Author Interview – Eric J. Krause

I am extremely pleased to reveal my interview with Eric J.Krause, published author of speculative fiction.

Eric J Krause image1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?
I always describe myself as a speculative fiction writer. I love writing horror, fantasy, and science fiction. I usually write short stories for adults and novels for young adults, though I do plan on writing novels for adults, as well.

2. How many books do you have published and tell us a bit about them?

I’ve published three books so far, two as only ebooks, and the third as both an ebook and paperback. The first is The Breath of Life and Other Stories. It’s a collection of twenty short stories that have been published in various print and online magazines. The second is The Friday Flash Stories of Eric J. Krause: Volume One. This is a free book available only at Smashwords.com, and it contains fifty flash fiction stories that were originally published on my blog. For anyone not familiar with Friday Flash (or #fridayflash as it’s known on Twitter), it’s an event every Friday where writers publish a flash fiction story (1000 words or less) on their blog and publicize it on Facebook and/or Twitter. It’s a nice community, and I’m thrilled that I’m a part of it, though I don’t post stories as often anymore. My third book is a science fiction/baseball novel called Way Over the Line. It’s written for the upper middle grade audience (10 to 13 years of age). It stars a young boy, Jessie, who loves baseball but is afraid of the ball. He and his best friend, who is a natural at the game, are abducted by a group of aliens who need them to play for their team in the huge Intergalactic Over the Line tournament. Not only must Jessie learn to not fear the ball, but he must also dodge space pirates, who seem to think he’s the key to a prophecy.

Book cover3. The Breath of Life and Other Stories sounds fascinating. Can you tell me a bit about how this book came about?

I published The Breath of Life and Other Stories simply because I wanted to see what the process of creating an ebook would be like. I had the stories sitting around, so I decided why not give it a shot? I played around with the order of the stories, and when I was satisfied, I began the process of creating an ebook.

4. How long did this collection of stories take from start to finish and do you feel you would change anything if given the chance?

It took me probably a month to create the book, though I took my time to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. The stories were already written, so other than some final edits, all I had to worry about was getting the formatting right. I could have probably had it done in less time, but this was a new experience for me, so I didn’t rush.

5. What made you self publish your novels and what has the experience been like to date?

With my two short story collections, I knew there was no chance of a traditional publisher picking them up, so I decided to publish them myself. As I already said with The Breath of Life and Other Stories, that one was basically a test to see if I could self-publish an ebook. It worked, so I continued. I self-published Way Over the Line mostly for the same reason – I wanted to see what self-publishing a novel would be like. I sent query letters to maybe ten agents, but had no luck. Instead of pressing on (I’ve heard stories of some novels being rejected dozens of times), I decided to simply do it myself. Part of me wishes I would have stuck with the traditional route of agents and publishers, but another part of me is glad the story is out there for people to see. I’m proud of the story, and I’m thrilled when people tell me they enjoyed it, but I wish I would have given myself more of a chance to have it traditionally published so more eyes could see it.

6. Who have you published with?

For The Breath of Life and Other Stories and the ebook copies of Way Over the Line, I’ve published with Amazon for the Kindle and Smashwords.com. Smashwords also has sent them to Barnes and Noble for the Nook, the Apple iBook store, and a few other online retailers. The paperback versions of Way Over the Line are available at CreateSpace and Amazon. The Friday Flash Stories of Eric J. Krause: Volume One is available only at Smashwords, but it is a free download.

7. Did you prepare your e-books yourself? Any pointers?

I did prepare my ebooks myself. Smashwords has a style guide that was very helpful. There are also plenty of free guides to help with preparing a manuscript for Amazon for the Kindle. I followed these to the letter and didn’t have many problems. I don’t have any nice photo/graphic programs, so I constructed my cover images using Microsoft Paint. I would advise against this. If you don’t have a program to construct a nice cover image, I would pay someone to make one for you. I know I will next time I create an ebook.

8. Do you do a lot of self promotion? What do you feel are the most effective methods of self promotion?

My biggest problem is self-promotion. I’m not very good at it. I tweet links to my books every once in a while. I post the links on Facebook occasionally. And, of course, I have links clearly visible on my blog. I know I should do more, and my sales have backed that up. I plan on giving away a couple of paperback copies of Way Over the Line soon, so I hope that will help. I am on Goodreads in the author program, but I haven’t yet taken the time to learn the ins and outs. Basically what I’m saying is that I need to get much better at the self-promotion game for any future self publishing releases.

9. Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

I have found that to be the case. I think continuing creativity in self-promotion can fix that to a degree. And, as I said, it’s something I need to get better at.

10. What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

The biggest piece of advice I would give a newbie in the self-publishing biz is to have a clear plan of self-promotion in place before publishing. It’s advice I wish I would have taken when I started. Also, make sure the cover to your book is attractive. People really do judge books by their covers, even if it’s all in e-format. These are not mistakes I will repeat next time I self-publish a book.

11. What lies in store for Eric J. Krause?

I have an urban fantasy YA book currently being queried to agents. I’m currently plotting the second book of that series. And after that, I have plenty of other ideas, both for the YA crowd and for adults. I still hold onto the dream of being traditionally published, but I obviously have no problem with self-publishing, so you’ll see my books in print one way or another.

 

For links to all formats of Eric’s books/links to some of his short stories/how to find him on Twitter and Facebook/link to his blog visit his website: http://ericjkrause.com

I hope you found this interview interesting and useful. I certainly did. Please rate/tweet/like this post so other authors can benefit from Eric’s wise words.

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Author Interview – Mike Wells (@MikeWellsAuthor)

I am extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to ask Mike Wells some questions about his writing and publishing experiences.

A bit about Mike

mike wells authorI’m an American bestselling thriller & suspense author and teach in the Creative Writing program at Oxford. Known for my fast-paced, ‘unputdownable’ novels.

1/ How many books do you have published and tell us a bit about them?

I’ve published over a dozen books. I write mostly thrillers & suspense, but I also write in several other genres – young adult/coming of age, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and even horror.

2/ What made you self publish?

I can’t work as an employee , am completely incapable of it, and except for a few years in my life have always been self-employed. Trying to work with literary agents and publishers is too much like having a job with a company, as due to the intense competition for your spot, you are expected to do what they tell you to do and you have little control over the design elements and marketing of the product you are producing. I simply can’t deal with that–I have to maintain creative & marketing control over my work. I think I know best regarding how it should be done, and usually I’m right (just look at the publication story of Wild Child) Also, having dealt with four different agents and a few publishers over the years, I’m not at all confident they understand what Average Reader wants. Too often they are mistaken about which books have a market, and the size of those markets. By self-publishing, I get to PROVE, beyond any doubt, that my books have a market. And, by taking that risk, I get the bulk of the money made from them. I think it’s very fair.

3/ Did you prepare your e-book yourself?

Yes I did.

4/ Who did you self publish with?

I used Smashwords and also Amazon KDP.

5/ Do you do a lot of self promotion?

I do tons of self-promotion, mostly using Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

6/ Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

Absolutely. The challenge is to keep the sales up after a given book is no longer “new” and while the market is steadily flooded with more books.

7/ Who does you cover art?

Unfortunately I have to do it myself. As I’m on a super-low budget and have had some graphic design experience, I’m designing all my covers using GIMP (a free package similar to Photoshop). In the future I may opt to pay someone to do my covers (they don’t look as good as yours, Andy, not by a long shot). For anyone who doesn’t have some real graphic design experience, I would recommend using a professional like Andy if the writer can afford it.

8/ What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

Be prepared to take on what will probably be the biggest challenge of your life. Don’t give up when the going gets tough, and it will get tough. The people who persist are the ones who make through those tough spots.

9/ What lies in store for Mike Wells?

Many more books, I have far more story ideas than I could write in a lifetime. I would also like to see some of my books made into films. I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at directing one.

Please offer your support to Mike on Twitter @mikewellsauthor and check out his site: http://www.thegreenwater.com/

You can also purchase some of his books here: http://www.amazon.com/Mike-Wells/e/B004MCEC1U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Whose or Who’s

Spelling and grammar checks in software such as Microsoft Word are very useful. However, there are many cases they may not pick up such as when using words like whose and who’s or their and there etc.

Even the most grammatically correct author can make mistakes and typos so it is important to ensure you search for these types of words within your manuscript and check they are used correctly in each context.

Remember:

  • Who’s’ is used in place of ‘who is’ or ‘who has’. For example, ‘Who’s playing football today?’ This would be more likely to appear in dialogue as opposed to formal essays or documentation.
  • ‘Whose’ is actually a possessive term that means ‘belonging to who’ or ‘of whom’. For example, ‘Whose papers are these?’

