Interview with Ronald Tracy

What's the story behind your latest book?
This is one of my favorite questions and the answer is surprising. I never set out to write a book! True story, you just don't make stuff like this up! This started with the blizzard of 2005, about 3 feet of snow on the ground and no end in sight. It was depressing. Now, I love to go fishing. I'm passionate about fishing. Everyone who knows me knows this is my passion and there I was stuck in the house because of the snow. Now my son Ronnie loves to go fishing too, and at the time he played and coached roller hockey professionally. He traveled the world playing for Team USA and the tournament circuit. He would call and fill me in with his travel plans and asked about fishing. So, I decided to write down some notes on how I locate fish and what I use to catch them during the different time periods of the spring, summer and fall months. He could read this while traveling and come up with a game plan that works for him. Before I knew it, I had pages and pages of information written down on flounder fishing. I had written an easy to understand guide that I know works for my friends and myself, so why couldn't it work for everyone? I added some photos to help show what I was talking about. Then I thought of how cool it would be if you could read this anywhere... like on a phone. Everybody carries their phone with them. I know Ronnie does. This could be a handy reference guide you could read anywhere on any reading device. Then I found out about Smashwords and their platform, which helped turn my idea into reality. I downloaded a copy on my phone and it works great. How cool is that!!!
What is your writing process?
I don't have a set writing process that I follow. When I wrote Flounder Bytes, I was putting together a series of notes from my fishing experiences on the water. When I had a thought I'd jot it down in a notebook. I soon had a notebook filled with jumbled thoughts... mixed thoughts... in no random order. I went back through my notes and started with the thought that best held my interest and I expanded on that, adding more thoughts as I went along. I soon learned to just write everything down as it came to me and not interrupt the thought process. I figured somewhere inside of all the jumbled jargon was the idea that I was looking for, but I needed to get it down on paper and clean it up later. I am not concerned with being grammatically correct or if my punctuation is wrong. I know this gets a lot of people very upset, but the main goal is to not stop the flow of thoughts and ideas and get them written down. For example, I would go back and edit the first sentence out. I just used it to get the thought process going.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I would have to say my computer because I can enlarge the print (or photos) as large as I need them to be. Lol, but true. I do carry and read books on my phone and it works very well. This is usually reference or self help material when I am travelling as I like to keep learning new things. I have a library on my phone that I can add to anytime or anywhere. Pretty awesome!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
For me the joy is in hearing how my work has helped someone grow and become better anglers because they read my book and watched the accompanying video clips on YouTube.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The Smashwords platform can help aspiring writers get their work out and become published authors. The site also has a lot of helpful information to guide you in promoting your book.
How do you approach cover design?
I can do rough sketches and photos but I have no background in graphic design or editing. I put a lot of work into my project and want it to be as good as possible, so I hired a professional to do the editing and cover work. That first impression really matters and helps to sell books. This is one area that you don't want to skimp on.
What do you read for pleasure?
I like to read self improvement and motivational books. Books that help inspire you to learn and grow.
What are you working on next?
Good question. I want to update Flounder Bytes to reflect more of what I feel it is about, like the cover and such. While working on the final stages of the book, I came down with a rare kidney disease that was debilitating and left me fighting to stay alive. My battle lasted for years and took a lot out of me but I survived thanks to the "Grace of God" and a team of exceptional doctors. I have started work on a Flounder Bytes instructional fishing video to go with the book. I also have a children's book I want to bring out in ebook format.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Meeting and talking with different people when I'm out fishing. They usually come up and start talking after seeing me catch some fish. They are surprised when they find out I am an author. I usually carry some Flounder Bytes paperbacks in my tackle box to hand out as promotional items and I also show them my downloaded ebook on my phone. That is always a good way to promote your book. I will be looking into more marketing techniques as I have decided to pursue my passion for fishing full time.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it is a children's book called P.Z. and the Snow Ghost. It was published a long time ago. I have all the remaining copies. There is a typo on the first page that the publisher didn't catch until after the entire run. I was devastated and embarrassed by the mistake even though it wasn't my fault. I viewed it as a stumbling block for children just learning to read and believe me, everybody had to point this out to me. Yet kids and parents loved the book! P.Z. is a puppy and kids really love the dog. I wrote it for my two children. Today, my grandchildren love the book. I drew the original P.Z. sketch and an illustrator took it from there. I also wrote P.Z. and the Big Orange Ball and still have the manuscript.
What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Follow your passion and find your voice. You can hone your writing skills from there. Take a class. I signed up for a writer's class at a local college. Sure it was nerve wracking, submitting short works to get critiqued, but it helps in the long run. I like to think it helped improve my writing skills, even if only a little bit. And finally, if you need help with book covers and editing hire someone. It is money well spent. Best of luck in your writing career and if you're into fishing check out my book Flounder Bytes!
Published 2018-01-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Flounder Bytes
Price: $4.49 USD. Words: 15,220. Language: English. Published: June 10, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Fishing
Wow! There is a lot of information in a simple, easy to read format packed into this guide that can help anyone catch flounder. It describes the tackle, tips and techniques that that flounder find hard to resist and includes helpful tips on how to locate these fish. For instance, have you ever caught a flounder in under a minute? Amazingly helpful, get your copy today!