When a writer first starts out in this industry, they aren’t sure where to go to find the best advice for their fledgling career. Back in 2010 I was one of those newbies. I stumbled across an article titled “5 Things Writers Should Do BEFORE Release Day” by CHUCK SAMBUCHINO and I was hooked! Now, eleven years later and with a dozen published books under my belt, I am thrilled to share my own interview with one of the writing industry gurus on all aspects of writing or publishing…
1. For my readers who might not know about your illustrious career, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thank you for the kind words. I’ve worn many different hats, but most of what I’ve done and still do involves helping people get published. I worked for Writer’s Digest for 10 years and now work for myself. When I worked for WD, I did online education and webinars, edited the Guide to Literary Agents, spoke at 100+ writers conferences, and lots more. Nowadays, I’m doing the same thing, except on my own. I help coordinate writers conferences all over the U.S. with Writing Day Workshops. (These conferences are currently online only, but returning to in-person events in 2022.) I freelance edit queries, synopses, proposals, and manuscripts. And I’ve written some of my own books over the years — humor books. Anybody interested in learning more about me or my conferences or editing options should visit chucksambuchino.com.
2. The evolution of book publishing has changed over the years. In your opinion, what is one change hurting the industry today? What one change has helped?
The rise of e-books and e-publishing has been extraordinary. A lot of readers love e-books, and it’s given a pathway to publication for many authors. That has all helped. The biggest change that hurts, in my opinion, is simply that people are reading less fiction these days, and that just makes things more difficult.
3. What’s the #1 challenge facing indie authors today?
Exposure. Just getting some of the air in the room. Becoming noticed and being able to move units (sell books). This has always been an issue. Those that break out tend to be extremely good writers, and work extremely hard at promotion and marketing and networking.
4. What has been the most interesting freelance project you’ve worked on so far and why?
By “Freelance project,” do you mean a writer’s book that I have critiqued/edited? If so, the one that comes to mind is SPLIT, which is one of the first books I ever edited. It was written by a woman who, as a child, was sexually abused by a priest. She led an interesting life and then, as an adult, got a call from a lawyer in Los Angeles saying that the priest had abused like 40 girls (now adult women) and he wanted her to join the lawsuit against the archdiocese. She gets a one-on-one showdown with him in the legal process, and it was pretty amazing to read.
5. Why do you think so many authors struggle with their social media platforms? Do you have any helpful tips or resources to share?
They struggle because they don’t have anything truly original or valuable to contribute. They don’t know how to work with others. And I suppose the biggest issue is that building a platform takes thousands of hours and years to do. Most people don’t have that kind of time or willpower.
Tips? Too many to name here. I wrote a book called CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM that has everything I learned in it. That said, some things I could say are 1) Become an expert in something specific and give valuable information regarding that topic. Then people will follow you online, whether what you’re discussing has anything to do with your books or not. 2) Just work hard. There are so many books and articles out there on marketing yourself and your work, but combing through that information and implementing it will take a long time. Do the work and work smart, and you should see some good results.
6. During this season of pitching literary agents, do you have any tips for pitching a literary agent online or at a writer’s conference?
First of all, if anyone is looking for online writers conferences where you can pitch agents on Zoom one-on-one, I am helping coordinate several events for 2021.
Tips: Feel free to use comparables, like “My book is X meets Y.” And you don’t have to use books for your comparables. They can be TV shows or movies, like “Take the dysfunctional humorous family of ‘Arrested Development’ and have them trying to run a bed & breakfast in Latin America when they don’t even speak Spanish…”
7. What does your typical workday look like?
Totally varies. I try to get some freelance editing done on any given day and just be disciplined. I can work on planning conferences. I can work on my own writing projects. I can call my employees.
8. Besides your website, THE WRITE LIFE (www.writelife.com), what are some of your favorite sites offering great resources for writers?
THE WRITE LIFE is not my website. I only contributed a dozen or so articles for them that did very well. Honestly, there are too many to mention — look for agent blogs. They pass on really good info!
9. If someone was interested in hiring you to edit their manuscript, what is the best way to contact you?
Just email me — firstname.lastname@example.org. I critique/edit manuscripts (full or partial), queries, synopses, and nonfiction book proposals. I love working with writers. You can see a list of my editing services success stories here: https://chucksambuchino.com/editing-services/
10. What are some of the things a writer should consider when comparing a traditional publishing path versus an indie published one?
Both have distinct and different pros and cons, and you need to understand what those are, before you go down either route. For example, the big downsides about traditional publishing are: it moves slow, things are taken out of your hands, and the royalties are low. Big downsides are self-publishing are: you’re not in any bookstores, everything falls on you, and people will not know the book exists unless you tell them and market it.
11. What are the latest personal projects you’re working on?
Some picture books with my daughter (both fiction and nonfiction). And an epic book on movie trivia.
12. And one last question for fun…what’s one secret talent not many people know you possess?
I am very good at movie trivia. I also love to play pickleball.
Thank you, Chuck, for spending a little time with me today. If anyone wants to read some more of Chuck's writerly advice, check out the following links: Website: www.chucksambuchino.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/chucksambuchino Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/chucksambuchino Writer's Digest: www.writersdigest.com/author/chuck-sambuchino (for older articles) Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chuck-sambuchino-75b2bb24/