Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: author

Author Interview ~ E. Rachael Hardcastle


Two days ago, I promoted the skill of Ms Hardcastle in garnering author interviews (50+ in 2016).

Today, she published an interview I did with her and I’m publishing this interview—we’re simulcasting :-)

So let’s get to it and enjoy an interview with Author, Editor, and Literary-Innovator, E. Rachael Hardcastle. E. Rachael Hardcastle - Author, Editor

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Let’s begin with the tools of your trade—pen or typewriter or computer?

I write most of my ideas down by hand. I have a progress journal where I document my daily writing activity, and they generally get scribbled in there. When I’m writing an outline or the actual book, I type this up on my PC. I’m a very fast typist so it makes sense to get as much as I can down.

Do you write alone or in public?

I write at home and usually when I am alone, though my partner is sometimes in the room with me. I like to surround myself with personal items, play some music, have some snacks and a cup of coffee with all my tools and reference books close by. I can’t achieve the same results in a busy public place.

Music or silence?

I prefer not to write in total silence but I can if I have to. I like to have some music on in the background or a podcast to keep my mind in the writing zone. I have a YouTube music playlist with my favourites on, and I sometimes opt for instrumental music if I’m writing a fight scene or something emotional.

Do you set goals of a certain number of words a week or work only when inspiration strikes?

I don’t use word counts because I then feel pressured to hit them. If I’m not doing so well, I end up writing 1000 words of poor prose, which then require editing the next day which wastes time. So, I tend to write scene by scene. What needs to happen next? I write that part of the story until I’m happy and then consider writing the next scene, but I’ll stop when I lose interest or hit a block.

 What are your books about?

Finding Pandora - High Fantasy My Finding Pandora young adult, high fantasy series is about a woman named Arriette Monroe and her search for Pandora’s Box. She is a human at first who is turned into a ‘Supe’ (supernatural being) with special powers given to her when a group called the Recruit save her life. She must then fight the evils of the world, which appear as orcs, demons and vampyrs, amongst other enemies, to gain control of the box and protect the future of the human race. It was inspired by William Blake’s poem Auguries of Innocence and begins on the premise that Earth is no longer able to sustain life, so the religions of the world agree to pray for a new world (created in seven days, following the Bible’s story, etc.), and a God I refer to as Zinnyi in the book responds. The U.S. President sacrifices himself to prove human beings can change, and Haeylo is created as their new sanctuary.

My post-apocalyptic book (which will be part of a trilogy eventually) Aeon Infinitum: Run For Your Life is about the survivors of an apocalypse who live in the underground ark, Titan. The man in charge is selfish and challenges them all to a run across the wasteland to a new sanctuary, but he is keeping a lot of very dangerous secrets that the protagonist and her friends must survive.

Do your books have a lesson? A moral?

Not intentionally, though a lot of my books explore futuristic scenarios for Earth (destruction, apocalypse, ruin, and illness). I suppose you could say I want to encourage people to change for the better. I have also been told my books have a very spiritual theme that explores the meaning of life, the human race’s purpose etc., though again this is not intentional or particularly obvious. I think it’s because of who I am as a person—I am hoping we can all be better people and kinder to one another, so I inject my morals and values into my novels.

Do you ever outsource editing and cover design?

I think it’s important that I learn as much as I can about the entire publishing process, so at the moment (with the exception of Beta readers and volunteers) I do everything myself. I enjoy self-publishing/Indie Publishing for this reason. I’m a control freak so it’s nice to have the final say over everything. However, in future I will no doubt outsource some of these jobs to others.

Do you have a favourite genre to read?

I prefer to read fantasy, dystopian, and post-apocalyptic fiction but if it looks good, has been recommended, or is free to try, then I’ll give it a go. I write in the genres I prefer to read as this is where most of my knowledge sits.

Do you visit authors’ websites? If so, what do you look for?

Yes I do because I like to see the website’s design, how they have presented their books and how professional it looks. I designed my own website so this is genuinely interesting for me, but I will also visit to find their social media links. I believe a website should be a hub for fans of that author, so when I visit a website I like to see links and images and pages etc. That screams professional and active to me.

