By Jason Pedersen
I am very proud to welcome my favourite author and fellow blogger Charles E. Yallowitz to Readful Things today to discuss his career as an author. Please give him a welcome and a pat on the back, he is the hardest working author I know.
Each one will feed a starving writer in New York….
What has been the hardest and most unexpected part of your journey as an indie author thus far?
The level and scope of marketing caught me by surprise. I had been told that I would have to do my own marketing, so I started my blog. Soon after I started, I realized I had to spread out to other social media sites and look for promo sites to work with. At the beginning I was thinking I would never need Twitter or find much use for Facebook, but now I promote on them every day. This aspect of being an indie author has required a lot of time and patience to figure out the nuances of all the sites. It helps to use my blog as a center for the other social media sites because my posts end up on every platform, which keeps me active. Being active on the sites is certainly one of the keys to success as an indie author.
Has your perception of what a self-published author does changed since you have begun publishing the Windemere series?
I can barely remember what my initial impression was, which means my perception is entirely different. I knew it was going to be a lot of work as a self-published author, but I never realized how much I would have to put myself out there. Growing up, I had the image that an author spent more time writing their next book than doing marketing. This might be true for traditionally published authors, but a self-published author needs to spend a few hours every day interacting with others. This creates exposure and reveals that there’s a human being behind the books. You’re no longer a name within the self-published pack, but a known entity with a personality.
What is the most important piece of advice you have received about writing or publishing so far?
The most important piece of advice is kind of a combination. I’ve been told to keep writing and keep evolving. I messed up the second part when I was younger and mistook accepting all advice as evolving. So, I would tell other authors to add ‘stay true to your own style’ in there because that’s where you will get your best work from.
If you could steal any character from any book, movie, or TV show and make them your own, who would it be and why?
This is an answer that will be different tomorrow depending on what I watch or read today. For now, I would love to claim Halt from The Ranger’s Apprentice series. He’s a mentor character with a great combination of wisdom, cunning, and wit. The evolution of his character is entertaining because he grows alongside the main character instead of staying the same like other mentor characters.
Tell us a bit about your current WIP.
My big project is Legends of Windemere, which is going to be a 15 book series. So, I’m trying to keep working on it and avoid lengthy delays. This is a tale of adventure, which follows a group of adventurers who are pitted against an ancient evil that is trying to return to the world of Windemere. Much of the story involves them coming to terms with their roles and dealing with the pressure of being a destined champion. One of my big goals with Legends of Windemere is to create colorful characters that people can connect to and enjoy following. This series is also going to be the foundation of the future Windemere series that I gradually outline and think about on the weekends.
You made the decision to keep your Windemere series exclusive to Amazon. Has this been an advantage or a hindrance and why?
I started with Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero on all mediums and I wasn’t selling beyond Amazon. I tried marketing for them and nothing seemed to click. So, I haven’t lost much by going Amazon exclusive and I gain the advantages of the KDP Select program. I have received a few requests to put my books on the other sites, but only by about five people, which isn’t enough for me to want to leave the exclusivity. Now, this is only my personal experience and I’m not saying this is how it always goes. For any first-time authors, I would recommend trying the other sites at first. It never hurts to try and gain a foothold on the other mediums because you can always go exclusive at a later date.
What does your writing process involve when you begin a new book? Do you keep strict outlines or do you just go with whatever is in your head at that moment?
I’m a big planner, so I start with designing basic plots and writing up character profiles. This is where a lot of my subplots and character evolution paths come from. After that, I plan out the chapters of a book with general descriptions to give myself a section goal. For series, I may do this for all of the books or the first few before I begin writing. This helps me set up foreshadowing and keeping my series goal in mind. Once I start writing, I find that about half of what I planned gets altered to fit the characters and my style. Many times I’ll find that I should merge chapter sections, remove others, or add a scene that would clear up a plot hole. I’m always aware that things will change when I begin the actual writing. For example, the character of Kira Grasdon from Legends of Windemere never existed in the original outline or the first version of the story. Now, she’s one of the biggest supporting cast members and will play a big role in a few of the books.
What do you see happening in the future of books? Will Ebooks ever take over and if so will indie authors benefit from this or will it hurt them?
I don’t think Ebooks will ever take over because there will always be a place for paperback and hardcovers. If anything, I can see Ebooks gaining equal amounts of respect and viability as the other mediums. While they are portable, there are advantages to physical books such as not needing to be charged or a corrupted file wiping them out. From experience, I can tell you that a physical book can be a precious thing when dealing with a long power outage.
I don’t think an Ebook takeover would change the indie author game. Many of us already depend more on Ebook than physical books, so it’s more about an author gaining exposure than the medium. It would be business as usual for us.
Where can we find your books available?
All of my books are available on Amazon in both Ebook and paperback form.
To anyone who is thinking about self-publishing a book, I would recommend blogging and making friends with other authors. Contrary to popular belief, the world of indie authors is more of a community than a competition. Indie authors can draw a lot of confidence from positive support, which can be found from those that are attempting to do the same as you. This is because they understand what you’re trying to accomplish and all of the hard work you’re putting into your book. This is certainly one of the best discoveries I made as an indie author because I feel like I’m not alone in this.