Interview with Timothy Reynolds

How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Recommendations by friends, usually on Facebook.
What is your writing process?
It varies.

Short stories tend to be dive-in-and-write method with very little plotting.

Novels, on the other hand, can take months and months of research and planning and once the structure is laid out in rough, I start writing, allowing the story to follow along the outline as best as possible. Sometimes the characters or the story surprise me and it goes off in another direction. If that direction makes for a better story overall (and it usually does), then I go with the flow.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The earliest book I remember reading is "Now We Are Six" by A.A. Milne. It made me want to tell stories.
How do you approach cover design?
I try to keep it simple. Being a professional photographer, I use my own photos, unless it's an archival image. I go to a book store and look at the best sellers in the category my book fits in best, and I make notes of the titles. When I get home I look up the titles online and try to determine what they have in common.

Once I have the layout figured out, I work on the image and make certain that it reflects both the tone and the content of the book. I make certain I do multiple versions, so I have something to choose from. Most recently I've started posting drafts on Facebook and asking my FB friends for their input. That may sound risky, but some of my Facebook friends are famous authors, editors, and publishers. They're ALL readers, and that's important, too. Never underestimate the opinion of the people buying your product.

The cover has to satisfy some basic needs:
1.the image cannot give away any plot point (no spoilers);
2.it must have the title, my name, and my marketing endorsement sentence ("Canada's Modern Day Aesop" ~ Barbara Budd, CBC Radio);
3.the whole thing must be easy to read and decipher as a small icon, but also look great when enlarged and even printed, if the book will be printed.
4.it can't be too busy, with too much information either in text or in the image.
and finally, the most important requirement 5.THE IMAGE MUST BE CLEAR AND CRISP and PROFESSIONAL! It has to look like something I stole off of a bestselling cover, but will in fact be original.
What do you read for pleasure?
I tend to read thrillers. I don't have much time to read, so a story must barrel along at breakneck speed for me. Dan Brown's "Inferno" was the last book I read and it did exactly that.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I own an iPad, a Kindle 3G, and a Kobo Mini. I have the Kindle and Kobo apps for the iPad, and because it is my portable computing device of choose, I end up using it the most. That said, though, most of my purchases are for Kindle and so I keep the Kindle updated and use it more and more these days because it is smaller than the iPad. It fits inside a windbreaker pocket and is in a metal case, so it is quite well protected.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I did a free-for-two-days giveaway of my novel and downloads went from 17 in ten weeks to 113 in two days. In the four weeks since the giveaway, there has been one sale. I gained 113 readers, but made no money. I'm hoping that when I launch my collection of short stories across all platforms, some of those 113 new readers will be willing to cough up a couple dollars for the collection.

For creating awareness, a solid, fun, professional presence on Facebook and Twitter have been my primary methods. I have over 2600 Facebook friends and 1100 Twitter followers. With a well-worded blurb I reach a lot of very supportive people.
Describe your desk
Both desks (side-by-side) are cluttered.

On the main one: iMac, water bottle, index cards box, iPod, dragon-shaped pen cup, notebooks, a minion, and other crap I should probably clear off.

On the secondary desk: MacBook Pro, iPad, Printer/scanner/fax, more miscellaneous junk.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto in a very WASP neighbourhood, going to very WASP schools, and having almost exclusively white friends. I lived in a happy, safe, insulated world, and this made my writing complete crap.

It wasn't until I got out of the suburbs and started meeting people from all over the world, and seeing addictions, and mental illness, and unwed mothers, and LIFE, that my writing started to gain depth.

My best stories have come since I started dealing having to deal with death of close friends and my own recently-developed depression. Until I saw darkness from the inside and managed to pull myself up and out, my writing was treacly tofu of boring been-there-read-that imitation.
When did you first start writing?
I REALLY started writing in high school, when my English teacher, Andre Golding, made us write a minimum of one page per day, single spaced. That's when I really started to tell stories.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Two of the current four projects are 1. a magical steampunk YA novel, and 2. a historical murder mystery inspired by true events in my own family during Prohibition.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My published novel, "The Broken Shield", was rejected by a handful of publishers, but I knew it was good and just needing the right home. The problem is that it is a time-sensitive story and some of the events I predicted in it had come true so I knew I had to get it out into the world before I began to look like I was just ripping off the news, instead of predicting it.

