Ryan Jo Summers interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Jun 3, 2016 4:33:22 PM
Ryan Jo Summers interview with David Alan Binder
Short bio from her website: Ryan Jo Summers pens contemporary romance blended with an unexpected twist. Her debut, "Whispers in Her Heart', combines fast paced suspense and horses with the mystical paranormal.
In 2014, "Shimmers of Stardust", combining wholesome Christian elements in a time travel love story and "When Clouds Gather", a suspenseful mystery were both published through Soul Mate Publishing.
Her shorter works can be found in assorted regional periodicals and trade journals.
She can be followed on her blog at http://summersrye.wordpress.com or at her author pages on Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads, twitter and Tsu.
Her fourth book, 'Chasing the Painted Skies' released December 2015 by Soul Mate Publishing. Part mystery, part treasure hunt, part ghost story, part shape shifter and all romance. A sixth book came out Feb. 2016, a sweet contemporary romance novella called "Glimpse Eternity". She is also excited to be part of the 2015 Soul Mate Christmas Collection anthology called 'Sizzle in the Snow. BREAKING NEWS: A seventh book, a romantic mystery novel called "Upon the Tide", and set in the Caribbean launched May 2016. Two more works are planned for late 2016/ 2017. "Chasing the Painted Skies" was a final nominee for the spring 2016 The Romance Reviews Reader's Choice Award.
1. Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?
I live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, having moved here in 2004. The vistas are breathtaking, the seasons are distinct and mild (by comparison of “off the mountain”) and the culture is rich with history and flavor.
2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
Oh, so many things. Briefly, while writing is a solitary endeavor, and certainly a labor of passion, the act of publishing takes a village of people and supporters. Also that nothing moves quickly. And there will be disappointments, use them to glean knowledge and use the positives to weather the disappointments.
3. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
I am blessed with two publishers, both small presses. They are similar in that regard and very different in other ways. Soul Mate Publishing is in Macedon, NY and Satin Romance/ Melange Books is in White Bear Lake, MN.
4. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I am old fashioned and prefer holding a print book. It’s a personal thing. However, and statistics will back this, a vast majority prefer eBooks. I do most of my reviews on the Kindle, but for pleasure reading it’s almost always print.
As far as alternative vs conventional pub, I used to think it was all about quality. Now I am not so sure. Many excellent books are self-published and there are poor quality traditionally published books. Publishers and editors are subjective, just like any art. Sometimes it comes down to niche or something similar where conventional houses don’t want to touch a particular book, the author self-publishes it and it becomes a hit. And for the individuals who want all the decisions in their hands, self-pub is certainly the way to go.
5. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
I sure wish I did. Unfortunately, it comes down to writing the best manuscript you can, while learning as much as you can about the art, and stick with your business plan. (Because if you want to be treated as a serious writer, you naturally have a business plan, right?) From there it comes down to perseverance, grit, faith in self and a lot of luck. No magic formula or secret handshakes. That would make it too easy and everyone would be writing that book they all want to.
6. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I have yet to acquire an agent, though I have a couple manuscripts I am shopping around to some. My method has been to subscribe to newsletters and sources that routinely list new agent listings. This could be writer periodicals, (print and online) or books or social media sites. I search out the ones who are actively seeking what genre I have, learn how they prefer to be approached and then send them my pitch. It seems obvious, but many folks don’t learn what the agents really want and how they want it.
7. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
Don’t hide under a rock. Get out and learn from others, share with others. Join a writer’s group or two. Take classes. Find critique and beta readers—good ones are worth their weight in gold. Share that you are a writer with the public as you never know what connections are just waiting out there for you. Look around you at what sources of inspiration await. Learn as much as you can about the writing craft. Find a mentor if you can and treat them well.
8. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
Oh goodness, get involved with the publishing house author loop. I did not do this with the first house I was with (pre Soul Mate and Melange). Maybe they didn’t have one, but there was never a discussion to check them out. I was very much doing things alone, and with my first book. Lots of learning things the hard way that should not have been. Both houses I am with now have active and supporting loops where authors share all sorts of things, celebrate successes, help each other out, assist newbies and sometimes commiserate together. There is no such thing as a bad comment or question on either loop.
9. How many books have you written?
Countless written stacks of books. Seven published. (this includes one novella, one anthology novelette and five novels.) Contracts signed on three more to be released between Nov 2016 and mid 2017. Four other manuscripts completed and shopping around for agents. They do not fit the genres of what my houses publish. And one work-in-progress that is so nearly done I can see the finish line tape ahead of me. This has been a three year problem child.
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)?
Never stop learning! Just because a publisher picked up your book doesn’t mean you sit on your laurels now. No way! Challenge yourself to write better with each book, study magazines that have writing craft articles. Go to workshops, seminars, critique groups, writing classes, whatever you can get to. Listen, share and learn.
11. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
Ask yourself what would be expected here (at this point) and turn the opposite direction. If the character is expected to logically go upstairs, have them go outside. You’d be amazed at what might be out there. Do whatever seems counterintuitive. Bring unassuming characters in, just to provide a means to twist things up. Change scenery, like a play that one act suddenly ends, the curtain closes and reopens to a new background and new scene.
12. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
Like the rest of the 21st century, I’ve jumped on the social media platform…and built a platform. Mostly I use blogging—through my own and guest posts on others and hosting guests on mine. I maintain a website and Facebook page. Now I’m incorporating twitter more, trying to learn the etiquette. I take advantage of trending hashtags like #1lineWednesday. Of course there is also Goodreads/ Amazon author page/ google and the list goes on. I try to keep a small presence—or fingerprint—on as many as I can. This year I also bought two virtual book tours for two releases. One was a one-day blast blitz and the other is a two week multi-stop with review tour. I do giveaways on Goodreads routinely and with every new cover reveal, mostly to build my newsletter list. Like everyone else, I am still trying to figure out what works for me. More importantly, what did not work.
13. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I excelled in English while in school, however I wish now that I’d taken more writing/ English classes. I took a bunch, but the rules sometimes elude me today. Actually I suspect the rules just change and I don’t keep up with them. I wish I were more in touch with grammar rules/ changes and writing styles. Perhaps knowing more about poetry would be nice too. I like to write poetry as a side item, more to process and cope with life’s hardships and unfairness. My poems tend to be melancholic or depressing.
14. What saying or mantra do you live by?
God didn’t do it all in one day, even if He wanted to. I can’t, even if I want to. My reason for this? I have limitations; time, health, life. Things happen. I also have so much that needs to be done on this career writing, promoting, record keeping, etc… It all has to be prioritized and balanced in with the rest of my life. Like God creating the world, my writing is important, but some part of it will have to wait until tomorrow. Or later. I get frustrated because I want to write, but it’s not always possible—at that time.
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