Through Thom Tinted Lenses

October 18, 2011

Award Winning Author Joe R. Lansdale Discusses the Future of Publishing

In This Post:

Thom’s happenings – Announcements etc.

Award Winning Author Joe R. Lansdale Discusses the Future of Publishing


Thom’s Happenings: Before we move on to the Joe Lansdale interview, I have just a couple of quick announcements. We’ll be having a BOOK LAUNCH PARTY for my new thriller, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, October 22 3-6 pm at Avatar Comics 881 S. Rainbow, Las Vegas NV 89145 (702)795-8700. If you’re in the Las Vegas area, please stop by and say hi. Also, in the spirit of Halloween, my publisher has put my supernatural thriller, THE DEMON BAQASH (Kindle & Nook versions), on sale for only 99 cents! This offer is for October only so time is running short.

I’ll be doing additional book signings for DEAD MAN’S FIRE throughout the next few months and my sci-fi/horror thriller, THE EMPTY, is due for release before Christmas. Check back here for updates and specials.

And now, an interview with Joe R. Lansdale.


Award Winning Author Joe R. Lansdale Discusses the Future of Publishing

With more than thirty books to his credit, Lansdale has been called “an immense talent” by Booklist; “a born storyteller” by Robert Bloch; and The New York Times Book Review declares he has “a folklorist’s eye for telling detail and a front-porch raconteur’s sense of pace.” He’s won umpty-ump awards, including sixteen Bram Stoker Awards, the Grand Master Award from the World Horror Convention, a British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, the Horror Critics Award, the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, the “Shot in the Dark” International Crime Writer’s Award, the Golden Lion Award, the Booklist Editor’s Award, the Critic’s Choice Award, and a New York Times Notable Book Award. He’s got the most decorated mantle in all of Nacogdoches!

Lansdale lives in Nacogdoches, Texas, with his wife, Karen, writer and editor.

Joe, thank you very much for taking time for this interview. Let’s start with the proliferation of eBooks. With the eBook revolution, what do you see as the future of publishing? What will it look like five years from now?

I think e books are the new paperback, and it will impact the industry, but I think print books will survive, if as a more luxury item, which is too bad. But the e books are the revolution that paperbacks were in early days.

How will your approach to the business end of writing change based on the shifting publishing paradigm?

Some of that is still in motion. I’ll have a better idea of my business model, once I know more about how it shakes out. Right now I have some of my backlist on ebooks both from established publishers and pure ebook publishers. If I make more from established publishers, even though they pay a smaller return, then I have to say they still have the machine. If I do not, I have to feel differently about that.

How has your writing process evolved since you were first published?

I am more confident. I work less pages, and have for many years now, and just try and show up every day, or at least five days a week, though I have also learned to take vacations and holidays and occasionally just take a day off. I learned that a while back as well, and it works well for me. I usually write mornings, three to five  pages a day, but now and again I write afternoons or evenings if I’ve fallen behind, or something new and interesting pops up.

In the current publishing climate, there’s a sharp rise in self-published material. What do you see as the pros and cons of this?

More bad stuff gets published is the con. The pro is some good stuff that didn’t fit the marketing strategy of the established publishers gets a chance.

In regard to self published material, do you believe there is a need for some sort of gatekeeper to help minimize the proliferation of poorly written material or do you see this heightened freedom as an opportunity for talented writers to showcase their material?

It helps if there are editors who choose for quality. They can be wrong, and often are, but it makes a writer work harder to write well. The con to that is the gate keepers are running an established show and are only looking for certain types of material. I know, however, that I’m a better writer for having to fight the system to do what I want, but to do it better.

What, if any, parallels do you see between the changes occurring today’s publishing industry and those of the music industry a decade ago?

A number of similarities. It’s still, like music, shaking out, trying to find its sea legs. I think it will, and more of it will be on line. I do think one of the great things is that short story collections will have a better chance than before, and of course the good thing is you’re cutting out a lot of the middle man. But a number of writers I know who thought they were going to rush out and make a fortune with ebooks, eliminating agents, editors, publishers, etc., haven’t found that to be true. Some have, but they are so far the exception that  proves the rule. However, as ebook publishing changes, so will the rules. Another good thing about ebooks is you can arrange for monthly responses to your sales if you like, which can provide a more steady income.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Put your ass in a chair and write, and when you’re not writing, read, and when you’re not doing those two things live life.

