Author Interviews, Blog

Author Interview: Matt Holmes, Non-Fiction

My name is Matt Holmes (Pen Name: Matthew J Holmes) and I write non-fiction books around the topic of advertising for self published authors. My most recent book is The 7 Day Authors Guide To Facebook Ads.

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

I have been writing blog posts about marketing and advertising for many years and have also written lots of scripts for all sorts of videos/short films as I used to run my own Video Production Company. However, when Covid-19 hit back in March 2020, my Video Production work came to an abrupt halt.

So although I have written a lot of words over the years, I didn’t start writing my first book until April 2020! And then, with new babies on the way, major house renovations we were doing and feeling the imposter syndrome that a lot of us do, it took me until January 2021 to go back to that first book, review it, rewrite it, edit it and finally publish it.

Since January, I have released 2 further books, so I guess you could say I caught the bug! I wrote these books because I had a lot of information in my head that I needed to get down onto paper and I felt could help other self published authors avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that I have been through with advertising and marketing.        

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

I started writing my first book in April 2020, but I didn’t get round to publishing it until January 2021! So, around 9 months in total! But in terms of the outlining, writing, editing, proof reading, book cover design and everything else that comes with publishing a book, the total amount of time I spent was around 2 months.   

Are you indie, traditional, hybrid, or vanity, and why?

I am indie author; I just love the control that being indie provides; we are in control of our own destiny and can change course if and when we need to, without having to go through lots of red tape or barriers that can come with traditional publishing.     

How did you determine your target audience?

My wife is a self published author and she is my perfect target audience avatar! There will be lots of self published authors, like my wife, who are overwhelmed and perhaps, intimidated about the advertising and marketing side of self publishing, so my books are written in such a way to make advertising more understandable and relatable. Advertising is simple, but it’s not easy. My aim with the books I write is to simplify advertising as much as I can, whilst at the same time, making sure that the reader actually implements and takes action on the content.      

What is your publishing process?

First, I determine where the reader is before they start reading my book. Then I determine where they want to be after reading my book. I then map out the process they need to take to reach their destination, step-by-step and create the chapters of the book from there.

The next stage is fleshing out the content and specifics for each chapter. From there, it’s a case of writing the first draft of the book. I use a lot of images in my books to visually explain what I’m talking about, so I add these images in as I’m writing.

I then go back through the book from beginning to end to flesh out and refine the content, making sure I’ve covered everything I need to. Finally, I run my books through Pro Writing Aid to help with structure, flow, consistency, etc. Pro Writing Aid is an amazing tool; so many powerful features and reports; I can’t recommend it enough to every single author!

What platforms do you use to publish your works?

I publish primarily on Amazon and put all my focus onto Amazon. However, because my books are permafree (i.e. always free) at this moment in time, I also publish them through Draft2Digital and then ask Amazon to price match my books to one of the platforms I’ve published to through Draft2Digital.

Ultimately though, 99.9% of the downloads for my books come from Amazon so that is where I focus all my advertising and marketing.     

How do you get critiques, betas, feedback, and edits?

I have an email list who are fantastic at providing feedback on the books, let me know of anything I’ve missed out on, spelling and grammar issues, etc.     


Marketing

Do you have a platform? What does it consist of?

I have an email list which I have built and continue to build by providing free resources to authors, such as tracking sheets, planning tools for advertising, as well as a free 3 part video series that shows authors, over my shoulder, how I plan, build, optimise and scale ads on The Big 3 advertising platforms for authors, Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads and BookBub Ads.

What is your launch plan for your works?

I’m relatively low-key with my launches! I just publish it to Amazon, tell my email list about the book and then start running Amazon Ads to it. That’s it! Nothing fancy at all.

However, I also run the advertising and marketing for my wife’s fiction novels and they are a different animal when it comes to launching. I start planning for the launches of her new books 3-4 months in advance! I use Kindle Countdown Deals for my wife’s books when launching and spend a lot of money ($2500+ during the 7 day Kindle Countdown Deal) on Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads and BookBub Ads, as well as promo sites, such as eReader News Today, Bargain Booksy, BookRunes, etc. And for the upcoming launch, we are also going to be trying out some PR tactics as well as influencer marketing, which is exciting.     

