As the holidays approach, our imaginations aren’t taking any time off
A Letter from the Editor
Welcome, readers and writers, to the December issue of Books & Buzz Magazine!
This month, an international news correspondent talks about how he started writing thrillers; Christmas arrives, and an author must work through painful memories of holidays past in order to stay focused on his writing; another author celebrates how independent publishing allows for a diversity of thought that traditional publishers might not approve of; and we learn how to publish a book on your own without spending a lot of green.
Let’s find out how this all comes together:
First, bestselling author and journalist Humphrey Hawksley has been covering news stories around the globe for the BBC since the early 1980s, and writing thrillers about fictional (but plausible and quite frankly, terrifying) geopolitical scenarios since the mid-1990s. The protagonist of his current series, Rake Ozenna, was modeled after people he encountered while on assignment on a small island just miles from the U.S.-Russian border. “I was living among some of the toughest people,” Humphrey says, “whose sense of environment and survival is second to none.” He goes on to talk about the moment he knew he wanted to be a foreign news correspondent, a meeting with a publisher that didn’t go as planned, and the hardest part of making the leap from journalism to fiction writing.
Next, we hear from author Doug Lawrence, whose feelings around this time of year are mixed. While it’s a season filled with excitement, it also brings up painful memories for Doug after his wife passed away from cancer in 2021. But even though it’s difficult, he knows he needs to concentrate on his work as best he can. “It has been easy to lose sight of the goal line,” he says, “and the fact that if I don’t stay focused, no one else will.” Find out how this author strikes the balance between gathering material for his writing and gathering family for the holidays.
Then, author Mark Everglade believes that independent publishing offers a diversity of thought not found in traditional publishing, mainly because big corporations refuse to publish material that threatens their business models. “Now is the time for the indie community to rise,” Mark says. “Now is the time for democracy in action—and nowhere is that truer than in the books we write.” Since the top five publishers control 75% of the industry, it’s harder for certain worldviews and narratives to see the light of day. Mark explains how big the problem is, then offers a simple solution.
Finally, author Stephanie Ellis has some sound tips for self-publishing on a budget. “Word-processing software, paying for covers, proofing, editing—the costs add up,” Stephanie writes. “There may be times when you have to pay out, but you can reduce costs considerably. Don’t let fear stop you.” Self-publishing can be a long process with a lot of moving parts—especially if you are doing everything yourself—but there are plenty of products and services available to help you do it for a lot cheaper, if not altogether free, while still releasing a quality product.
May your holidays be full of good cheer, good company, and good food—and may you find a few moments to slip away from it all, revel in the quiet, and enjoy this month’s issue of Books & Buzz Magazine.
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz Magazine
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