem (Radiohead, Kid A)

This is the song I play before I start writing anything to do with the series. Jeez, I’m starting to sound weird, but if you meet me, I’m super normal. No matter what city I’m in, people always ask me for directions. That’s how normal I am.

How to Disappear Completely (Radiohead, Kid A)

A song of intense loss and tragedy, which this series has in spades (Lyric: In a little while . . . I’ll be gone). So many of the characters lose themselves in this story, and some of them know that to make right, their sacrifice will be even greater. One of the characters is a sociopath, and I think, as the story progresses, he may be the most tragic of them all. I’m listening to it right now, and I can feel a swell of emotion for them.

I can’t think of any other music that’s inspired my writing, but I do listen to AC/DC a ton.

Bookworm:  “Who was your favorite character you’ve ever written? Why?

Mike Gullickson: This is a great question because my gut reaction surprised me. Intellectually, it would be John Raimey (the character that ties the entire series together), but emotionally it’s Jeremiah Sabot, Cynthia Revo’s bodyguard/lover.

He’s loyal to Cynthia without being weak. And while most people in that situation (she’s the smartest, wealthiest, and most powerful person in the world) would wilt and lose their identity, he’s etched out clear boundaries. In her expertise, she’s the boss. But in his (war) he gives her no quarter. In one situation, he doesn’t even let her speak. Of all the characters, he knows exactly who he is and what he must do, and there’s something admirable about that. And his love for Cynthia is absolute.

Incidentally, Sabot is my wife’s favorite character, too.

Bookworm:  “I love how the characters of Evan and Xan play off each other even though they never meet.  I’m sure most readers would characterize Evan as a “villain” character but would be a little troubled by where to place Xan.  We certainly can’t characterize him as a hero.  Would you characterize him as an anti-hero?

Mike Gullickson: One of the editors, Justin, asked the same thing, “ugh, is Xan bad?”  No.  He isn’t.  He’s looking out for his country, and their interests aren’t our own.  I don’t like ‘good’ and ‘bad.’  I think it’s boring and simplistic and not true to life.  I’m not the first to say it, but bad people don’t think they’re bad.  It doesn’t mean their not, just that there’s an impetus for their actions.

 I have a soft spot for Xan.  Subterfuge takes on a whole new meaning when powerful Sleepers (cyberspace hackers) can read a person’s mind and even sway their predilections.  It makes spying look like patty cake, and he is aware that his kind (in the book, I call them ‘shadow men’) are a detriment.  He surprised me a bit.

 The difference between Xan and Dr. Lindo rests in their motives.  Dr. Lindo wants power.  His end game is for him alone.  Xan desires a sane world.  It’s like divergent evolution.  Their end goals are similar, but their reason for getting there is completely different.

 Aside from Sabot, I think most of the characters are anti-heroes.  You can’t help but be flawed in their circumstances. 

Bookworm:  “Who are some of your favorite authors?

Mike Gullickson:  Stephen King is a huge influence.  Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle (Inferno, Lucifer’s Hammer, Mote Series), Joe Halderman (Forever War), Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box). 

My guilty pleasure is John Sandford’s Prey/Virgil Flowers Series.”

Bookworm:  “Tell us about your upcoming book.

Mike Gullickson:  “The Northern Star: Civil War takes place ten years after The Beginning.  While the world governments have calmed, they are increasingly wary of MindCorp’s jurisdiction over them, as their citizens reside almost completely on-line, turning national borders into lines on a map. 

Raimey is sent to the Congo to confront a warlord who is raiding valuable mineral mines that MindCorp needs to maintain and grow the network.  Tank Minors (infantry-based bionics) have been in service for three years.  Mike Glass is the first of that kind, and by the Civil War he is the most advanced.  Always cold, he has found someone that he connects to, and even for him, loves. 

Dr. Lindo, now the Secretary of Defense, manipulates the world’s leaders for his final plan.  The corrupt he blackmails, the righteous he threatens what they hold dear.  MIME CPU’s whisper his will in cyberspace.  “The Twins” – two advanced Tank Majors – enact his will on earth.  And only Cynthia Revo stands in his way. 

I thought it’d be an easier re-write than The Beginning.  I was wrong.  But if I can pull it off, I think this will be an excellent addition to The Northern Star series.  The last book, The End, is gonzo.

Bookworm:  “James Bond or Ethan Hunt?

Mike Gullickson:  “Bond, even though I think Bourne would take him.”

Bookworm:  “What is your favorite scene that you have written?