A good rule of thumb is to see if you could replace the word ‘whose’ with ‘who is’. If you cannot then you are probably right to use ‘whose’.

Hope this helps. Obviously, to those who already know this then this post is probably pretty useless but not everyone knows everything so if this helps one aspiring author it will be worthwhile.

Dealing with Negative Reviews

I thought I would write a short post on dealing with negative reviews. I realise that my view-point may be a little different to a lot of authors reading this as I have not yet published Tirfo Thuin. However, I do contribute regularly to review sites and obtain reviews of my work from the general writing community. Personally I have received very positive feedback and the constructive feedback I have received has actually helped me shape my book to be better than I could have hoped. However, some reviewers don’t exactly have a skill in constructive advice and it can sometimes feel like a personal attack. Ultimately, receiving a bad review hurts.

Isaac Asimov once said writers fall into two groups:

‘Those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.’

The main point to note is that reviews are completely subjective and should not be taken as a personal attack. By putting your book out for review you are open to unkind feedback. You will always find people who love your book but, obviously, there will be those that don’t. The important thing to remember is it is their opinion.

A similar comparison is  Trip Advisor. I recently got married in Cuba and stayed at a great resort called Cayo Guillermo. The accommodation, food, service, surroundings and staff were top class. I would rate it 5* any day. However, before we went we read mixed reviews which worried us. Some people giving it 5*, some people giving it 1*. In our opinion we could not see how anyone could complain about this resort but they did. Obviously, they were looking for something different and it did not meet their expectations. It is the same with writing reviews.

Thinking along these lines I began looking at very successful published authors on Amazon and decided to read some of their reviews. Take Dan Brown, for example, and his book ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ I found this book entertaining and an easy read and would probably have given it 3*-4*. If you look at the reviews you will see a mixture with the majority of votes divided between 1* and 5* – a very large division in opinion. One reviewer went as far as stating ‘Wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, at all, ever. Absolute twaddle.’

amazon reviews

I very much doubt Dan Brown sits there reading his 1* reviews thinking he should pack it all in because people don’t like his work. He realises that this book wasn’t for them and he carries on in the knowledge the right readers do exist for his work. I don’t like Marmite but they wouldn’t take offence and stop making it if I rated it 1*.

The other thing to think about is that, given an opportunity, some people will always find something to complain about. Also, some people are just idiots and provide what can feel like quite personal attacks in their feedback. Take this with a pinch of salt.

It is worth noting that one amazing review can overshadow a handful of bad reviews. All you need is for the right reader to love your book, give you 5*’s and some great feedback and the tables can turn. I know some authors who will actually not even read their 3* or less reviews and only focus on the good feedback.

The flip side of this is that honest feedback is the best feedback when you are at the stage I am – final edit before publish. There is no point in getting your family to review your book and shower you with praise. It is much better to let an editor, another author or an honest friend provide constructive feedback. Also, there is a difference between negative feedback and constructive feedback. If 5 people point out that your POV is slightly off in a certain section or that your sentences are too long then take this on board. They are not saying your book is rubbish. They are saying you might want to revise it slightly.

You do not need to bow to every bit of advice offered. Just because somebody thinks you should actually start your book at chapter 3 doesn’t mean you have to completely rework your opening scenes. If you are happy with your book and believe your readers will be happy then stick with your gut instinct. If 10 people pick up on it then maybe look into it further.

It is important to remember that critics are reviewing your work not you. Try not to get into a slanging match with a reviewer as this will only hurt your cause. They are reviewing your work for free and you do not want to appear unprofessional (take the comments on this page as an example – http://bit.ly/tBaBTG ). Keep your chin up and carry on. If you have a good end product it will obtain good reviews.

Please feel free to comment with your experiences of reviews and any advice you can offer the writing community on dealing with negative feedback.

Please also Tweet this article if you feel people might find it useful.

 

Using ‘Manuscript’ for iPad to write your novel

I have to say I would never normally consider writing a novel on an iPad. It would be my laptop every time. However, recently I have found myself travelling on a packed train for around an hour a day and thought it would be good to be able to continue editing and tweaking my first novel on the move.

