peeps: David Bishop
Novelist David Bishop was born in Washington, D.C., his father a Navy man posted there, and he supposes his early years probably didn’t differ much from many of his own readers’ lives. “We moved around. I got some education. Played some sports, and got some more education,” he says. He was even a financial analyst, valuating private companies. That actually led to him co-authoring his first book, a non-fiction work published in three languages.
Now the author of a number of mysteries and thrillers — eight of them up on Amazon, including The Blackmail Club and his latest, Death of a Bankster — it is clear from how he describes and analyzes his work, he loves what he does. “One of the major challenges of building a mystery is deciding where the clues should be salted within the story,” he muses. “Real clues can be left in plain sight to appear innocuous, or obfuscated to encourage being overlooked. Clues can be as large as a log or as tiny as the bump thereon. There are also the distractions of false clues, called red herrings, which point at someone other than the real villain.”
If you love mysteries, tell me that didn’t get your mouth watering.
How David Got Started Self-Publishing
“I prefer ‘indie’ to ‘self’ to describe the process,” he says. “I publish independent of any traditional publisher, but certainly not ‘self’ in that many talented professionals help me along the way,” such as editors and book cover designers. “Independent publishing is not for all authors, but for those for whom it works, it likely works best.”
Indeed, self-publishing — rather indie publishing — does seem to fit David’s strong entrepreneurial sensibilities. “I prefer to retain control of my novels,” he explains. “The prices for the books. The formats in which each is published. The final approval of all things from covers to languages in which they are published. I prefer to have no one standing between me and my readers. I am responsible to them.”
Self-Publishing Tips and Observations
- “Ah, this is one of those visionary questions that require me to stop focusing on this day, this month, my next manuscript, and get out my crystal ball. Okay, let’s take a crack at doing that.”
- “I see bookstores getting smaller, specializing, or putting in merchandise beyond only books. Bookstore chains, let’s use Barnes & Noble as an example, may evolve into a place where you can shop and buy the print book or take your Kindle (or Nook) to the counter and have the ebook loaded onto it. Purchasing ebooks from home would remain quicker and easier, but doing it at home may not sufficiently satisfy the shopping gene.”
- “The big publishers will eventually need to stop overcharging for ebooks in an attempt to have that revenue offset their diminishing returns from print books. Readers are learning that there are equally as entertaining fiction available from independently publishing authors who control their own pricing of ebooks and do not overcharge.”
- “Literary agencies are being squeezed as independent publishing authors do not need literary agents to become published and reach readers. Agencies could evolve to focus more on ‘managing’ a career of an author rather than simply getting authors published. Some literary agents are also moving toward being publishers of ebooks for authors they represent. However, this is a bit dicey, as I see it. Agents are that, agents, meaning they have a duty to act in the best interests of their clients — authors. Agencies who also become publishers may be entering a swampy area of trying to serve their own interests as publishers (smaller royalties to their authors, smaller advances to get the book, etc.) while simultaneously trying to meet their responsibilities under agency law to act in their clients’ best interests (bigger royalties and larger advances, etc). Seems to be a conflict.”
- “I’d like to see the big publishers recognize that authors such as myself do not need them for their digital ebooks product, but could use them for print books. I could be interested in such an arrangement, but as I understand it, the big publishers are doggedly hanging onto their desire to control both digital and print for their authors. I’m projecting that over time this will become more and more difficult for them to achieve on the big scale they are trying to do so.”
- “Authoring is an art; publishing is a business. Authors who feel comfortable and confident about wearing both hats should look into publishing for themselves.”
- “Be honest with yourself about your skills in each area. Being a spellbinding storyteller may not be enough to make you a successful author. On some level, it seems it should be enough, but publishing is a business and business skills are required for success in any business. There are many fine, accomplished, professional literary agents and traditional publishers out there. If you need their business skills and guidance, search them out. If you are as confident about your business skills as you are about your writing skills, then look closer at independent publishing.”