Three years ago I sent out three interviews to find out more about life in the self-published and small-press game, and to give some blog-space to three authors who had been supportive in my first year in print.
Two of those interviews came back swiftly and have been on my blog ever since.
The other arrived back in my inbox a few days ago. Kevin having been dealing with various trials and tribulations in the interim.
He's now moved from small-press to self-publishing and has recently released a new and improved edition of his debut.
1. Score out of ten the following reason you write (10 = nail on head, 1 = no part of me has ever even thought this). You may qualify your numerical response with a tweet length text addition if you so desire.
-I hope to become rich
#3. I would love to be able to support myself and my family with my art.
-I would not be happy knowing only a couple of people ever read my stories
#10. I would like to connect with as many people as possible over my writing. I enjoy constructive criticism as much as I do praise. I spent 8 years in art school with daily critiques. I’m used to it.
-To stay sane
#9. Writing does help keep me balanced. When I had an IT job, I was miserable because it was suppressing my creativity. My soul needs to express itself.
-To have people tell me how well I do it and how wonderful I am
#6. I enjoy praise as much as the next artist but it’s not my driving force. But I do enjoy it. I do. J
#10. Look. Let’s be serious. It’s all for the ladies. It always has been. Lady agents. Lady publishers. Lady readers.
Oh yay! *flexing* Nothing says hot like a man who never wants to leave his house and be on the computer all day writing sexy-sex under layers of Viking, Fantasy and Urban Fantasy plotlines.
-To prove wrong somebody/bodies who said I wouldn't succeed
#1. I don’t care about those people. And if I did, I would write them into one of my books and have them eaten alive by were-piranha.
2. You've opted not to self-publish your recent work. Did you ever try to self-publish? If so how does the small press vs self-published experience differ?
I started submitting my work to agents in 1998. I don’t think self-publishing was a thing back then, not like it is now. I wanted to follow the traditional route. I’m old school like that. And I kept sending to agents and publishers until 2007 when my work was finally bought and published. From that point on, my desire to get an agent only grew and grew.
When I first started getting offers to publish my books, I was nervous about signing deals. I wanted to have someone help me with those important business decisions. Yes, when I was young I made every mistake possible. I was taken advantage of several times. Promised the world. Robbed of money. It was gross.
So as an adult, I treaded carefully… and STILL made mistakes working with some unscrupulous small press.
As of 2014, that’s all behind me. I signed with an agent and she is shopping my books from two new series around. I will finally get my wish very soon. In the meantime, I actually self-published my old novel SOUL BORN on Amazon Kindle. This is a new re-worked and re-edited version, but I made sure the plot remained the same. It was hard not to just re-write the entire thing at my new level of skill… but then it would not have been Soul Born anymore it would have been something different.
Soul Born may not be my best work, but the fans like it and I wanted to get the book back out there for the fans. I’d love to hear what people think of this new edition.
3. How much hard work is being an author with a small press? Without the push from a large publisher what fraction or multiple of your writing time do you have to spend on promotion just to be noticed by the reading public?
From 2009 to 2013, while I was solely with small press, it was a ton of hard work. A ton of stress. Okay, it was a battle.
I had to do many of the jobs a big publisher would normally do. And I had no experience doing them. I promoted, I also designed and created and placed advertisements in print and on the web. I hired cover artists, including Dan Dos Santos for the Soul Born Saga… and I laid out the cover design work myself. Thanks Art School!
Yes, it was a great deal of hard work, but I learned a lot and that knowledge is more valuable than anything else. Granted, it was not until 2013, when I was separating myself from small press, that I actually had more time to write and edit. During that time, I grew as an author and my skill as a writer doubled-no tripled! Boom!
So, yeah, it’s better to be able to focus more on crafting the words in your book than the words of self promotion in your tweets.
4. It seems signal-to-noise is the big hurdle for all authors. There's an incredible amount of stuff out there and readers have few signposts to the best of it. Potential readers and book bloggers who may never have read a book from a small press will read this - you can write two short paragraphs to convince them your book's the small press work they should experiment with _or_ you can have three paragraphs from your book here to do the talking for you. Which do you choose? Please supply the material.
Oddly enough, I have done this before. Many… many times. I have emailed so many bloggers I cannot remember them all. And I wish I could. Most of those bloggers were cool people. Nice people with jobs and hobbies and passions of their own—inside and outside the book industry.
Normally, I did not try and convince them my work was the next best thing. Instead, I reached out as one human being to another. I told them my history as a student of art and how hard I worked to get to where I was. I told stories of the ups and downs and the hurdles of life. I asked politely if they could help me promote my work, as it was the beginning of my dream, and they agreed to.
Small press? Self-publish? Traditional?
I have been fighting to reach my goals since 1998 and even more so since 2007. I have made mistakes. I have had major successes. I have won awards and I have had decent sales. I have also received thousands of rejection letters. Hundreds of those in snail mail form. Yes, snail mail.
I wanted an agent more than life itself… and now I have one. A year from now, I hope to be emailing those bloggers and loyal readers again. I have always believed that hard work must pay off or dreams will die. And now I’m truly an example of that.
5. The first great book, poem, and album that pop into your head?
MISTS of AVALON. This is the first great book I got my hands on in late middle school. It was so vastly different than the kids books I was forced to read and I owe it much for opening my eyes. I could name some Frank Miller comic books too… but maybe we can talk about them next time.
6. Any last thoughts?
Write Makes Might!
Check out my website at www.kevinbreaux.com.