Friday, March 10, 2017

INTERVIEW BY/WITH DR. RICHARD L. MABRY

Usually there’s no problem finding an author of mystery/suspense/thriller fiction to interview here. Today’s interview comes right in the middle of my dipping my toe—or perhaps I should say my pen—into the world of self-publishing. So I’ve decided to talk about that. If this is boring to you, I suggest you talk among yourselves for a bit, but be certain to read what comes at the end. I think you’ll like it.

Why did I decide to self-publish? I’ve had ten novels released by “conventional” publishers. Honestly, my posture has always been, “I’d rather have someone pay me to write. After all, that’s what I do. I prefer to leave the editing and marketing to them.” But things are changing in the world of publishing. You may not have noticed, but authors have.
It’s been about ten months since the release of my last novel, Medical Judgment. It’s not that the novel was bad—actually, it’s been nominated for a couple of neat awards—but there have been holdups with my next. Since an author is always one phone call or email away from not having a publishing home, they fear that if there’s not a book out there, readers might forget them. Because the publisher of my next novel has hit a snag, I decided to write and self-publish a long novella to put something out there. That’s why Doctor’s Dilemma will release next week.

What does an author have to do when he/she decides to self-publish? The first thing a writer has to do is get over their fear of the unknown. Many authors have told me that, for one reason or another, they have jumped (or been forced) into self-publication. Some, like me, have primarily depended on a conventional publisher to handle things like editing and cover design, along with marketing. Self-publication means you’re responsible for all those things. And it’s frightening.

How do you do it? The most important thing, of course, is to write the novel or novella. Never, ever put something out that you can’t honestly say is your best work. Because once it’s published, it’s there for everyone to see. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is to resist the temptation all authors have to send off the manuscript once its finished. That way lies disaster.
After the writing comes the editing. I have an excellent first reader who does what amounts to a macro edit of everything I write. And I’ve reached the point where I don’t hesitate to take her advice. On her suggestion, I’ve even rewritten a book that was 10,000 words along in order to make it better. And it was. But having learned this lesson with my first self-published novella, I spent the money for professional editing of my manuscript. Cost varies with the editor and number of pages involved. But to me it was money well spent.
At the same time, there’s the matter of design of a book cover. Again, I chose to have a professional do it, and the expense was worth it. Perhaps I could have found a template or ready-made cover that worked, but in this case an individually designed one was well money well-spent. Of course, don’t forget that it’s up to you to also write the back cover copy. Since I’d always offered at least a suggested version of mine (which was generally accepted), that presented no problem.

Then what? There are a number of options here. Many individuals have set themselves up as small presses that handle all or part of the process. Agents can assist with self-publication if it’s a valid option. I’ll leave it to the authors to check into all these for themselves. My process involved my agent and Amazon, choosing a path I’d followed with my two previous self-published novellas. By doing this, I gave away a small percentage of the money coming in, but I never felt alone. There are a lot of decisions, and it’s all up to the author. I liked having someone to lean on here.
After I set up the schedule for Doctor’s Dilemma with the lady who is my liaison in all this, it was up to me to decide a cost for the book and arrange publicity. That’s done, and you can benefit from one aspect. My novella is available for pre-order on Amazon by the time this “interview” is posted. The Kindle version will be available for a pre-order price of 99 cents. Unfortunately, there’s no “pre-order deal” for the print version. This special price will be in effect until March 13, at which time the book is to be released, and the regular price goes into effect for both versions.
If you want to be in the running for a copy of the novella (Kindle format for anyone, print copy for US addresses only), leave a comment with your email address. I’ll choose a winner on the evening of March 12 and post that name in the comments section, so the non-winners can still take advantage of the special price.

And if you have questions, please include them in your comments. See? I told you to read to the end.


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29 comments:

  1. I would love to read Dr. Mabry's book. Thank you for the opportunity. mauback55 at gmail dot com

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  2. Melanie, thanks for your comment. Good luck.

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  3. I'm interested in know how a self-published author gets his books on the shelves of bookstores (real, in-town, stores like LifeWay, Barnes & Noble, etc.). I don't write but am simply curious as to how it is accomplished. Perhaps it can be done on a local scale where the author might already be know to the local store managers, but what about on a national scale?