How do you get reviews for your books?

My email list are great for leaving reviews which is wonderful. And I also use BookSprout; readers receive a free advance copy of my book and in exchange they leave a review.     

How do you promote your content?

Primarily, I use Amazon Ads to promote/advertise my books. However, I have an Autorespinder sequence setup which introduces my email subscribers to books of mine that they may not have read.     

What do you think is the most critical marketing component or tactic for becoming successful?

Persistence, patience and testing. There is no right or wrong way to advertising/market a book. You just have to do what feels right to you. Yes, there will be tactics you try that don’t work and that’s ok. You just have to have the resolve to not throw in the towel and give up too soon.

Marketing/Advertising is something a lot of authors don’t enjoy; they just want to focus on writing because it’s what they love the most and that’s fantastic. However, as a self published author, you need to not only wear your writer’s hat, so to speak, you also need to wear your business hat, particularly if you want writing to become your full time career.

How do you define success as an author?

As a non-fiction author, success to me is when I receive an email from a reader who says that they have taken action on what I have written about in one of my books and they have seen great results from it, or my words have had an impact on the way they see advertising.

If I can impact just one person from my books, that to me, is a success.    

What made you want to learn about advertising?

I have always loved marketing and advertising and I initially learnt about the fundamental of it so that I could reach more potential clients for my video production business. However, when my wife released her first novel several years ago, I jumped at the opportunity to learn about advertising and marketing in an industry I hadn’t explored before. From then on, I’ve been hooked on advertising and marketing books!

Why did you select the platforms you did to study and really figure them out?

Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads and BookBub Ads are The Big 3 as they are sometimes known amongst authors, so this is where I thought I should start.

What do you think is the biggest obstacle when it comes to advertising?

Overcoming the fact that some ads just will not work and to be ok with that. Even the best advertisers in the world have ads that don’t work; it’s just part and parcel of the advertising game.

What is the main benefit for readers who pick up a copy of your book/website?  (What do you hope they get out of it?)

Ultimately, I hope readers of my books will be able to take action on what they read and learn. Paralysis by analysis can be very real when facing something new and daunting such as advertising. I want to help authors overcome this fear and take action. Once they do, and they start seeing results, they will hopefully be able to get out of the mindset that they can’t run ads or don’t know how to run ads and start to reach more readers, sell more books and ultimately, start building their author career.

How do you think our quickly advancing technological society will affect online advertising and its importance for authors?

This is a difficult one! Advertising platforms are changing and evolving every single day. Although the fundamentals of advertising remain consistent, it’s the intricacies of the individual platforms and the tactics we use on them that will change. As the likes of Facebook learn more and more about its users, they have millions upon millions of data points that help us, as advertisers, reach the right readers, which is an incredible tool to have in our toolkit.

However, some people aren’t comfortable with companies such as Facebook and Google knowing so much about them; where they live, their age, their interests, what websites they look at online, etc. Yes, it can be sort of scary when you think about it, almost like Big Brother!

But from my perspective, as both a consumer and an advertiser, I don’t want to see content online that I have absolutely no interest in. Time is our most precious resource and I want spend it on things that matter to me, whatever that may be. So if the likes of Facebook know a lot about me and that allows them to personalise what I see on their platforms, based on my own interests, then I am more than happy for them to do so.

Just think about watching TV and how we tend to ‘skip’ the adverts/commercials. Why do we do this? Because they aren’t relevant to us. If the adverts/commercials were about things that interested us, then we would be much more likely to pay attention to them and not ‘skip’ them. The advertisers would win because they would get more eyeballs on their products/services, the consumers wold win because they would be seeing products/services that can help them, and the advertising platform would win because they would be attracting advertisers who can reach their ideal audience, as well as showing their consumers/customers adverts/commercials that were relevant.

