From Imagination To Publication

Monday, September 18, 2017

MY PUBLISHING JOURNEY: Author Alex J. Cavanaugh

Have you ever wondered how authors get their start?
How do they get agents?
How do they get published?
Is it luck? Talent? Drive?

This segment is an attempt to satisfy my immense answer the one question I'm dying to ask every author out there: How did your book become a book?

Visit the full catalogue of "My Publishing Journey" interviews HERE.

Today's Featured Author

Alex J. Cavanaugh

I never set out to be an author, but after rewriting an old story, my wife prodded me to seek publication. I queried publishers first since that was my best shot and landed one. After my first book came out, fans (and my publisher) wanted more. I ended up writing three more books and saw several of them become best sellers and award winners.


Do you have an agent?

How many queries did you send?
Over twenty-five to publishers.

If you don't have an agent is it by choice?
Yes, I knew I had a better chance landing a publisher, so I didn’t even try.


How did you (or your agent) find your publisher?
I just made a list. Started big and worked my way down. I looked at other genres besides science fiction as well and that’s what helped me land my publisher.

How long did it take to find a publisher?
From the time I started querying to the day I signed a contract was somewhere around eight months.

What do you like about your publisher?
Personal attention, easy to work with, and they’re willing to let me screw up.

What do you dislike about your publisher?
They are small, so there is less marketing than with the really big publishers.

Did you or your agent hit any snags along the way, and if so how did you overcome them?
In the beginning, I didn’t have an Internet presence. I got one really quick though!

Did traditional publishing get your book(s) in Barnes & Noble or other bookstores?

Did your publisher produce a hardcover of your book or just paperback?
Just paperback.

Did your publisher create an audiobook for you?
Yes! There are audio books for all four novels and the boxed set.


What marketing tactics worked for you?
Blogging worked best. I tried to do different things with each book - scavenger hunt with images, one question interviews spread across hundreds of blogs - stuff like that. Just starting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group made an impact on book sales.

If you are traditionally published, what did your publisher do to market your book?
They sent out a lot of review copies, placed some ads, and did a lot of marketing with science fiction conventions.


Looking back would you do anything differently?
I would’ve gotten my butt online much sooner. And I would’ve started a newsletter.

What lessons have you learned? Any advice for those about to go down your path?
Be open to trying just about anything. And don’t use social media just to advertise. It’s all about connecting with others.

Can you provide contacts and/or resources?
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press, LLC
Audiobook: Narrator - Michael Burnette


To pilot the fleet s finest ship Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard. Much to Byron s chagrin the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential. As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?


  1. Absolutely fascinating. Thanks for the article and post. So cool hearing the background.

  2. Excellent point about social media and connection, not advertising.

    You and I are in the same boat with wishing we'd started a newsletter earlier!

  3. Wonderful advice, Alex! People say blogging is going out, but I think it's still one of my most powerful tools. I think for those of us dedicated to it, it will continue to be.

  4. Thanks for sharing your backstory on your writing and publishing journey. You've made a real success of it :-)

  5. A great interview. So much fun to learn how you got started. And now almost everyone knows your name.

  6. Hi Jessica - thanks for hosting Alex and for letting him tell us about his approach to publication ... it's luck to a point, but being prepared to try things, and being totally persistent and never giving up ... glad blogging is still going to be around ... cheers HIlary

  7. Never give up, never surrender! No truer words were ever spoken - some of us just take a wee bit longer because there's so many variables to consider when researching a great book. Kim Stanley Robinson took 17 years to research his Red Mars trilogy series.

  8. Great Interview, Alex and Jessica. I love reading how authors got their start.

  9. Jessica, thanks for hosting Alex! It's great to learn more about his writing journey.

    Alex, thanks for sharing. You continue to be a great inspiration to all of us.

  10. You chose wisely. Dancing Lemur is a very professional small pub. I've loved working with them with the anthology.

  11. Go, Alex! It was great to learn about his journey. I'd never heard it in detail before.

  12. Great interview! Was fascinating to see your publishing journey, Alex. And I completely agree about social media. My favorite thing about it is interacting with others; only going there to advertise would be such a bore...

  13. I really enjoyed this post, Jessica and Alex! I've read all of Alex's books, and I know his story, but it's such an inspiring one and always good to hear again!

  14. Great interview! Alex was certainly persistent in his search for a blockbuster. He's right that the best kind of marketing should be about being generous and having fun rather than self-promotion.

  15. Alex is such an inspiration.
    Great interview.

  16. Great post! I enjoyed learning more about Alex's path to publication. I knew a little bit about it, but now I know more. :)


  17. I agree about social media. It's more fun if you talk to people.

  18. Great read. I think having an online presence is so key now. No matter how you publish people need to see you.

  19. Loved hearing about your journey, Alex. Eight months isn't bad, at all. I'm glad you stuck with it. Best of success in your future.

  20. This was a great a timely interview for me. Thank you for being so candid, Alex!

  21. Great interview, Jessica & Alex. Very informative and I could not agree with you more about a newsletter. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mina!! It's been a while. Nice to see you :)

  22. You've built an online presence, and how! So proud to be your friend, Alex.