Mitch(ell Scott) Lewis interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Jul 4, 2016 3:28:11 PM
Mitch(ell Scott) Lewis interview with David Alan Binder
Book website: www.starlightdetectiveagency.com
Poisoned Pen Press: www.poisonedpenpress.com/mitchell-scott-lewis
Good Reads: www.goodreads.com/mitchell-scott-lewis
- Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?
I live in New York City.
- What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
I would say that one of the most important things I’ve learned about writing books is how much they change from first inception to a completed published work. I’ve been a songwriter since my teens, and while there are changes that will occur in a song before it’s recorded, it’s nothing like the amount of alterations that happen in a novel. That was a surprise to me. I’ve also learned just how much work goes into writing a novel. It’s the most difficult venture I’ve ever experienced, and though I have learned to formulate the process, each book is just as hard as the last.
- What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
I work in a bit of a haphazard manner. While I’m very focused and direct in my story telling, I tend to jump around the chapters erratically when I have an idea. I have to know where a story is going before I begin it. While I don’t always write the ending first, I often do, and when I don’t, I must have something that I am aiming towards. So I will go from say chapter three to chapter thirty-three in order to understand the characters motivation early in the book. Also, while I write on a computer, I will print out sections and carry them to Starbucks or the park and do my editing there.
- Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
I have not self-published, so I can’t draw a parallel. But I do know the benefits of having an established publisher who can produce quality books, ebooks, and audiobooks, as well as help promote them and direct the writer to various outlets. But I also see some of the advantages of self-publishing, especially if you have a story that is timely. The publishing business is notoriously slow, and it can take a long time to get a book out. If you wish it to be available to the public quicker, you may decide that the advantages outweigh any disadvantages and go that route.
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
My mystery books are published by Poisoned Pen Press. They are located in Scottsdale Arizona.
- Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I am a lover of physical books. I enjoy the feel of them, and the ability to move freely back and forth to reference different parts of the story. But as a writer I don’t care what form my audience enjoys. Many people prefer ebooks, and that’s fine with me. I also am very happy that Poisoned Pen produces such quality audiobooks, something I am a big fan of. As to how one publishes: it’s more a matter of being able to continue to reach an audience anyway we can. It’s more difficult to get people’s attention now than it ever was before, so any way that I can do so I’m pleased to.
- Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
I don’t think there are any secrets. It’s a matter of hard work and constantly trying to make contacts. The writer must present something that has interest to enough people to warrant a publisher taking a chance on their work. Then he or she must pursue any avenue that will lead to a book deal. There is a lot of rejection in all of the arts. A book may be turned down by dozens of publishers. The only thing that matters is the one who accepts it and helps you reach your audience.
- How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
You should try to find an agent who is open to the type of books you are writing and has the necessary connections to get your work in front of the proper publisher. For example, if you write mysteries, you can walk through Barns & Noble’s mystery section, pick up a number of books, and view the acknowledgment section where the writer usually thanks their agent. You can then approach that agent knowing that he or she has delved into your area of interest.
- Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
For one thing you must realize that writing is one of the loneliest of professions. Unless you work with a collaborator you will sit alone in a room and try to fill the blank pages. It’s hard work that requires concentration day after day, often without much to show for it. But after a period of time those blank pages become a book. You can’t be impatient or lazy. Even if I don’t have a deadline from a publisher I’ve found that I must formulate my own deadlines in order to continue to produce product. You also must realize like I said above that the book business moves very slowly and you cannot lose patience with the selling process of your work either.
- What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
As I said in question 3, I was most surprised by how much a book changes from inception to completion. It’s also more of a collaborative art than I realized, often with several people editing your work and giving you opinions. While the writer may ignore some of them, there are going to be some ideas that are valuable and should be taken to heart. You cannot listen to everyone’s advice, but you also should not be stubborn about your work. Keep an open mind and hear what your editors have to say.
- How many books have you written?
I have written six novels and am presently working on two others. Three have been published so far, and the fourth is currently being edited. I am always putting ideas down for future stories and trying to push my books closer to completion.
- Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
The most important thing is to work. Even if you sit for hours and produce little, the thought process is going on and you may discover a new idea or plot line that you have been mulling over for some time. Everyone has their own way of creating. There is no correct way of doing it – it’s a matter of what works for the individual. I write in the mornings when my mind is freshest. Others prefer to work late at night. For me it’s a question of clearing my thoughts of life’s issues so I can get back to the story at hand.
- Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
I like to in some ways shock or astonish my readers whenever possible. This is especially true in mysteries, but also in any narrative. If you can open a new plot line or twist the story in such a way that will keep their interest it will help you produce books that are popular. Too many writers become lazy and look for a way to end a story quickly so they can be done with it. I often write the end of my books early on so I know what I’m aiming towards. Then I go back and try to twist and turn the plot to create surprises.
13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
For one thing I believe that a sharp and attractive title and cover is still an important part of sales. If I see a book cover that interests me I’m more apt to pick it up and at least read the beginning. Also, the first few pages are so very important in this age of short attention spans and countless input. I believe that plot and characters are ultimately what make a good book. My stories are always character driven. If you’re interested in the people you will be interested in what happens to them. Good writing is also important. But first you must catch their attention.
- What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I will do anything I can to get my work out there. The internet has become a major avenue of promotion, so I use Facebook and other social media to introduce my books to the public. I also do book signings, library panels, and sometimes book fairs. It’s a hard, competitive business and selling isn’t a part of many author’s natural makeup. But these days we simply must learn some of the tools in order to reach a bigger audience. Once you have a best seller you can often ride the wave of that success. But until then it’s a difficult and frustrating part of the business.
15. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I would have considered doing more to help promote my books when I first got published. Publishers often do not put much into the promotion, and leave it up to the author to act as salespeople. I am currently looking into hiring someone with experience in this end of the business to help get the titles in front of a larger section of the public.
16. What saying or mantra do you live by?
The man is nothing, the work is all.
- Anything else you would like to say?
I come from a family of writers and grew up surrounded by creative people. Even when it’s frustrating I find great satisfaction from the creative process and wouldn’t give it up. If you love what you do, it keeps you young and enthusiastic. And I believe that’s more important to happiness than almost anything.
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