For this reason I invested in the iPad app ‘Manuscript’ at £4.99. This app does exactly what I expected it to. The developers, ‘Black Mana Studios’, state the following:

  • ‘Create a manuscript from scratch or import from Dropbox.
  • Outline your manuscript using multiple levels – pitch, synopsis, index cards and individual chapter outline
  • Color coded Index cards that serve as a repository for ideas, character development, reminders and more.
  • Each chapter can be outlined individually. You can create empty chapters, outline them, and then pour content into them in any order you like.
  • Use Wikipedia, Google, Wiktionary from within the app.
  • Backup your work-in-progress or export your finished manuscript to Dropbox as an RTF,TXT or HTML file that can be read by both Mac and PC.’

The issue I have found with this app, however, is formatting. In order to get your book into the app you need to covert your novel to .txt format. What this means is you need to save from Word (if that is your prefered writing software) and have to follow the instructions on how to differentiate between chapters etc. Once in Manuscript I found that there were several sentences that appeared to have a break in them so spent a considerable amount of time going through my novel and hitting delete to remove the gaps and ensure the paragraphs flowed correctly.

After a couple of months of successful editing using this app I came to want an export to send to someone for review. I exported in .txt format and found I had a very large plain text document with line breaks all over the place. Again, I had to work through this document and tidy it up. Once done I expected to be able to simply copy and paste straight to word and save back as a .docx file. However, when pasting back into Word I had to then go through the entire novel again to remove rogue line breaks, reindent certain lines and just generally tidy it up again. Admittedly, it appears some of this may be down to how a basic .txt file can lose formatting but it was a bad experience overall. Also, it appears they have now added a RTF or HTML export option as well which could prove to be more successful but it still would not be a seemless process.

I think if the guys at Black Mana Studios could look at a more seemless integration from Microsoft Word documents to prevent the pain of having to create different formats this would be a big win.

Overall I’d give the app 4/5 for actual content entry and use as a basic writing and editing tool but 2/5 for overall experience and satisfaction. I think if, as a writer, you know you are going to be going back to Word anyway and this is a temporary measure to allow you to edit on the move then this is nowhere near as seemless an experience as it needs to be. I am yet to try any of the alternatives but, for the time being, I think I will just stick to the laptop.

Let me know your experiences using an iPad to write your novels.

Some general writing and editing tips

Being well into the editing stages, and near completion of my first fantasy fiction novel, I thought I would share some nuggets of information. These are collated from several sources – online, in print and advice from other authors.

This advice is not focussed on fantasy and fiction but is general advice to help improve your writing.

  1. Adverbs – try to use these sparingly and definitely avoid using strings of them. Use ‘Andrew hurried across the street’ instead of ‘Andrew went quickly across the street.’ Adverbs often work better at the start or the end of a sentence.
  2. Adjectives – as with adverbs, try to use these sparingly and never a string of them. ‘Very’ should be stripped out as it is known as the weakest adjective.
  3. Delete redundancies – do not write the sky above or he stood up. Write the sky or he stood.
  4. Scrutinise every description and try to reduce long sentences to shorter, snappier sentences to help create pace and tension in a scene. Don’t try to describe what doesn’t need describing. New authors have a tendency to describe absolutely everything in a scene. If it does not add any value get rid of it. In a restaurant scene, the reader doesn’t need to know about every action such as picking up a fork, picking up a knife, cutting the steak, putting down the knife and fork and picking up the glass etc.
  5. Try to give a description in action. Do not say ‘Several flags stood atop the government building say ‘Several flags billowed atop the government building.’
  6. Whose eyes are we looking through? Is it clear the author is intruding and providing information the character could not possibly know?
  7. Do not open your book with a lengthy description of the weather. People will tend to sift through this and lose interest easily. This is a common mistake by newbie writers but everyone knows the variations in the weather. Get to the point and the characters.
  8. Keep exclamations to a minimum. I read a rough guide somewhere of 1-2 per 80,000 words on average.
  9. Avoid unneccessary confusion when describing acts. Do not say ‘His eyes travelled to the cockpit’ as this gives the impression his eyes moved to the cockpit.
  10. Keep going – sometimes it is better to let the words flow out of you and to just keep going regardless of what you are putting down. You are going to heavily edit it at a later stage anyway. In the first instance get your ideas down on paper and keep the writing flowing.
  11. Finishing your book – is this how you want your book to end? Does it leave the reader feeling as though there was a purpose to the time invested in reading your novel? Will they want to read more? Would they buy another of your books?
  12. Another key bit of advice I have received is to try to read your novel aloud. This may seem silly but it actually helps to understand the flow of your sentences and dialogue in a way not possible when reading your story in your head.

