Interview with Andy Kerckhoff

What is your writing process?
I'm a topical writer. I get some idea in my head that won't go away for a few days, and I have to write about it. Writing has always been a form of therapy for me. It helps me sort out my thoughts. Ultimately, I try to get to a place where I can write a sentence or two that captures the essence of a truth that resonates with me. When I create a profound sentence that is just right, it's fantastic. That's when I can't wait to finish the piece, so I can hit the "publish" button on the blog.
How do you approach cover design?
The cover for Critical Connection came to me in an early brainstorming session. I knew I wanted a silhouette of a 13 year old boy with headphones on, symbolizing a connection with media and a potential disconnect with family. The wi-fi symbol made sense, but it took some work to make a symbol that would illustrate more than just internet connection. A child wants to connect. His heart is seeking relationship.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read a lot of articles online. I'm a bit of a junkie when it comes to reading articles referred from friends and other contacts on social media. I love current events and any research or op-ed pieces related to parenting, family, religion, and other human behaviors. Lately, I've enjoyed a lot of articles from The Atlantic. As for novels, I enjoy historical fiction (Lonesome Dove), biographies (Angela's Ashes), and the occasional thriller or post-apocalyptic tale (The Road).
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't like to read e-books. I can read a long article on my iPad, but I have yet to read a whole book on it without skimming large sections. I get restless on it. I can't settle in for 100 pages. I will take a physical book every time. I don't think we will ever do away with real paper-ink-glue books.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Good reviews from other bloggers and free book giveaways have been the most successful ways of promoting my book, other than word of mouth recommendations from my friends, family, and followers. For instance, when Rachel Stafford (Hands Free Mama) recommended my book to her audience, I sold fifty copies in a couple of days. That was fantastic. But it's tough to sell books these days with so many free books and so much free information on the internet. The people who have read my book love it, but it's hard to get it into people's hands. Books do not sell themselves. There are over a million books published every year, many of which are free, and reading is on the decline, so it's a real challenge.
Describe your desk
It's a simple wood desk that I finished with a light walnut stain and added a glass top. I have a brass bankers light, a new Macbook and an old iMac, a red Swingline stapler, a telephone, and computer speakers. I listen to Sirius radio while I write. The variety of music keeps me going.
When did you first start writing?
7th grade. I wrote in journals to help me sort out the drama in my family life. Our family was a trainwreck when I was in 5th-8th grade. Writing was cathartic.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted the artistic control and the full experience of writing, publishing and marketing my own book. I got some help along the way, but I made every decision myself, which gives me deep satisfaction. It's my book, and I am proud of it.
Published 2014-03-26.
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