Interview with Shannon McRoberts

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It has to be creating the worlds and characters. Bringing something from tiny "seed" in my mind to a greater than life character in a written world for others to enjoy. After I write the books, I have even more fun designing my own character art!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is my favorite platform. It has helped gain readers by allowing me to use coupons for giveaways, blog tours, and gifts. It has also expanded my reach to other major platforms where I may not have been able to sell before. I especially love that you need to have at least purchased a book to leave a review on the Smashwords page.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Mostly I just didn't want to mess with the hassle of traditional publishing or vanity press publishing. I published my first poetry book in 2005. That is all I really wanted--my poetry in print. After I had obtained that goal, it was a no brainer for me to release my prose books. I never even thought of seeking a publisher or agent. I have had a few contact me in the past, but I had already done all the hard work, so, there was no point. Publishing is changing. For me, being independent just fits my creative lifestyle better. I don't have to share royalties, I own all my rights, and I can do as I please with the world I have created. I care about my works and I could not stand to sign them over to just anyone. I don't care if they do offer me a large sum of money. I want to keep my rights!
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans mean a lot to me. Not just for the sales, but I genuinely enjoy seeing that others enjoy my books and they "get" what I am doing. It never ceases to amaze me that several people will see something I have written and be blown away by the conclusions drawn in the books.
Who are your favorite authors?
The first author I fell in love with was Anne Rice with her Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches. I used to wait for what felt like eons for a new vampire or witch book to surface. I remember it was usually October that the book would release and there were sometimes TV ads!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The day job paycheck! I'm not quite financially sound enough to quit, therefore, I have to get out of bed even on days when I don't want to. My daughter also inspires me to get out of bed. Long gone are the days when I could spend all day in bed :)
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love playing MMORPGs like Guild Wars 2, playing with my daughter, reading, and creating fantasy art. You can check out some of my art on my main page :)
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I think I was about 4 and it was about a rainbow. The first actual story I wrote as prose is The Secret of Genetic Corp X. Most everything else has either been poetry or it was a "school assignment" deal. They really focused on writing and being proficient at it in my High School and College.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I would like to say I have the secret to marketing all locked up, but I do not. Word of mouth is the best. Getting your book in front of as many eyes as possible to find those eyes that want to absorb your book. A nice cover and blurb help readers that may stumble upon your book an incentive to click on it. Nice promo materials such as bookmarks and stickers help too. Lately, I have been experimenting with MOO cards. Check out my write up on them at http://www.theobsidianpoet.com/2017/03/24/so-you-wrote-a-book-now-what-moo-cards/
How do you approach cover design?
I do my own cover design using mainly Photoshop, DAZ Studio, Flame Painter, and Poser. I want the book to be as much of me as possible and who better to illustrate the characters than the author? I have a minor in art and have always leaned towards the "artsy".

You can visit my blog and see that I haven't always known what makes a great eBook cover even though I had a strong illustration. I learned extensively over the last several years on what you need for a cover and why eBooks should look like book covers.

When the time came for a paperback version of my book, it was almost too easy. Verses of Athine features my first wrap around cover! I then updated Erosion of the Heart and The Secret of Genetic Corp X. Cursed Bloods and #Broken were the last covers I designed.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is chaos. I half outline, half sit down and write. I make notes in my phone constantly and carry paper with me everywhere. Again, productivity apps like Word and the cloud have helped me greatly because I can write a note on my phone and have it sync to my computer. I find that I have a lot of trouble writing when I do not have a lot of stuff figured out about the book or something just isn't working. I hit these "road blocks" and I have to mull over them for long periods of time. I despise continuity problems or plot holes. When I wrote Cursed Bloods I had to go back into Verses of Athine and re-read the series to make sure I had not created a continuity problem in my own books. I may take a good long while to get a finished product out, but when I do it is polished
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I used to be a reviewer and people would just send them to me. I sometimes pay attention to recommendations from Amazon or GoodReads. Sometimes I check books out on my phone from the library. Other than that, I have no good way of finding new eBooks. I like GoodReads, but I get so terribly lost over there. I really did have a hard time for a few months finding anything I wanted to read. I try to download samples as often as possible to see if I would like a certain book.
Describe your desk
I have multiple desks. I have a 4 foot fold away table, a TV Dinner Tray, and a large wooden computer desk. I love living in the cloud where I can write from one PC to the next. I have a tiny HP computer, my phone, an older laptop, and my main PC. Windows 10 and the cloud have made switching much easier. Sometimes even my bed is a desk!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I mostly read on my phone where I have access to ePub and Kindle reading apps. I do have an older Kindle that I like reading books on as well as a Kindle Fire, but those are mostly used when I am at home and have remembered to charge them :)
Published 2017-04-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.