It is only available as an ebook because I was advised by a publisher that so long as I didn't sell a print copy, I might still find a publisher willing to buy it because First World Print Rights were still available. That's the theory, anyway.

Also, I know I will never make a fortune with my writing, so why not simply get the polished and edited stories out there. If I sit on them and wait what can be years and years for a publishing house to buy them and eventually put them out there, I could be too old to write the sequels, or go out and promote them.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has enabled me to put a professional product together in one place and then have it reach so many markets I could never have reached myself. Smashwords is a real presence in the book industry, and so I know my books are in good hands, with lots of tools I can use to promote them and sell them.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
With my fiction, the joy is in telling a story that makes readers stay up past bedtime to finish reading. I recently got a letter describing this occurrence and I still have the silly grin on my face. Whether they laugh or cry or shiver, I want my stories to reach people's hearts and souls, if only briefly.

With my non-fiction (Stand Up & Succeed), I want readers to say "Yes! That's EXACTLY it!" and I want them to be inspired. One of my first readers was a coworker who bought a copy to be nice. She read it that night (it's short and a FAST read) and bought ten more the next day for Christmas presents because it reached her so deeply, so quickly. I've been told by a number of readers that they keep their copy handy so they can turn to it for inspiration when they need it most.
What do your fans mean to you?
My 'fans' are my readers, and they mean everything. I'd rather give someone a book for free and have them love it, than put a price on the book that they might not go for, and have them miss out. I have no children of my own, so my stories will be my legacy. Long after I'm gone, those fans might be telling other readers about my stories, might be passing them down, or uploading them to, other people.

My fans/readers are the other half of the equation. Without them reading, my stories are just words on paper.
Who are your favorite authors?
Dan Brown, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Robert J. Sawyer, Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell, John leCarre... to name a few.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Two barking dogs and two cage-rattling cats. Plus the day job and, if I'm a good boy, a chance to sit down and work on creating a wonderful world where my readers can be transported for fun and excitement.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a photographer, though for the past decade it's mostly for my own enjoyment than for the money I used to make selling for postcards and calendars. I'm also a birder (bird watcher), so I take the camera to wetlands and fields and mountainsides in search of species I've haven't captured on film yet. We live within a short walk of a provincial park, so it's easy to get out.
What are you working on next?
Three novels and a short-story collection.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No, I don't. But I still have most of the stories I wrote in high school for our creative writing class.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
"7 Habits of Highly Successful People", "Awaken the Giant Within", "The Book of Secrets", and "One" because they all helped me to better understand myself and two of them literally saved my life by giving me hope when I thought hope had run dry.
Published 2014-10-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Waking Anastasia
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 91,220. Language: English. Published: August 9, 2016 by Tyche Books Ltd.. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Why should being murdered keep a girl from living it up a little?
The Broken Shield
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 103,200. Language: English. Published: October 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
In the ongoing battle between Light & Dark, Liam is a Shield of Light, a protector of the Balance, & has been running & hiding from Dark Hunters for over 2000 years. He’s not immortal, but he’s been reincarnated so many times that his body & mind are slowly breaking down, which is the perfect time for his widow, the Dark forces, & an elven bounty hunter to arrive in town.
No Escaping the Blood
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,150. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Historical » Paranormal
A novelette about what happens when Houdini becomes a vampire, and what the Greatest Showman Alive does when he's no longer 'alive', but knows that 'The Show Must Go On'.
Stand Up & Succeed
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 8,800. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Entertainment industry
Find Success in everyday life by applying the cardinal rules of stand-up comedy. Wit, wisdom & insights from working comics.