Interview by Elizabeth Lonseth
Q: Having worked in traditional publishing and now working outside of it, you will be speaking about the New Publishing Rules at the conference. We all know that self-publishing and e books are changing the book industry. Any teasers that you want to provide?
Mick: When publishing began, it was so tightly controlled, people were killed for publishing works that weren’t officially sanctioned by the crown and church-state. It’s been a slow, grueling journey, but I argue we’re in another Guttenberg era where access to information is exploding and the old restrictions no longer apply. For instance, publishers no longer control markets. Good books can find their own audience and do quite well without them.
- Q: As a new author who never planned to write a book in the first place the issue of “how to publish” in the midst of a changing publishing world is confusing. Though I chose to self-publish I sometimes wonder if I should try for traditional publishing. Do you have any suggestions for beginning authors?
Mick: Everything depends on the situation. Don’t believe anyone who tries to give you a blanket answer one way or the other. That said, there are significant advantages to self-publishing for authors who are disciplined and know how to craft an exceptional book. Skimping is the main problem I see with self-published authors, which has no place in kingdom work. Incidentally, cutting corners is also the main problem with traditional publishing, though the trail of mediocrity can be a bit harder to follow. In the end, if you can write what transforms people, they’ll talk about it and you’ll succeed either way. I believe it’s a question of how accessible and unique that transformation is and how compelling a spokesperson you are for the experience.
- Q: One of the drawbacks of being self-published is that you are totally on your own for marketing your book. There is blogging, developing a website, book signings, book reading, and speaking engagements. Any other suggestions?
Mick: The dirty little secret is that you’re pretty much on your own for marketing your book either way. Marketing budgets have shrunken and while even as a first time author, there’s usually a few thousand budgeted for you, the actual time and money spent by publishing houses on “low-level” authors is abysmal. Books sell because readers know the author or someone the reader trusts recommended it. That’s it. Do readers trust certain houses? There is a cache in being with a big publisher. But advertising and promotions by publishers don’t amount to much unless they have an author who readers know or who comes highly recommended by trustworthy people. My advice, be creative, strive for excellence, and don’t skimp on time and money! Be professional. Honor God’s gifting and let him provide.
- Q: As a free-lance editor what is your role in working with authors?
Mick: My role is to inspire and enable exceptional authors to create stand-out books. I help authors write, rewrite edit and decide how best to present their work whether print, digital, or both. I also work to enable authors to make their books part of larger campaigns built around their core message and gifting. The primary way I do this is through YourWritersGroup.com. From there, I find plenty of committed authors ready for the next step of professional editing.