Bill Miller is a Self-Published/Independent Author
I asked Mr. Miller a few questions and he was happy to indulge me. Thank you sir, for taking the time to do this interview.
Q: What made you choose to Self-Publish or become an Independent Author?
Independent publishing is much easier than traditional publishing, and anyone can do it. Whether or not the book is successful is another story. It's next to impossible to get a book published with the established publishing houses. As an independent, it may or may not sell, but you can get it published.
Q: How many books have you had published?
Q: What is your favorite genre?
Q: Please state where your book(s) are currently available
Barnes & Noble
Q: What inspires you as a writer?
I think that my love for writing was inspired by an English professor in an English Composition class when I was in college. Each student was asked to write no more than one page describing a single word, and each student was given a different word to write about. My assignment was to write about the word, “Quiet.” The goal was to describe the word to the extent that others might be able to recognize it without being told. I chose to use the prose style of writing filled with metaphors to direct the reader’s attention to the subject. I remember the professor being impressed by my writing. To this day, I still have that single page that I composed to describe the word, “Quiet.” Apparently, I impressed myself as well.
Q: What made you become a writer?
I spent a lot of time researching my family heritage. My intent was to compile that data in the format of a book and then give each of my closer relatives a copy. I soon found out that not many of my relatives share my passion for genealogy. Realizing that such a venture would be useless, I used the genealogical data to write Seeds of Magnolia—a book that would be appreciated by family members and non-family members alike. It turned out to be an excellent decision.
Q: Do you have a favorite Author?
My favorite writer is a friend, Norfleet Buck Griffin. His work is currently unpublished, but he lets me read each chapter as he writes. I think he’s outstanding.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself
I've done a lot of things in my life, all the way from training wild horses to providing testimony before the U.S. House of Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, to being president of a scientific research society. I hold B.Sc. & M.Sc. degrees from Tennessee State University in Nashville, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Biological Sciences and Chemistry). I worked as a research scientist for Eli Lilly and Company and for Dow Chemical Company. In the 1990's, I bought a cattle ranch in Kansas. After I had been kicked and dragged around enough, I sold the ranch and moved to Tennessee, back near the town where I was raised. Two years of living in suburbia has made me realize that I should have kept the ranch. I need more space to roam than a back yard, and I need more work to do so that I feel tired at the end of the day. I have faults, and I recognize them. My biggest fault is, I don't know when to stop, because I always think that I can do it better. Looking back, if I could do it again, I would keep the ranch and ride the horses. It fits me better than anything else.
Q: Name your most successful book
Seeds of Magnolia
Q: What made this book more successful than the others?
This review from KIRKUS will do that better than I can: Seeds of Magnolia by Bill Miller From KIRKUS REVIEWS – In Miller’s debut historical novel set in the years before the Civil War, a Southern family learns to navigate the shifting boundaries of race, love and history. Austin Miller is a well-to-do slaveholder with thousands of acres to his name and slaves in multiple states. Among them are Elizabeth and her daughter, Sophia, who stay with Austin as he changes residences to keep up with his various pursuits, including politics and a law practice. Household politics takes precedence over national politics, however; although Austin treats his slaves well, he’s marked by biases and paradoxes, as he wonders about slavery’s morality. (The moral questions become more pressing when it’s revealed that Sophia has become pregnant by her owner.) Austin decides, despite his personal convictions, to fight for the South in the Civil War. His wife and slaves remain home at Magnolia Manor, where they later encounter Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman; the former seeks to take over the manor for war housing. What makes this fictionalized account of a 19th-century American family unusual and noteworthy is that it represents the author’s attempt to come to grips with his heritage. In a fascinating personal note, author Miller explains that he’s the great-grandchild of the real-life Austin Miller and Sophia, making this novel a thorough imagining of his family’s past.
Q: Is there one book you enjoyed writing more than the others?
I will never enjoy writing another book as much as I enjoyed writing, Seeds of Magnolia.
Q: Are you working on something new?
Yes, I am working on something new.
Q: If so, tell us about it.
It is fiction. I have never written fiction before, but why not? Seeds of Magnolia is nonfiction historical/biographical, End of the Rainbow is political/social, and Denzel is children’s nonfiction. It seems that most writers tend to stay with a particular genre, maybe I should, but I don’t. Musicians cross over from one genre to another. I don’t think it’s necessary that writers let themselves get stuck in one particular genre unless that's what they prefer. Is that good or bad? I don’t know, but I am going to do it. My next book will be fiction—a major switch for me, but I love writing it. No research is involved. The only thing that I have to do is use my imagination and make it seem real.
Q: What can we expect from you in the future?
I don’t remember who he was, but I was watching television one night a while back, and I heard someone quote an old man, “When I was ninety three years old, I realized that my best years were ahead of me.” I hope that I can be as optimistic as he was when and if I reach ninety three years of age. Writing is more or less a hobby for me. However, as an author, I want to try to have at least one book that readers will remember when I am finished writing. I want to leave something behind in this world so that people will remember that I was here. A good book will do that about as good as anything. Therefore, I will keep writing … trying to write each book better than the last.
Q: How long does it take you to write a novel?
I publish a book about every eighteen months. That might seem slow to some, but it's fast enough for me.
Q: How do you attract sales to your books?
Like most independent authors, I use Facebook. In order to be successful, authors must promote themselves and their books. The reader wants to know something about the author. I promote via television talk shows, newspapers, public speaking, book fairs/shows, I speak at book reading clubs, and place ads in magazines.
Q: What advice can you give to aspiring authors?
Pursue your dream, but realize that the world of writing is tough. Any writer will tell you that it is much easier to write a book than it is to sell it. Independent authors are not second grade writers. They just lack the avenues and resources that publishing houses have. The bottom line is, you must be persistent, and use all avenues that are available and/or affordable to promote yourself and your book. Posting on Facebook will not get it done.
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