And now, from Inside the Writer’s Studio,
A Very Special Interview With Terry Maggert
It’s not often we get the chance to brush up against greatness. Especially when the holder of that greatness is genuinely humble about it.
The humble greatness that I refer to can be found in Terry Maggert. Terry doesn’t limit himself to writing engaging tales of paranormal romance, science fiction, and fantasy. He is, in fact, a man of many talents. He is a keen-minded professor of history and creative writing who specializes in military and religion. He skillfully mentors first-time authors in the ways of time management, reducing cost, solid marketing practices, and avoiding fraud.
He is a man’s man, unafraid to profess his love of candle-lit bubble baths and all things pumpkin spice. He is a socially sparkling and quick-witted individual; like Mary Tyler Moore, he can turn the world on with his smile.
Yet, when triumphs of his own greatness are pointed out to him, he’ll blush like a schoolgirl and reply with words of unpretentious thankfulness.
So sit back, and enjoy the words of a true gentleman, Terry Maggert.
Terry, when did you start writing? What inspired you to start? Please share with us your humble beginnings!
Terry: I began writing dreadful poetry at the onset of puberty, and had the good sense to avoid any serious writing until the age of forty-four. I wrote because I am a compulsive, enthusiastic reader, and at some point, my natural arrogance made me think I too could write. I leave the wisdom of that decision up to my readers.
Okay, now I’m really intrigued. Where can we find your work?
For something a little different, you can try out the books I have under my nom de plume, Daniel Pierce.
Now, it’s time for The Big Self-Publishing Questions!
What moved you to self-publish your work? What was the first work that you self-published?
Terry: My first novel, The Forest Bull, was self-published before I truly understood the process. I made every mistake possible, and a few I invented just for fun.
Still—I would do it again. Being an indie was the right decision for me because I needed to experience the process in order to learn how to be an author, not just a writer. I passed on two small publishing deals and now I am in full control of my material, my direction, and my stories. I love being an indie. I love my life as a author, finding my tribe and all of the elements that indies share as we go through the grind to find both our voice and our audience.
Could you describe the process you went through?
Terry: I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so the process of starting at typing out “Chapter One” to finished publication is both linear and twisted. So many big things must be kept in mind—cover, formatting, marketing. But, in all honesty, everything takes a back seat to your story.
Finally, after the work of committing words to page, I had the book I wanted. The next step was making it indistinguishable from big publishing houses.
How does one achieve that slick look? Start with the cover!
You can’t see personality across the room. The same is true of books. I began with creating the vision of the exterior then moved to beautifying the interior.
I then had to face the hideous reality of being seen in a sea of books. Standing out requires time management, patience, being smart about when and where to advertise, then sitting right back down to write the next book. If one book is good, then ten is better.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge in self-publishing?
Terry: Again, being seen. Everything else is secondary. For me, I make that more likely by offering my books in print, eBook, and audio. I don’t want to miss my any part of my audience because I didn’t offer them exactly what they wanted.
What do you like best about it?
Terry: I am the brand. My stories, along with who I am—all of that is mine. All mine. As hard as I will work, as much as I will revise, and as responsive as I am to the readers–that is what truly matters to spark my success. I am responsible for myself, and I love it.
As we know, self-publishing has its detractors. How do you respond to them?
Terry: Much of the criticism is warranted. It comes from unfounded arrogance in some authors, and some of it—the kind that actually irritates me—comes from other authors who are either unwilling or unmotivated to write their books.
What is your advice to authors who are considering self-publishing for the first time?
Terry: If you are self-motivated, do it. If you need speeches and cheers and inspirational memes, don’t. Your ability must be married to prioritizing your writing for days when you don’t feel like writing. Your work must be just that—work. I’m not an artist. I’m a mechanic. I assemble my visions and spice it with wonder, but it’s still work. And it’s work that I love!
Gird your loins! Now it’s time for our favorite part of the interview:
The Sludge Pile Lightning Challenge!
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to re-write the following text in the style of your favorite author. This text has been taken directly from The Magic Chef Stainless Steel Beverage Cooler user’s manual:
This appliance can be used by children age 8 years and above and persons with reduced physical sensory or mental capabilities or lack of experience and knowledge if they have been given supervision or instruction concerning use of the appliance in a safe way and understand the hazards involved. Children should not play with the appliance. Cleaning and maintenance should not be made by children without supervision.
Terry has chosen to write in the style of one of his favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey.
He submits Ms. McCaffrey’s vision of a Pernese household in the grips of new technology.
Lessa woke, her fingers still clutching the device they pried from an ash-covered building on the plateau. It felt good in her hands; worn smooth by the attentions of wind, rain, and perhaps even the hands of her distant relatives.
“Ages eight and up. Why, a stripling could even use such a thing,” she murmured, turning the prize in her small hands. “Even Camo, if he had a mind to.”
“Camo will do no such thing,” F’lar chided, his long legs bringing him into the space of their weyr. “Despite his, ah… reduced abilities, I think he might find it distracting. Not unlike you do, love.”
“Do hush,” Lessa said, but not before yielding the device. “Supervised, then? As per the instructions?”
“Do you wish to disobey our forefathers?” F’lar said, his lips pulled to the side in a sardonic grin. His face softened when he considered the metal. It could be bright, if cleaned well enough. He would set to it himself, if only to see the years on the metal fall away.
“No, and nor do you. Supervised use, no children, and under no circumstances do you let this fall into the claws of a dragon,” Lessa instructed.
“Why?” The question was one of surprise. Dragons were more responsible than people at times.
Lessa sighed, brandishing the instructions like a talisman. “There are hazards.”
All photos courtesy of Terry Maggert, The Glasgow Daily Times, and Tor.com.
Post updated July 24, 2019.