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  4. Vera, good question. Stores like Lifeway and Barnes & Noble have national buyers--there's not really a way for a local author to crack that, even for individual stores. Self-publishing involves several possible sources for the printed format and the books usually eventually show up in various catalogs, but it's been my experience that it's too big a hill to climb to get them on many shelves. Then again, I'm still a novice.

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  5. Beverly Duell-MooreMarch 10, 2017 at 7:24 AM

    I can't wait to read this book! Is it easier to self publish? Or harder? I do editing for an author (She also has a publishing company) and love it! duellonlysis at aol dot com

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  6. Congrats, Richard . I think I have read all your books that are available,up to the present ones would love to add these to my list of accomplishments. paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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  7. Beverly, thanks for your comment. As I've said before, one of the things that stops any author from self-publishing is the knowledge that it's all up to us--writing, edits, book-cover, marketing, everything. Yes, it's harder, but a lot of people think the rewards make up for it.
    Paula, hope you've enjoyed all the books, and good luck with this one. But don't forget that, even if you don't win a free one, there's the low pre-order price for the Kindle version.

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  8. I love reading medical suspense and the books I've read of yours I've really enjoyed. I hate you've had so many problems getting your latest published. I love the cover by the way.
    I've seen a few self published books lately that are very poor quality. The covers look like they were mass xeroxed on a copy machine.
    Thank you for your persistence!
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. Your books always sound so interesting.
    Thereadmaster@me.com

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  10. I have read several of your books and have enjoyed every one! I would love to win this new book. mjscoffee@gmail.com

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  11. Gail, I agree with you about the quality of some self-published books, which is why it's important for the author to invest in good editing, a good cover, and then take the time and expend the effort to proof-read the galley.
    Virginia and mjscoffee, thanks for your comments.

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  12. Thanks so much for a chance to win a copy of your story! Love your books! Great interview explaining how you self-published!

    sallyshupe1 at gmail dot com

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  13. I HAVE my copy and reading it and loving it!!!

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  14. D Johnson, thanks for your comment, but you didn't leave an email address so you can be in the mix for a free copy.
    Sally, I appreciate your kind words.
    Jackie, thank you--it's always nice to hear things like that before a self-published work is actually released. I hope others share that reaction.

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  15. I would love to read your needs book! Good luck with your publishing! wowmom9@gmail.com

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  16. I have read some of your books and look forward to reading this one. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.
    susanmsj at msn dot com

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  17. Gayle, I appreciate your comment.
    Susan, happy you enjoyed the books of mine you've read.
    Thank you both for dropping by.

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  18. I would love to read this book. I have enjoyed all the other books I have read by Dr. Mabry and am quite sure this one would not disappoint! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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  19. Betti, glad you enjoyed the other books. Good luck in the drawing (and don't forget that if you don't win, you can still pre-order the Kindle version for 99 cents through Sunday).

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  20. I enjoy reading medical suspense novels. I haven't read any of your books yet. Thanks for the giveaway and the explanation about self publication. d[dot]brookmyer[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  21. Donna, thanks for leaving a comment. Hope you'll try my work, either as a winner of this free one or as a new fan.

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  22. I love your books and hope I win! And, although the sale price is wonderful for the kindle, I almost never read anything on my kindle because I prefer a real book. jkmarko at cox dot net

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  23. Kris, thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, although I can offer a pre-release price on the Kindle, I can't really work it out to include the print format. For my own personal reading, I like both.

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  24. It was interesting to this reader to learn a bit more about the sel-publishing route.I always like your books!
    Martha T.
    CRPrairie1@imonmail(dot)com

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  25. Martha, thanks. I'm not an expert, by any means, but I have found that the major reasons authors avoid self-publication are 1) an inherent prejudice against that route and 2) fear of the unknown process. I appreciate your comment.

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  26. The comment of Beverly Duell-Moore has been randomly chosen as a winner. Thanks to all of you for commenting. And if you didn't win, don't forget that you still have a few hours to get the Kindle version for 99 cents at Amazon. http://amzn.to/2lCKaKy

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