Sunday, November 11, 2012

An Interview with Michele DeFilippo

Michele DeFilippo Author Photo

Is there any special method that you applied to writing your first book?
Actually, I'm a designer, not a writer, so I followed the advice I give all my clients and hired experts. My editor combed through my blog posts and masterfully distilled them into this short book.
How many hours a day do you spend reading, writing or working with authors? All day long, and sometimes nights and weekends, too. Our business is to work with authors in the editing and design of their books. This is fortunate, because I love books, and I spend most of my off-work hours reading great books, too.
What inspires you to continue to work in publishing?
My love of books. The library was my favorite place as a child. My parents didn't have a lot of money, so reading opened up all kinds of possibilities for me that would not otherwise have been available.
If you could have been the author of any novel, which title would it be and why? Ah, The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone for sure. This book was probably the first title I fell in love with, with its detailed account of the life of Michelangelo. It may even have set me on the path to becoming a designer, something my poor father, who wanted me to become a lab technician, never did understand.

Do you think you will ever change audiences? Or is your goal to help only self-published authors? I'll probably continue to write for self-published authors. There's a wealth of information to convey, and we see the important issues day in and day out in our work.
What advice would you give anyone who wants to become a published author? Oh, that's easy. How many days do you have? Over and over again, we speak to authors who say they can't afford to produce a quality book. This is the number one mistake self-publishers make, hands down. In their understandable haste to "get published" after working for months or years on the manuscript, many authors then fall prey to ruthless "self-publishing companies"  who are perfectly willing to lie and tell them it is possible to succeed in publishing with no budget.

So, why would any company do this? I think it's a monumental failure of integrity and an example of big business at its worst. These companies don't care if the author sells one book. Their real goal is to sell the novice author high-priced but worthless marketing packages. Their bait-and-switch tactics have victimized tens of thousands of authors who find out much later that they made the wrong choices.

Here's the truth: crafting a quality book cannot be done by someone who has no experience. Every author needs an editor, a cover designer, an interior designer, and sometimes an indexer. Marketing a book is hard work, and money spend on marketing a poorly crafted book is simply wasted. Think of our own behavior when we buy. We rightly expect value for our money. So do book buyers. They understand quality and will retaliate with bad reviews on Amazon when they don't get it.
And do you have a list of favorite books/authors?
I love to read books by David Baldacci, John Grisham, Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Recently, I've enjoyed Bill O'Reilly's two blockbusters, Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy, both of which present little-known details our history teachers glossed over. I read a lot of business books, too.