Insights from Sci-fi Thriller Author Jeremy Robinson

Inspiration comes from success. Most authors, want-a-be or even published can’t help but admire writers like Jeremy Robinson. He has the knack to turn his skill as a writer into a business and actually make a living. It takes hard work, but a lot of us work hard but success eludes us. As an author myself, I decided to ask the questions that might help. Thanks to Jeremy for being a willing participant.

Jeremy Robinson is now the author of ten novels available in eight languages, including the highly acclaimed Jack Sigler thrillers, PULSE, INSTINCT and THRESHOLD. He is also the writer and illustrator of THE NINJA’S PATH (coming in 2011 from Lyons Press), a humorous inspirational for ninjas, written under the pen name Kutyuso Deep. He is the chairman and founder of New Hampshire AuthorFest, a non-profit organization promoting and supporting literacy in New Hampshire, where he lives with his wife and three children.

Note: Since this article was published, Jeremy Robinson has five times the novels under his belt. He is unbelievably prolific.

Antarktos Rising

The interview:

1. With the success of the Apple iPad and other eBook readers, what is your take on the future of the publishing industry and print?

The game is certainly changing, and impossible to predict. Right now things are looking really good for authors striking out on their own without a publisher. E-books are equally distributed whether you’re a lone gunman or big six publisher. So authors can now do everything themselves. The problem is that not everyone is good at doing everything themselves, so there are a lot of inferior books coming out. A lot of people are predicting the death of big publishing, and that certainly looks possible, but the big publishers still have a lot of muscle and it’s possible they might find a way to pull through. But I’m not the kind of person to put all my eggs in one basket, which is why I’m releasing books on my own, and continuing to write for Thomas Dunne/St. Martins as well.

2. Do you think digital well help save the environment?

It will help save trees, but not necessarily the environment. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade. And it’s made from oil. Given the BP disaster, which decimated a huge swatch of Earth’s environment, the impact of plastic, and oil, may actually be worse. And as oil runs down, we’ll have more war, which always has a severe impact on the environment. And of course, when we run out of oil (and we will) we’ll have no more plastic and go back to printing books anyway. 🙂 See what happens when you ask a thriller writer a simple question. Doom and gloom.

3. Do you think fiction can influence humanity to make better choices?

Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it. The real purpose of fiction is to entertain people. If people are happier because of that, then great. For fiction in general to make a real positive difference, authors would all have to agree on a direction. And they certainly don’t. Some authors help the reader escape from the real world, while others use the horrors of the real world to invoke fear. But moving people to make better choices is more in the realm of non-fiction, and authors in that realm disagree even more fervently than fiction authors!

4. You say you don’t have an agenda with your writing. Do you find it objectionable to read authors that do?

I find it distracting in the same way I find a three-page science lecture distracting in a Crichton novel. It detracts from the story. From the action. And if I feel an author has stepped from entertaining to agenda pushing, I’ll put the book down. I read for fun. Agendas are rarely fun.

5. With the Internet, do you think the book market will get filled with trash?

I kind of touched on this in the first question, but the direct answer is YES. It’s happening already. The temptation of being published quickly blinds a lot of writers to the fact that their book is full of typos (I have fallen into this category in the past), their cover is awful, or even that the whole book is rubbish. Writers really need to treat self-publishing as a business. Hire and editor and designer. Be harsh on yourself. Don’t rush a book out. On the positive side, those books never sell very well and they get buried in the system pretty quickly, just like bad print books don’t stay on store shelves very long. But I have been happy to see many self-published authors rise to the task and I’ve been enjoying a slew of $2.99 novels, some of which are new favorites.

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