I realise I am only just completing my first fantasy fiction novel but I believe I have accumulated several key bits of advice that become crucial in the editing stage. They also appear to be points that are easily overlooked so it is worth reviewing a chapter of your completed book with the above in mind just to see if any of these have crept in without you realising.

Self published author interview – Simon Fox

I am pleased to have had the opportunity to interview author of The Firstlord Chronicles, Simon Fox. Please rate, comment and Like toward the end of the post.

1/ How would you describe the Firstlord Chronicles?

I would describe it as ‘science fiction’ rather than ‘fantasy’. There aren’t any elves or dwarves in the story!

2/ Do you think your religious views and scifi addiction strongly influences your work?

Yes, my Christian beliefs are an important factor in the FLC equation. Jaddra Vallmar, the main character in Parts 1–4, is a Follower of the Anthall, the God of the Varrdans.

3/ I see you have published with Lulu. How have you found the experience?

Lulu is great to use if you want to produce high-quality, low-cost paperbacks. I have also published my novels as Lulu Epubs, available in the iBookstore.

4/ Have you published anywhere else and, if not, do you plan to?

All of my books are now also available in the Kindle store. The Kindle market is expanding exponentially on a daily basis!

5/ What is your writing process?

Fairly simple, really: (1) thrash out the basic concept/plot structure; (2) rapid first draft; (3) drastic revision; (4) revise again; (5) revise yet again! (6) final tweaking.

6/ Who does your cover art?

I do it myself. The results are OK (at least, I think so!), and it costs me nothing, thus maximizing profits.

7/ Your bio says you’re an editor. Do you focus on similar work to your own?

About 30% of my work is editing Christian non-fiction books, the rest is proof-reading general fiction and non-fiction.

8/ What is your #1 tip for self promotion?

Today the best means of promoting your work is social networking, especially Twitter. Give people substantial samples to read; don’t bore them with mere ads.

9/ What is your #1 tip for authors wanting to self publish?

DON’T GIVE UP!! It’s a steep learning curve and you will probably get little encouragement from other people. But if you believe in what you’re doing, persevere until you get results.

10/ What does the future hold? Any new books in the pipeline?

I have a whole new series of ebooks in mind, featuring my characters KnowsMuch and ThinksFast (see XUNNSPHERE and UNSPACE).

11/ Do you want to name drop any fellow authors or people that have helped along the way?

To be honest, I’ve not received much help from people. It’s been a long, lonely road! I think that’s true of most writers. To get through to some form of success, you need fire in your belly that compels you to write. Your writing should give you a deep, unique joy. If you don’t really have that fire and joy, go and do something easier!

A little bit about Simon Fox

First and foremost, I’m a Christian. Also I’m a husband, dad, writer, editor, politico, sci-fi geek, beer lover, thinker of weird & wonderful thoughts .

Follow Simon on Twitter @SimonFoxWriter and purchase his e-books at Simon’s Bookshop here.

Thank’s very much to Simon for his time and his useful insights.

Author Interview – Bill Glover

I am very excited to say Bill Glover, author of Empire Time amongst many others, has been kind enough to answer some questions for me. I think you will find his responses on writing and publishing extremely interesting – not to mention humorous.

1/ What can you tell us about Empire Time?

I wrote Empire Time as part of the Orion’s Arm project. Orion’s Arm is a shared, hard science fiction world set ten thousand years in our future and filled with artificial intelligences, post-humans and wild ideas. My story is set a bit earlier in the same universe. I wanted to explore some of the consequences of faster than light travel using wormholes, technical consequences like Stephen Hawking’s Chronology Protection Conjecture (CPC) and the idea of time domains and empire time, and some more human and emotional consequences. It was originally published in RevolutionSF and also on the Orion’s Arm website. It was the first thing I brought to the Kindle, sort of like bringing an old friend along to introduce to new readers.

2/ You are obviously a very technical person. Does your day-to-day work inspire you or influence the direction you take with your writing?

I’m a geek, but I’ve had all sorts of jobs. Everything I do affects my writing. I think the kind of work I do right now, embedded systems programming, makes me want to write about competent people who solve problems using their wits, but still make mistakes. I see that every day in my own work, it’s why we have bug tracking databases. It’s also why I’ll never write a hero who ends up in trouble just for doing something stupid. It’s much more fun when a hero ends up in trouble for trying something brilliant that just doesn’t quite work.

