• Mark Meier

Q&A Tuesday

With Terri Karsten


What writing resource gives the best value for the money? This depends somewhat on the stage of the writer. We have different questions at different stages in our careers. There are a lot of free resources online, but the resource I value the most is The Writers' Institute, a writing conference in Madison held every spring. It is not cheap, but the sessions, networking opportunities, and information is great. What did you do with your first paychecks from writing? I danced around the room to celebrate; then I deposited it to pay the bills. Tell me about how you manage your time. Every day is a little different, depending on what else is scheduled for the day. (Babysitting, teaching, speaking, exercise, travel, etc.) Generally I try to write a couple of hours every morning, and a couple more every evening. What does literary “success” look like, and have you achieved it? Another tough one! I think each person had to define their own success. For me, literary success means writing and publishing work that other people want to read. Success does not have a financial aspect. It means reaching my goals. It's not an end. As soon as one goal is reached, another should take its place. I have reached literary success many times as I have reached each goal: finishing a manuscript, selling stories, publishing each book. My goals are things I have control over (things I can do like send out a manuscript or create a book trailer), not things I don't have control over, (like sell 1000 copies or get 1000 reviews.) What marketing have you done that gives the best results? The best marketing was an article in a local newspaper that was picked up by AP news. I arranged the interview, but the article reaching so far was pure luck. The next best marketing I've done is teaching classes either in the book's subject matter, or on writing in general. How much time do you spend actually writing? Really, about ten hours a week. How much time do you spend researching for that amount of writing? About another ten hours a week. (I write a lot of historical fiction.) What did you take out of your most recent publication, and why? Nothing in particular. I revise and edit for clarity or wordiness.

Do you read your reviews, and how do you respond to those reviews? I don't get a lot of reviews, but I do read the ones I get. Mostly I've been pleased. I don't respond to reviews.

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