With a publishing industry that is ever in flux, it can be hard for an aspiring author to figure out what information is relevant and what she needs to do to be successful. Recognizing this, literary agent Andrea Hurst and Editorial Assistant/blogger Stephanie Mesa present a series of weekly interviews with publishing industry specialists. The AUTHORNOMICS Series features literary agents, editors, authors, marketing experts and more talking about their opinions on the publishing industry, writing, and what a writer needs to know.
AUTHORNOMICS Interview with Marc Edelheit
Marc Alan Edelheit has a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and obtained a Masters in Education as a Reading and Writing Specialist. Marc has traveled the world, from Asia to Europe, even at one point crossing the border at Check Point Charlie in Berlin toward the end of the Cold War. Marc is the ultimate history fan and incorporates much of that passion into his work to bring greater realism to his fans. He is also an avid reader, devouring several books a week, ranging from history to science fiction and fantasy. Marc currently resides in New Hope, Pennsylvania, just miles from where Washington crossed the Delaware.
Tales of the Seventh Series: Currently on Kindle Daily Deal January in the US for $0.99 http://amzn.to/2CtJowV
Chronicles of an Imperial Legionary Officer Series: http://amzn.to/2lI5YGz
The Karus Saga Series: http://amzn.to/2CsWs5v
Stiger’s Tigers was your first published title, and continues to sell exceptionally well. What advice would you give to fellow writers who are working on their first novel?
Make sure you do it right. I did nearly everything wrong and despite that my novel took off. I read somewhere that the average person who self-publishes makes less than $500. If correct, that is an astonishing statistic. It means those books that take off are the exception rather than the rule. So… if you are going to put the time, effort, energy, frustration, tears and love into a book… make damned sure you do it right. Don’t rush it. Write it, edit it… edit it again… find a good developmental editor… LISTEN to their advice and then make changes… find an awesome copyeditor to make sure your word usage and punctuation is also correct. Do not neglect this stage. There is no perfect book. Out of a hundred and fifty thousand words… there is bound to be at least one error. Trust me on this… reviewers will mention and take stars away as an error is distracting. What will they say when you have multiple errors? You only get one shot at introducing your work to the world… so make sure you do it right.
Can you tell us a bit more about your newest book, Lost Legio IX? Were there any challenges you came across while writing this novel in comparison to Stiger’s Tigers?
Lost Legio IX was a difficult book to write. It was half historical fiction, half fantasy. The disappearance of the Roman Ninth legion is one of history’s greatest mysteries. Building off the historical record and getting the realism just right and believable was the hard part. That took a great deal of research. And research takes time. When writing historical fiction it has to be accurate. Readers of this genre will tolerate nothing less.
You were on a panel at DragonCon! Hearing positive feedback, meeting fans and peers in the community must be incredibly motivating. Tell us about your experience and you think this helps build an author’s platform.
Cons are great. This year I attended SuperCon, AnimeUSA, and DragonCon. It is truly fantastic meeting fans. I personally feel it’s important spending time with them. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I make a point to ask a lot of questions. What book do you like the most? Why? Favorite Character? What did you dislike? That sort of thing. My goal here is to listen and learn, not to be judgmental or critical of their opinions. This process helps me become more in tune with my readers. I believe it ultimately helps me improve as a writer in that I will be better at catering to my audience and building my brand. Speaking with fans is also an opportunity to leave a lasting impression… in that they will hopefully continue to buy my books. I’ve run into a few of authors who develop overbearing egos that in my opinion turn people off. I think it’s important to remain humble and treat your fans with the respect they deserve. Without them… you as an author are nothing.
What first drew you to writing military fantasy? What appeals you the most about writing these types of stories? Do you ever see yourself wandering away from Fantasy and exploring different genres?
My passion is military science fiction. I puttered around for years struggling to write a novel… starting and stopping… but never finishing. One day, I woke up and decided if I wanted to follow my dream of becoming an author, a book would not write itself. So, I started fresh. Stiger’s Tigers became an experiment. I wanted to write a simple story that was straight forward… part historical fiction, part fantasy. It also had to have a realistic edge. I mapped out a story arc that turned out to be the book that became Lost Legio IX and was published this Oct. It was anything but simple and straight forward. I shelved that project and went back to the drawing board. Ultimately, I settled on Stiger’s tale… but instead of starting in the beginning, I began in the middle of his tale… with limited backstory which I fed my readers in drips and drabs. The rest is history…
Stiger’s Tigers has stellar reviews on Amazon and your readers love it! What was the biggest hurdle you had to push through while writing this story, and what advice would you give to your fellow writers who are experiencing the same? Do you ever feel pressure to do even better with each successive book?
My biggest hurdle was getting into a rhythm and working consistently on the book. I write each and every day. Distractions… TV, games, etc… must be cut out or limited. It doesn’t matter if you spend one hour or five on writing. I find as long as you work consistently on a project it will ultimately… somehow get done. And yes… I feel the pressure to do better with each successive book. I take it as a challenge to work harder. It must be working… as my last three novels, Stiger, Fort Covenant and Lost Legio IX all have an average review of 4.9 on Amazon. Truthfully though… I have awesome fans.
Having an online platform is vital in this day and age, from being active on Facebook and Twitter to having your own blog. How do you stay on top of it all, while working on your latest novel, responding to feedback, and everything in-between?
I love Facebook. It is the primary place other than conventions where I get to directly interact with fans. I receive messages all the time… and make a point to respond personally and as soon as humanly possible. I figure if my fans take the trouble to read my work and write… the least I can do is write back. It takes time of course… but I somehow manage… I guess since all of this is fun and ‘not’ work it makes it that much easier. Interacting with fans also serves as motivation to keep writing.
Since your first book, you have used agent assisted self publishing for your novels. Can you explain the benefits for authors in using this type of publication route?
Bottom line… I know my writing would not be as successful as it is today without my agent, Andrea Hurst. She provides constant advice, industry expertise and support. Andrea introduced me to my awesome editing team. She has also helped me build marketing plans to increase my brand, find publishing partners for my audiobooks, and so much more. In addition, she provides editing assistance (above and beyond that of my editing team) and thoughts on my manuscripts, which I have found incredibly invaluable. An agent should be a partner who is focused on your success. I have that with Andrea. She is on my side and I appreciate that!
Thanks for interviewing with us, Marc!
Andrea Hurst has over 25 years experience as a published author, developmental editor for publishers, and skilled literary agent. She works with both major and regional publishing houses, and her client list includes emerging new voices and New York Times best-selling authors. Andrea represents high profile Adult Nonfiction and well crafted fiction. Her clients and their books have appeared on the Oprah Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, National Geographic network and in the New York Times.
Stephanie Mesa has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a Certificate in Technical and Creative Writing from Florida International University. She has worked closely with Andrea Hurst as an Editorial Assistant for nearly two years while expanding her knowledge on digital marketing and social media as a book blogger and Youtuber. Stephanie has always had a passion for reading and spends most of her days curled up on her couch with her corgi pup and a book in hand.