Please meet Amir Lane (pronounced Ah-meer), a supernatural and urban fantasy writer from Sudbury, Ontario and the author of the Morrighan House Witches series that debuted in October 2016. The series opens with Shadow Maker, and follows physics major Dieter Lindemann as he’s dragged down against his will into Necromancy and blood magic.
Amir was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions about his writing.
D: Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
AL: I do as much editing myself as I can because I know what I want from my books and sometimes there are little grammar things that I know are wrong but I do them for emphasis or drama or because that’s the character’s voice. But I’m also a little bit dyslexic and spell check doesn’t catch everything, so I definitely do like to have someone go through it when I’m done.
D: Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
AL: I absolutely leave them. Not always intentionally, sometimes life gets on the way. But I find that if I don’t leave it, I skip a lot of mistakes or inconsistencies when I go through it again because I know what I meant. If I leave it for a month or even just a few days, I find places where I repeat myself or I changed something one place but not somewhere else or bits of prose that don’t fit together anymore. It’s really eye-opening to come back after a break and wonder how the hell I thought I was done.
D: Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
AL: I think it does. It’s always the first thing you see when looking at books. I mean, I’ve definitely picked up books with awful covers because I saw the blurb first. But if I see the cover first and I don’t like it, I probably won’t even look at the blurb. Honestly, if I see a bad cover, I kind of have to assume the writing isn’t so great. Which I know is kind of mean and not always accurate, and covers are definitely subjective, but that’s generally how I see it. I once heard someone say, “I try not to judge a book by it’s cover but if the book shows up to an interview in an old t-shirt and ripped jeans, I don’t think they’re the kind of book I want to hire.
D: How did you publish Shadow Maker and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
AL: I went indie for Shadow Maker if a couple reasons. The big reason is because I had a story that I wanted to tell and I didn’t want anyone putting their hands in it and forcing me to make changes that would remove the things that made it an important story for me to tell or the things that make my characters important to me. Example, the sequel focuses on Lindy Lindemann, who is asexual-aromantic and I worry that someone would force me to put her in a relationship. Now I totally get that this isn’t something that always happens but most people I know who have published traditionally have had this kind of experience and I’m not really here for it. Plus the ability to make my own timelines, pick my own cover artist, all of that.
I’m also a little picky about how I want things done and I’m really not ready to let someone else take control. I like working on my own timeline and writing the books that I want to instead of what some guy thinks will sell. Maybe eventually I’ll give the traditional thing a shot, like if a published approached me, but for now, I’m good doing it indie.
D: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
AL: I think the biggest advantage of indie publishing is that you get to do everything yourself (or outsource it), and the biggest advantage of traditional publishing is that you don’t have to do everything yourself. I think traditional has the advantage of costing less up front because you don’t have to hire a cover artist and maybe not an editor, but you can make more independently, at least that’s what the trends say. In both cases you still have to convince someone that your book is worth reading, the difference is just whether it’s an agent or your audience.
I will say that the biggest disadvantage as an independent author is that it’s harder to be taken seriously than a traditionally published one. People hear independently published and there’s still this idea that your book is crappy that nobody wanted instead of, for me, that I didn’t want anyone putting their hands in my book and making me make changes I don’t want. Any idiot can put a book on Amazon and it’s much more difficult to convince someone that you’re less of an idiot than those other idiots.
Bio and links
Engineer by trade, Amir spends most of their writing time in a small home office on the cargo pants of desks, at a back table at their favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, or in front of the TV watching every cop procedural or cooking competition on Netflix. They live in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper. Their short story, Scrap Metal and Circuitry, was published by Indestructible magazine in April 2016.
When not trying to figure out what kind of day job an incubus would have or what a Necromancer would go to school for, Amir enjoys visiting the nearest Dairy Queen, getting killed in video games, absorbing the contents of comic books, and freaking out over how fluffy the neighbour’s dog is.