It’s a win-win. The technology to achieve this is almost here really and we are already seeing it a lot on Facebook, Instagram and Amazon. It all comes down to relevance and that’s exactly what Amazon and Facebook are all about and built upon; showing relevant ads/books to relevant readers. The more relevant we can be with our ads and our targeting, the cheaper our advertising costs and the better our conversion will be.


About Your Work

How many works have you published?

I so far have 3 books published, with several more ideas on the back burner! The 3 books are in my 7 Day Author Series:

Can you tell us a bit about your most recent publication?

My most recent publication is The 7 Day Authors Guide To Facebook Ads where I walk readers through how to plan, build, launch, optimize and scale their first Facebook Ads.

Facebook Ads can be pretty overwhelming and daunting the first time you lay eyes on it and as is my focus on all the books I write, I want to reduce this feeling of overwhelm and focus on the fundamentals of Facebook Ads and learn enough to start seeing some results quickly.

A quote I really like is: Action creates more action. Inaction creates more inaction. If you can start taking action, you will want to take even more action and it becomes almost addictive! Likewise, if you take no action, it can be very difficult to do anything more than take even less action.

Yes, there is a lot to learn with Facebook Ads, but what I focus on is not looking at everything you need to do and learn; instead, just focus on the next step, then the next step, then the next step. If you focus on every single thing you need to learn about Facebook Ads in one hit, you are likely to never take any action whatsoever, because you get caught up in paralysis by analysis.    

So that is a long winded way of saying that my most recent book is about making Facebook Ads accessible for authors who don’t (yet) enjoy or get excited about advertising, my breaking it all down in to a simple 7 day process, with actionable steps at the end of each Day to help them take action and keep moving forwards. At the end of the 7 days, my aim is for the reader to have launched their very first Facebook Ad and have the knowledge to know how to optimize and scale their ads as and when the time is right.

Do you have other supporting services like a podcast, blog, webinars, courses, video channel?

I write in-depth guides and case studies on my website all around the topic of advertising and I have recently launched a brand new podcast, The Author Ads Academy Podcast, where I will be sharing weekly content about advertising for self-published authors.     

Do you recommend any programs, courses, or websites?

I find that the Kindlepreneur website has a lot of great blog posts about self publishing and this was a fantastic resource when I was brand new to this industry. I do till go to the Kindlepreneur website today and see what interesting articles they have published.

Sometimes, we need to come out of our own little world and look around us to see what other people are doing in the industry. One thing that is so true with self publishing is that you never stop learning. There are new technologies, algorithm changes and a whole lot more that happen on a regular basis; we need to keep upto date with all of this, because although the fundamentals may remain the same, it’s the intricacies of advertising particularly that can change on a regular basis. The way I see it is if we don’t change and evolve, we get left behind. 

Have you always read in the genre you wanted to write in? Do you think that’s made it easier or harder to create new stories?

I have always read non-fiction books, mainly around the topics of business, marketing and personal development. I feel that this has given me a good understanding from a reader’s perspective about what makes a book enjoyable to read.

On top of this, however, I have found that some books go too deep into the weeds on theory and leave out the critical element of actually taking action on the content within the book. This is why I have written my books in such a way that I provide Action Steps throughout to encourage readers to implement what they are learning so that they can start seeing results.   

Where do you network most with other writers, authors, and creative types? LinkedIn? Wattpad? Twitter? Facebook? Somewhere else?

I primarily focus on networking with other authors inside Facebook Groups and helping out with struggles and problems other authors are having that I have been through or had experience in.    


Struggles

What has been the hardest thing to overcome on your journey to authorship?

I think my biggest struggle has been overcoming Imposter Syndrome. I felt that little voice in my head saying “who am I to…”, “why would people listen to me…”, “what have I got to say that would make people want to pay attention to me…”  

Once I got over those feelings and managed to quieten down that nagging little voice in my head (my inner bi*?h!) through a lot of personal development work, things became a lot easier.

Do you have any tips or recommendations for those who want to go the final step and become authors?

