Today Tyler R. Tichelaar is pleased to interview Irene Watson and Victor Volkman, his co-editors of the new book Authors Access: 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers.
Irene Watson is an author, entrepreneur, and former therapist and educator. She currently is the owner and Managing Editor of Reader Views, Reader Views Kids, and Inside Scoop Live, and a co-host on Authors Access Internet Radio. Irene holds her Master’s Degree from Regis University in Denver, CO and a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. She is the president of Higher Power Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to awarding scholarships to people seeking recovery. Irene’s expertise in the publishing industry comes from being an author herself as well as managing an online book review service. Reader Views offers book reviews, author publicity, and many other elements needed by authors and writers. Irene also coaches authors to write book proposals and is a literary agent. Irene lives with her husband in Austin, Texas. Her memoir “The Sitting Swing: Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference” is currently in its second edition
Victor R. Volkman began his writing career in the late 1980s writing for computer programming journals such as “Windows Developer’s Journal” as well as original books on the programming. Loving Healing Press, founded in 2003, has published dozens of cutting-edge books that promote its mission of “redefining what is possible for healing mind and spirit.” As such, he has produced a series of books on Traumatic Incident Reduction as well as empowering other authors in a wide range of helping areas including trauma recovery, self-esteem, physical disabilities, sexual abuse recovery, and much more. He has produced and edited more than 200 podcasts for “Authors Access” and a variety of other author-related shows. In 2007, LHP spun off a new imprint Modern History Press dedicated to empowering authors to speak about surviving conflict and seeking identity in modern times. When not publish
ing, he enjoys spending time with his wife Marian K. Volkman, a formidable author in her own right.
Tyler: Welcome, Victor and Irene. I’m very excited to interview both of you today, and of course, I was honored to work with both of you since we are the three editors of “Authors Access: 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers.” However, both the Internet Radio Show and the book based on the program were the brain-child of the two of you, so it’s fitting I sit back and listen to the two of you discuss what you initially envisioned for the program and why you chose to turn the radio interviews into a book on publishing and writing. So let’s get started. To begin, will you give us a little history of how the radio show Authors Access began and what were its initial goals?
Irene: Victor and I met nearly 3 years ago through Reader Views. He, being a publisher, submitted books to us for review. Through this connection we came up with the idea of interviewing experts in the field of publishing. Because of Reader Views, I already knew many experts and how to contact them. Victor’s expertise in mixing and publishing podcasts made us a great team. Our initial goal was to give an opportunity for experts to share their information with writers who wanted to self-publish their books. Over the past two years, Authors Access just kept evolving. As to where it goes from here, we don’t know. However, I do know we are picking up new listeners every week. We get about 1000 global listeners on a weekly basis.
Tyler: What led to the decision to produce a book based on the podcast interviews. How did the book develop and how did you choose which people would contribute?
Victor: Irene and I were approaching our 2nd anniversary of the Authors Access podcast show and we kind of sat back and brainstormed ideas on how to bring all this knowledge to more writers in an easy-to-digest package. Although our podcast catalog of shows has more than 1,000 listeners per week, we knew that potentially a much bigger audience was out there. At first, we thought about simply getting transcripts but what passes for interesting conversation isn’t the same as good reading. And so Irene, who manages all our contact with the guests, put out the call in Summer 2008 for papers from all our prior guests.
Authors Access: 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers is actually the fourth anthology I’ve edited. Every anthology is a unique experience: you put out the call for papers and you never know who is going to answer the call. I count us extremely fortunate that we were able to attract 24 different contributors for this volume. These are all very busy and very successful people so it’s quite an honor for them to have written for us. The great majority of them have 20 to 30 years of experience in writing, marketing, and publishing AND they’re willing to share their lessons-learned and best practices. So I’m really in awe of our contributors. I’m happy to say that we accepted 100% of the submissions and some people, like our frequent co-host Tyler Tichelaar, went above-and-beyond the call of duty by turning in multiple papers. That’s how we got “30” success secrets from 24 guests!
Editing an anthology is a lot like casting a play. The framework of a play is its script and in the case of this anthology the framework was the lifecycle of a book. A play might have three acts, but we knew we wanted it to progress in the orderly fashion of the ideal book schedule. So I weighted the genre-specific writing tips in the beginning, editing articles toward the middle, and marketing/branding/promotion at the back end along with ways to leverage your book into new media.
Tyler: What does “Authors Access” offer that many of the popular books on writing and publishing don’t?
Victor: Critic Francine Silverman (Book Promotion Newsletter) said it best: “Each of the 30 articles is a workshop in itself.” In a conventional book about writing, marketing, or publishing, you’re getting the viewpoint and expertise of one (maybe two) people who have a very narrow focus of expertise. It just isn’t possible for one person to experience everything there is to know about writing AND marketing AND publishing. So in a nutshell, we have strength in numbers. Sure, if you’re writing a book you can research your subject but our contributors have LIVED their subject matter. Because we have subject experts, they can go really deep into material you would only expect to find at a writer’s conference. To be concrete, Janet Lane Walters’ article “Don’t Murder Your Mystery” actually works like having her sit over your shoulder pointing out areas for improvement in your plot, dialog, backstory usage, and word choice. She also provides an amazing consistency and quality checklist called