Interview with Reggie Lutz

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I'm not writing, I'm usually at the day job or consuming story in whatever form it presents itself. Music is immediate and versatile in that you can be doing other things while listening to it. I have a volunteer radio show at WRKC in the summer months. It's a great outlet for me.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The end of the sleep cycle.

On a more serious note, usually it's the book I'm writing or the book I'm reading, which I suppose speaks to curiosity. I want to see what happens next. I also have pets, and they can be pretty insistent about me waking up to make sure their needs are met. I also have a deep love of coffee.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Most ebooks I find through friend recommendations or something will catch my eye just browsing titles. I browse a lot in both virtual and brick and mortar stores.
What is your writing process?
In a first draft I tend to throw everything at the page to see what sticks. I'm a pantser at heart, but I've found that in order to complete a draft of fiction, no matter the length, I have to know what I want to write about and basically where it is going. I don't need to have all the details worked out before I start writing the prose, but I do need some of them in order to bring a story to life.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
This is a tough one to answer because there were a lot of factors going in to making the decision. I suppose the biggest component was a sort of "What do you want your life to be about?" moment. Of course the answer was, writing fiction. I had to get over a bit of resistance, however. I think when fiction writers begin we all have the dream of a traditional publishing deal, where ideally things like P.R, marketing, editing, formatting and cover design are all taken care of by someone else. But then I started to get excited about the idea of learning new skills, and making use of some skills that I already have from my broadcasting experience that had lain dormant for a while. Suddenly, the prospect of doing it myself wasn't so intimidating. I got excited about learning how it all works. I don't have all the answers, but it really is rewarding to find out that with a little bit of elbow grease I could carry out some of these new tasks competently. I've always been a self-motivated person, and friends of mine who heard that I decided to become an author-publisher said that they were not surprised, that they always thought I would do this. It surprised them that it took me as long as it did to dive in.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There are several moments in the process that feel like the best part. At the beginning of building a story, it isn't always clear that the idea will work, but when that moment happens there is nothing like it. There's deep satisfaction at the end of a first draft. Sometimes editing is a bit of a painful slog, but that, too has something deeply gratifying about it. When you wrestle with the first draft to get it into better shape, and it starts to fall into place after a lot of hard work, that's a pretty great feeling, too.
What are you working on next?
Well, I have the first draft of the sequel to Haunted complete, so that is currently awaiting feedback and authorial critical distance before I get into edits. I've started a science fiction novel, but it's a bit early to give away too many details. It's very dark, so far. I have a short story collection titled Aliens in the Soda Machine and Other Strange Tales for which Trevor Strong has written a song. That one is currently available through other channels and will be availably on Smashwords sometime in August. I'm also working on a post-apocalyptic dystopian trilogy in collaboration with Devon Miller. It's a project that I am really excited about. We have the first book done and we're ready to start work on the second. We'd like to have at least the third started before we start talking about release dates.
How do you approach cover design?
So far, I've been very lucky to hire artists who I know in person and who I trust to do excellent work. Josh Troup, who designed the cover for Haunted is someone I worked with for a long time. Alice Teeple is a good friend who did the cover for Aliens in the Soda Machine and Other Strange Tales. I talked with the artists about the general theme of the books, and of course sent them digital copies of the work. We discussed color and general theme, and of course the text that needs to appear on the cover, and then it's up to them. I feel like when you are collaborating or farming out work it is really important to know when to relinquish control and trust the process. I also feel like it is a good idea to hire someone to do the cover art because a visually focused artist has a different skill set than a textually focused artist, so will understand the visual landscape of your content better, in some cases, than you will. A great cover artist will express the story in a way that grabs attention and conveys the themes inside the book. I've been very blessed in both cases.
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything. Okay, maybe not stereo instruction manuals.

I read broadly. Everything from genre to contemporary, literary to non-fiction. I am largely drawn to fiction most of the time, however.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Honestly, talking to people. Sending press releases to traditional media channels is something no indie author should ignore. As much as we rely on the internet to generate word of mouth, community awareness and presence is really important. Traditional media outlets are really helpful for that.
Describe your desk
To the right there is a sword (I have no idea where that came from). To the left there is a mixing board. In the middle there is my computer, a stack of books, bits of paper with notes, and a huge coffee mug filled with pens, pencils, markers and a pair of scissors.
Published 2015-05-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Aliens In the Soda Machine and Other Strange Tales
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 50,040. Language: English. Published: August 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
A collection of short stories years in the making, this volume represents story worlds ranging from the inside of an exclusive art gallery to the ramshackle rural settlement of an inbred family. Monsters of the human variety and otherwise dwell within these pages, so does magic, myth and complicated interior landscapes.
Haunted
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 88,970. Language: English. Published: May 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Gwen McTutcheon has been dead a year, leaving her sisters Sarah, Bethany and Trudy as well as her widower, Evan Carrelsmith behind. Her youngest sister, Sarah, left town shortly after the funeral because of tensions between her siblings. She returns home, joining her sisters to confront a bitter and hostile Evan about the contents of Gwen's will. Gwen's ghost watches as her loved ones try to heal.