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BellaOnline Interviews Carol Taylor 1/2012

Conclusion of Interview with Carol Taylor

Do you have any advice for writers who are striving to be published?

Never give up, never surrender; always be true to your style and aesthetic.

I always tell writers to write what they know, and then elaborate on that. The stories will then be convincing without them having to try too hard or to make up too many things. In my stories I combine details of my own life with fiction and that's often just the starting point I need.

Travel outside the country and outside of your regular circles. It's important to mix it up, to network and to practice the social arts. You'll meet new people and be inspired in ways you could never imagine.

As a writer—trying to be published or about to be published—you should have a clear idea of your book because the process of selling a book and delivering that book to the publisher for publication can take many, many months. It can be two years between contract and finished book. Many things can change in that time, editors leave houses and the marketplace changes. If you don't have a firm grasp on your book—its look, concept and package—it can be changed for the worse.

Be prepared to promote your book, whether you’re self-published or if you have a traditional publisher. With a publisher, don't expect the publicity department to take care of your publicity or promotions. Nurture and utilize all your contacts, pitch your book to magazines, producers and newspapers and network with other writers and always return favors so you can keep going back to the well. “Quid pro quo” loosely translated means “something for something.” Getting something of value in return for giving something of value is very important in the publishing industry and in life.

It’s also important to keep tabs on the production of your upcoming book: closely review your copyedited manuscript and galleys, the cover, the book specs, and the final book as well as any promotional materials such as press releases, postcard mock-ups and the like to make sure it looks exactly how you want it to look, or something close enough.

Pick your battles. This is an important lesson. Know when to fight and when to concede.

As a writer you should be able to write in any genre about any topic. Edit yourself and research the material and the market. Try to work organically and systematically no matter what you are writing. When you have an idea, think about the best way to conceptualize and package that idea so that there is a possibility of turning it into a series. That way you sell a few books and not just one, which makes for a longer writing career.

Always take pride in your work, deliver clean copy to your editor or agent, be grateful for suggestions to your work whether you take them or not, be open to revisions and be easy to work with or people won’t want to work with you. Publishers, agents and editors talk to each other; if you are difficult your career will be short lived, unless you are a best-selling author. Even then, it doesn’t pay to burn bridges because what goes up must come down and it’s wise to not have alienated anyone in the industry. I can’t tell you how many times referrals have come to me from the most unlikely of places because I treat everyone with deference and respect, from publishers to people just starting in the industry.

To the readers: Please keep buying books because you determine the direction of the publishing industry by what you buy. So please, take chances on new writers. They need your help most of all, or only the same 20 writers will continue to be published.

Most important of all: Writers give back when you make it. Teach, mentor, network, and give free advice. It’ll reward you in ways too numerous to detail here.

Hire a book editor, they will make your book, read better, and be more marketable and salable and they will make you a better writer during the process of editing your work.

With the advances in e-book publishing and marketing your chances of being published have increased significantly. Writers can now publish directly to an e-book and find readers and maybe even find a publisher in doing so. This is another reason why a book editor is so important in helping the writer publish his best work.

Last but not least, don’t take yourself too seriously, and don't forget to have fun. I know the book business and writing can be a grind but you don’t write because you want to, you write because you have to. Be thankful that you can.

Carol Taylor

Thank you, Carol, for such a wonderful interview. I look forward to your next book.