Lloyd Tackitt has a way about him. Everytime you talk to him, he has sold more and more books. You have to keep careful track of where his sales are. Multi-bestseller? Multi-MULTI-bestseller? I caught Lloyd for a few moments to reflect on the self-publishing business. It’s a brand new world– a creative hot spot where anything can happen. Guys like myself believe that there are no rules with this brand new landscape we call self-publishing. Lloyd agrees, and look what happened to him! The “Distant Eden” series has made him one of the best known self-published authors around with sales that would make a traditionally published company jealous. Let’s go pump him for information.
Q) I am told by many writers that you have to be talented to write worth a damn. Do you believe you have to have “talent” to be a writer?
A) Some talent I think might be required. But there is a lot of craft to writing that can be learned. The talent part is probably mostly in believing that you can create a good story, one that will keep the pages turning. If you believe that, then I think you may have enough talent. The craft part is like learning any skill–study and practice, study more and practice more. Read a lot, a whole lot. You learn from every book you read. I believe a lot more people can write than are writing. Hopefully they’ll give it a try. We all need more books to read.
Q) If you could have either high sales or be highly respected—which would you pick?
A) That’s a hard question, hits me right in the ego. Sales are a sign of respect, maybe? The biggest thrill is when I get emails from readers that tell me they have recommended my book to someone else. That’s as good as it can get right there. If they liked it enough to encourage someone else to read it, all I can say is Wow! That’s ultra cool, and it increases sales, too. I love getting emails from readers and respond to all of them as soon as I can.
Q) You are a keen fisherman, you have an active life. Why writing? Is that just another addiction you have to feed?
A) It must be, I keep doing itand it feels great when I’m on a roll. Funny thing about writing…you know how when you’re reading you are transported into the story? The same thing happens when I write; I get transported right into the story in the same way. All of a sudden I’m not sitting in front of a computer tapping on a keyboard– I’m walking through the forest, hearing the sounds of birds and squirrels and smelling the pine scent. I hear the crunching of leaves with every step I take, feel a twig snap under my foot. I’m there in a way that is as real as it can be. I’m not aware that I’m typing. I’m setting a trap or stalking a deer, or sitting at a scarred old kitchen table deep in conversation with a cup of steaming coffee in front of me. I can smell that coffee, raise the cup and take a sip, feel the heat and savor the taste. I see my companion’s face, a face I’ve known for years. His eyes are real and alert, there isamusement in those eyes. I know his expressions, can tell exactly what he’s thinking as I’m talking to him. Writing is great fun because it is a transcendental experience. Later, when I’m rewriting and editing, it’s different. Fun in its own way though.
Q) I am told everyday that the writing world is overcrowded. Do you believe that?
A) Crowded? Not a chance, there’s more than enough room for everyone willing to take a chance on failing in a very public way. We need more writers, far more writers – who knows how many great books are bottled up in people’s minds right now – books I want to read. There are literally billions of readers around the world so even if one in every ten people wrote a book there’s not just room but a welcome for them.
Q) You have built a successful career from self-publishing. What are your true feelings about the self pubbing trend? Do you believe, as I do, that is it is a new era,new idea and a whole new landscape for people to be creative with?
A) I do. There are so many people that have been liberated by self-publishing it’s incredible. This is an awesome era to be in where you can write and get published without having to kow-tow at the gates of the traditional publishing houses. My books would probably never have been published by the traditional method–they cross genres and the bookstores would have a hard time pigeon-holing them into one category–so the traditionals likely wouldn’t have been interested. They are driven by a very tight and immutable marketing plan, and they don’t take chances.
Q) Do those, big, hard-to-publish-with, giant publishing houses really know what will hit?
A) In some ways, yes. They have a time-tested method of selecting and marketing books. But they are limited by that system, they miss great books every day because the books don’t fit their formula. Imagine if other artists were constrained that way, how many masterpieces would have been lost to us? Imagine if every painting had to be approved by a committee before the public could see it? How many great works of art were out of sync with the current culturally accepted modes? If those works had been quashed would Dali’s works have ever seen the light of day? The traditional publishers are going the way the slide rule manufacturers went when the first pocket calculators came out. They are dying, struggling to survive, but dying. And good riddance – they have already quashed millions of great books, books we’ll never get to read, and it’s our loss.
Q) It’s a trend right now to ignore the editor. Do you believe in a good editor for a good book?
A) Absolutely, yes. I work my manuscripts over and over and over before I send them to an editor. And they still come back with so much red ink they look like someone was murdered on top of them. Most of the edit suggestions I get back are very good, very sound. Even then, with professional editing, mistakes still slip through. Even the traditionally published books have errors in them. I recommend to every writer to definitely get a good editor and pay them to do a professional edit. They don’t have the blinders on that I get when I’ve written something. They see it objectively and call it like it is.
Q) How do you feel about your upcoming worldwide live interview?
A) Nervous! Seriously, I can’t wait to see what the world makes of Lloyd Tackitt.