Mike Gullickson:  It’s a pretty ghastly scene in Civil War.  In a memory about a war in Israel, Raimey recalls a young military recruit vomiting while he power washes the dead out of Raimey’s fists and gears.  Gross, but I love it!

Bookworm:  “If you could take one book on a desert island, what book would it be?

Mike Gullickson:  “The Stand.  It’s long and every time I read it, I’m entertained. “

Bookworm: “Do you have any advice to other authors who wish to self-publish?”

Mike Gullickson:  “That’s a tough one.  I’m so new to the game.  I think a lot of authors (myself included) view self-publishing/traditional publishing and lit agent/no agent as the same thing, when really that isn’t the case.  They’re distinctly separate conversations.  

I self-published because I had a bad experience with an agent a few years ago and I was tired of waiting for someone to ‘like’ me.  Having said that, as an author, it’s easy to get bitter about the process, but with a little empathy, you can see what a daunting task lit agents have in front of them.  A music agent can know in ten minutes if they want to sign a band.  For a lit agent, one novel may take them days. 

So even though I had a bad experience, I think even if you self-publish, a good agent could be a valuable asset.  To have an advocate who can access tastemakers (critics, movie studios, international publishers) is a huge advantage to help you rise above the noise floor. 

I’m not as convinced about traditional publishing, at least domestically.  I think most people buy on-line now and with KDP, Createspace, Smashwords – and distribution channels like Amazon and Barnes & Noble – readers can snap up your book, it’s just getting them to know about it. 

It’s an incredibly tough challenge, and the quality of your work is no guarantee of success.  Word of mouth is probably the most important thing (that’s how I buy most of my books) and that’s pixie dust, like a video gone viral.  Or the success of “Gundam Style.” 

Oh, and I think ‘platform’ is a stupid concept for fiction.  It’s made up, people!  Whether your a PhD in robotics or a janitor with a great imagination, it shouldn’t make a damn bit of difference.  Either the story works or it doesn’t.”

Bookworm:  ”Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.  I can’t wait to read the next book.”

 You can visit Mike Gullickson’s website by clicking here.   You can read my review of The Northern Star: The Beginning here. If you like what you read here, be sure to follow us on twitter @ErinEymard and Google Plus.  The Bookworm is also giving a copy of Stephen King On Writing to one lucky follower of the blog/twitter/Google plus.  More information can be found on our Google Plus page and in this blog post.


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Author Interview – Robert Evert

The Bookworm is excited to interview Robert Evert.  Robert’s first novel Riddle in Stone went on pre-order on February 2, 2013.  You may remember from Around the Web #2 that I first met Robert through the wonderful communities on Google Plus.  He was kinds enough give me an interview.

Author of  Riddle in Stone

Author of Riddle in Stone

Bookworm:  “Before we start, let me say that I just adore your blog.  In fact, I picked up Stephen King’s On Writing after reading your post.  I like that you are very frank with your readers.”

Robert Evert:  “Thanks, Erin!  To tell you the truth, I don’t like the idea of “blogging.”  One, it takes time from my other writing. And two, I’m not sure it really helps “promote” books.  But I’ve met some wonderful people like yourself so I’m glad I’ve done it.  Also, I can’t imagine why anybody would read my ramblings.  But I’m glad a few of you have!

And yes, every writer should read Stephen King’s “On Writing.”  Also, Sol Stein’s “Stein on Writing.” Both are wonderful books. I didn’t realize how bad of a writer I was until I read them. I honestly can say that I wouldn’t have gotten my manuscript published without their help.”

Bookworm:  “Speaking of which how’s the blogging coming?”

Robert Evert: “Ha! You tell me!  I don’t know.  I mean, I try to write something every week.  I want to chronicle my journey as an aspiring writer.  Hopefully I can say something that will help somebody out there.  Had I had a writing mentor years ago, I would have gotten published so much sooner.  My blog is just a way that I can try to help others learn what I learned the hard way.”

Bookworm:  “So, tell me a little about your upcoming book?

Robert Evert:  “Riddle in Stone is about this guy named Edmund. He is fat, stutters, and deeply in love with a beautiful woman, who doesn’t know he exists.

One day he realizes that his life stinks. Every morning he gets up, does the same thing that he did the day before, and then goes to bed alone. He’s bored and wants something – anything – to give his life meaning. So he decides to become a famous adventure, like all of the heroes in his beloved books.  But he quickly realizes that being a hero isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.