Focus on writing the best books you possibly can. You can’t advertising or market a poor quality product. If you can write a great book, it makes the advertising and marketing of that book so much easier and enjoyable. Also, don’t try and write for everyone. There are some people out there who just won’t enjoy your books and that’s ok. You are not writing your book for them. You are writing your books for those people who devour every word, who clamber over your next book, who get lost in your world and never want to come out. Those people are your readers. Write for them and no one else.      

If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

I would publish sooner. I would focus on overcoming the imposter syndrome and get my books out there into the world. You will never be 100% ready. So just do it. The best time to publish was yesterday. The next best time is right now.     

Are you a driven & self-advocating author, a gun-shy promoter, or a total marketing procrastinator?

I have worked for myself since leaving University back in 2010, so I have always been driven to achieve what I want to achieve. However, there are definitely days where I procrastinate on marketing and promoting myself, without a doubt. That little voice in my head crops up from time to time and temporarily stops me from taking action on some things that are important to me. But once I quieten down that little voice, I’m back on track.      

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Every single morning I read and look at my goals not only for this year, but for my life as a whole. I also practice visualisation every morning and envision the life my wife and I want to build for our family. After my morning routine, I make sure that everything I am doing is working towards achieving those goals and our vision.     

How do you combat writer’s block?

I step away from the computer and spend 10-15 minutes with my wife and our 2 babies. That is enough motivation for me to get back on the horse, as it were and start writing again. It also helps to just give myself a screen break and turn my mind to something else for a few minutes.     

  


Fun Stuff

What do you listen to while you write?

I listen to Brain.fm! This an App that plays sounds/music that affects the way your brain works, but not in a bad way! Within 5-10 minutes, I am completely focused on my writing and almost forget about the outside world! Brain.fm works best with headphones, so I put on my noise-cancelling headphones and I’m gone! It just helps me focus in a way that music from Spotify, for example, just doesn’t.

Where do you write your stories? A tiny office? A loft? The kitchen table? In the bushes while you secretly people-watch like a total creeper? Or a warm café with mocha in hand and feet up on an ottoman?

We have an office in the garden, so this is where I like to write. My desk is in here, but we also have a big couch that I sometimes lay down on to write too!      

What book are you reading at the moment?

I’m currently proof reading my wife’s book before it goes off to the editors, in preparation for her upcoming launch!    

What have you learned about yourself from the writing and/or authorship process?

That I have a lot of knowledge I didn’t realise I had!     

What is your favorite writing snack and drink?

Tea, raisins and cashew nuts. Yea, a little bit weird, but it works for me!     

Do you have a writing companion?

Sometimes, one of our dogs, Freya and Loki, will join me in the office. But I think that’s only because they want to finish my cup of tea!    

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

You don’t want to reach the end of your life and meet the ‘you’ that you could have been. You want to get to the end of your life with no regrets and know that you have made an impact on your family, your friends and the world as a whole. Live life to the full and enjoy every single moment.     

The best place to find me is on my website, www.matthewjholmes.com. From there you can see my books, the podcast, my blog/marketing guides, my free video training and much more.     

Author Interviews, Blog, Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog

Author Interview: B.B. Reed, Fantasy/Mystery

I am B.B. Reed, a fantasy/mystery author, and my most recent publication was DEMON EYE, book 1 of the Blood Witch Saga. Book 2 is currently in editing and forecasted for release in mid-2021!

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

Author:      I started writing fantasy in middle school after getting immersed in early online fantasy games, though why I did so is harder to answer. Part of it is due to good world building in media like Warcraft or reading The Last Apprentice—those worlds give you so many building blocks to craft stories from! The other part, I reckon, is this was about the time in my life when my older brother wasn’t as large a role in my life. He’d gone off to college and traveled abroad. It was my first time being alone and having nobody around that I could bounce my thoughts off of. So, I started throwing my musings and ideas down on paper, either as drawn art or a mess of words in a notebook.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Author:     It took me six years to complete DEMON EYE. Now that I’ve crossed the finish line, I’m kinda kicking myself wondering what took me so long. Honest, though, I had to spend that time teaching myself how to properly write in a novel format, how to make a plot work, how to craft a living world, how to make characters have impacts and techniques on when to raise the stakes.

