Interview with Michelle Campbell-Scott

When did you first start writing?
I was about 5! My mother, in order to stay home with me, did typing for businesses. They gave her a fabulous, expensive electric typewriter, that was very advanced for its day. Friends of hers were horrified when they saw me 'playing' on it - until Mum explained that I was working, by helping her type the addresses on envelopes. That's how I learned to type and, after that, I started typing stories. A few years later, my class at school put on one of the little plays I had written. I learned a lot from that - mainly that I didn't want to be a playwright!
What's the story behind your latest book?
I've just published 'Book Indexing for Authors', the third in my 'For Authors' series. Like the others, I wrote it because I couldn't find anything like it available to read! I love indexing and have done it for several years but I learned the long, hard way how to do it using Microsoft Word, not by hand using index cards. The traditional books and courses on indexing teach manual indexing, or using specific (expensive) indexing software. I didn't want to go either of those routes.

So I did tons of indexes for other authors and small publishers and tweaked my methods to come up with a way to produce an index professionally yet quickly in Word. The beauty of my method is that it can be updated easily if the book is updated.

Producing your own index is a fabulous part of the book creation journey, as it really helps make a better book. It makes finding typos and inconsistencies easier. It also makes a book more usable and useful for readers and it improves the chances of getting good reviews.

I'm passionate about indexing, as you can probably tell!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A friend who is a hybrid author asked me why I was trying to find a traditional publisher. It was a valid question - she wanted to know if I needed the money or if I needed the prestige and power of a large publisher behind me, perhaps because I wanted to start a speaking career. I didn't, it was all about the writing for me and I wanted to be able to work from home to be with my family and dogs. She explained that she makes more in a month from her indie books than she does in a year from her trad-pubbed books. She said the money is in indie publishing but the prestige is in traditional publishing. As I'm one for keeping a low profile anyway, I didn't want to go the traditional route. She also dispelled a few myths I had about traditional publishing. I thought they did all the marketing for you - apparently they don't, except for their high profile authors. So I decided to go the indie route and I don't regret it.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I do a fair bit of book formatting for small publishers and I've found that they want Smashwords versions more and more in the last year or so. I think it's part of the drive to 'go wide' for many authors and publishers, and also part of their efforts to widen their readership base by getting into libraries.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting into the 'zone', where you forget everything but the act of creation. It's a powerful thing.

I've been through a bit of stuff in the last couple of years (divorce, losing my home, and - the worst - losing my mother). I was blocked and kind of loopy for a while but writing enabled me to break through my inertia.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on two, actually, one non-fiction and one fiction.

I'm putting the finishing touches to a health book that is very, very personal. My mother died a couple of months ago from colon cancer, and my father has had part of his colon removed due to colon cancer. It is one of the cancers that is considered very preventable but it can be hereditary. So I've done a lot (a lot!) of research into it, to see what I can do to protect myself and my grown children. In my research, I came across a lot of non-medical articles promoting various 'cures', herbs, supplements, and techniques. Many of them are useless, some are downright dangerous. I'm writing about how to do a colon cleanse that doesn't involve nasty purges and invasive techniques, but that uses natural whole foods and simple, easy-to-implement lifestyle changes. A cleanse that improves the health of the colon, the ability to absorb nutrients, and that makes you feel great.

I'm also working on a Christian novel. I became a Christian 30 years ago, the day after being involved in a nasty car wreck and hearing the panic in the voice of the doctors and nurses treating me - they obviously thought I was going to die. I didn't know where I was going if I did die, and decided to do something about that! One night, I went to bed, tired, and saw my bible and a novel on my nightstand. I picked up the novel, feeling vaguely guilty! I thought how wonderful it would be if there was such a thing as a Christian novel, which would be fun to read, not as heavy as a bible to pick up, and that had a healthy message. This was in England in the 1980s, when the Christian publishing scene was very young and hardly known. When I discovered Christian fiction (Terry Blackstock, Frank Perretti, and Jeanette Oake, and others), I was hooked but felt completely unworthy and incapable of writing anything so amazing. I've spent years since studying creative writing and I'm now having a go!
Who are your favorite authors?
So many! Here are the ones I've read recently:
> Mary Higgins Clark
> Agatha Christie
> Frank Perretti
> Sophie Kinsella
> Terri Blackstock
> Adrian Plass
> Jane Austin
> Veronica Heley
> Janette Oke

