Author Interview: Kim Wright

Welcome, friends! I am honored today to interview long-time author, Kim Wright! Her newest release, Your Path to Publication: A Guide to Navigating the World of Publishing, is available now and is a must-read for anyone who has plans to be published.

Kim WrightKim Wright is the author of the literary novel, Love in Mid Air (Grand Central) and is presently at work on a Victorian mystery series and a self-published fantasy series. She has been a full time journalist for almost thirty years, specializing in the areas of travel, food, and wine. She is a two time recipient of the Lowell Thomas Gold Award for travel writing and has updated her best selling family guide Walt Disney World With Kids for 22 years in a row. She lives in Charlotte, NC

Kim, please tell us how your writing career has progressed.

 I was a journalist and non-fiction writer for the first twenty-five years of my career, but I always felt I had a novel in me, somewhere. Love in Mid Air was published last year, and I wrote a mystery, which is with my agent now for editing. I hope to make it the first in a series of mysteries. Also, I’m currently working on a genre series, which I will self-publish with a friend.

 What experience do you have with publishing your books?

 I’ve had a wide spectrum of experiences  – newspapers, magazines, a travel book series, a novel with a big press, nonfiction with a small press, and now self-publishing.  It’s a complicated time in publishing and no one knows exactly what’s going to happen so I believe in laying my chips all over the roulette table! My years of writing in various genres and the scope of my publishing experiences qualified me to write Your Path to Publication.

 Who should hire an agent?

 If you hope to sell a novel or a high concept non-fiction book to a major publisher, you will need an agent, since they only accept agented submissions. If you are expecting a substantial advance for your book, you will also need an agent.

 If you plan to go to a small independent or university press or, if you write primarily short stories, essays, magazine articles, or poetry, you won’t need an agent.  If you write the kind of non-fiction that is easily explained and understood – i.e., cookbooks, how-to books, or travel guides, or plan to self-publish, you can do without an agent.

 What would you say is the difference between Small Press publishing and Indie publishing?

 Small presses offer a kinder, gentler, publishing experience than large pressYour path to Publication by Kim Wright publishers. They will consider unagented material and the kinds of books larger publishers often shy away from, such as poetry or short story collections. You’ll likely be consulted on all decisions and will be treated as more of a member of the team. They won’t offer you a substantial advance. Small presses often sell their books almost exclusively over the internet or at hand-picked regional indie bookstores. Although, unlike large publishers, small publishers keep authors in print much longer and give them more time to reach readers via word of mouth.

 The beauty of self-publishing is that no one can tell you “No.”  With a little work, you can have your book available for purchase – either via print on demand or e-reader downloads – within a couple of weeks. There are no up-front advances, obviously, but you’ll keep a much larger percentage (between 35-70% depending on how you price your book) on each copy sold.  All the editorial and promotional work will fall to you, so be prepared to do everything from design your own cover to organize your own blog tours. Indies are professionals who help self-pubbed authors through the process of editing, formatting, publishing, and promotion, but you’ll pay for all this help.

Would you explain the difference between the types of writer’s conferences?

 For new writers, the big expo-type conference is great for inspiration and general information.  You’ll listen to panels and speakers but aren’t required to show any of your own work. these expos are great for meeting other writers and networking  Expos usually last 2-3 days.  One example is the huge AWP conference, which will be in Chicago next year.

 If you are well into your writing and ready to be critiqued by an expert and a circle of your peers, consider the workshop-style conference, the best known being Bread Loaf and Sewanee. This type of conference requires a larger investment of both time and money, since they usually last one or two weeks. 

 If your book is finished and has been critiqued, revised, and polished, consider a pitch and sell conference designed to help you meet agents and editors.  These usually last only one day, are most often in a large city. They are the literary equivalent of speed dating because you have a very limited amount of time to interest a professional in your project. An example would be the Algonquin Pitch and Shop.

Marcia’s Note: Backspace Writer’s Conference has a two-day conference scheduled for early November 3-4, 2011. See the video for a peek at what to expect.

Thank you, Kim, for being with us today and for answering some gnawing questions.

Naturally, far more in-depth information on all of these topics can be found in Kim’s comprehensive book.

 Webpage and link to order: Your Path to Publication: A Guide to Navigating the World of Publishing

 Amazon: Your Path to Publication: A Guide to Navigating the World of Publishing

It has been said (and I plan to read for myself) that reading Kim’s book is like sitting in your kitchen talking with a friend, who knows her stuff, over a cup of coffee. Among several glowing reviews of her book, here is an excerpt of one readers’ thoughts: 

“Finally. Someone wrote the book that writers who are about to publish want to read…This is actually a guide book written by a wise, funny, knowledgeable person who somehow divines exactly what you’ve been wondering about. And she knows how to tell you in a way that is both enlightening and entertaining. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. You’ll underline entire paragraphs. You’ll re-read chapters. You’ll keep the book on your bedside table from the minute you complete your manuscript till your book is ‘out there.’ I’d like to give this book 6 stars!” Judy Goldman

Do you have any publishing questions for Kim?

You know I love hearing from you and anxiously await your comments!

As a ‘Thank You’ to all my readers, Kim has generously offered me a copy of her book to be given to one lucky commenter. The winner will be announced on September 20th!

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10 thoughts on “Author Interview: Kim Wright

  1. Hi Elizabeth:

    Yes, I think quite a few writers like getting their feet wet in an environment where they can just sit and listen, get inspired, and check out the information that a good panel can dispense. Critique is hard for the really inexperienced writer – it’s a necessary step eventually, but plunging in too soon can paralyze people!


  2. Thank you, Kim, for the great advice; thank you, Marcia, for inviting Kim to your blog.

    I echo the earlier comment about which conferences to attend at what level. I thought the small critique workshop was the first step; I’m pleased to find there is a smaller chair in the bears’ cottage.

  3. Thanks, everyone! I hope the book is useful for any of you who take a look at it, and I’m happy to answer any further questions you have. Or at least try!

  4. Great interview Marcia. I will definately check out her book and add it to my reading list. I like how readers say “Kim’s book is like sitting in your kitchen talking with a friend, who knows her stuff, over a cup of coffee.” Sounds like my kind of book!

  5. Great interview Kim and Marcia! I really like the information regarding best conferences to attend for whatever preparation level you’re at. Very helpful.

  6. Thanks for hosting me, Marcia! Looking back, I see I was a little unclear about one thing in the indie publishing section. What I meant to say is that self-published authors (who often call themselves “indies”) can hire editors, cover designers, layout artists, etc to help them make their books more polished and ready for readers, but that they’ll have to pay these pros out of their own pocket. The good news is that a whole business has sprung up to help indie writers and a lot of these professional offer their services at reasonable prices. It’s easier than it used to be!

    • Thanks for adding that, Kim! Things are changing fast in the business of publishing! In the long run, the writers will win out with some excellent resouces and many to choose from.

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