If you’ve published, how long did your first book take?

Author:      Seven years in total.

(If applicable) Has your publishing timeframe improved at all since your first publication?

Author:      My publishing timeframe has improved SIGNIFICANTLY! Book 2 has taken about a year or two to already be in editing and polishing stage.

Are you indie, traditional, hybrid, or vanity, and why?

Author:      I’m an indie author because I have a story that needs to be told. It’s not one that most traditional publishing houses would want or are looking for. Besides, I did most of the work an agent or copyeditor would have done anyway.

How did you determine your target audience?

Author:      I am still working on that, I think. I know the Dungeons & Dragons crowd would appreciate the fantasy world of Moira, and then the LGBTQ community would appreciate the inclusion of gay characters on the stage. The themes of witchcraft and feminism would draw the wiccan crowd on top of that. It feels like I cast a wide net with this material.

What platforms do you use to publish your works?

Author:      Amazon Kindle is my publishing platform due to convenience and some sentimental tie to the name. My career in IT has benefitted greatly from Amazon’s tech certifications.

How do you get critiques, betas, feedback, and edits?

Author:      I ask, and I ask, and I ask. Anyone, literally, who would put down the time and effort to consume my novels. So far, my primary source of feedback and editing is a dear friend of mine in the UK who coaches me in some of the classics like Dune and Jules Verne.

DEMON EYE is my debut novel, setting the stage for a series of fantasy novels following the adventures of the main character, Halena Maris. She’s a wandering witch in the kingdom of Arram, helping peasant folk too afraid to confront the entities of the night. Halena makes what coin she can to support her nomadic life and her pursuit of knowledge, until she has a chance at the biggest payout yet as a noblewoman contracts her for an investigation. She’s caught between the world of nobles and black magic as she struggles to keep up with a conspiracy against the throne, or risks her demonic secret being revealed.

Marketing

Do you have a platform? What does it consist of?

Author:      My current marketing platform is through Twitter and Amazon KDP exclusively.

What is your launch plan for your works?

Author:      Launch means I turn Twitter and my online Discord communities on blast with my work. I almost feel bad for the massive signal boosting, but it must be done!

How do you get reviews for your books?

Author:      I mostly do grass roots solicitation for reviews. Signed copies, free physical copies, whatever makes a potential reader’s eyes light up. I make sure to inform them how their input for reviews not only helps me become a better author, but also makes the gremlins behind Amazon’s algorithms circulate my work. Otherwise, I post reminders on the regular on Twitter about the importance of reviews for us indie authors.

How do you promote your content?

Author:      I post snippets and one-liners from my book, as well as sharing pieces of non-spoiler artwork I’ve bought over the years that feature my characters from The Blood Witch Saga. On top of that, I divide and conquer. These promotions go through Twitter, Facebook, and my discord communities.

How do you define success as an author?

Author:      You’ve succeeded as an author when you hold your book in your hand and feel yourself compelled to start reading it just as your audience would. Every time I do that, I fall in love with my work all over again.

About Your Work

What type of content do you write and why? Fiction Novels? Poems? Songs? Screenplays? Short Stories? Epic?

Author:      I have begun an Epic Fantasy series with DEMON EYE, and on the side, I do short stories as well. My content usually features dark themes, like the dangers of the esoteric unknown behind magic, or I’ll scrape myself against the grit of war stories to prod at the man vs. man challenges in that theater. I write about these things because I feel like I’ve had a brush with components of those themes. Death, reflecting on your own mortality, what is the quality of a life lived? All the window dressing of fantasy or sci-fi war scenarios helps to frame these themes in more digestible ways.

What genres and subgenres do you write in?

Author:      I write fiction that straddles across Sci-FI, Fantasy, Horror, and mystery

What is your author brand (genre, mood, image, theme, message, etc)? How did you decide on it?

