9 Sep 2012

Author Interview - Sabrina Sumsion




Produce, Publish, Publicize

Have you considered writing a book? Have you written a book and now want to publicize it? For writers and authors everywhere, it is difficult to find the real answers to publishing's hardest questions. Read Produce, Publish, Publicize to learn about the different types of publishers, how to find support people to help you create an amazing product and how to make sales after your book is released. Written by literary publicist and radio host Sabrina Sumsion, every author will find valuable information to enhance his or her publishing experience


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If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
It is my dream to work with Brandon Sanderson. I had the opportunity to meet him through my husband who is a childhood friend of Brandon’s. I love his storytelling. I remember picking up Elantris for the first time and falling out of this reality into his. I want to learn how to mesmerize my readers as effectively as he does. It doesn’t hurt that he’s one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.

What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
For a while I was a homeschooling mom so my writing happened an hour in the afternoon and an hour after the kids went to bed. Now that we’ve just moved and are in a new school district, the kids wanted to try school here. I don’t know what typical is yet, but most days it will consist of a few uninterrupted hours of typing. I find that I really like writing on our new couch with my laptop.
I prefer writing while listening to instrumental music, but I’ve tried to change my habits since talking to Elizabeth Bear (another amazing writer I’d love to work with). She mentioned how a fellow writer would smoke every time he wrote. Well, he ended up in the hospital and couldn’t smoke. He discovered he couldn’t write either because he had created a link over the years between the two. I am trying to change my environments regularly so I don’t develop any mental blocks inadvertently.

What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
The hardest part for me is editing. I know what I like and I know when my writing isn’t quite there, but many times I’m at a loss to figure out what’s missing. The most valuable asset for any writer, in my humble opinion, is a good critiquing group. Mine have always helped me figure out what I was missing.

When and why did you first start writing?
I spent several years as a literary publicist and worked with many authors who stumbled into traps and scams in the publishing industry. I wrote a white paper teaching how to avoid many of them. Eventually that white paper evolved into Produce, Publish, Publicize. I love helping people with marketing, branding, building platforms and the writing industry in general. After that, I wrote Aliens Are Real just to have fun creating. I’m developing Walk the Plank: How to Develop an Author’s Platform because at my presentations, participants always ask what platforms are and how to develop them.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Produce, Publish, Publicize came about because I wanted to educate writers about the publishing industry. I developed the idea for Produce, Publish, Publicize because publishing is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Not all writers want or need to put in the countless hours that a mainstream publishing contract demands. I realized that there wasn’t any information out there for authors who wanted to use their book as a marketing tool or just something for posterity.
Aliens Are Real developed from a dream (I know, it’s very Stephenie Meyers of me). I had a dream that I was back in high school and I was drawn to a girl, but I didn’t know her. I tried to approach her but the people around her tried to drive me off. Then one of them turned into a blue ball of light. The more I thought about the dream, the more interesting the idea became as I developed a back story and explanation for everything. Soon after, I outlined 5 books based around this idea. I just released #2 and I have people asking for #3.


Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I adore reading! Now that I opened my publishing company to other authors I don’t do as much for pure enjoyment any more as I read a lot of submissions. However, I just received a review copy of The Map of the Sky by FĂ©lix J. Palma. I’m about 100 pages in and loving the book.


Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
My advice is edit, edit, edit. Once you’re done with that, send it to some good friends and ask them for comments. Once you have comments back, edit again. Then, find a critique group, get feedback and edit again. Then, consider hiring an editor and getting professional comments and corrections. Once all that’s done, edit again. I know, it’s a lot of editing and work, but in the end you will be much happier with your story. As an added bonus, if you want to get a publisher, they will be much more interested in you if your manuscript is clean and the story line is engaging.

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