What projects are you working on right now?
I’m a multi-genre novelist in science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and enjoy reading those genres as well (I’ve also published scholarly articles for my day job as a scientist). I have three things going on at the moment. First, I just released a SciFi space opera novel, The First Nova I See Tonight, and busy doing the post-release promotion of it. It’s selling great right out the gate. Super fun to write, and I hope super fun to read. A space rogue and his cyborg companion have to transport a mysterious safebox, but space pirates, tentacled mafiosos, an AI-worshipping cult, and a sexy femme fatale all want it too.
Check it out at mybook.to/FirstNova!
The second thing is that I’m doing final polishing and getting a cover image done for a fantasy book I’m releasing in a few months, the first in a series. The ancient Gold Dragon and a young female mage team up to investigate the assassination of an elvish prince, uncovering a plot by ancient gods to retake the world. So watch for that! The third is that I just started writing a horror novel: a vampire story with a twist and an entirely new supernatural entity. I hope to be done in a year. It’ll be my second horror book (the first is a collection of horror and paranormal short stories, published in 2019, entitled Around the Corner from Sanity). I always have multiple projects at a time. What with my day job and all, and busy life, it’s a wonder I get anything completed!
What does success look like to you?
Do you mean with my writing, or life in general? For my writing, I’d write books even if no one ever read them. But I feel most successful when others read my stories and delight in them, and particularly when it makes enough of an impact for them to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. It’s not even about sales. I just want to share my talent and creativity with others. For life in general, I just want to be satisfied and have the love of friends and family, though I admit that having enough money to live on is a definite plus!
What are you reading right now?
I have three books I’m reading right now. I am most of the way through fantasy, The Fallen Banner, by Robert Nugent. Seriously skilled world-building on par with George Martin there. And I have a historical fiction novel, The Ship in the Hill, by William Sullivan, which is about a female Viking and the 19th-century woman who discovers her boat-tomb centuries later. I don’t usually read historical fiction, but couldn’t help but be drawn to the viking aspect. Both of those books are published by indie authors. That last book is my “car book”: a book I keep in my car for when I need reading material while waiting at appointments or in line somewhere. I ALWAYS have a book handy, usually in print, but sometimes a Kindle on my phone. Lastly, I’ve just started beta-reading a sci-fi novel for a fellow indie author.
How did you get published?
I’m self-published, having published on Amazon for Kindle or paperback. For well over a decade I tried the traditional route, sending out countless queries to agents and publishers. The process is cutthroat and takes forever. If the agent ever got back to me at all, it was usually months later, with a rejection letter. One wait was as long as 10 months! Mind you this is just for a query letter and first 10 pages, usually. It’s unprofessional, frankly, to make authors wait so long for so little. But it reflects the glut of authors out there competing for a comparatively small number of legitimate publishers and agents. And even if you get accepted by an agent, it doesn’t mean you get published. And even if they get you accepted for publication, you go through an arduous journey of editing. In the end, you’re lucky to get 10% royalties, with little input into the cover or sometimes even the title, and you still often have to do most of the marketing yourself.
Little wonder that traditional publishers are having competition issues with Amazon and other outlets and struggling or getting gobbled up by the “Big 5” publishers. With self-publishing, I enjoy full creative freedom, can publish almost as soon as I am ready, and have royalties as high as 70% for Kindle or 60% for paperback. Of course, I also have to hire my own editor and cover artist and do all my own marketing. The biggest challenge is distribution, where traditional publishers are in with the distributors to get your books into bookstores. Anyhow, self-publishing is hitting a golden age, thanks to the ease with which Amazon and others are making it possible and the advent of COVID and people ordering online instead of bookstores (personally, I prefer bookstores and make sure my books are in the local ones, at least).
What advice do you have for new writers just starting out?
First, learn the craft of writing. Give yourself a good foundation and take a creative writing course at your local community college. Trust me on this. I tried to write a book before doing this, and considered myself well-versed in writing fundamentals, but later discovered how much I had yet to learn. The second thing is that you should join a writer’s group that’s accepting new writers. And if there isn’t one around, find some authors and start your own (you can do so virtually via Zoom and email, by the way, if not meeting in person). Getting neutral critiques is critical to writing quality work. I’ve been with a writer’s group since 1999 (The Village Peeps) and they find things to improve every single time I have them read a piece. If you want to read more on my group and how it operates, and maybe use the “rules” we follow for your own group, you can do so HERE.
Finally, what do you like to do for fun?
Other than reading and writing? I’m an outdoorsman. I live in Oregon, part of the “Great Northwest” of America, in the city of Eugene, where the weather is mild and things are green, and I’m an hour away from the tops of the Cascade Mountains and just over an hour away from the Pacific Ocean. Lots of great hiking, camping, and kayaking opportunities, and I enjoy plant and animal identification. I also enjoy cooking and various arts and crafts.
Thank you for interviewing me, and I hope your readers enjoy.
Thank you Jason for this great interview! You can connect with him here-
Jason Jason A. KilgoreWorldsKilgore@gmail.com
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