Self-Publishing Pastor Highlights Era of Creative Freedom

The art world is changing for the better thanks to new media and plucky artists like James E. Parker.

The system is now becoming completely about consumer choice and the possibilities are endless. This is especially true in the publishing world. Anyone can now self publish a book and sell themselves to readers. The control over whose books reach the top and have the most effect on the world and our pocket books has been put in our hands. Parker is one of those authors in the rat race, and he's got a few things to say about it. 

He's a pastor at a rather different church as well as a military brat with some great fantasy and action yarns available now. He's the kind of writer that exists thanks to the age of self publishing and art turning purely capitalist and we are all the better for it.

What do you feel are the benefits to self publishing for authors?

In my opinion the landscape of the book market has changed drastically since around 2006. As publishing houses have stuck with the old ways, indie-focused powerhouses like Amazon have exploded with growth. Being picked up by one of the “big 6” publishers has always been a long shot, but now with a declining economy, big publishers cutting their employee bases dramatically, and being very selective about new authors they pick up, Indie authors are on the rise.

What do you feel are the negatives?

Most authors, traditionally published or self published, have been forced to be in control of their own marketing destinies. Publishers offer visibility that you just can’t gain access to on your own as an Indie author. That said, big visibility for one’s work seems to be reserved primarily for traditional publisher’s “golden ticket” writers. So the negative for indie writers might be the work load required in getting your novels in front of readers. However, I think unless you are a Rowling, Collins, or King kind of a name, even most published authors are having to attract their own audiences these days. So even the Indie “negatives” are not all that negative in my opinion.

Why are you self published and do you feel it is a direction you would like to continue to travel?

I’m not closed to the concept of being published. I want to take the track that puts my work in the largest number of readers' hands. Indie publishing offers a lot of flexibility. Once my books are complete, make it through my editor's very strict gauntlet of corrections and rewrites, I can have it available to the public nearly overnight. With a traditional publisher a book can sit in limbo for months or years. Indie sales bring writers a majority of their profits straight to their own pockets. Those things I like. However, if a traditional publisher approaches me, says we want to put your book in stores across the country and work with you on movie rights, of course there is NO WAY I’m saying no to that.

Do you feel that your books, like Unexpected Cargo, hearken back to stories of the 80s and 90s or do you feel your stories are more fitting with today's entertainment?

My books DEFINITELY hearken back to the 80s and 90s. What’s cool about the entertainment industry is that there is a constant repetitive loop of old ideas with fresh new ways of presenting them to a new generation. Music constantly repeats itself. I think movies and books do this as well. Right now lots of music has a flavor made popular in the eighties. I want to bring that to my novels. I love that era of the true action movies/novels. I grew up on films like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and sci-fi blockbusters like Star Wars. I want to bring that retro flavor to my books, but present it in new fresh ways.

With authors like David Mamet turning to self publishing, do you think the publishing establishment is dying and do you feel that's a good thing?

Mamet and others, I think, are waking up to smell the coffee. We will most likely always have the big publishing houses with us in some form or another. But, we live in grass roots society of personal interactive social media where people want intimacy with everyone from A-list celebrities to politicians. I don’t want to just see Sandra Bullock in Gravity, I want to see what she’s having for breakfast as she shoots the film. Thanks to Twitter, I can. Authors who are committed only to the the massive corporate entity of a large publishing house are doing themselves a disservice. Mamet was quoted as saying, “Basically I am doing this because I am a curmudgeon ... and because publishing is like Hollywood--nobody ever does the marketing they promise.” I think the indie world or writing offers reader a more intimate up close connection with the author of the novels they like to read. And, I think that’s what people are hungry for in today's world.

Are you satisfied with today's overall entertainment (TV, movies, books, etc.) or are your stories your way of creating what you want to read to fill a void artists are ignoring?

I’m a lover of the entertainment industry. I think every generation has new great films, books, theater, and novels to offer. I love lots of the new movies and books currently coming out every single year. I hope to fill a niche inside of that giant colossal entertainment monster that inspires and entertains us all. I hope my stories will feed on the creativity of the “greats” of our day and cause me to give my readers even more entertaining, twisting and turning action.

What are you currently working on?

I just finished a Novel called Heart of Glass. It’s a sci-fi supernatural thriller about a guy named Charlie Glass who is at the end of his rope. After trying to hang himself, Charie is miraculously rescued by a mysterious man who reveals to him that he’s inherited incredible super powers. Charlie’s new-found powers become the on ramp to him discovering his destiny. He soon finds himself part of a league of powerful beings called Extras that is centuries old. The fate of the world may lie in Charlie’s flawed hands as he goes to war with an Extra gone rouge called Heat who has acquired a battleship with a payload of nuclear weapons aimed at five major world cities. Heart of Glass will be the first in a series of three books.

I’m currently also converting Unexpected Cargo into a screenplay with even more action, twists, turns, and mayhem than the book contains.

Tell me about what you do outside of writing and how exactly it influences your writing?

This may sound a little crazy, but I’m a pastor of a church in Wisconsin that my wife and I started three years ago. We are kind of a church for people who don’t like church. We have lots of friends with sordid pasts and crazy life stories that attend there. That makes for some pretty interesting story content woven into my books. Church members beware, make me mad and you may end up dead in one of my novels. Ha ha. Since we are kind of the beer drinking, swearing church in town, that all works pretty well with my writing style. Ha ha, again.

Your father was in the military, do you find your feelings on the military influence your work and as a military brat, did that upbringing help shape the artist inside you?

I think so much of who my father is has shaped me in every way. I grew up with hefty respect for the men and women who sacrifice so much, often life itself, to make this country great. My Dad is one of my biggest heroes in life. I think the way I was raised helped teach me what real heroes are. They are flawed people who have character, compassion, and a willingness to do what others won’t.

If your wildest dreams, as far as writing go, could come true tomorrow, what would they be?

I would love to see my books get in the hands of action, crime, and sci-fi fans across the country. My biggest dream would be to see one or heck all of my books make it up on the silver screen some day.


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