An interview with Robin Praytor
Author of the Dark Landing series, and founder and managing editor of Post-To-Print Publishers, Robin took time out of her day to answer a few questions about her business and how she got sucked into the wonderful world of storytelling.
How did you get into writing?
I started writing late in life. I was laid off from a longtime job one year before eligible retirement. So, I took a position with an online high school to cover the gap. Except I was hired—along with another woman—at the start of spring break. After a brief training session, we had nothing to do, and I learned the other new hire was a self-published author. That sparked my interest and I started a short story (the basis for my first book). That was 2013. In 2015, my adult son and only child passed away. I no longer worked and needed something to fill the time that didn’t require leaving the house. I dug out that unfinished story and started expanding on it. I never thought I would finish, let alone publish it.
Six months later, Transmuted, was over two-thirds complete, I had the ending in mind, and I was considering publishing. I joined a Meetup critique group and began researching publishing options.
How did you get the idea for the Dark Landing books?
I’ve always been a sci-fi fan. My favorite TV shows were Babylon 5, Deep Space Nine, and later, Firefly. That first story—and ultimately the book—is set on Dark Landing, a space station at the edge of the known universe. There are references in it to several different shows. For example, the hatch codes discussed in some chapters are license plate numbers from Supernatural.
What made you want to start a publishing company?
Transmuted was published by Amazon Publishers under their KindleScout imprint. Upon submission, they offered me a five-year contract with an advance. A year later, I submitted the manuscript for Mass Primary, the second book in the Dark Landing series, and KindleScout rejected it. I was devastated. Two weeks later, I learned they were discontinuing the imprint. At that point, I knew a little more about the business.
I’d been incredibly lucky getting a publisher for my first book, and I knew it was unlikely lightning would strike twice. At 70, I didn’t have time to query agents and publishers for the next three to five years—which is the norm. With only a two-book series, and the first book still under contract to Amazon, I had nothing to offer a publisher anyway.
I’m a one-book-a-year writer. There’s little money in fiction with only two books in your inventory—plus I didn’t own the rights to the e-book edition of Transmuted. How was I supposed to market the second book without rights to market and advertise the first book? I’d earned my advance ninety days after publication, so I emailed Amazon to ask for my rights back for Transmuted. I figured I had nothing to lose. They understood my situation and agreed… I was shocked.
Now I needed a venue to republish Transmuted and publish Mass Primary. And if that venture was going to be profitable, I needed more product—something easier to market than sci-fi. I set up a micro-publishing company. Along with my books, I’ve published two anthologies, From a Cat’s View, and From a Cat’s View Vol. II. I’m just as proud of those books as I am the ones I wrote.
How do you juggle being a writer, editor, and publisher?
Honestly, I don’t separate the roles. In the course of a day, they all mush together.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on the third book in the Dark Landing series—there’s no title yet. This book introduces a new character, and it’s also the first book in a new series.
Follow the links below to check out her books.
Need a gift for the holidays? Nothing is better than the gift of a story.