I researched the indie and self-publishing worlds for a good year before I decided to go this route, and through that research, I came across a lot of great organizations who I eventually ended up working with. Red Adept Editing was one of them. Dozens of authors from the Kindle Boards Writers’ Café and other indie community sites had worked with RAE before and had nothing but great things to say. Between that reputation and the sample edit they provided, I was sold, and I have been coming back ever since.
You have worked with Stefanie for line editing. What did you enjoy about working with her?
She’s going to read this, so I have to be nice… 🙂 No, Stefanie is absolutely fantastic. She’s done the line edits for both of my books, is scheduled to do my third, and she doesn’t know this yet, but I’ll continue to work with her for as long as she’ll work with me. She’s an expert in her field, conscious about my writing style and personal tastes, and she edits accordingly and has repeatedly gone out of her way to provide me with larger content and story suggestions too. She has always been personable and approachable, whether by phone or email, and as surprising as this might sound to some, I really see her as a collaborator. I truly believe that she cares about the authors she works with and wants their books to turn out as good as possible.
What’s your favorite part of writing sci-fi/fantasy?
Hmmm… That’s a good question. I think my favorite thing about the sci-fi/fantasy genre in general is the idea that anyone might be special, unique, or simply more than they’ve been led to believe. I mean, who hasn’t daydreamed about discovering that they’re some long-lost heir to something that will help them escape the mundane? Who hasn’t wanted to be something more? Realize that their destiny is still unwritten and untapped? I love this idea, and I think many others do too. That’s why Harry Potter, Ender Wiggin, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, and Luke Skywalker are some of the most beloved characters in fiction—at least, that’s why I love them.
That’s also why my books are set in our world. I desperately want to believe that there’s something cool, something magical just beyond our knowledge, and that in time, we too might discover it. Even if that’s not the case, at least I get to explore it in my writing, ya know? In a way, it becomes real to me. And hopefully it becomes real to my readers as well!
What part of self-publishing do you enjoy the most?
Honestly? Everything. I love the entire process. Some writers just want to write and leave the rest to someone else, but my mind doesn’t work that way. As an independent author, I’m in many ways closer to being a small business owner, and I am involved in the cover design, the interior design, writing the blurb, marketing, advertising, and promotions. All of it. And I love all of it. Maybe I’m a control freak—actually as I learned when I worked in the local film scene, I am a control freak—but I can’t imagine being really unhappy about something and not having any input or power to change it. As an indie author, I’m in complete control, unbound by contractual obligations, and I relish that.
I also have to mention the indie community. Never have I been a part of a community that gets as excited about your success as their own. The community is open and transparent, sharing marketing strategies, and cold hard sales and income numbers for the betterment of everyone in the community. I can’t begin to tell you how many amazing things I’ve learned from other indie authors. It’s remarkable.
Do you do anything special to promote your books?
Nothing special. Not yet, anyway. Like most indie authors, I’ve ran promotions, paid for advertisements, scheduled ads on Facebook, and tried to be relatively active on social media, but I haven’t fully ratcheted up that machine yet. The plan is to do a lot more marketing and advertising when my third book comes out.
Are your books standalones, or do they need to be read in order?
I definitely recommend reading them in order. Each book has its own complete story arc with a beginning, middle, and end, but they also build off and influence each other. To make a completely ridiculous and utterly undeserved comparison, think about how Brandon Sanderson structures his books and series. It’s largely the same cast of characters from book to book, and each volume has its own self-contained story, but is simultaneously a part of something larger. With each new release, the world and characters get deeper, and the conflict ratchets up to new levels. That’s what I’m trying to do.
Do you have anything new in the works for The Machinists?
I do! I’m hard at work on the third book of The Machinists, Martyr, and it’s scheduled to go to Red Adept Editing in May 2016, likely with a release date in the following fall/winter.
You have some pretty amazing covers. Who does your cover work?
Thank you! Damon and Alicia from Damonza have done both of my covers, and like RAE, I’d strongly recommend them. They’re not the cheapest option (though they also have a nice selection of pre-made covers if you can’t spring for a full custom-made cover), but you can’t argue with quality—especially for something as important as your cover. As much as we all want to believe readers don’t judge books by their covers, it’s the unfortunate reality. I even do it. The cover catches my eye, so I read the blurb. If it sounds interesting and like something I might enjoy, I’ll read the first page. Once I’m done with that, if I want to continue reading, I’ll buy the book. But it all starts with the cover that caught my attention.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I probably way spend too much time reading, but outside of that, my wife and I have two young boys who keep us busy. Living in the NW, we try and stay as active as possible, and I enjoy hiking, swimming, and other outdoor activities. Now that the boys are getting a little older, we’re hoping to do more.
Do you have any advice that would you give a new author?
Two things: have fun, but do your research. Writing for me is something I want to do—I genuinely get up in the morning excited to write. If I weren’t or if writing wasn’t fun, I probably wouldn’t do it. So having fun is always important. But you have to keep the larger picture in mind too. As I said before, publishing this way means you’re more than a writer—you’re a small business owner, and any mistake you make will cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. The year I spent researching this world was invaluable, and in addition to saving me from making any critical mistakes, it also helped me discover Red Adept Editing, Damonza, Streetlight Graphics (who does my interior design and book formatting), and the dozens of promotional sites I have used to get my books into the hands of readers. If I wouldn’t have done the research, I would have had to learn the hard way, and that’s never fun!
Where can readers find you?
Readers can find me at a variety of different places, and I really hope they do. There’s no better feeling than getting an e-mail or Facebook message from someone who’s read your book and wanted to share their thoughts with you.