Friday, 4 September 2009

Interview with self-published writer Kent Allan Rees

Molly Withers and the Golden Tree is a wonderful children's story, but really, adults will glean so much from it. I had the immense pleasure of working on the second edition of Molly with Kent and I'm thrilled to see it in print. Check out the site and see how truly magical it is:

How long did it take you to write the first draft of Molly?
The initial draft for Molly took 8 months. I have no idea if that's quick, or slow, but it certainly went by in a blink...I loved it.

Why did you self-publish?
Great question. I initially tried finding a traditional brick and mortar publisher, but didn't have the patience for that particular adventure (at the time). I was so motivated and so driven by my new found passion, that I refused to wait for a golden nod from an editor's assitant. I knew I had a great story (the beginning of a great series), and I just had to get it out there.

How did you find self-publishing? Any tips for readers?
Wow...Looking back, I don't know if I'd take the self publishing route again...You'll need to do some soul searching to see what you're all about. Ultimately, I want a traditional publisher. I have always wanted a traditional publisher...I just hoped I could find that traditional publisher while promoting a self published title for a period. The caution flags are these - many publishers will not consider a self published title; when dealing with stores/chains, self published authors work completely on a consignment basis, and you will find out red tape abounds - such as signage needing to be signed off by HEAD OFFICE, or not being permitted to do book signings during the Christmas Rush; and, of course, trying to convince respected media, such as the Toronto Star, to review a self published title is more painful than surgery without anaesthesia. And there's more to consider. You will easily find Self Publishing companies willing to do all the formatting for you (meaning they will make your story look like a book), but as far as major marketing, you're on your own. I checked out dozens of self published titles, and I found none of them had a wow factor for me...all somewhat plain...and I needed wow... Plus, I wanted complete control...I knew how I wanted my book formatted, and I knew exactly how I wanted the cover to rather than have someone else create some generic- looking book cover, I dealt directly with a printing company, which keeps the author's cost per book at the very lowest it can be (though, you will have to purchase appx 1000 copies at a time). To deal with a print house directly, you essentially need two files...a cover, and the guts...which means you'll need a graphic problem. What I soon found was this: as soon as you are brave enough to share your Dreams with everyone you meet, people come out of the woodwork to help you get there...In virtually no time, I had an artist and a graphic designer cheering for me, and I was off to the races. You really need to ask youself how much of the work are you willing to do...if it's your nature to want your hands in all the pies, you can have control over every little aspect of the book creation process - right down to cover and paper stock. If you simply have a story you need to tell, and are not deeply attached to the creation process, there are 100's of self publishing companies out there that will make it look like a book, and give you a product to peddle. Maybe you're somewhere in the middle, and you can find that balance too. If you are a traditionalist, by all means, start your publishing house research - key word there research.

Would being published by a traditional publisher (as opposed to the self-pubbed route) have more meaning to you?
That's a slippery question. My gut reaction is to say 'no,' but upon closer inspection of my feelings, I am forced to say an overwhelming YES. Here's why. I can pat myself on the back for taking this project and seeing it through - writing a book, finding an amazing editor, creating the cover that I wanted, and organizing successful book signings coast to coast. But the reality is this: I have only just finished one leg of the journey. Don't get me wrong. I am quite pleased with how much I have been able to accomplish in a short period of time. And, it would be easy to stop here and say: "hey, I did my best." But there's the rub - To really see this journey through, means finding that traditional publisher and finishing the series - then, and only then, will I truly be able to say that I saw it through to the end.

Any tips on writing?
Sure...Lighten up. Take your craft seriously, sure, but ease up on yourself. Do your research, and make the most of your time. I'd wager most writers start out with other jobs on the go, so be smart with time management. You can bank on it saving you time in the long run. I'd also offer sticking with stories that you are completely passionate about. You'll need that passion to keep you going during the more troubling hours. You have to love the process and you have to become an advocate for yourself. There's some fine mettle in the saying The squeaky wheel gets the oil. You have to love your story so much, that you'd pitch it to strangers. Book signings, for the record, are fantastic for spreading the word, and for building confidence. Get a couple under your belt, and you'll have your pitch fine tuned. After all, it might be the case that you won't start out sitting behind a lofty desk with a cushy chair, simply signing books for millions of your fans. You'll be there, perhaps by yourself, looking for just one friendly face to share your story with. Then, if you're lucky, that friendly face will buy a copy and get you to sign it for them. Build on that, and don't forget it. You'll only ever get to sell that"first" copy at a book signing, so cherish it.

Where can we buy the book? Anyone in the world can order signed or signed copies of my book on my website http" (shipping is free for all North American orders). And for a list of stores, you can visit For volume purchases by schools or bookstores, kindly contact my distributor