I also follow lots of authors who write about writing:
> Shawn Coyne (Story Grid)
> Stephen King (On Writing)
> Cathy Presland (Write!)
> William Bernhardt
> Nancy Hendrickson (multiple books)
> Derek Murphy
> K.M.Weiland
> Diane O'Connell (The Novel Maker's Handbook)
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My dog - he needs to pee!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
In no particular order: Looking after my dad, walking my dog, spending fun time with my daughter, serving at church (I'm a church musician and lay preacher), RVing, swimming, doing Pilates, reading, knitting.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Friends' recommendations, Goodreads, browsing Smashwords, libraries (I often write in libraries).
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No, but it was probably set in the Tudor period - I'm obsessed with it and have been since I was little!
What is your writing process?
I write as early as possible, after taking my dog out. I find the exercise helps my brain. I don't eat early but I do enjoy a cup of herbal tea or a glass of water with greens powder in it.

I work on fiction for a few hours first, then move to non-fiction or business stuff later in the day.

I don't have wifi at home so I have to go to a coffee shop or relatives' houses to do work online. You would think lack of internet access would help me, by making it easier to concentrate and not get distracted, but it doesn't! It's frustrating not to be able to do research when I need to.

I spent 2 years RVing around the US, Canada, and Mexico with my daughter, so I didn't want to live in a 'bricks & sticks' house again after coming back to the UK to look after my parents. We moved into a static caravan, which is like a wide RV, and it's lovely, because it's like being in a North American RV park. We can pretend we're still there! But the downside is we don't have internet - a small price to pay, though!
How do you approach cover design?
I'm really bad at coming up with ideas. Cover designers like to get a thorough brief, with ideas on colors, images, etc. That's hard for me as I think in words, not pictures, and I can't imagine what would work well. Thankfully, I have a good cover designer now who comes up with his own ideas!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use apps on my iPad, mainly. I also read on my laptop.
Describe your desk
It is in my bedroom, which sleep experts say is a bad idea but it works for me! It's part of my bedroom furniture, not a separate item. I keep it minimal, with leads and peripherals in cupboards and baskets.

The top of my desk houses an all-in-one white computer, with the monitor on a stand to raise it (because I have a bit of trouble with my neck if I look down a lot). The keyboard and mouse tuck away in the stand when not in use. I also have a microphone on a stand on the desk and a pretty magazine box that holds files and papers that I haven't filed yet.
Published 2017-09-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Electronic Shorthand: An Easy-To-Learn Method Of Rapid Digital Note-Taking
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 20,460. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Secretarial aids & training, Nonfiction » Education & Study Guides » Administration / elementary & secondary
A quick and easy-to-learn method of digital note-taking for adults and teens. Works on any electronic device with a keyboard or on-screen keyboard. Great for reporters, students, business-people, and anyone with memory problems.
Inversion Therapy: Relieve lower back and sciatica pain, improve posture, and revolutionize your health
Price: $2.99 USD. Language: English. Published: August 26, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » healthy living, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / musculoskeletal
Inversion Therapy is a simple, easy way to relieve back pain, as well as providing numerous health benefits (including accelerated hair growth, anti-aging, complexion improvement, and many more. This book looks at low and high-tech (and cost!) methods of inverting and includes simple plans for building an effective slantboard at home.
Goodreads for Authors: How to use Goodreads to promote your book
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 38,280. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Marketing
E.L. James' book '50 Shades of Grey' wasn't actually selling many copies until she started promoting it on Goodreads. One publisher asked how another publisher had generated so much pre-launch interest in a particular book - the answer was 'Goodreads'. If you aren't selling enough books, or if you are about to publish one, this book is for you. Learn how to use Goodreads quickly and easily.
Mo - The Talking Dog
Price: $3.27 USD. Words: 52,250. Language: English. Published: March 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
A puppy born without the ability to bark; A veterinarian who believes that dogs could talk, given the right surgery; A scientist who specialises in growing tissue. Add these together and what do you get? A dog with a unique ability ... and an attitude problem. You also get a confused family, offended neighbours, and some very scared cats!