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An Interview with Henry Baum by Todd Keisling

<—That’s me, the editor of Self-Publishing Review.

Self-promotion time.  I don’t do a huge amount of self-promoting about my own book here, but here goes.  Case in point, didn’t mention that my novel, The American Book of the Dead, recently won the Gold IPPY award for Visionary Fiction.  It also won Best Fiction at the DIY Book Festival.

Today there’s an interview up by Todd Keisling.  I talk about the roots of the novel and self-publishing.  On self-publishing, a snippet:

TK: How about self-publishing? What got you started there?

HB: My first novel was released by Soft Skull Press. The novel I wrote after that took three years and was a pretty draining experience.  I had an agent for that book and nothing happened – actually, had an agent for the Soft Skull Press novel, but I sent the book in to SSP myself, first proof that things get done when I do it myself.  Wrote another novel, had another agent.  Nothing happened.  Finally discovered Lulu – and when I got the first copy of the novel (North of Sunset) it felt like getting published for real.  There it was with words printed on pages.  And I thought, why the hell did I take so long?  Meanwhile my first novel came out in the U.K. and France with high-profile places – proof to me how rigidly difficult the American publishing scene can be.

With the latest novel, I didn’t even submit it to my agent and just totally became a self-publishing zealot. As you mention, the book’s a little weird.  It’s not straight end of the world novel, and its take on fundamentalist Christianity would offend the Left Behind set.  I didn’t have a lot of faith that traditional publishers would know what to do with it.  So I self-released – better this time, with Lightning Source.  I also believe deeply in self-publishing as an outlet, even if I’ve designed a much harder road for myself.

TK: Have any advice for writers out there considering the life of an independent author and/or publisher?

HB: It depends on how much patience you have.  Me – I ran out of patience.  And I know I’m a decent writer and people will like what I write despite what an editor might say.  So I’ve dropped out.  BUT – if you’re 22 years old, or something, and you want to break in, keep on submitting to agents if it doesn’t make your skin crawl.  Until it’s possible to get traditional bookstore distribution and/or everybody’s got an e-reader, self-publishing shouldn’t necessarily be a first resort.

Read the whole thing at Todd Keisling’s site.