It’s an “epic fantasy.” However, it really isn’t about magic and goblins and sword fights, although all of which are in the book.  It’s about trying to find out who you are. There’s a mystery and a sweet romance. But there’s also a “bro-mance” where Edmund and another guy are thrown together out of necessity. They become friends and help each other find happiness.

Hopefully it’ll strike a chord with somebody out there.”

Bookworm:  “Who/What inspired the story?”

Robert Evert: Boy, this is a difficult question to answer! You see, originally, I didn’t set out to write a book. I was just trying to practice writing, dialogue in particular. Every day, I sat down and spent at least fifteen minutes writing short scenes with this character—“Edmund.”

I had no idea who he was or what he wanted out of life. I was just trying to practice creating scenes and, bit by bit, this story simply unfolded in front of me. I wrote about four hundred pages and sent it to an agent, who said she loved it. And here we are!

Looking back, I have to say that Edmund is very much like me, though I didn’t plan it that way. He’s not good-looking. He’s not strong or talented. He’s not a hero. But he tries very hard to be a good person, although things don’t always work out the way he plans them.”

Bookworm:  “I love the cover.  Who came up with the concept?  Who designed it?”

Robert Evert:  Thanks!  The wonderful art staff at Diversion Books did that for me. I was a bit nervous seeing the cover for the first time.  I was worried that it was going to stink.  But they really did a nice job.

As far as the concept, that was a lot of give and take between me and the art staff. Most fantasy covers have big burly manly men holding buxom women who are falling out of thin clothing.  Or maybe there’s a grim roguish fellow with a sword. 

But none of that works for my story.  Edmund isn’t the typical hero. He’s short, fat, and balding.  He has a good heart, but it’s hard to see that in a picture. So I suggested showing him from behind.  Hopefully it’ll attract a few readers out there.”

Bookworm:  “Favorite superhero power?”

Robert Evert:  “Most of the time, I’d love to be invisible…which is horrible for a writer. Nowadays, you have to be “out there” talking to people and marketing your book.  I’m just not very good at such things.

If I had my choice, I would like the ability to truly understand people.  People really puzzle me.  I’m never too sure why they do the things they do or say the things they say. They’re a complete mystery to me.  I wish I could just see and understand them for who they are.”

Bookworm:  “Who’s your favorite literary Terry?”

Robert Evert:  Well, Terry Pratchett comes to mind.  I love the humor.  But Terry Brooks and Terry Goodkind are brilliant as well.”

Bookworm:  “What authors inspire you?”

Robert Evert:  “Beverly Cleary was the first.  I loved “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” as a kid.  Then Tolkien changed my life.  I didn’t know the joy of reading and writing until I read the Lord of the Rings.  But there are a ton of wonderful authors out there.  Nearly every book I pick up inspires me in some way.”

Bookworm:  “On your blog, you often say “First drafts suck.”  I’m sure every writer feels that pain.  Who helps you edit your drafts?”

Robert Evert:  “I have a writing friend, Christine DeSmet, who edited the first book. She’s a fellow author and an incredible person.  A bit brutal at times. But I think writers need to hear, “This stinks!” Once in awhile.  Sometimes we don’t see the flaws in our own writing.  Outside editors who are blunt are a big help!”

Bookworm: “How did you go about getting published?

Robert Evert:  “Ah! That’s a book in and of itself! 

I’ve been trying to get published ever since I was in fifth grade. I tried and tried and tried, but never got anywhere.  Then I started studying the craft of writing.  If you want to get published, you have to study writing just like you would for any career. Once I realized that, getting published became very easy.”

Bookworm:  “Any advice to unpublished writers?”

Robert Evert:  “I have a TON of suggestions for unpublished writers. Things that I wish people would have told me when I first started out.  Here’s one tip you might not have heard before—read new authors. Of course, being a new author, that probably sounds a bit self-serving. But follow my logic for a minute. 

If you pick up a book by Stephen King or Tolkien or Rowlings or the latest big seller, I think we have a tendency of saying to ourselves, “Since they’re selling so many books, this must be good! I need to write like them!” It’s difficult for unpublished writers to read popular authors objectively. If we see something we don’t like, I think we often say, “Oh, it must just be me. I must not see what everybody else does. I must not get it.” And that’s a bad mindset. 

Unpublished writers need to study writing. We can’t do that if we think other people have all the answers.

However, if you read books by people you’ve never heard of before, you’re free to think whatever you like. You can say, “Holy cow! This is really unique! I love how the author does x.” And you’re free to say, “Holy crap! This sucks! How the hell did this get published?”

