Interview with Michael Cantwell

What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I don't think there is any one thing that I can point to yet. I think it's a combination of having your name in as many places as possible and writing good books.
Describe your desk
Ha. Well, I am fairly organized. It's an rounded "L" shaped desk. On the shorter side is my monitor and business cards as well as a few scratch pads. On the larger side are writer magazines, photography magazines, my back scratcher, bills and my tablet.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up outside of Trenton, NJ and my entire first book is heavily influenced by that area. My second is somewhat influenced from people I knew in college from the Philadelphia area. I think my humor and sarcasm comes from people I knew while growing up. In later books, I think I have become more influenced by people I've met in writers groups as well as reading other authors.
When did you first start writing?
There was the occasional article I would have to write for my real estate career but I didn't get serious about writing until 2011 when someone bet me I couldn't write a best seller. I have to admit, I was never one who always dreamed of writing the next great novel. Even as I was finishing up creating my first novel did I expect to start a second. Now I don't see myself ever stopping.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest is the third in a series about Caeles Novo, who is the preeminent soul stealer on earth. In the first two books, Cale has fought with his leaders as to what their real mission is on earth. He along with others like him not only battle evil on earth, but also fight to maintain a healthy family life. Cale has questioned what his real destiny is on earth over the first two books in the series. However, in the current one, he is moving forward with what he believes is his true calling and is eliminating anyone or anything in his path. He has a few who attempt to stop him at every turn and a wife who is upset because he can't tell her all that he does. Cale struggles to maintain his sanity as well as staying alive as he follows wanted criminals around the world.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
In short, being stubborn. If the right opportunity presented itself, I would likely sign with a major publisher. However, since I have a business background, I broke down all the things a traditional publisher would provide me and realized much, if not all, I could do on my own. I have a background in accounting as well as computer graphics and photography. I was already marketing all over the internet because of my commercial real estate business, so it was an easy transition for me to apply that to books. Mind you, I didn't say it's easy to market, its anything but, but I do believe that if you are willing to work hard and read everything you can get your hands on about marketing, eventually it will pay off. So in short, I'm a control freak when it comes to things that are mine and the thought of possibly not even being able to title my own books made me cringe.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It has freed up some of my time because I only have to list my books in few places, Smashwords being one. I would rather put the effort towards writing and marketing in other areas and allows sources like Smashwords distribute my ebooks. One other thing was that before joining Smashwords, I didn't know Kobo existed. I now have a following in Canada thanks for Smashwords distributing to Kobo.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
That's an easy one. Having someone contact me and ask me questions about characters because as readers they are that involved with the story and characters. I have one reader who has read my first book, " A Beautiful Song" four times because he swears, the character could be him. I am so humbled when I hear stories like that from readers.
What do your fans mean to you?
Both of them? I read from many authors about how they write for themselves and never think about their fans. I understand what they mean. I don't change a story because I think my fans or readers would be shocked or object but every time I hear from a fan they read one of my stories and enjoyed it, I get a special feeling inside me that I hope never goes away.
What are you working on next?
The next paragraph. I'm not who outlines and I never know the last page of the book until I write it. I think too much outlining stops a writer from expanding the story. I realize that's a statement many would disagree with and that's fine, but for me, I have to leave everything open. The disadvantage of that is there are times I get stuck in a story, but usually not for long. I have a general idea of how I want the story to end by about the middle of the book but I am one who allows the characters to drive the story through their words, not mine. For example, in my last book, a character called out a name and because of that, a new character was created who ended up being a major part of the last two books. He never entered my mind until another character mentioned him in his dying words.
Who are your favorite authors?
Elmore Leonard, George RR Martin, Sidney Sheldon
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Attempting to put together commercial real estate deals, reading, listening to music, photography, nature walks and enjoying my family, not in that order.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I prefer paperback or hard cover books. I only read ebooks to learn about marketing my own books.
What is your writing process?
I generally write in the morning. I edit what I wrote in the morning later in the day. I take sections of that to my writers group. After I finish each chapter it goes to my editor and after 10 chapters are done, it goes to a couple of beta readers. Once the first draft is done, I read it at least twice more and make changes. It's again reviewed and then I make the cover and publish.
Published 2013-09-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Presidential Blues
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 91,180. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Historical
Alex and his pal have started a band. How do you tell your best friend that he can't sing and will be replaced with the cutest girl in school? You ask President Kennedy for advice.
Presidential Whispers
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 88,410. Language: English. Published: May 28, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Humor
Have you ever wanted help surviving freshman year in high school? Alex Schuler relies on the past Presidents of the United States. Alex's grandfather removed a magical book from the White House written by the men who founded the USA. When Alex reads from it, Abe Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and others from the past, come alive offering guidance.
Fortunate Soul
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 90,710. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Historical
In this third installment, Caeles Novo has been removed as leader of the Council. He now seeks revenge for those who have taken his power to remove souls and is on a journey to return his disciples back to their original mission.
Soul Directive
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 87,100. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
Caeles Novo continues his journey of seeking broken souls that he started in “Soul Intentions”. Caeles is now the leader of his disciples and must discover the mystery as to why so few soul stealers remain on earth.
Three Long Days
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 90,790. Language: English. Published: December 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
How far would you go to tell the truth? Congressman McAdams made a promise to his dying grandfather to always tell the truth. Now he must decide between exposing a national secret or move up the political ladder and stay quiet. He has three days to decide while he sits in jail. Life is not always black and white and besides when is the truth not really the truth? What are your limits?
A Beautiful Song
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 100,430. Language: English. Published: December 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Christian » General
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
Stu Edrich was a typical teenager in search of an identity. He quickly learns life does not always turn out the way you expect. He follows his passion to create music and live life in a positive and ethical way. However when life takes a wrong turn he loses his faith and identity. This is a story about relationships and in finding ways to establish peace in your heart and soul.
Soul Intentions
Price: Free! Words: 90,370. Language: English. Published: November 7, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
You, the ungrateful fool, who dare to destroy your soul. We are the keepers of all things pure and righteous. In taking your soul, we are destroying the evil you have so carelessly allowed to enter your most prized possession. Caeles Novo and his camera are in search of you.