By now most of you have seen my references to the November 5th seminar: Marketing Your Writing, hosted by the  Trinity Writers Workshop at the Hampton Inn in Hurst Texas. (For any of you who haven’t pre-registered, you can do so by clicking here.)

Our speaker is none other than Chuck Sambuchino, well-known editor for Writers’ Digest, the editor of the Guide to Literary Agents and the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market and the author of How To Survive A Garden Gnome Attack. Many of you follow Chuck on FaceBook, Twitter or on his blog Guide to Literary Agents.












Today, I’m going to share an interview I had with Chuck as we planned the seminar.


Could you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to your current position as an editor with Writer’s Digest?


I majored in public relations only to graduate college and realize I didn’t like my major. Awesome start to adulthood. I took an entry-level job inputting calendar announcements at a
newspaper. I was promoted to reporter and learned journalism. On the side, I started writing stage plays and articles. I realized I wanted to be a writer.  Then I got my dream job: an editorial staffer position at Writer’s Digest magazine. When a job became available on the book end of WD, I jumped at the chance. Now I work at Writer’s Digest Books editing two annual resources: the Guide to Literary Agents and the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.


What are your thoughts on social networking and the importance of a writer in building such a platform for their work?


Oh man, it’s huge. First of all, if you want to write straight nonfiction (and by that I mean any nonfiction besides memoir), you must have a platform. Without one, you can’t even get an agent’s/editor’s attention. If you’re writing fiction, you don’t need one, per se, but you certainly want a platform. Having a platform means sales and success. The better your books do, the more likely you can sell more titles.


Could you give us a quick reflection on the advantages of both self-publishing (through a place like Create Space) and traditional publishing?


Some advantages of self-publishing are the following: complete control over the work, more money made per book sold, and quickly having a product that you can market and sell. Some advantages of traditional publishing are the following: paying no money upfront but rather receiving money immediately for composing the book, nationwide distribution to bookstores, and a team (agent, editor, publicist, subsidiary rights team) that will help you sell and market the book. I myself went the traditional route and am a huge advocate for it. I don’t mean to say self-publishing is bad; it isn’t. But traditional was a great path for me individually.


For people considering attending the November seminar, what do you think they can hope to gain from attending the sessions and one-on-ones?


The sessions are nuts-and-bolts instructional presentations on topics like Good Writing  Practices, How to Snag an Agent, and How to Start Your Story Right. They can really help writers. I give these sessions all over the country all the time. Plus, I welcome Q&A at all my speeches. If you have questions that you can’t find answers to online, just come to me. That’s what I’m there for. As for the one-on-ones, anyone who sits down with me can use me for whatever they want. (Just keep in mind, I’m married.) I enjoy looking at queries and giving my thoughts—that’s usually a good bet. Besides quick query critiques, I can always simply answer whatever questions a writer has.


You’ve mentioned that you enjoyed attending and speaking at the TWW conference in April, 2006. What are you looking forward to when you return to speak at the seminar in November, 2011?


Just friendly Texas smiles … and some tasty BBQ. I fondly remember the TWW conference from a few years back and how everyone was happy with the entire event. The staff at the event really cared that writers were having a good time and learning lots.


I know you are a musician and a member of a band. Could you give us some information on this?  Where you play, the other members (their day jobs), how long you’ve been together, favorite genres of music.


I am a guitarist in a rock cover band and it is a drama-filled explosion of fun. We play rock covers—mostly 80s, 90s and today. We are just as likely to play “Jessie’s Girl” as we are to play “Mr. Brightside.” We play at local bars and pubs and events, but have slowed recently because I have been traveling so much in support of my recent humor book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK. We’ve been together for about 4-5 years. Our favorite genre is rock, then we also play a little pop. Lady Gaga has infiltrated our set list from time to time. Heck, if you offer us shots and throw out a request, we are likely to accommodate it.


Now that you’ve established yourself as an editor/speaker/published writer, what are the next goals you hope to reach in your career?


Sell more books. I want to sell more humor books and my agent & I are working hard on that goal. Also, I want to try to break into screenwriting. I now have a second agent (for scripts) and maybe we will have some good news on that front soon, as well.


Remember, if any of you are interested in hearing Chuck’s thoughts on marketing fiction or non-fiction, the current issues in the publishing industries and ways of approaching agents and publishers, please visit the TWW website and preregister for the November 5th Marketing Your Writing Workshop.



About Sharon K Owen

I am a fiction writer, a university professor, a copy editor and an online writing teacher. My first Romantic Suspense: Thicker Than Water (Brands Crossing Series) was published in 2011 and the second book in the series, Whatever Goes Around, will be published in 2016. My short stories and poetry have been published in Descant, Concho River Review, Iron Horse, American Literary Review, Trinity Writer's Workshop newsletter and collections of Christmas stories. I am blessed with a loving, supportive family, a multitude of friends and the good fortune to share a cozy sanctuary in North Texas with my two cats (Matt and Cinders).

Posted on October 25, 2011, in Book Recommendations, Trinity Writers Workshop, Writers, Writers Groups, Writing, Writing Seminars and Conferences and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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