3/ You have books published through the traditional route (i.e. not e-books). How did you find that experience?

I’ve been very fortunate to work with a great publisher, O’Reilly Media.  It can tough sometimes jumping through the hoops necessary to fit into a publishers process, and it can be exhausting working with editors, illustrators and proofreaders changing things over and over, but the result is a surprising transformation. A good editor works this magical sort of transmogrification over a draft. Each change seemed obvious in retrospect, but I wouldn’t have spotted them, and I couldn’t have predicted how, together, they made a very big, positive difference in the final book. As for how it worked out financially, I still get regular royalty checks years later. I don’t think I could have made more with that particular book or done it better alone. For non-fiction, I would still tend toward traditional publishing, and I would work with O’Reilly any day.

4/ What made you want to experiment with self publishing?

I have always been a do-it-yourself sort. I fold my own CD cases and wallets out of recycled paper, that sort of thing. Self publishing appeals to me in the same way. Also, I live online. I don’t see traditional fiction publishers really getting what that’s like and approaching it constructively yet. I think they will, and I will still pursue traditional publishing somewhere down the road, but for right now I want to write for an audience without too much formality or overhead. I want to develop my skills while entertaining people and hearing what they have to say about it. I don’t need a traditional publisher to do that. I also like the idea of retaining the rights to my work. I use a Creative Commons license for most things, and I like the idea of being able to do that without having to clear it with someone’s corporate legal, and being able to take my own work to a new format five years down the road without having to buy my own rights back from anyone.

5/ How have you found he experience to date?

It’s great. I was really impressed to see Kindle allowed straight HTML for formatting, and the interface for uploading and pricing and metadata is simple and works the way it should. The reaction from readers has been great too. I haven’t explored Smashwords or B&N yet, but I will as time allows.

6/ How are sales figure of print vs. e-book or is it too early to say?

I’m really not even going to bother with paper printing right now. It’s a cumbersome, expensive process. I love physical books, don’t get me wrong. I have a house full of bookshelves. but I don’t see POD books as very useful. The reading experience on an e-paper screen is great, and the digital version is more durable than paper because I can back it up. I can carry any number of e-books up three flights of stairs without painkillers and a week to recover. A well bound book is a treasure. A POD book or even a mass market paperback is just a poor substitute for an e-book. All of which is a clever way to avoid saying, “It’s too early to tell anyway.” See what I did there?

7/ How do you market and promote your work?

I really haven’t started. My plan is to wait to promote until I have at least four pieces up on Amazon. I know as a reader I will snap up everything by an author if I like the first piece I read, but it may take me some time to come back around and see if they have anything new later. I want to support that same sort of wonderful gluttony in my readers by laying out a few courses and appetizers.

Would you like a mint? It’s wafer thin.

8/ What are your plans for the future? Do you have any books in the pipeline you plan on self publishing?

I’m working on two novellas and two short novels. I’m not sure in what order they will be finished. One is a follow-on fantasy in the same world as A Dangerous Occupation. The other three are very different and will start, if not a series, a set of related books.

9/ What nugget of advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

If you haven’t already written and published as many books as Lawrence Block, pay a professional editor. The one great weakness I’m seeing in self published work is a lack of professional editing. It really does show, and it’s very hard to do yourself. Also as a bonus nugget, if you buy into a package deal which includes marketing, be very sure you understand what you are paying for and be skeptical of anyone who claims they can make you famous for a fee. No one can guarantee that, and marketing, traditional or indy these days is mostly up to you.

A little about Bill Glover

Bill Glover has, at various times, been paid to: Write software to control dams on the lower Colorado river, wash dishes, write software to manage offshore trust funds, dig ditches, wire together giant machines the size of buildings and program them to do his bidding, usher people into a movie theater, architect one of the largest travel websites in the world, wait tables, track shaving razors, tires, beer and kitchen appliances with radio frequency identification tags, play the saxophone, work for Sun Microsystems as their consultant to other companies on Java Architecture, measure cattle with ultrasound, scales, hydraulics and high speed cameras, be the Chief Architect for the largest airline software company in the world, count pencils, play with Linux code and write device drivers for high end video broadcast and editing equipment, and write technical non-fiction, fantasy, science fiction and the occasional horror story.

