I had the great privilege of being interviewed by Katharine Grubb, author of Write a Novel in 10 Minutes a Day. She also acts as owner and moderator to the private facebook group, 10 Minute Novelist, where she shares writing tips and tricks for the budding novelist in everyone.
It was in that group that she hosted me on a QnA session about my time and experience working with a Hybrid publishing company.
Below is the Transcript of that interview:
Q1. Tell us about you and what lead you to writing.
First – BIG THANKS to Katharine Grubb and the 10 Min Novelist group for hosting me…. I’m so glad to share my knowledge with other writers. I truly believe IRON SHARPENS IRON and learning from each other just enriches us all! I am a wife, a mom to 3 boys (ages 7 and twin 6yr olds), and in my copious spare time – I’m a WRITER! I have published one book, twice, and started a children’s series. I have an ACTIVE blog, and have had column writing gigs in the past for outfits like Houston Style Magazine. I also do freelance work from time to time as the opportunity arises.
I never anticipated being a writer, per se, but it grew from life experience. My husband and I struggled with infertility for years, and after the crushing loss of our first baby, writing became an outlet. I journaled and blogged thru my grief. Before long I grew an organic following and we began supporting one another and then it grew into my first book entitled, God Had Other Plans – Keeping Faith thru Infertility and Pregnancy Loss! Thus was I launched into the brave new world of publishing.
Q2. What are your favorite types of things to write and why?
I wish I could answer this one easily but in truth, I just LOVE words. I think they have such power to change, and heal, and connect with different people groups. I love short humorous blogs that let you laugh at the absurdity of life. I enjoy a well-researched article and insightful interviews. My first book was Non-fiction: Biopic which was amazing and cathartic to create. I’ve dabbled in Children’s early reader and MAN is that a unique and fun challenge!
I am now working on a Fiction Mystery Series which is SO scratching my creative itch! Letting the imagination run wild on such a fun project is exhilarating. Frankly, depending on my mood, I love them all equally but in different ways (not unlike my three sons! Hahaha). No lie, I currently have 5 WIPs! hahahah
Q3. Back before you started a relationship with a publisher, what were your expectations?
Way to dig DEEP Katharine! hahahah I knew being published was a LONG SHOT, as such I was fully prepared to submit my manuscript to dozens of agents and publishing houses and receive, in kind, dozens of rejection letters. I had steeled myself for that. I had even made some mental notes on creative ways to DISPLAY my rejection letters, like little paper badges of honor, so I wouldn't get discouraged. However, I just knew that if my work did break free and launch into the world it would be with fanfare and gusto and glory. It would make all that long hard waiting worth it! So, when a publishing house eagerly reached out to me and LOVED my work and wanted to publish me ON THE SPOT I was surprised, and a little skeptical!
Q4. Back then, what was your definition of success?
For me, that first book was all about just spreading some awareness about infertility within the faith of the church. I wanted to start a dialogue and bring pastors and counselors to the table more with all these couples who had felt so lost and alone in the journey (as my husband and I had). Success was, for me, defined by helping even ONE person. It was never about the money which is why I think I fell so trusting into the line the publisher fed me of “well the royalties just aren’t happening because it’s just not selling like we hoped.” Of course now I have three kids, medical bills, and a mortgage....BOY you better believe now I have a different view of success now! Hahaha.
Q5 Your story is unfortunate. Can you describe how you were persuaded to sign up with this publisher?
GREAT QUESTION! As I mentioned before (Q3), I was a little skeptical that they wanted to publish me so eagerly. I was a NEW and untried writer. I was cynical that I could possibly be THAT good that on my FIRST try I’d landed a publisher. Alas, I was overly eager and I ignored many red flags. The publisher really laid it on thick, too. They went on and on about how great my work was, and the upper management contacted me personally and gushed about how the book really impacted them and they believed in my work. I'd like to say I was TOTALLY logical and smart and safe in my choices, but to be 100% transparent with you I was 6 weeks post-partum with my first baby so my emotions were ramped up to a 10! I did my research on BBB and other sites but, emotions aside, in the end, I just trusted a team I shouldn't have trusted. It's as simple as that. Had I taken more time before I signed....done a LITTLE more research on how to do things on my OWN....I would have seen that the money they wanted from me up front....I could have invested into myself and accomplished much of the same goals.
Q6. What do you wish you had known? What do you wish you had asked?
WHEW! So many things, in retrospect, I wish I had done differently. But the biggest thing I wish I had known was that sage rule – WRITERS GET PAID TO WRITE and Publisher should make their money when books SELL. I was so ignorant to the different TYPES of publishers out there and the HYBRID (formerly called VANITY publisher) business model of publishing really leaves some areas of GREY that make the author vulnerable IMHO. WRITE THIS DOWN!
