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Path to Publishing: J.C. Hart

Photo Credit: Mars P. on Flickr

 Path to Publishing is a new blog series in which I interview published authors. It's a great way for them to get free exposure as well as help other writers who are trying to get published. This week, I'm featuring speculative fiction writer J.C. Hart.

What's your name? What do you write?

J.C. Hart (Cassie Hart). I write mostly speculative fiction - science fiction, a range of fantasy, and things that are sometimes on the horror side.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

From the time I could tell stories! I've always spun tales and have been writing since I learned how. The desire got knocked a few times, with people telling me it wasn't a 'real' career option, or to pick something more realistic/financially secure etc, but I'm pleased to be back on course.

What books have most shaped your writing and why?

Hm. I am never sure how to answer this one! I grew up reading fantasy and horror mostly, but that's not always what I write. And the books I adore are not ones I think I can emulate, such as The Night Circus, and Scorpio Races, or Robin Hobbs Farseer Trilogy. It's hard to say. I guess Stephen King's books, in a lot of ways, there is a level of creepiness that seems to insert itself into my stories.

What's one book you can reread without getting tired of it?

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater.

How do you feel about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

I think that they are both viable options, and it's wonderful that these days, you can pick the best path for not just you as a writer, but for each of your projects - different things suit different forms of publishing, and you can literally head down either path, or pick from both if that's what works for you. At present I am self publishing because I like being in control of my career, but also because the traditional publishing scene is changing a lot, and I don't want to get in the middle of companies closing/being sold/acquired and the sense of uncertainty that comes with that.

What's your writing routine like? What about your process?

I home school my three daughters, so my routine can look fairly sporadic at times. I write when there is a lull in activity, or when they are having their play time. I do my writing by stages, so I don't revise at all until I've finished the first draft and so on, and this way I can work on several things at a time, though often just one project per day (not always!). I try to make sure I get some new words down bright and early, and then do as much editing/revising/etc as I can fit into the rest of the day.

How did you get published?

I was first published in a short story anthology back in 2011, and since then have had several more sales in other anthologies (actually, all award winning anthos!). It wasn't until last year that I decided to make the leap into self publishing, kicking things off with a novella. I have several more releases lined up for the coming year, and many more for the future.

What's the best advice you have for writers looking to get published?

Find your tribe!! The support and friendship of other writers is invaluable, and I wouldn't be where I am without them. It's not just the feedback and critique that is awesome, but simple knowing that they believe in you, and you believe in them. Knowing that someone has your back. Non-writers just don't get this business the way other writers do, so find the people you click with and don't let them go lol. 

What's a common misconception about publishing that needs to be addressed?

I really don't know how to answer this one! lol I'm not sure what the misconceptions are these days. There is SO much information out there that you can find just about anything, if you know what to look for anyway.

I guess, one that I hear a lot is that you have to be everywhere on social media. I don't believe this is true, and in fact I think it can be counter-productive because if you spend all that time on social media, when are you writing? That's the most important part of publishing. Writing. Making the stories come alive on the page. Without that, you don't have anything to publish and all that time on social media is a waste. Even big publishers don't require you to be on all social media, or to have a massive following, though with some it does help. Focus first on creating amazing products, then do the other stuff.

Where can people find your books? What about your blog or social media accounts?

You can find me at my website or on Twitter and occasionally over on Facebook.

Want to be featured in a Path to Publishing post? Leave a comment, email me, or reach out via social media. I'm always accepting new authors to interview!

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