In today's Authors in the Spotlight, we have author Lewis Ben Smith!
How long have you been published? I wrote my first book, THE TESTIMONIUM, in 2012. I signed my publication contract with Electio in February of 2014 and the book was published that August.
What's the worst part about being published? That moment when you realize that just because you have a book in print doesn’t mean that people are going to beat down doors to buy it. I always thought that being published was the be-all and end-all, and in fact it’s the first step. You have to hustle your butt off if you want to sell books to anyone other than friends and family!
What's the best part about being published? The moments. The first moment is when you sign that contract and realize: “This is it. This is going to happen!” The second moment is when you hold your published book in your hands for the first time and can tell yourself: “Holy cow! This HAS happened!”
After that – it’s when people see you and say, “Oh man, I loved your book! When is your next one coming out!” Or when high school students look at you and say “Are you a REAL author?” Tons of great moments!
Are you self published or did you go through a publishing company? I was fortunate enough to find a traditional royalty publisher who was interested in my stuff. They took a contract on my first book and have accepted everything I have sent them since then. They’ve provided a ton of encouragement and support along the way.
*What are the highs, if any? Having professional editors look over your manuscript and scrub it for errors, getting professionally designed cover art, having a huge distribution network.
*What are the lows, if any? I think this is true no matter how you publish your books – that moment when you realize that promoting is a lot harder than writing, and you’re going to have to do it constantly if you want to sell any books.
What is the name of your book(s)? I have three books in print and two more finished and under contract. My first book is called THE TESTIMONIUM, and it is a Biblical archeological thriller set on the Isle of Capri in Italy – a thrilling story of faith, archeology, romance, and terrorism. My second book is called THE REDEMPTION OF PONTIUS PILATE, and it is a historical novel about the Roman prefect who sent Jesus to the cross. The third book is called MATTHEW’S AUTOGRAPH, and it is a sequel to THE TESTIMONIUM, in which the same crew of archeologists - now known as the “Capri Team” - have to unravel a mystery in Israel involving the tomb of St. Matthew and the earliest copy of his gospel ever found. My two upcoming titles are LOVER OF GOD, another historical novel set in the First Century Roman Empire, and THE GNOSTIC LIBRARY, the final volume in THE TESTIMONIUM trilogy.
Was it/were they an easy write for you? Once I get a story going, it tends to flow quickly. My first two books took about ten months each, but THE GNOSTIC LIBRARY was barely six. I rarely know all the twists and turns the plot is going to take; sometimes I don’t even know how it is going to end – I just crawl through that hole in the keyboard and see where it leads me.
What's the hardest part about writing a book? For historical novels, I would say the research. I want my characters and settings to be as authentic as possible, so I read up on the time and on the people involved, and try to get all my historical facts and locations right.
What's the easiest part about writing a book? Coming up with characters. I imagine a name, and then a face, and as I write the personality emerges. I try to portray them as real people, wrinkles and all, not idealized stereotypes. The best compliment I have received was from my Beta reader for THE GNOSTIC LIBRARY. She said: “These are no longer fictional characters to me, they are real people who happen to live in a book.” That made me feel pretty awesome!
Where can interested readers purchase their copy of your book(s)? All of my titles are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s website; however, I make more per sale if you buy them directly from my publisher. Amazon and most other online sellers take nearly a third of the cover price as their commission!
Do you have any future projects in the works? I just started a new novel, set in ancient Rome, called THE EMPEROR AND THE APOSTLE. It chronicles the last years of the Apostle John alongside the reign of the harsh and twisted Emperor, Domitian.
*Is there a tentative release date? Not for the one I just began, but LOVER OF GOD is coming out in April of 2016 and THE GNOSTIC LIBRARY in May of 2018.
Do you have any social media sites that you would like to share with my readers? Each of my books has their own FB page you can like and follow – THE TESTIMONIUM, PONTIUS PILATE, and MATTHEW’S AUTOGRAPH. In addition, you can follow me on Twitter, and I have my own weekly blog which you can find HERE.
Please come by and check them out!
Thank you for you time and I look forward to reading more from you in the future! Thanks so much for your time, and I hope you will read and enjoy my books.