Thursday, December 10, 2015

Converting Blog Articles into Books

by Jean Henry Mead

I never dreamed of converting interviews from my Mysterious Writers blog into a book when I established the site in 2008. But such good advice and life stories evolved that I couldn’t allow the material to disappear into cyber space.So  I recycled a great many interviews and decided to make them available to all readers.

Before the interviews were accepted for publication by Poisoned Pen Press, I submitted them to three publishers, all of whom accepted, so I was faced with a dilemma. Do I go with PPP, which only offered to publish a Kindle version, or two small, well respected presses, which offered a print version but wanted to make changes. I finally decided to accept Poisoned Pen’s contract with the hope they would also publish a print edition or sell the print rights to another publisher. Eventually they released a large print edition (shown above),

Interviews with unknown writers usually don't sell books, and I found the best time to approach a bestselling author is just before a new release, which is probably why Sue Grafton agreed to an interview when V is for Vengeance was released. Embolded from acceptances from Elmore Leonard, Lawrence Block,Carolyn Hart,  Nancy Pickard, J.A. Jance and other publishing giants, I asked Janet Evanovich for an interview. So far I haven’t received an answer, but you can’t win them all.

I’ve featured quotes from interviewees on one of my Facebook pages. Among my favorites is one from Nancy Means Wright: "Vermont writer Howard Frank Mosher nails up rejection slips and adverse reviews on the side of his barn and shoots holes in them. I just leave mine in a cardboard box and let my Maine Coon cats make a nest or pee on them. So send that manuscript out again!"

And from Louise Penny: "Finish the book. Most people who start books never finish them. Don't be one of those. Do it, for God's sake. You have nothing to fear--it won't kill you. It won't even bite you. This is your dream--this is your chance. You sure don't want to be lying on your death bed regretting that you didn't finish the book." Lawrence Block was more succinct with his advice: "Write to please yourself. And don't expect too much."

I've had so many good interviews since Mysterious Writers was accepted that I published another, The Mystery Writers. I began my writing career a news reporter so interviewing is second nature. And the rewards are immeasurable.

I hope aspiring writers will discover something in these collections to help them in their struggle to publication, which is the main reason for the blog site as well as these books. Mystery readers also enjoy reading about their favorite authors.


Morgan Mandel said...

It was a great idea!

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks, Morgan. I learned some things about writing from everyone I interviewed.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

How smart of you! We all need those kind of how-to and motivational books.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Marilyn. I've always been fascinated with the various methods writers use as well as their work ethics. Successful writers are nearly always generous with their advice to fledglings.