Every Tuesday, S. Luke Abaffy debuts a new author interview on his online conversation series Author Feast. A writer himself, Abaffy says connecting and conversing with writers at various levels — he’s interviewed bestseller Guy Kawasaki, wine expert and journalist Bartholomew Broadbent, and GOD IS: A Matter of Fact author Marc Watson among many others — has given him invaluable insight into the writing and publishing process.
The conversations lend great insights to viewers too. In an interview with YA author Janette Rallison (who has sold a million books by the way), Rallison shared a few nuggets she wished she knew before embarking on a writing career:
1. Get a marketing degree
2. Brush up on your public speaking skills
3. Keep reading in your genre (to stay competitive and tighten your own writing)
“They are primary sources,” Abaffy says about writers. “By talking directly with other authors I’m cutting out all the unnecessary filters that might be on other material that teaches about writing, or tries to make sense of the publishing industry. …If I can craft my questions and our conversations we can, I hope, get solid advice from them.”
What inspired you to start Author Feast?
I’m a journalist and I wanted to learn what to do with a book I’m finishing. So I thought there’s no better way than asking authors what they did to get from inspiration to published, than to interview them on camera myself. I wanted to learn, and also teach people how to avoid making a lot of mistakes. And I wanted to try to figure out where the publishing industry is headed in the coming years, so I started Author Feast.
Why is it important to you to engage other writers?
They are primary sources. By talking directly with other authors I’m cutting out all the unnecessary filters that might be on other material that teaches about writing, or tries to make sense of the publishing industry. They all have different experiences, but they’re all shooting at the same target, and if I can craft my questions and our conversations we can, I hope, get solid advice from them. Also good authors’ work should be introduced to new readers. That’s a part of it.
What’s been the most useful nugget you’ve learned as a writer from interviewing a wide spectrum of successful authors?
I’ve learned that you have to have a true passion about what you want to write if you ever hope to get it published. The process, no matter your talent level is grueling. Just like starting a business or any other difficult endeavor, if you aren’t excited about it, you’ll give up halfway there.
How important is community to you as a writer?
During the writing process, community isn’t important to me at all. I get most of my ideas through dreams or just while walking or doing something else. And fleshing them out is a lot of fun, and a part of just being a writer. But after my work is written, community is priceless. For reading, editing and even just opinions or ideas, I let as many people read my work as I can, and I love this. Also, in getting work out to the public I think community plays a key role. Especially for anyone trying to self publish.
Check out Abaffy’s full interview with YA Author Janette Rallison.
Check out more writer Q&As here:
> Read: Ayesha Harruna Attah on Different Paths to Publication
> Read: Kim Foote on Sticking with her Manuscript
> Read: Kristen Browning-Blas on The Current State of Newspaper Editing
> Read: Liza Monroy on Fictionalizing Real Life
>Read: Petra Lewis on Addressing Gun Violence in her Writing
>Read: Kwame Alexander on Sourcing Inspiration
>Read: Tinesha Davis on Finishing a Book