What project(s) are you working on now?

A young adult novel for Delacorte titled FENDER LIZARDS. I have a new Young Adult out now titled ALL THE EARTH THROWN TO THE SKY.

What do you like to read?

All manner of things. I don’t put a limit on it. I just let my enthusiasm and excitement guide me.

Are there any new authors that excite you?

Plenty. But I’m going to pass on naming them right now, because there are so many and I fear I might leave someone out. On another day I might be braver, but just got back from Italy and I’m brain numb, or more numb than usual.


Thom Reese is the author of DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATER. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.


CONTACT ME AT for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.



Copyright 2011 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.







  1. Very interesting, and thank you. I agree with the observation that the impact of ebooks may be most like that of paperbacks years ago on book markets, one that I’ve made myself on occasion. At least in my own thought, I’d mean primarily mass market paperbacks, while trade paperbacks may have more persistence as a “poor man’s hardback.” Also, on the more expensive side, I see more small presses specializing in deluxe hardbound editions (boxed, leatherbound, autographed, etc.) aimed at collectors.

    But what do I know? I remember when microfiche was “going to replace” traditional library stacks (well, I will confess I love my microprint edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, but at least the page images are reprinted on paper and rebound into a [large] 2-volume book). Also the fact that we’re in what still amounts to a recession for most people may be skewing trends, at least for the short term.

    I also agree with Joe Lansdale’s approach, to wait and see how ebook-only sales compare with those of traditional publishers’ e-editions. I’m sort of dipping a toe into that myself (on a much lesser scale, of course) and will be interested to see what happens.

    But agree or not, a pleasure to read — thanks again!

    James S. Dorr

    Comment by jamesdorrwriter — October 20, 2011 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

  2. Great interview and interesting views on self-pubbing from Mr. Lansdale. Thanks!

    Comment by Peter — October 21, 2011 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  3. Thom, a good solid interview. It’s enjoyable to find out more about authors you admire and Joe Lansdale falls into that category.

    Comment by Betty Gordon — October 31, 2011 @ 5:12 am | Reply

  4. Thom,
    I appreciate your observations about the future of publishing and agree with James Dorr’s comments above. I had the eerie experience of speaking on a St. Louis Writers Guild panel dealing with this subject at a favorite Borders Bookstore and predicting that bookstores like the one we were in would disappear, only to see it close a few months later. (See my blog website, referenced here, March 2011 Post) . Talk about feeling numb! I look forward to reading some of your work. Best regards, Peter

    Comment by Peter Green — October 31, 2011 @ 7:53 am | Reply

  5. I’ve been writing for 56 years for pay, but never attempted fiction until 2003, (working primarily as a newspaper journalist prior to that.) I’ve now had 5 or 6 small publishers put out my dozen or so books that span quite a few genres,[ intentionally.] I see E-books as taking the lion’s share of the market in the future, primarily because of price and convenience and the “new generation,” which won’t balk at reading everything on a print screen. Plus, the price and quality of E-readers will improve, as always occurs with new technology. That does not mean that print books will disappear, however, as the older generation” (i.e., me) will still cling to holding a “real” book in their hands. We’ll be like Charlton Heston talking about prying his gun from his cold dead hands, only with books as the objects we’ll cling to.) I had a Chicago law firm negotiate the E-book rights to my last 4 books for me (print rights given to other publishing concerns), because I see this as the wave of the future, just as I saw the hybrid car as the wave of the future back in 2002 (I’ve owned 3 Priuses now). There will be a shake-out period where the duties that agents and publishers (etc.) previously performed are re-arranged and re-distributed, I think, but, ultimately, the E-book revolution is alive and well and will be huge. I think it’s about time that the publishing industry had some real competition from Amazon, as it turns out. Let readers determine whose work deserves their attention and whose work does not. The only really good reason to go the traditional publishing route (aside from ego strokes of being published by a big name house) is to (hopefully) have some $ help on promotion, since it all comes down to marketing, in the long run, and we all know that costs money. As for me, my new humor book will be on a Virtual Tour beginning Nov.. 28 ( Interesting interview. Connie (Corcoran) Wilson, M,S..

    Comment by Connie Corcoran Wilson — November 4, 2011 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  6. Funny. Sad but true. Still funny.

    Comment by pibarrington — July 22, 2012 @ 1:27 pm | Reply

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