I’ve had people tell me they are between books, looking for something new to read; a new author, a new genre. There are more writers than ever before: More good writers, more not so good writers. The choices of things to read are enormous. The purpose of interviewing a writer is to give you, the reader, a chance to hear from the writer directly, to hear the writer’s own voice.
Harry Bingham Author Of The Writers And Artists Yearbook Guide To Getting Published. Harry started out on the dark side, spending ten years as an investment banker, laying secret plans to destroy the world. Once his work was done, he turned to writing and has written six novels and four works of non-fiction. He lives just outside Oxford, England, and is married, with dogs.
Who is the audience for this book? If you’ve written a book (or are close to finishing one), then this book tells you what to do next. How to make sure your book is good enough, how to choose literary agents, what literary agents do, how to write query letters and synopses, what publishing deals look like – and what happens next. The guide is intensely practical and is drawn on mountains of experience.
What did you learn when writing it? All the stuff about literary agents, I knew pretty well beforehand. As I wrote the second half of the book, however – the part that deals with publishers – I realised that nearly all authors are underprepared for the reality of the publishing process. I hope that this guide won’t just help writers become authors; I hope it’ll help them make good and successful authors too.
If you have a career outside of writing, how does it fit into your life as a writer? I’m about 70% full time as a writer, but in the remaining 30% I look after my firm, The Writers’ Workshop, which offers editorial advice to new writers and (when and if a manuscript becomes strong enough) helps writers get literary agents. Thankfully, my colleagues (Laura and Nikki) mostly run the business, so I can get my head down with writing books.
What do you write when you’re not writing publishing guides? I’ve written a fair bit of non-fiction and probably always will, but my real passion is fiction. I’ve written some historical drama/adventures in the past, but my new love is crime fiction and I have a crime series coming out shortly in the US and across Europe.
What is your philosophy of writing? I think you have to write from passion. Technique matters a lot, obviously, and it’s a wonderful way to unknnot problems that would otherwise defeat you, but in the end it comes down to passion. If you don’t love your book and love your characters, you will never inspire other people. And I don’t care whether you’re writing literary fiction, genre fiction for young adults – or even a ‘how to’ book on getting published. Passion always matters.
If you could change one thing about the publishing industry what would it be? Well, I think Amazon is doing a pretty god job of making the industry far more open than it has been. And for the first time in years, I think it’s possible that authors’ incomes might actually rise instead of falling. (Amazon offers 70% royalties to authors. Conventional publishers offer an average royalty that can easily be as little as 5% of the retail cover price.) But in this emerging electronic world of reading, I think there’s still no good way to browse for little-known titles. Until we have a really good way to browse, there won’t be a satisfactory replacement for the good quality indie bookshop.
What pet peeve do you have about other people? I don’t really have any peeves. As a writer, you can’t choose your reader. And there’s this weird thing where any good author simultaneously has to write for him/herself only (because you have to be passionate about your creation) but also to write only for the reader (otherwise your work will inevitably become self-indulgent and baggy). In fact, I reckon that the more respect you have for the intelligence and emotional sensitivity of your reader, the better your book will be. The more I’ve written, the more respect I’ve come to have.
The Writers And Artists Yearbook Guide To Getting Published: The Essential Guide For Authors
The best way to get my books is via Amazon. It’s how I do most of my book shopping.
That’s the interview. Thanks for listening.