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 changeddrastically since around 2006. As publishing houses have stuck with the oldways, indie-focused powerhouses like Amazon have exploded with growth.Being picked up by one of the “big 6” publishers has always been a longshot, but now with a declining economy, big publishers cutting theiremployee bases dramatically, and being very selective about new authorsthey pick up, Indie authors are on the rise.
What do you feel are the negatives?
Most authors, traditionally published or self published, have beenforced to be in control of their own marketing destinies. Publishersoffer visibility that you just can’t gain access to on your own as anIndie author. That said, big visibility for one’s work seems to bereserved primarily for traditional publisher’s “golden ticket” writers.So the negative for indie writers might be the work load required ingetting your novels in front of readers. However, I think unless you area Rowling, Collins, or King kind of a name, even most published authorsare having to attract their own audiences these days. So even the Indie
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 takethe track that puts my work in the largest number of readers’ hands.Indie publishing offers a lot of flexibility. Once my books arecomplete, make it through my editor’s very strict gauntlet of correctionsand rewrites, I can have it available to the public nearly overnight.With a traditional publisher a book can sit in limbo for months oryears. Indie sales bring writers a majority of their profits straight totheir own pockets. Those things I like. However, if a traditionalpublisher approaches me, says we want to put your book in stores acrossthe country and work with you on movie rights, of course there is NO WAYI’m saying no to that.
Do you feel that your books, like Unexpected Cargo, hearken back tostories of the 80s and 90s or do you feel your stories are more fittingwith today’s entertainment?
My books DEFINITELY hearken back to the 80s and 90s. What’s coolabout the entertainment industry is that there is a constant repetitiveloop of old ideas with fresh new ways of presenting them to a newgeneration. Music constantly repeats itself. I think movies and books dothis as well. Right now lots of music has a flavor made popular in theeighties. I want to bring that to my novels. I love that era of the trueaction movies/novels. I grew up on films like Die Hard, Lethal Weaponand sci-fi blockbusters like Star Wars. I want to bring that retroflavor to my books, but present it in new fresh ways.
With authors like David Mamet turning to self publishing, do youthink the publishing establishment is dying and do you feel that’s agood thing?
Mamet and others, I think, are waking up to smell the coffee. Wewill most likely always have the big publishing houses with us in someform or another. But, we live in grass roots society of personalinteractive social media where people want intimacy with everyone fromA-list celebrities to politicians. I don’t want to just see SandraBullock in Gravity, I want to see what she’s having for breakfast as sheshoots the film. Thanks to Twitter, I can. Authors who are committedonly to the the massive corporate entity of a large publishing house aredoing themselves a disservice. Mamet was quoted as saying, “Basically Iam doing this because I am a curmudgeon … and because publishing islike Hollywood–nobody ever does the marketing they promise.” I think the indie world or writing offers reader a more intimate upclose connection with the author of the novels they like to read. And, Ithink 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 toread to fill a void artists are ignoring?
I’m a lover of the entertainment industry. I think everygeneration has new great films, books, theater, and novels to offer. Ilove lots of the new movies and books currently coming out every singleyear. I hope to fill a niche inside of that giant colossal entertainmentmonster that inspires and entertains us all. I hope my stories willfeed on the creativity of the “greats” of our day and cause me to givemy 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-fisupernatural thriller about a guy named Charlie Glass who is at the endof his rope. After trying to hang himself, Charie is miraculouslyrescued by a mysterious man who reveals to him that he’s inheritedincredible super powers. Charlie’s new-found powers become the on ramp tohim discovering his destiny. He soon finds himself part of a league ofpowerful beings called Extras that is centuries old. The fate of theworld may lie in Charlie’s flawed hands as he goes to war with an Extragone rouge called Heat who has acquired a battleship with a payload ofnuclear weapons aimed at five major world cities. Heart of Glass will bethe first in a series of three books.
I’m currently also converting Unexpected Cargo into a screenplay witheven 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 inWisconsin that my wife and I started three years ago. We are kind of achurch for people who don’t like church. We have lots of friends withsordid pasts and crazy life stories that attend there. That makes forsome pretty interesting story content woven into my books. Churchmembers 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 yourfeelings on the military influence your work and as a military brat, didthat upbringing help shape the artist inside you?
I think so much of who my father is has shaped me in every way. Igrew 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 mybiggest heroes in life. I think the way I was raised helped teach me whatreal 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 oneor heck all of my books make it up on the silver screen some day.