Author Interview – Dan Harris : Part 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWithin the Indie Author Hub, you can learn about other authors, their thoughts and opinions, what makes them tick and how their writing process works for them.

All this week I will be releasing segments of an interview I conducted with fellow author, Dan Harris, an inspirational Sci-Fi writer. Have a look at his profile and books here.

Part 2 : The Publishing Process

How did you become published? KDP, Createspace for paperbacks, Kobo, and I use Draft2Digital to get into Barnes and Noble and iTunes. I was quite confident I could write novels that were worth reading, without needing an agent or a publisher to confirm that for me. So I chose the lottery of trying to be noticed and known among the massed ranks of other indie published authors over the lottery of finding an agent and publisher by the traditional route! It’s going pretty well so far, but it’s a long game; you can’t expect immediate success. My goal is that 5-10 years from now when I’ve got 10-20 books out, I’m making enough from writing to cut back my hours at the day job and write at least part-time. If I was making enough from writing to live on, that would be marvelous.

Do you think Indie Authors are looked down on by the traditionally published counterparts? Yes. And vice-versa, bizarrely. There’s a huge amount of pointless animosity with authors and publishers and ‘experts’ yelling at each other in the so called ‘indie vs. traditional’ debate. We don’t need a debate. Writers just need to realise that they have more options than at any time in the past, and they need to make an informed decision about what the right publishing path is for them. Indie publishing isn’t for everyone, there’s a lot of non-writing work to be done; those folks might want to stick with the tried and tested traditional method, but should understand the limits of that: small advances, limited promotional help, tiny royalties, and a very small chance of being published in the first place. If you have the confidence and a little bit of cash to back yourself as a writer, indie might be the best way to go. You do all the work, but you get all the rewards.

What is the future for publishers? A hybrid model where writers are flexible about how they publish their work. Where publishers pay reasonable royalties for digital sales, and outdated contracts with non-compete clauses and 70-year rights reversion are a thing of the past. But those publishers need to realise that writers don’t need them to be gatekeepers any more, they need them to be partners: providing a set of services – editing, cover design, marketing, distribution – that help a writer and a book succeed, in exchange for a reasonable share of the proceeds. And reasonable isn’t 52.5% of net ebook sales in perpetuity, when the writer can click a ‘Publish’ button just as easily themselves.

Do Authors need an Agent now? Not from the start, and possibly not at all. Agents can be useful for negotiating deals where the author has no expertise: print rights, film rights, translation rights for international sales. But a savvy and experienced entertainment lawyer with expertise in the publishing industry can handle such negotiations just as well, and for a flat fee rather than 15% off the top. Agents need to evolve and really show how they add value to the author’s team, instead of just being the first hurdle to clear on the way to finding a publisher.

Do you employ editors or cover designers? I employ an Editor, Misti Wolanski, who works for Red Adept Publishing (http://redadeptpublishing.com/pricing-menu/). They’re one of the most popular editing firms in the indie publishing, and had a lot of great references from other writers when I was searching for an editor. It’s essential if you want to put out a professional-quality book. It’s not small change, though; an experienced professional editor can cost anywhere from several hundred to a couple of thousand dollars (though in my experience if the price is above $1000 it’s because the editor is a ‘name’ who previously worked for the big six). I also get a lot of benefit from having a few friends and colleagues read an early draft before Misti sees it. This allows me to catch some of the stupid stuff – character niggles, little plot gaps – early on, so Misti can concentrate on polishing up a book that’s in decent shape, and making it really great. I found Stephanie Mooney (http://mooneydesigns.net/) via the Kindle boards Writers Cafe, and she’s done both of my covers so far. She’s very talented, and charges a reasonable rate : $100 for her standard service.  I have zero artistic or design ability, so DIY just wasn’t an option!

Read about Dan’s Writing Process

Next – Find out how Dan promotes himself in Part 3

2 thoughts on “Author Interview – Dan Harris : Part 2

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