Bill lives in the mountains of Northern California where he attends many wine tastings, music festivals, fairs and farmer’s markets and generally has an unreasonably good time reading a book instead.

You can follow Bill on Twitter @I_Write_Fiction and find more information about him at http://billglover.com.

You can also buy his books here:

Self published author interview – John Davis

As I am venturing into the world of self publishing myself I thought it would be useful to gain the insights of already published authors. In doing so I intend to provide some interesting interviews over the coming months where I ask, basically, the questions I want answers to in the hope I will uncover some good tips from seasoned pros.

My first interview is with John Davis, author of ‘Gunship’ available in the Kindle store.

1/ How many books do you have published?

I currently have one (Gunship) available in the Kindle store, a second book due to release on 12/1/2011 and three more in the works to be available before September of 2012.

2/ What made you self publish?

I chose to self publish after reading that e-book sales had passed paperback sales.  The royalties on a paperback sale are far less, on average, than an e-book because of printing cost. The truth is traditional publishing houses aren’t looking for many new authors, just more work from established names. So rather than waste time sending copies of my book all over the country to make less money, I chose to self-publish in e-book form and spend more time writing.

3/ Did you prepare your e-book yourself?

I did self-prepare it for the most part. I wrote it, did 2 corrective rewrites, gave it to a good friend with a masters in English to proof, loaded it to my Kindle and proofed it again…and still missed a couple of errors. I also had the cover professionally done. Otherwise, it took a lot of time but required very little money.

4/ Who did you self publish with?

Currently just Amazon, although I have gotten several emails from Nook owners and am considering going there as well. Amazon was the quickest to set up and paid a slightly higher royalty rate.

5/ Do you do a lot of self promotion?

Most of it is self promotion.  You have to as a self-published author. A few avid fans of the book also help by promoting it themselves, they are in love with the series just as much as I am.

6/ Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

I equate a book launch to a new movie hitting theaters as far as sales are concerned. The first few weeks, a new book usually sells the bulk of its copies. After a few weeks have passed, sales taper and just like a movie hitting DVD, the sales continue but are only a fraction of its launch sales.

7/ Who does you cover art?

A good friend/model of mine appears on the cover of Gunship, theamandaelizabeth.com, and again, I had it done professionally which will usually cost around 75 to 100 bucks(but is well worth it).

8/ What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

Advice, how much time do you have? Kidding. I would stress writing on a subject that you can’t shut up about, because there will be times you have to write when you don’t feel up to it and this helps a lot. DON’T go the vanity publishing route (Authorhouse, I-Universe). Simply, they are the creation of traditional publishing houses and charge you to do things that you can do on your own for free. Open a blog and Twitter account, best promotional tools ever.

Anyone who says it can’t be done is daring you to prove them wrong. Finally, know what you are getting into. It’s a lot of work, which is why most people never finish their first book. If you are sure it’s for you, dive in and enjoy every minute of it.

Thank you John or your time and your great insights. You can follow John on Twitter @johndavisbooks

You can purchase John’s book ‘Gunship’ here http://tinyurl.com/3wltadz

Recieved some good reviews

I have had a few reviews come in on my book over the last few days and thought I would share a few of the nice snippets here from several different reviewers. Thanks to all that reviewed my book, I am certainly going to make some edits based on this feedback.

  1. Your writing style is very clear and concise and very easy to read.  The story had an easy and pleasant flow to it. I liked your use of dialogue which gave more depth to the characters. You used some clever little ideas to make the characters dialogue believable and also to give more insight into them. Well done with this writing and good luck with your work.
  2. I think a surgeons knife wouldn’t go amiss, in other words a bit of ruthless editing to lift the narrative away from the background to give your story a little more depth. That having been said, I think with a little more focus and a little more clarity you could be onto something…good luck!
  3. Shorter, pithier sentences create a sense of immediacy. This is what you want in scenes of high tension.
  4. I did enjoy the story. I thought the plot was strong

Obviously, there was much more than these examples but these seem to sum up to overall consensus. I think I need to work on making my sentences a little shorter and snappier in places and not let my imagination run away with itself in a few sentences. That said, my first novel is being received well so far – even with readers who do not necessarily read this genre in general.

I will continue to post feedback and updates I receive over the next couple of months and may even do a post after publication with a list of reviewers and links to their blogs/Twitter as a thank you.