Kristen Landon interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Jun 13, 2016 12:58:54 PM

Kristen Landon interview with David Alan Binder

Short bio from her website: While in high school and college (I graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah) I sort of forgot about my love of writing. The stories continued to flow into my mind, but I was too busy to take the time to put them on paper.

After I married and had my first child, I remembered how much I’d enjoyed writing. I figured, since the stories were still there, I might as well write them down. And if I was going to take the time to write them down, I might as well try to get them published. I figured as soon as I wrote a book that was good enough, it would get published quite easily. I had a lot to learn.

But I did learn, and here I am today, thrilled to be a published author of my favorite kinds of books in the world–books for young people.


Her blog is there as well

Facebook: Kristen Landon Author



1. Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?

I live in Utah, which is an awesome place to live. We have a strong, supportive, nurturing community for writers here. Plus the mountains are gorgeous!

2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

There are a lot of really fun and exciting experiences that come with being a published author, and there are a lot of hard and disappointing experiences as well. You have to write because you love writing, not because you’re seeking fame or money, etc.

3. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

I’ve never self-published, so my only experience is with the self-published books I’ve read. I know there are some decent self-published books out there, but many that I’ve read were in great need of some good editing. When you are published in the traditional way, you usually get a lot of really good editing—and not just by one person. Many eyes look over your manuscript. I can’t say that I’ll never try self-publishing in the future, but if I do I will definitely hire a good free-lance editor. No matter how great a writer you are, you can’t see every mistake yourself. John Green’s editor sent him a twenty-five page revision letter for The Fault in Our Stars! And that’s before the book ever got to the copyeditor. Every book needs the help of a good editor.

a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

My first book was published by a small publisher, Blooming Tree Press, based in Austin, Texas. They’ve since gone out of business.

My second book was published by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster based in New York City.

4. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

EBooks, paperbacks, hardbacks, audio books, e-audio books—they’re all books to me. I love all formants, I read/listen to all formats. More formats mean more options for readers, and I believe that means more books getting read. That’s a good thing for everyone, including authors.

5. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

Getting the right manuscript into the hands of the right publisher at the right time is what has to happen—and, unfortunately; luck does play a big part in that. But the other part is that the manuscript has to be great. That’s the part the author has the most control over. So make sure your manuscript is as good as it can possibly be. Then when it does happen to fall into that right publisher’s hands at the exact right time she/he won’t be able to refuse it.

6. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?

Luck played a big part in my acquiring an agent. I didn’t do a whole lot of research (and I highly recommend authors research agents before submitting to them.) I actually had been rejected by my agent on a previous query, and I really was impressed with his rejection letter. He was so fast in getting back to me, and his letter gave me some good suggestions for improving my book. This book, Life in the Pit, ended up being my first book published. Several years later when I decided to try shopping for an agent again for my book, The Limit, I remembered that nice rejection letter and chose this agent as one of the three I first queried. Fortunately he took me on as a client this time.

A good way to research an agent is to find books that are similar to yours—similar, but not too similar. Look in the ‘Acknowledgements’ sections of these books. Most authors will thank their agents. It’s easy to do an internet search to learn about these agents from there.

7. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Read as many books as you can. Don’t try to copy them, but learn as much as you can from them.

8. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

I learned that I can change gears pretty quickly when it comes to my creative process. The process of getting a book published is a lot longer than I expected. I’m never just sitting around, waiting for my editor or agent to get back to me. I’m always working on a project. But when one of them does get back to me I have to quickly switch back to the old project and immediately immerse myself in that. I also have to have this mindset when I’m doing marketing for a book. It can be tricky doing school visits with students who just barely finished reading my book and want detailed answers to their questions, and I finished working on that book several years earlier.

9. How many books have you written?

How many have I written, or how many have I published? Those are two very different questions! J I’ve published two and written more than I can count.

10. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

See answer to #8. Also learn as much as you can from professionals. There are a lot of great writing conferences out there. If you can’t make it to some of these, you can find a lot of the classes/lectures online. There are also a lot of great books about the craft. Educate yourself as much as you can. You don’t have to spend a lot—or any—money doing this.

11. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

One of my rules is that I never go with the first idea I come up with. If the idea or solution came so readily to my mind, it will easily come to the reader’s mind as well. I push myself to think of the second, third, or even fourth idea/solution.

12. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

When the wave of dystopian novels came out, I think The Limit stood out because it was aimed at a younger audience. It’s for high middle grade instead of YA, like so many others. Also, it wasn’t as deeply dystopian as many of the other novels were. It was basically our society, our world, with one bit twist in it. That made it even spookier, in a way, than many of the more traditional dystopian novels, because it was really easy to see that our world could actually become this world that I portrayed.

Another thing that makes me and my books stand out is that I refuse to include any elements in my books that I wouldn’t want my own children to read (bad language, sex, etc.) That may prevent me from ever publishing YA with the big publishing houses, but if that’s the case, then so be it.

13. What are some ways in which you promote your work?

School visits, Skype Visits (I offer short, free Skype visits to school classes and book groups that have read my book) my website, Facebook, Goodreads. I’ve presented at a lot of writer’s conferences.

14. What saying or mantra do you live by?

“The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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