Authors share stories of book industry

Getting a novel published is no small feat.

There’s the writing process, editing, rewriting, rejection letters, getting a publisher and, of course, finding an audience to actually read it.

But on Friday, Sept. 11, three published authors held a book reading and a Q & A in the renovated Grounds Coffeehaus at the University of Detroit Mercy to show that it is possible.

R.J. Reilly, John Byrne Barry and UDM English professor Nicholas Rombes all had a portion of their novels read, and discussed their experiences as authors.

“The old question of getting your work first read and published can be heartbreaking,” said Reilly.

Barry, whose brother is UDM English professor Michael Barry, said it’s hard to get self-published books placed in bookstores.

So, as the digital landscape for books continues to grow, so does the form of publication.

For example, Amazon offers a self-publishing service that allows author to publish a print book, digital book or even an audiobook.

Barry’s newest novel, “Wasted,” will be printed after it has been ordered.

“It’s sort of amazing, really,” he said. “They ( essentially have the template of this (the novel) in their giant machine and you order it and it gets printed and shipped. So there’s no inventory. There’s no warehouse.”

Barry described the whole process as its own war. However, that’s not to say being an author isn’t worth it.

“It’s really hard but it’s stimulating and fun to be inventing things,” said Barry.

Reilly’s latest novel, “The Pelican Affair,” is also self-published.

While Rombes’ first novel, “The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing,” was published by Two Dollar Radio last year, it wasn’t something that came together overnight.

“My first novel published at age 50, basically,” said Rombes. “I almost feel like I began writing it and working on it and trying to get it out there a good 20 to 25 years ago.”

Like most authors, Rombes has along the way received his fair share of rejection letters. He noted that he even has several drawers filled with them.

“You get one acceptance (letter) and then that’s enough to spark you and then you have 10 to 15 rejections,” said Rombes. “You have to have thick skin, obviously, because what you write, you send out. You think it’s pretty good and it comes back not so good.”

The writing process is also a telling time for the authors themselves.

“I love the writing and I love the process but if there’s no chance of it meeting a reader other than me and a few people, it’s very hard for me to do my best,” he said.