Read new writers.  E-mail them. Ask them questions. Talk to them about the craft of writing. Stephen King and J.K. Rowlings probably won’t respond to “fan mail.” But a new writer certainly will!  I mean, I would LOVE for somebody to take the time to e-mail me and say something nice about my work!  That’s a hint, by the way.”

Bookworm:  ”Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.  And good luck on the pre-order of Riddle in Stone.”  

 You can visit Robert Evert’s blog by clicking here.  You can pre-order Riddle in Stone by clicking here.  If you like what you read here, be sure to follow us on twitter @ErinEymard and Google Plus.  The Bookworm is also giving a copy of Stephen King On Writing to one lucky follower of the blog/twitter/Google plus.  More information can be found on our Google Plus page!

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Author Interview – JD Hallowell

JD Hallowell

JD Hallowell

Written by Erin Eymard.

So after writing a review of JD Hallowell’s Dragon Fate, I interviewed the author to get a glimpse of his inspiration for writing. 

Bookworm:  “Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.  Can you tell me what was your inspiration for Dragon Fate?”  

JD Hallowell:  “Dragon Fate is a very special book to me, because it very clearly marks the point where I made a radical change from being someone who wanted to be a writer, and who talked about being a writer, and who played around at being a writer, to being someone who actually was a writer and took it seriously. The book is the result of a major epiphany, and the inspiration and motivation for it very clearly came from a higher power: my wife and son.

We have a treasured tradition of reading books aloud together as a family, which has helped build family bonds and given us some wonderful shared memories, but which also has its practical side: it saves us from having to either buy three copies of everything we all want to read or wrestle each other into submission to be the one to read it first. By some complex set of rules that I have never quite managed to determine, I end up doing the bulk of the reading. We were working our way through a series by an author who shall remain un-named, and I kept coming across things in the story that I felt were inconsistent or that weren’t quite true to the way the characters or the universe had been presented earlier in the books…and it got to me. It got to me to the point that I started interrupting the reading to rant about it. 

That did it. 

They told me to put up or shut up. It wasn’t my story, and I didn’t get to decide what the characters did or how the story should go, and they weren’t going to listen to me complain about how someone else did things until I had proven I could do it at least as well myself.
Something clicked at that moment. I sat down that afternoon and started writing the book that would become Dragon Fate. I worked on it between 10 and 18 hours every single day for the next two and a half months until the story was complete. 

They restored my complaining rights.  I’ve been writing seriously ever since.

I don’t always know where the stories in my head come from, but sometimes one gets in there and I can’t get it out any other way but to write it down. Like any other author, I’ve probably been influenced in one way or another by everything I’ve ever read or experienced, and I’m sure that there are a lot of things that have influenced me strongly that I am not even aware of. I can tell you that I fell in love with the idea of dragons as heroes in Anne McCaffrey’s books. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of dragons and the incredibly varied mythology surrounding them, so it may have been inevitable that that the first thing I’d write that I felt was publication-worthy would be a book where dragons were central to the story. When I made that decision to sit down and write a book like my life depended on it, dragons were on my mind, and Dragon Fate is what came out.

Bookworm:  “I love the cover of Dragon Fate.  Can you tell us a little about it and who designed it?”

JD Hallowell:  Craig R. Smith designed the cover, and I agree that he did a wonderful job. I was astounded at what a relatively simple image and some careful typography could become in the hands of a skilled graphic designer. I wanted a cover that would instantly communicate fantasy and dragons without being stale and that would still be readable at thumbnail size. When I saw what Craig was proposing for the cover, I instantly knew that it was right. The Dragon Fate cover actually took second place in the Tor.com Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Cover just a few weeks after it was released, so it’s safe to say that a lot of other people liked it, too.

Bookworm:  “Can you tell us about your upcoming book?”

JD Hallowell:  I just released Dragon Blade, the second book in the War of the Blades series. It follows on almost directly from the story told in Dragon Fate, but it’s faster paced, with more action, and it puts the Dragon Fate story in a wider context. I have another book in the same setting that I keep thinking is finished until I do another read-through, and I find that there are a few little things here and there that need tweaking. I’m almost at the point where I’m ready to apply Heinlein’s third rule and stop make further changes unless an editor asks for them. It is tentatively titled Dragon Home. 

It is set shortly after Dragon Blade, and it deals with a lot of the political and social fallout of the events in that book. It should be ready for release later this year. I have already completed a fourth book that takes place in the same world, primarily following different characters and a different main story line, that happens in a time frame that overlaps to some extent with Dragon Home. That book is going through initial edits right now, and I’m hoping that it will also be released sometime this year, hopefully shortly after Dragon Home comes out. It has a working title of Dragon Justice. I’ll be putting more about these up on my blog as the release dates get closer.

