Interview with Author Craig Hart

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Author, Editor and Publisher Craig Hart.  Take a look at what Craig is up to and what advice he has for aspiring authors:

Tell us a little about yourself. Craig Hart

First of all, thanks for the opportunity to do this interview! I really appreciate it.

I’ve been writing for going on twenty years. So that means I started when I was only one year old… 😉 I’ve always been a voracious reader, edited the high school journal, and wrote (terrible) short stories as a teen. I also edited the college campus newspaper.

After college I began an online book review service. In 2007, I stopped reviewing to focus on writing. Early in 2012 I founded The Rusty Nail literary magazine ( and currently serve as publisher for Sweatshoppe Publications. I live in Rockford, Illinois with my wife Kimberly in a house owned by our cat Gracie.

writers tune up manualThe Writer’s Tune-Up Manual is your new release. Tell us a little bit about it.

The Writer’s Tune-up Manual is designed to help writers expand their writing savvy in five specific areas—Character Development, Dialogue, Point of View, Description and Setting, and Plot—with 35 targeted exercises. It came about largely as a result of seeing a huge number of submissions in the course of my work as a publisher and editor. After awhile, you begin spotting ongoing problems with manuscripts, issues that often keep a piece from being accepted. The Writer’s Tune-up Manual seeks to address the most common of those issues.

The paperback version of The Writer’s Tune-up Manual can be purchased through Amazon here:

And the kindle version is only $1.99 on Amazon

How many other books have you written? Tell us about those.

I’ve written several different books, including two fantasy titles for young adults and a couple of mysteries for adults.

Where are your books available for purchase?

You can find The Writer’s Tune-up Manual on and all the other usual suspects. Several of my other books are in the process of being reworked for second editions and not currently available.

I see that you have been both traditionally published and self-published. What are the pros and cons of each?

To me, the pros and cons are often the same. For example, one downside of self-publishing is that you have to do all the work yourself. By the same token, I get to do all the work myself! I’ve always loved to create my own covers, design the interiors, and do all that nitty-gritty stuff. So having ultimate control is the biggest benefit of self-publishing.

For me, the best part about being traditionally published is being able to say that I’ve been traditionally-published. Some publishers do help with publicity and certainly should underwrite the cost of publication, but beyond that you’re still often largely on your own. The only difference is that now you have to split the profits. On the other hand, working with a publisher is often what some writers are looking for. It really just depends on what you want in a publishing experience. And it is certainly an excellent option for those who either lack the experience to work out all the details themselves or simply don’t like to do it.

While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?

On a certain level, yes. In fact, it’s happening more often with my current project, Mosquito Bay, a coming-of-age novel about a young boy in Northern Michigan. I draw quite a bit on my own experiences in that book and have really begun identifying with the main character.

Tell us more about the Rusty Nail magazine. Is it a subscription based? How do people sign up for a subscription?

To this point The Rusty Nail has been supported by individual sales. However, it will be undergoing a bit of a facelift over the coming weeks, part of which will include advertising opportunities for authors and subscription options.

Describe your publishing company. What do you help authors to do?

Sweatshoppe Publications was begun with the same philosophy as The Rusty Nail, namely returning power to authors and letting them bypass the bureaucratic nonsense of big publishers and go straight to getting their work onto the market. The tagline is “Your Words, Your Way.”

Over the next few weeks, Sweatshoppe Publications will be joined by a couple of other publishing entities to further broaden publishing options for authors. Keep an eye on for upcoming exciting developments.

It sounds like you wear a lot of hats. Which one of your careers is your favorite and why?

I enjoy helping authors, but my first love will always be writing. That’s the one thing I could never give up.

When you aren’t working, publishing, editing and writing, what else do you like to do?

I love being outdoors in the woods or on the lake. One of these days I’m going to buy a cabin on the lake with a backyard of forest and spend a couple of months per year just writing.

Do you have any other plans for a book in the near future?

Yes! Thanks for asking. I am working on a novel, Mosquito Bay, that I mentioned earlier. I hope to have it completed and out by December 1st.

Is there any advice you would give to aspiring writers out there?

If you want to be a writer for any reason other than because you have to, then don’t. Get a career with more job security. If you want to be a writer because you have to, don’t let anything stop you.

Thank you so much Craig for doing this interview with me today!  To connect with Craig, go to his facebook page or look him up on twitter @craighartonline.