So, a final question, where can we download your free book? E. Rachael Hardcastle - Author, Editor

You can find a free copy of the first book of Finding Pandora at www.books2read.com/findingpandora. You will be given various options for your favourite distributor, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you’re in another Amazon territory, just visit your country’s Amazon website and type in Finding Pandora. It’s free in US, UK, ES, DE and FR.

Thanks a heap for taking time out of your busy schedule to share with my readers :-)

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Go to Rachael’s blog on her official website.
Follow her on
Twitter. Find her on Facebook.
Visit her on 
Goodreads.
Subscribe to her channel on YouTube.
Do check out her work with children in writing workshops (her segment begins at the 4:50 mark…)
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Take the opportunity to ask Rachael a few questions in the comments…

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

To Write Well, One Must Be As Healthy As Possible…


After an operation (was it 3 or 4 years ago?) I got very serious about my health.

Recent events have made me focus on that issue from a new perspective.

I should be back to my normal blogging habits soon, perhaps even tomorrow…

To give this post a bit of substance, I’ll recommend you explore the left side-bar—many resources and gifts await……… :-)
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Are Readers Going To Be The New Gatekeepers?


I’ve written about gatekeepers a number of times here

In the post Are Readers The Winners In The New Publishing Game? I said:

“Should more readers demand that authors forget about genre and write what the unique combination of theme, plot, and character demands of their creativity?”

“Is it conceivable that the reading public could select books based on plot characteristics or character interactions or theme arcs?”

“I’ve also written about how I’m a maverick author in the way I find my readers

“I do believe that, eventually, readers will have an exceedingly easy time in finding exactly what they desire; and, that they will become the primary ‘gatekeepers’ in the Book-World.”

In the post Where’s The Gate? ~ More Thoughts On Publishing I quoted Joel Friedlander saying:

“The myth of the noble gatekeepers is exactly that, of course. There never were bastions of cultural authority in this country, empowered to pass judgment on their fellow authors. But if you face year after year of rejection, it can be seductive to think there are.

“The problem is that this worldview completely dismisses the fact that publishing is a business, and publishers businesspeople. Books that find a home with profit-oriented publishers can be defined this way: books that might sell enough to make the publisher a profit.

“That’s the reality of gatekeeping, no matter how romantic it may sound. Publishers who make no profit are no longer in business. The business of business is profit, pure and simple.”

And, in the post Does Anyone Absolutely HAVE To Be Between The Author And Their Readers? I challenged writers with this:

“Steal the idea of a lone writer successfully providing books (or, short stories) to a large audience of readers; show what they have to struggle through to achieve the necessary skills beyond producing a manuscript; show them up against those who would judge them harshly; go ahead, write a story that has two protagonists: The Writer and The Reader :-)

Well, I’ll now lead you to yet another perspective from Libby Fischer Hellmann.

She’s written an article entitled Do we still need Gatekeepers? Are the lunatics finally in control and running the asylum?

Here are a few excerpts to entice you to take that link and read the full article:

“I’m not going to belabor how the plummeting price of ebooks has devalued books in general – we know it has. I’m also not going to estimate how many self-published books are never read. We know the number is high. Bottom line: we have millions of books available at bargain basement prices that are never read. Being discovered is more a dream than a reality.”

“Some say readers are already providing the gate-keeping function, democratizing the process and putting it in the hands of the ‘people’. But the sheer numbers of books being released make it impossible for anyone to thoroughly vet what’s out there.”

She also includes other people and methods that are attempting to fulfill the gatekeeping function, then says:

“…there are millions of readers who don’t recognize a well-structured, beautifully written book. They may have a feeling that something isn’t quite right, or that the book isn’t moving along as nicely as others, but if you’re not a prolific reader or writer yourself, how do you know if a book sucks?”

Then, she says something I wish I’d said:

“Of course, I’m just one reader. And one writer. And I’m aware that my taste may be very different than others.’ In fact, when you get right down to it, who am I to judge if a book is worthwhile? And if I’m loath to make myself a gate-keeper, who else should sift through the crap?”