If the publisher’s business model gains income on the AUTHOR’s investment of personal funds – it’s a shady deal.
I just was so trusting (nearly 8 years ago now) and I leaned naively into the belief that I needed to PAY them for their editing, design, layout services etc. But when the rubber-hit-the-road and came time to market, they sent me this questionnaire asking me things like “who do you think your niche market is” etc. It was a HUGE RED FLAG at the time and I was instantly put off. I wish I had pushed more on that. I wish I had asked, simply, “why don’t YOU know how to market my book…. after all you read it and said you loved it RIGHT?!?” But, by then I had not only a 1 yr old but was very pregnant with TWINS ta-boot and I wasn’t really thinking logically. Again, I ignored my inner voice and decided to push forward. I’m NOT a fan of regret, though, because it’s just not constructive. Live – LEARN – adjust and move forward. That’s what I’m trying to do NOW! I ENCOURAGE ALL WRITERS -- TRUST THAT INNER VOICE!!!!!! Trust in YOU!
Q7 How has an association with a disreputable publisher changed your plans and career?
All my work with the shady publisher began 8 years ago and was a long lingering drag of doubt and deception on their part. In the end, justice is being served and they are out of business (and frankly running out of freedoms too). However, as their business model progressed its downward spiral, the entire publishing INDUSTRY had heard of the shady dealings with not only their authors, but their vendors, suppliers, employees, and more. As such my attachment to their name has been impactful and damaging.
Many agents and publishers won’t give me the time of day because they ASSUME I must be a LOUSY writer if I was with THAT firm. If I’m being totally honest, I allowed that mindset to impact me as well and I all but stopped writing several years back. I've even struggled a bit with depression this year seeing my work, my babies, stolen from me. It really was a sucker punch.... BUT NO MORE! I decided to use this pit as my official launch-pad back into a new direction. New branding, new site, new writings, and NEW BOOKS being published! I’m self-publishing for now and if it leads into a traditional publishing house in the future…. well…. let’s just say I’m not LOOKING for that! hahahah
Q8 What advice would you give authors who may be desperate to be published?
First – BELIEVE IN YOURSELF and INVEST IN YOURSELF! Don't be DESPERATE to publish -- be DESPERATE to be great!
I think one of the biggest hooks that shady publishers have is that they are GOOD at selling their services as if you couldn’t do a little leg work and find them on your own. You can find an editor….you can find a designer….you can purchase a book on editing and do some work on your own. The money a hybrid publisher will ask for to off-set their costs can EASILY be channeled into finding you your OWN team to pursue publishing where you get to maintain creative control.
If you truly think your work is worthy to be published, INVEST IN YOU. Polish that work until it SHINES and then invest in YOUR WORK and market yourself! A little self-education goes a LONG way!
Q9 What warning signs should we be aware of?
I've said it several times before in this chat but it bears mentioning again.
Writers get paid to write....PUBLISHERS get paid when books sell!
Every publishing house is, first and foremost, a business. They won't invest in work they think won't sell (hence the need to really polish yourself and your craft until you SHINE as a market-able commodity). So, if a publisher asks for money up front and they sell it to you as "off-setting their costs"......FLEE! They clearly don't want to invest in YOU and don't want to put any skin in the game. Take all that money they ask for from YOU and just invest it in YOURSELF. Furthermore, if a publisher is super great at communicating with you up front, then suddenly falls off the face of the earth after you sign on. FLEE! If you find that work is happening on your project without your input....or that you are haven't to fight a little to hard for your voice to be heard in your OWN WORK..... FLEE!
Q10 What's next for you?
Summer with my kids and fall school prep for starters! Hahaha. I homeschool my kids so I'm gearing up for that. But for my books.....I took a break during the first quarter to invest in some fellow writers and try to help them process thru our publishers demise. That's been a hard battle. But now I'm trying to focus on my work. My re-release should be out in a month! Waiting on my designer to finish the cover for me and it'll go live! I've got a rough outline of my next non-fiction book that I'm slowly working towards, and I'm outlining my mystery series too! I've got my blog where I invest weekly into and am hopeful to continue writing more and more!!!!!!!
WELL that's the long and short of this particular interview. There was other extended questions done with other members of the group but for THAT you'll have to be a member. It's free, it's great, I encourage you to check it out!
To learn more about Katharine and her AMAZING books, check out her links below!
Amazon Author Page: Katharine Grubb
Also, Check out Katharine's awesome Books on Amazon: