Elizabeth Hull writes under the pseudonym of CN Lesley simply because someone with that name was already a published fantasy

 No novelist (unless they are lucky) writes a novel and is an instant success. Often, writing takes years of honing and learning. As stated before, the focus behind these interviews has been the changing industry. And one of the
things most important to new authors is the quality of their work. Even more so than before. Simply put, it is because anyone with a pc/laptop/tablet can press a few keys, ‘write a novel,’ and get it published. So how do you stand out?

On March 30th Elizabeth is publishing Darkspire Reaches with Kristell Ink, a small press. Can you tell us how your persistence paid off? Why do you think your novel stood out from the crowd?

There are any number of well-written, wonderful books waiting to be discovered. When a first book gets accepted, it really is a matter of luck and personal taste. As a magazine Editor of many years standing, I know this to be very true. Sometimes, good stories don’t get bought because they just don’t catch Acquisition’s eyes, or they aren’t quite right for the imprint, or they are too long, or too short; any number of
reasons. A person has to love a story to acquire it for publication. The trick
is to find that person.

Small or indie presses are a relatively new phenomenon in publishing. At lease their explosion onto the publishing world is. They differ from mainstream in that the majority do not place books in big box stores but rely on the Internet to spread the word and use POD - print on demand - to sell hard and paperback books. Very often, this is beginning to happen in mainstream too. It is placed upon an author to self-promote. How do you feel about this?

I have no problem with this, and it was an expectation, however my book was published. Having a website is imperative, as well as using the thing to draw readers in. I am releasing some of my shorts on my site to generate interest and will be posting snippets soon. I have increased my presence at the online media platform and will continue to  do this.
As for the small presses not placing books in the big retail outlets, some do. If the sales of a book are strong enough on other platforms, then approaches will be made. There are all manner of e-readers now available and some of these are related to the big stores. Also, if a book’s sales warrant it, then the book will be brought in a print version. Where the small presses will differ from the traditional publisher is that they have not got the resources to purchase prime space in the stores. This is why a reader will never see any book published by small presses on those very special front-of-store tables. Well, that is unless the store is one of the fast disappearing Indy
stores and places books they personally like in a good position.

Do you think the glut of novels right now will only increase, or do you see it settling
down soon?

Nearly everyone owns some form of word processor at this time. I imagine this will increase the glut exponentially. Only yesterday, I was at our local drugstore buying a card, when the cashiers were having a conversation of how they should each write a book about their family life. Go back about ten, or fifteen years and this conversation wouldn’t have been happening. Until Amazon opened up Kindle and its sister, Create Space, there was no real way for ordinary people to self-publish unless they went to a
vanity press. Most people wouldn’t pay that sort of money to get published, so  wouldn’t bother. Now, anyone can stick up a book with ease. Of course, for a  good self-published book to rise to the top, it must be given the same sort of attention and love that any publisher would have given to it. The difference is  so easy to spot from the cover, the tightness of the plot, the quality of the  writing …

How do you see the future of publishing and your role within it?

I think less new people will be published traditionally and the amount of agents will decrease. There is more of a tendency from them not to stray from popular trends, or to take a chance on an unknown author. The good small presses will continue to thrive and the good self-published books will compete. As for my role, I will continue to work  within the industry and to write.

Are you excited by the changes to the  industry? Should we be excited or daunted?

I suppose it is somewhat bitter/sweet. It is like watching to end play of the last days of the dinosaurs. They will always be around in some lesser form, but the great majesty of the beasts has already been diminished. I am sad, as I can see what the changes, especially the  e-readers, are doing to the bookstores. There was nothing quite like browsing in  one of the Indy Stores, where one could get all sorts of interesting books not  available from the big retailers. On the flip side, new generations are discovering reading all over again as it can be done on a handy tablet. ‘If it can come on a gadget, it must be good’, seems to be the motto.

Please tell us all about Darkspire Reaches and what project you intend to follow it

Darkspire Reaches is a character-driven book that is billed as a dark romantic fantasy. Giving the blurb is going to be less wordy than if I describe it another way.

Her birth mother left her as a sacrifice to the Wyvern, believing a secondborn twin had no soul.
Her foster mother thought Raven possessed the magic of the First born. She
  believed she raised a slave.
The emperor of all the lands believed she knew the secret of his birth andthat he must silence her.
Her tribe thought they could trade her for safe passage out of the emperor’s lands.
The Wyvern knows better. He is coming for her. His fury has no limits.

My next publications will be a Science Fiction book and a Science Fantasy book, which is the first book in a trilogy. Next year, I hope book 2 of the trilogy will be released and I also have two wildly different  Urban Fantasies. Once those are done, I have plans for a new fantasy book and a sequel to Darkspire Reaches.

Elizabeth can be found at: http://cnlesley.wordpress.com/


1/29/2013 12:11:29 am

Elizabeth: Great interview, and I'm so excited to see your wonderful stories will soon be available all over. Can't wait for Darkspire. Times are definitely changing in the publishing world, but I think that the good books will find a following. The great thing about this new era of publishing is that authors have more time to get recognized. Good luck with everything.

1/29/2013 01:05:29 am

Great thoughts, Jim. It would be very easy to go all 'negative' about the industry, but to be honest, I think it is an exciting time, too. Difficult, maybe, but there are definite possibilities for those with a bit of oomph!


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