So

What do you think?

How do you feel about all this?

How do you keep your reading gate swinging?
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

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So, How Do Writers Find Readers?


The typical traditional way of finding readers has writers finding agents who find publishers who find book outlets who attract readers

Self-published writers are playing in a different league.

Back in 2011, I published a post called, How Can Authors Find Readers?

In that post, I said:

“Some of the wildest relationships in the world are between authors and readers.

“Lately, writers have had a new horde of ‘experts’ yelling at them about how to hook-up with readers.

“Personally, I don’t think any two books (except the pulps in various genres) have the same history of attracting readers.

“It seems that, just as Mary wants Jim but Jim needs a wake up call and Mary doesn’t want to seem forward and Jim, well you get the idea; seems that authors need Relationship advice, not Marketing advice.

“Readers have relationships with authors, always have, and today’s publishing scene is begging authors to build relationships with their readers, like never before.”

I say more and direct folks to some valuable resources

But, today, I’ll introduce you to Omar Luqmaan-Harris and his site AuthorDiscovery.com because he seems to have found many methods for finding readers, a.k.a. being discovered :-)

There’s a particular article on his site called 12 Author Profile Sites to Boost Your Discoverability.

I recommend you go read what he says about each of these sites but I also recommend you check them out and use two or three for a few months to see if they’re a fit for you and, if not, try a few more for awhile till you find what works with your life style—trying to keep up with all 12 could drive a writer crazy :-)

So, for those in a hurry, here are the twelve sites that might boost your discoverability (I utilize the first four):

Goodreads

Amazon Author Central

Smashwords

LibraryThing

Shelfari

AuthorsDen

Red Room

Dailylit

Book Country

weRead

Published.com

AuthorLink

Are there any Discoverability Sites you can recommend in the Comments?

Any experience with finding readers you’d like to share?
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Select as many as you like:

Is Guy Kawasaki An “Expert” On Digital Publishing?


A couple weeks ago, I wrote a short Review of APE ~ Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki & Shawn Welch.

In that review, I said:

“…about 90% of what’s in the book is available with a bit of intelligent searching on Google.

“I’d estimate about 70% is available through this blog—either what I’ve said or sources I link to.

“Please realize I’m not saying you shouldn’t read this book—just be sure you don’t accept it as the “full package” it’s being marketed as…”

My dictionary defines “expert” as: “a person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area”.

Does what I said in the review make me an “expert” on digital publishing?

My answer would be no

I wonder why so many folks are calling Kawasaki an “expert”

Let me share some things he said on Digital Book World in the article The Top Ten Mistakes Writers Make When Self-Publishing a Book and let you judge whether he really knows what he’s talking about {by the way, I’m not saying what he says is “wrong”, just that, in many cases, it’s not the whole “truth”—i.e., it only applies to certain kinds of digital publishing…}:

Kawasaki’s Top Ten Mistakes when writers self-publish:

1. Writing for the wrong reason.

2. Not hiring a professional copyeditor.

3. Designing your own cover.

4. Not building your marketing platform in advance.

5. Using a word processor other than Microsoft Word.

6. Inadequately testing your ebook.

7. Selling only an ebook version.

8. Depending solely on social media and word of mouth.

9. Not tapping the crowd.

10. Having only one plan.

Naturally, if you follow the link to that article, you can see what he says about those 10 points.

Mr. Kawasaki is very popular

Mr. Kawasaki has a tremendous following

Mr. Kawasaki will make a lot of money from his book (and, because of his article on Digital Book World, he will sell even more)

Still

Consider

Is he an “expert” because he “repackages” what others have been saying for a number of years?

Certainly, his book and that article could very well be what he learned from his own experience

Yet

Most of it had already been learned and was freely available on the ‘Net

Just to be absolutely clear, I’m not at all saying he did anything “wrong”; but, is what he did all that “right”?

Care to share your ideas in the Comments?
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page