Author:      My brand is definitely Fantasy—especially darker fantasy since I write about witchcraft and magic. However, I hope the message I put out is that despite having an affinity for dark and gothic themes, there is love and acceptance in that. I didn’t so much decide on this as it more just… happened!

How many works have you published?

Author:      One with my second in the works! Goodness, it sounds like I’m talking about kids.

Name some common elements in your writing: villains, magic, red-herring twists, the unfortunate ensign, mysterious phenomena, asyndeton, sentence fragments etc.

Author:      Magick is a huge factor in the Blood Witch series, as well as keeping the reader on their toes as the plot unfolds. I’m also a proponent of maintaining villains that believe they’re on the right side of events.

What was your first goal when you started your journey to becoming an author? Has that changed?

Author:      My first goal was to complete a manuscript draft! But seriously, my goal was to bring a unique and compelling story to the table that someone could reasonably digest. I see no reason in delivering a story that requires a codex to decode heavy exposition. That goal has remained true, I think, and I wish to continue delivering stories that people will enjoy.

What do you want your readers to get out of your works?

Author:      I want readers to pull out Halena’s internal struggle, to feel and empathize with her. Some of the challenges she endures are ones many of us face, whether it’s struggling with mental illness or our neuroses that make us quiver. I want them to see that despite all these factors, having friends and loved ones to turn to is not a show of weakness, but how you must weather those internal storms.

What has been your favorite part of the writing and querying or publishing process?

Author:      My favorite part of the writing process has to be the content generation part of it when making your first draft. You reach those pieces you’ve just been waiting to put down on paper, it’s like riding the lightning! In recent time, however, I have come to love the process of editing too.

Which authors write similar books to yours? How did you find them?

Author:      Kim Wedlock writes magic-focused fantasy like I do and you can find everything you need to know about her work at her Twitter handle (@KimWedlock) or look her up on Amazon!

Have you always read in the genre you wanted to write in? Do you think that’s made it easier or harder to create new stories?

Author:      In the past, I read a lot of fantasy novels, but in recent time I have pulled away mostly because I’m overly familiar with the genre. Reading detective novels by the likes of Jim Butcher or folk tales by Neil Gaiman have been really invigorating. I’m a firm believer that you have to consume media on the regular to generate new media of your own.

What is your writing process, from idea to polished work? Pantster? Plotter? How long does that typically take you?

Author:      I’m a plotter—or an architect—when it comes to my process. I need a rough idea of where I’m going or else I risk writing myself into a corner. I jot down notes for beats and highlights, as well as a few details I don’t want to forget. However, my timeline isn’t very reliable because I outline my stories from high-level end-to-end plot to begin, then outline as I go by story acts. There’s a method to this madness, I swear!

Where do you network most with other writers, authors, and creative types? LinkedIn? Wattpad? Twitter? Facebook? Somewhere else?

Author:      Twitter has been a decent means of networking with other artists and writers, however, I feel it is not a good means of circulating that media amongst ourselves. The company has also made it abundantly clear it has no interest in supporting the creative demographic. Otherwise, I’ve met other creatives through gaming communities through Discord and network there.

Do you sprint-write like a starving cheetah, or are you a totally chill turtle writer? Somewhere in between?

Author:      I sprint when I’m writing a scene I have clear in my head and I just NEED IT to be done. I just can’t wait to see how it turns out! Then, once that rush is done, it’s back to milder and slow-paced writing as I try to figure out how to link all these high notes together in a good way.

Struggles

What has been the hardest thing to overcome on your journey to authorship?

Author:      Imposter syndrome has been the hardest hurdle in my road to authorship. Querying made me feel like nobody wanted my vision, but I remained stubborn to keep on the path. My characters and their story were worth it.

How has the writing and querying or publishing process affected you emotionally? Do you have any tips for budding writers?

Author:      It’s shown me just how true the old phrase, “You eat an elephant one bite at a time,” is in real life. Everything is possible if you remain disciplined and persistent. However, I will say that the querying process has left less-than-stellar sentiments with me. So, for you budding writers out there, please take inventory of your feelings. If something doesn’t feel right, or it’s making you hate the work you love, listen to those feelings.

