An Interview with David Henry Sterry



I had a chance to talk with David Henry Sterry – bestselling author and all-round superstar of books that help writers get it done and sell it.

I’ll let his Wikipedia entry and his own website speak for themselves.

Last week, I talked about my all-to-brief consultation with David Henry Sterry. This week, I feature the results of a quick follow-up interview with him!


E-mail Interview with David Henry Sterry, May 13, 2015

(Bolding mine, along with some very minor edits)

Me: I’ll have to ask this first – so what is it you do, exactly?

DHS: I am the best-selling author of 16 books, I’m also a performer & producer, as well as a book doctor. I help people in all stages of their writing career. From figuring out what book to write, to what’s the right title, to editing your book, to figuring out how to find the right agent or publisher for you, and ultimately how to get readers to buy your book.

Me: What is the writing project that currently occupies most of your time?

DHS: I’m working on a piece of epic noir that is set in San Francisco’s tenderloin. It’s all about a giant battle for who controls the underground sex business in the city that some called Baghdad by the Bay. Kind of like Game of Thrones meets The Wire.

Me: You obviously help a lot of writers – what seems to be the most common writing problem that you deal with these days?

DHS: Most writers just don’t seem to understand how to explain what’s exciting, unique, familiar, funny, educational, riveting, and valuable about their own book. They also don’t know how to do the research to find the right partner, whether it be a publisher, an agent, a reviewer, a bookstore, an online book seller, a blogger. 

Plus, so many manuscripts I read are filled with mistakes. Grammatical, spelling, plot mistakes. People don’t hire professional editors to review their work. There is this idea that it’s harder to be a brain surgeon that it is to write a great novel. That’s not true. It takes just as much time, expertise, knowledge, learning, wisdom, hard work, and perseverance to write a great book as it does to become a brain surgeon. Probably more. Because I know a couple of brain surgeons, and frankly they don’t seem that bright.

Me: Last question – What’s your top piece of advice for aspiring writers?

DHS: Read. Become an expert in your section of the bookstore. Connect with people who are going to be passionate about what you’re working on. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. But be smart in your perseverance.

My thanks go out to David Henry Sterry for the quick little interview. Be sure to visit his website & check out his book Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man For Rent!


A Consultation with David Henry Sterry



I had a chance to talk with David Henry Sterry – bestselling author and all-round superstar of books that help writers get it done and sell it.

I’ll let his Wikipedia entry and his own website speak for themselves.

I was given a free 20 minute consultation with him after buying The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published from The Book Doctors.

I told him about my ongoing project. I won’t (yet) give away too many specifics, but it’s a serial fiction project that will be released in flash-fiction sized chunks. Like David Wong did with John Dies at the End, I will publish parts of it and try to gather up fans and hype as I go.

Sterry liked my idea, remarking that it is a very modern way to get published. There was nothing so wrong with the idea itself, or the concept of its release. The main problem was pitching it! After I described my story in broad terms, he had me recite my pitch for it. My pitch fell flat, to say the least!

The problem with my pitch (and so many others) is that it removed the danger and the excitement – the scope of the story from the characters’ perspectives was utterly lost! A good pitch should get into the action, in medias res, and convey the consequences for characters worth caring about.

I also learned that, along with a good pitch, artwork is essential. This is a major obstacle, since I can barely draw a stickman. I will have to hire artists for my covers – no ifs, ands, or buts. This website is overdue for some decent graphics – I’m currently talking with artists I know.

Social connections are the final key he told me about. Interviews with experts in the field are essential, and I should be running them regularly on my blog. Only through lots of good connections with writers, editors, and publishers can I hope to succeed with any writing project.

My next post, due this time next week, will tell of the best advice Sterry has to offer modern authors!

May #IWSG – Fatigue

I have a vision. A book that won’t leave my mind. I finally have what I feel is a workable plan to get it out there.

I also have work. I teach during the day, and I often add extra hours to pay the bills.

If I don’t take on enough teaching, I don’t make enough money to pay bills. If I try to stay up all night writing, I can’t teach very well the next day. My wife and kids also need me to be wakeful and alert.

But I don’t have any other time!

I was looking at this link about Writer’s Fatigue, and I’ve been trying all of those steps. I’ve experimented outside my comfort zone, and I’m exercising and reading, a lot.

And because of this extra reading and exercising, I have almost no time left to write.

When I have a 5 minute break, I don’t want to spend it writing. I feel I’ve earned the 5 minutes, dammit! I shouldn’t have to work every second, my brain tells me.

I know there’s a way. I know that I’ll pretty much have to stay up all night long, at least 2 nights of the week – no matter how ridiculously tired and irritable that leaves me.

Anyway, there’s my little despair today.

I’ll have to find some way of managing my time.

Repost from IWSG, 2015-05-04 by Lynda R Young:

There are many reasons a person can experience writer’s fatigue. It’s that feeling of being spent, used up, and drained of creativity. It can happen after any intensive session of writing, editing, battling deadlines, and even taking part in online challenges like the April A-Z Challenge. While we gain a lot from all these activities, they can also wear us out. If this has happened to you, then below are my suggestions on how to refill that creative well.

1. Take a short break and stop trying to “be the writer.” Be something else for a while. Turn off the computer and experience some life. There is no better well-filler than life. Even mundane life. We get our ideas and creativity from those unexpected places, the bland, the interesting, the unusual places that life has to offer.

2. Read a good book. Not a book you have to read because you agreed to write a review. Not a book you promised to read because it was written by a friend. Just a book you enjoy. One that brings with it little to no pressure. No matter the subject matter or genre, good books inspire.

3. Write something new. Step out of your comfort zone and try writing within a different genre than you would normally. Try non-fiction. Flash fiction. Explore a different topic.

4. Learn something new. Feeding the brain with new and interesting information or different approaches to an old method, can open the mind to new possibilities, new ideas, and new avenues of creativity.

5. Get physical. Exercise gets the blood pumping and pushes those cobwebs away to make room for new, energized thoughts and creations.

Read the rest.

Photo: sleeping writer by cactusowa on DeviantArt.