Bookworm:  “Who are some of your favorite authors?”

JD Hallowell:  This is tough, because I don’t have one or two favorite authors that I read. My favorite poet is easy: A.A. Milne. Choosing a favorite novelist is almost impossible. I read a lot, and in many different genres, and for most of the authors I’ve read, there are books of theirs I liked and other books that I didn’t care for so much. For fantasy and SF, you could just start with Isaac Asimov and go through to Roger Zelazny. If I have to narrow it down, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert A. Heinlein, and Shelby Foote would be at the top.

Bookworm:  “What advice would you give a beginning writer?”

JD Hallowell:  Well, my first piece of advice would be not to ask me for advice: it took me until my fifties to get to the point where I had a book worth reading. If you insist, then I’d have to say:  Stick to it. Don’t give up. Read Heinlein’s rules, and follow them.

Bookworm:  “Any final thoughts on indie/small press publishing?”

JD Hallowell:  It is a lot of work, and it’s not for the faint-hearted or easily discouraged. I’ve had a very good experience, and been very fortunate to have remarkably talented and supportive people around me, and I have no doubt that it would have been far harder for me without them. There is no magic key to writing and publishing successfully, whether through self-publishing, small press, or traditional, that doesn’t require hard work and the support of other people.

Bookworm:  ”Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.  And definitely thank you for providing us with such a wonderful read.”  

 You can visit JD Hallowell’s blog by clicking here.  You can read my review of Dragon Fate by clicking here.  If you like what you read here, be sure to follow us on twitter @ErinEymard.

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Author Interview – Brian Rush


So after writing a review of Brian Rush’s Goddess-Born: A Tale of Two Worlds, I interviewed the author to get a glimpse of his inspiration for writing. 

Bookworm:  “Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.  Can you tell me what was your inspiration for Goddess-Born: A Tale of Two World?”

Brian Rush:  “Inspiration for a story can come from the strangest places. In the 1990s I played a video game called “Master of Magic.” It was a strategy game, much like the Sid Meier’s Civilization series but with magic instead of technology. One of the features of that game was that the game map was twofold; there were two worlds, one somewhat magical, the other highly magical, and several ways to get from one world to the other. The main way was by means of magical towers that were guarded by monsters. So you had to defeat the monsters and take possession of the towers, and then any units in the same square as the tower could move between the worlds.

So that actually was the beginning of the Tale of Two Worlds concept which began in
The Green Stone Tower. Other than the two worlds connected by magical towers, one of them
more magical than the other, there isn’t a lot of resemblance between the stories and the game,
but that was the starting point.

Goddess-Born itself began with nothing but the characters of Sonia and Malcolm
who had been set up in the final part of The Green Stone Tower as infants, plus of course the
background already developed in Tower. I started the story twenty-one years after the end of
Tower, with Sonia and Malcolm as young adults. Everything flowed from there. I had already set up the Kingdom of Grandlock as a modernizing monarchy with early-modern technology, so having the country go through a crisis of democratic revolution was a logical development.

Adding the distorting effects of magic and the subtle interference of the gods built the rest of the
plot, and the other characters suggested themselves in the course of developing it.”

Bookworm:  “Who was your favorite character you’ve ever written? Why?”

Brian Rush:  “That’s a hard one. I think I would have to say that my favorite character is Karla/Angéefrom the Star Mages trilogy. She’s one of the two viewpoint characters – the series is written in alternating first person, with half of it in her view and the other half in that of Correl/Falcon, who was Karla’s lover and Angée’s father. As to why, well, initially Karla is a Crystal Mage, one ofthe truly nasty sorcerers. Think Sith Lord with more power and more perverse depravity. She is callous, indifferent to the welfare of most of humanity, and quite deadly. And yet her ongoing love for Correl (who is a Star Mage, one of the idealistic wizards who are the Crystal’s flip side) lifts her out of her otherwise completely selfish approach to life.

After Karla becomes Angée through a process of self-sacrifice and reincarnation, a more
noble side of her personality comes out. And yet her memories and experience from being a
Crystal Mage continue to give her a hard edge and a ruthless streak in service to her new ideals. I
like her because of the contradictions and paradoxes in her personality. I always enjoyed entering into her mindset. I may even write more stories with her as the central character, although it won’t be real soon.”