Do you have any tips or recommendations for those who want to go the final step and become authors?

Author:      Take Neil Gaiman’s writing advice and start writing. You can always edit it later.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

Author:      I wouldn’t have wasted a year on the publishing industry’s niche standards and requirements.

Are you a driven & self-advocating author, a gun-shy promoter, or a total marketing procrastinator?

Author:      I’m definitely a self-advocating author and I’m driven to finish my work to release to everyone for consumption. I will admit I procrastinate in my marketing because I’ve found it to be utterly draining to maintain.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Author:      I make or commission art of my characters from the main cast of the Blood Witch Saga. Seeing them in such a tangible form and the interpretations varied between artists is so fulfilling and it drives me to keep writing their stories.

How do you combat writer’s block?

Author:      I don’t force the block and I set aside time to consume new media, as well as make an effort to express myself through my visual art.

How did your family and friends react to your writing? Was it what you expected from them?

Author:      My heart skipped when my mother told me she couldn’t put my book down, then I was blown away when my church-going cousin bombarded me with all these questions about my world. There was a piece of me that thought they were being nice in supporting me up until that feedback came. Then I knew that I had something worth it.

What assumptions about writers and authors do you think are myths?

Author:      Many tend to think writing is a lonely profession, and while it does require a degree of loneliness to accomplish the great task of crafting the novel, it could not be accomplished without community. People to exchange ideas with, friends and family to reassure you through the hardships, and the criticisms of how to improve yourself. There is no self-made man behind that book, there is him and the hands he held before touching the paper.

Fun Stuff

What do you listen to while you write?

Author:      I listen to film and game orchestra scores. You have no idea how well the 1989 Batman score can set the mood for a scene!

Is there a fun word or group of terms you like to put into your writing?

Author:      Esoteric, yawning, sable, haunt

Where do you write your stories? A tiny office? A loft? The kitchen table? In the bushes while you secretly people-watch like a total creeper? Or a warm café with mocha in hand and feet up on an ottoman?

Author:      In “The Before-times,” I used to sit in a local coffee shop or Denny’s with breakfast and spend a few hours banging away at my laptop. Nowadays, I gotta get that writing machine going at my own dining table.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Author:      I’m reading Around the World in 80 Days right now!

How do you try to “break the mold” and be unique?

Author:      I break the mould by putting fantasy and mystery together, as well as featuring black magic as a force of good rather than being inherently evil.

What have you learned about yourself from the writing and/or authorship process?

Author:      The overlap between my visual artistic pursuits and my literary pursuits came together to make this possible for me.

What is your favorite writing snack and drink?

Author:      LaCroix and Chex Mix

Do you have a writing companion?

Author:      My own black cat named Patty!

My primary haunt is via Twitter:  @WonderBran31

Follow me on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/B-B-Reed/e/B08BPDV3LZ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

And you can see a portfolio of my other hobbies at https://bbreedart.squarespace.com/

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Reblog: Author Interview by The Pulp & Mystery Shelf

You can find the original post here:

https://mysteryshelf.com/friday-sf-fantasy-stellar-fusion/

Interview with the Author

What initially got you interested in writing?

Since I was a kid, I spent free time coming up with new stories, playing out different scenarios with the people and events going on around me. I never really took a serious interest in it until my husband and I started traveling for his job to some pretty remote areas where there was little to do outside within reasonable driving distance. There’s only so much time a housewife can spend on Pinterest before her vision blurs. So I decided to try out that crazy writer dream. When I realized how many self-publishing services were available and the popularity of indie publishing (no longer feeding the stigma of “artists can’t make money”), I was thrilled. But I’m the type that sees an open door and wants to peek inside.

What genres do you write in?

I primarily write science fiction, fantasy, romance (holiday and suspense), and one children’s book (planning a few more). I should add that most of my books have a military subgenre or at least a character connected to the military in some way.

What drew you to writing these specific genres?

