Debra Erfert interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Dec 7, 2016 1:27:30 PM
Debra Erfert interview with David Alan Binder
Brief Bio from her website and from Good Reads: Debra wrote her first novella thirteen years ago just to see if she could. That brief taste into the world of an author prompted an undeniable writing. She's an award-winning fine artist, and loves traveling with her husband.
January 21st The Royals of Monterra: IT TAKES A SLEUTH, a mystery NOVELLA was released by Kindle Worlds. Her romantic mystery, CHANGES OF THE HEART is available as well. She has a full-length novel, the first book in a trilogy WINDOW OF TIME, released in January 2016. RELATIVE EVIL, a romantic suspense, was published by Xchyler Publishing. Her short story, THE MEASURE OF LOVE, came out the winter of 2014 in Michael Young’s ADVENT ANTHOLOGY III. She also had a short story included in the VALUE STORIES FOR A YOUNG WOMAN anthology, published by Walnut Springs Press. Her short story, SCARED STIFF, was published in TOTALLY CLICHÉ
Amazon’s author page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00LMM63M4
1. Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?
I live with my husband in a small city in southern Arizona.
2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
The most important thing I’ve learned about writing would be—hire a contract lawyer before signing any publishing contract. Once, I signed my rights away for two books—FOREVER! Happenstance saved me from that horrific deal when I was able to cancel the agreements before the first one was finished being edited. Whew!! Never agree to give a publisher the rights to your book for more than a defined period of time, say like 5 to 7 years, and when that time expires, you get the rights back. Period! Newbie authors are sometimes (most of the time) so flattered that they received an offer that they don’t do enough research, or can understand how the contracts are twisted toward the publisher’s benefit.
3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
I, uh, well, I sometimes physically act out scenes to see if they work. Let’s not delve into it any further. Lol.
4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
What a great question! I’m published through a small press, but I’ve also indie-published several books, too. Independent (indie-)publishing = self-publishing. I’m what is known as a hybrid author. Between the two, I’d rather continue to publish through my own company, Stone Horse Press, than wade through the complicated, and sometimes irritating steps of submitting manuscripts to the much-too-busy mainstream publishing firms.
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
My mainstream publisher is Xchyler Publishing, and my own company is Stone Horse Press.
5. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I love e-books, although most of my books are also in print format. I know some people who refuse to read anything but paper books, but the cost of a new book is typically $14.95 for a small press’s paperback, or up toward $25.00 to $30.00 for a hard cover with a large press. Most small press and indie-published e-books cost under $5.00. Large press’s (conventional publishing) can charge twice that much. I have hundreds of e-books on my phone. I can open it anytime, anywhere, and read. How can you beat that?
6. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
If a writer wants to go the conventional route (submitting to large publishers) then the very first thing they need to do is have a terrific book! I don’t mean you think it’s the next big literary best-seller. I go through these steps: 1) write the best story I can. 2) get at least 4 to 8 beta readers to tell me honestly what is wrong with it and what they like about it. 3) while they’re reading, I write a single page query letter and a synopsis. 4) when I get the impute of those beta readers, then I chose what to change, and rewrite. 5) HIRE A GREAT EDITOR!!! Yes, it cost money to do that, but it is essential no matter what route you take to publishing. Ask for references. When going to conventional way, (to mainstream publishers or small presses) you want to make the best impression as possible. Having the submission’s editor see 10 mistakes on the first page just doesn’t create that air of professionalism or competency.
7. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
Since most small presses don’t require an agent, I haven’t bothered to find one, but you can go about acquiring one a couple of different way. 1) send a submission directly to literary agents that handle your genre—and be specific! Agents don’t like wasting their time getting submissions from writers who are just blanketing all the agents). Or 2) submit to mainstream publishers, and if they offer you a contract, then submit to the lit agent, telling them that you have an offer from a publisher. Literary agents are more inclined to take on a new writer as a client when they know that the hardest part (finding a publisher) is already done. (Did that sound snarky? Lol! Sorry.)
8. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
The best suggestion I have for a new writer would be—know what you’re writing about. Are you attempting a historical romance? Then do the research! There are many websites where wonderful information has already been compiled, ready for you to use. If you want to write a contemporary romance, then know your setting. I know some writers who make up fictional cities, even countries, but when you write about a real place, do it right. Google Earth is a great resource when looking for streets and buildings, or finding far off landscapes, like a small island in the Bahamas. Obviously, if you’re writing a science fiction set on another world or galaxy, then you can’t actually go there and see it first hand. But you can build you story on real data. No matter what, you need to make it believable or you will turn the reader off.
9. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
This may sound odd, but I can envision what I’m writing about, like watching a movie. So I can “see” the movements of the characters. All I have to do is write it down. I have several awards for my fine art. I love to do portraits. I visualize what they look like before I ever start. I don’t believe I’m necessarily unique in this aspect. Lol.
10. How many books have you written?
I have 7 published books, but I have 15 more in my backlist, waiting for their turn. Plus, I have another 10, or so, ideas that need to be written. All I need is time. ;D
11. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
Never stop learning! Go to writer’s conferences and workshops and pack in the classes! Take online classes. And write. Develop a thick skin when it comes to critiques. In other words, don’t let a negative response send you into a depression where you’ll swear you are never going to write again or even talk to that nasty ol’ person (people) who dared tell you your book-baby was anything less than beautiful. Nobody wakes up one day and says, “I’m going to write a perfect story today!” Well, you might think that, but it never, ever happens. J
12. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
To get that great plot twist, write the unexpected! I’m a cross between a pantser (one who writes by the seat of her pants) and a plotter (outliner). I’ll have a general idea for the story (I know the opening and know how I want the story to end). I’ll keep notes at the bottom of the manuscript when ideas pop into my head, and as I use them, I’ll delete each note I’ve used. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, I’m as surprised about the twists as the reader is.
13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
In a sea of overtly sexual books, my stories are clean. I write romances into most of my suspense/thriller books, (after all, life is full on romance!) but just because there’s romance doesn’t mean there is sex. I got fed up with reading “romance” when in reality it’s a provocative peep show, or worse. That’s just my opinion.
14. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
My publisher takes care of promoting the book I have through them, but for my indie-published books I join other authors who write the same genre for promotions. I also give away e-books or novellas to entice the reader to buy others that I’m selling.
15. What saying or mantra do you live by?
“A lengthy journey begins with a solitary first step.”
16. Anything else you would like to say?
Most of my author friends say they are compulsive about their writing. I, too, find myself with that burning desire, a hungry need to write. It’s a challenge, but one that is very satisfying, and I love it.