Bookworm:  “Who are your favorite conventionally published authors?”

Brian Rush:  “My absolute favorite conventionally published author is without a doubt Neil Gaiman. I’ve read just about everything book-length that he’s written: Stardust, Neverwhere, American Gods, Anansi Boys. I love his style, the compassion he shows, his sense of irony and his ability to craft a story. I’ve sometimes wished I could write the way he does, but there’s no way that’s going to happen, which doesn’t mean I can’t learn to write as well. But he and I are radically different people and if I were to try to shape my writing to what he does I would ruin it.

There’s a pretty long list of others I’ve liked a lot, too, if not quite as well. Jim Butcher’s
Dresden Files” series is wonderful. On the surface it looks like yet another urban-fantasy
schlock thing with wizards and vampires and whatnot in a somewhat-shifted modern-day
world, but the character of Harry Dresden himself lifts it way above that level. And characters
and stories are what fiction of any kind is about, right? The rest is just trappings. I also like
Jacqueline Carey for the richness, sensuality, and passion of her writing. And the whole concept
of Blessed Elua just tickles the hell out of me.”

Bookworm:  “Do you have any advice to other authors who wish to self-publish?”

Brian Rush:  “Really at this point I can say two things.

First, there’s a learning curve to writing fiction whether you self-publish or go through
publishing houses. It just manifests a little differently. If you go through publishing houses,
you write books that are never accepted, piling up rejection slips from agents and then from
publishers, until you learn enough in the course of writing to create something that is accepted. If
you self-publish, you write books and publish them and they don’t find an audience because they
aren’t quite good enough to stand out, until you learn enough in the course of writing to create
something that does and that sells well.

No matter how you approach it, the only way to learn to write is to write. I look back on my earlier efforts now, like the Star Mages trilogy, and while that is by no means awful, I know I can do better now. If I were writing that trilogy today, it would be much better than it is, because I learned a lot in the course of writing it and The Green Stone Tower and Goddess-Born. There just aren’t any short-cuts and that has to be accepted. As the I Ching is fond of telling us, perseverance furthers.

The other thing I’d say is that you should not skimp on quality, ever. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a lot of money on editing, cover design, etc. but it does mean that if you don’t, you need to spend a lot of time. If you have any aesthetic sense you can learn to design your own covers, but you must work at doing so (unless you’re already a graphic designer, of course). You can do most (not all) of your own editing, too: the proofreading and style-editing parts, which are the tedious and time-consuming parts. You still need someone else who knows what they’re doing to read your work and tell you where it falls short, where something doesn’t ring true, where the pace is too slow or a character isn’t working, that sort of thing. An author is always too close to his or her work to see that kind of thing. But about 90 percent of editing in terms of time spent can be done by the author.

But the point here is that none of this will do itself. There are skill sets to acquire if you want to self-publish and don’t have a lot of money sitting around. Even when you have those skill sets, and any writer really should be able to proofread for example, using them can be tedious and time-consuming. Too bad. You have to. There’s just no excuse for publishing anything that isn’t as good as you can make it. If you’re self-publishing, you are responsible for all of that. You can’t blame the publisher for a typo or a bad cover because you are the publisher.

Treat your book like a work of art, because it is one, and make it as absolutely perfect as you are
able to before you hit that upload button and go live.

Bookworm:  “Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.”  

Readers can get more information about Brian from his author’s page located at http://brianrushwriter.wordpress.com/.  If you like what you read here, be sure to follow us on twitter @ErinEymard.

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Vanity Publishing

Wonderful insight on vanity publishing. A great tool for all would be authors!  Brian Rush does a great job of explaining the publishing world in a way easy to understand for the uninitiated.  Check out my review of his book Goddess-Born.

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Brian Rush

As if we didn’t have enough reasons already to loathe and despise the Big 6 publishing companies, now they’re dirtying their hands with vanity publishing scams, and to add insult to injury this foray into the even-darker side of the publishing world is being described in press releases as publishing companies getting into “self-publishing.” Both Penguin and Simon & Schuster have bought or partnered with a vanity publishing company to lure writers into giving them their money.

Despite the press releases saying they are, Penguin and Simon & Schuster are not getting into self-publishing. Vanity publishing is not self-publishing. The Big 6 publishers will never support self-publishing in any way; self-publishing (the real thing) dooms their control of distribution, on which their profits depend, and is their death sentence. But they don’t mind fleecing would-be authors that might otherwise genuinely self-publish their work. If this isn’t final proof of just…

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