I’m a sucker for anything space-related. I love Star Trek and Star Wars and reading scifi novels. So that choice came about naturally. I enjoy romance novels that feature imperfect people struggling to better themselves in a judgmental world. Sometimes, I have to write what I only wish I could find to read. I also have a few fantasy novels in the works for publication in the next few years. Those are mostly a fun way to experiment with character stories that don’t fit the typical profiles.

How did you break into the field?

Stellar Fusion is my first book. I started with science fiction because I had the strongest, most-developed idea in that genre. I stumbled my way through a few different versions while learning the self-pub landscape. But soon after I published the first version, I had a five star review from a customer. So I thought, “Okay, maybe my writing doesn’t suck.” I’m now three books into that series with one romance and one children’s book published, and three more books coming this year, possibly four if I can manage it. I don’t think readers know how much they motivate us with their reviews.

What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

There are countless messages in my books, so it would be hard to list them all here. It’s not so much that I’m imposing ideas, merely presenting them for consideration. I want readers to enjoy the action scenes and quieter loving moments, but I also hope they think about the conflicts. I have tons of symbols in my books, though I won’t define them outright.

A few messages in my works:

Family doesn’t have to be blood.

Love and understanding can mend most things.

We build more when we let go of our differences.

No one’s life is perfect, even if it looks that way.

Scars are beautiful symbols of strength.

Invisible illnesses hurt too.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

When someone reviews one of my books and points out something that really stuck with them, it confirms that what I’m writing has meaning, that I made their life for the better if only for a moment. I write stories that I love, but I publish them for my readers. Knowing what makes readers happy, within my work, helps me (constructively) fine-tune the next books.

What do you find most challenging about writing?

Developmental self-editing is hard. It’s difficult to know how others will perceive certain events or bits of dialogue. This is why critique partners are so important. Getting multiple perspectives can make a huge difference. What is normal to me may not be normal for others. The most difficult part is finding CPs that will finish the whole book and give quality feedback. Without them, the manuscript can’t move on for further editing. I’m patient with most things. But when it comes to getting my books published, I’m a kid in a candy store, already hyped-up on Twinkies and caramel macchiatos.

What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

It’s not hard if you set up a plan and stick to it.

Write your book, and then take a class on editing/writing craft. Edit your book. Do this a few times before your search for CPs. And CP before you hire an editor. It will help you cut out unnecessary chunks so you don’t have to pay an editor to tell you the same thing.

Have a website and a marketing plan. Readers today want to see you in at least three places online to know you’re legit: Amazon, Goodreads, and a personal website for your books—at a minimum. If you can be on a few social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, do that.

Set up a blog.

Build an email subscriber list so you can send Advanced Review Copies of your books as a thank you for being loyal.

Set up a pre-order.

Run ads before, during, and after launch.

Do book review campaigns.

The list seems endless. It kind of is. Just try a few things and figure out what works for you. Most of us can’t afford to do everything, so be deliberate in what you choose to put your money toward. Look at reviews for the services and try to aim for your best ROI.

I will say this: no marketing platform = no one will know your book even exists. If you’re not getting sales, that’s likely the reason.

What type of books do you enjoy reading?

I love fast-paced scifi and fantasy that blend science and magic. Cyberpunk, biopunk. and space exploration/battle themes are my favorite. Action, crazy tech, galactic empires, aliens, robots, and comedic characters are some of my most enjoyed elements.

I’m also a fan of holiday romance for its cozy and uplifting mood and romantic suspense for the tense mystery and the ever-beating question of whether the lovers will make it together or not.

Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

I actually don’t like sitting inside at my computer. I’d much rather be outside hiking, camping, riding ATVs, working on the car, gardening, bodybuilding at the gym, etc. I’m not your typical book lover. I am not librarian material. But I write from my experiences, from places we’ve traveled in our RV, and from the people that I’ve met. I want my stories to feel as real as they can, so I often write from experience.

What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

You can find more info on my books at: http://atomic-temporary-109968461.wpcomstaging.com or on my Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/elysiastrife

I’m also on social media:

Goodreads

Twitter

Pinterest

Facebook

Thanks for having me!

Best wishes!