When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
That is such a great question. When I'm not writing I am working on my podcast show and my success coaching business. During my work days I do work in time blocks. I find that this helps me not only to get work done but to also stay organized with the house. We also homeschool our three kids so all that works into my day also. It may sound busy, but it honestly isn't I have learn to just be a master of my time instead of my time being a master of me.
What is your writing process?
It really depends. If I am writing non fiction and that non fiction is usually based on my experience in some way with working from home and or online, then I usually start out with the outline (table of contents) to my book. Now this won't be set in stone, because I always then do some research even though I have knowledge on the topic. After research if there is no need to rework the outline, then I start writing. If after the research the outline needs worked on, I do that and then start writing.
Now fiction is a little bit of a different process for me. With fiction usually the subject or spark of idea bounces around in my head. So instead of losing the main concept, like I use to in the past, I do a quick mind-map. I then do my outline, but my outlines for my fictions are always changing as I am writing. I believe a good fiction has to do this so that you don't block yourself into a one mode creativity bubble. When I'm not working on writing it I always make sure to carry a mini notebook with me so that if a line or concept comes to me I can brain dump into that notebook so that I do not forget those things.
That is pretty much my writing process for both genres.
How do you approach cover design?
I actually never approach cover design until I have the concept of the book lined out. The concept of the book for me consists of; the outline, the title that I am happy with, and the early bird marketing page done for it. Once those things are done then I work on the cover, because at that point I feel that I have sparked the creative mood and emotion that I want to trigger with the book design.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I don't know if I can say I have favorite books so say as much as I can say I have favorite styles. I think the reason for this is because of being an artist I don't have a favor color because I do not want to play favorites when doing an art piece due to that and limit my eye to catching things around me that inspire me. I think as a writer the same thing comes into play and also as a reader. I am more into story by Steven King, fantasy stories, supernatural stories, stories that are scyfy and fantasy crosses, post apocalyptic stories, and dystopian style fiction. For me when I write fiction I like to go against the grain of what is said to be how a sub genre of fiction is suppose to be, I like to sometimes mix those sub genres together.
Now for non fiction I do have 5 favor books and they are:
The 5am miracle - The reason is because it has helped me to become more structured in a flexible way with myself and help to teach my kids how to produce their own routine.
The 10x Rule - Awesome book, you really learn how to take any aspect in life that is a goal that you want to reach or anything like that and 10x it. There is no reason to settle for the basic results, we all deserve to have more.
The One Thing - To me this book was a little fluffy in content. Meaning I felt you had to walk through a bunch of really non needed information to get to the one thing concept. I will say though the most important thing you can learn from this book is that it isn't about how much you can get done in the day but the one thing you time block into your day that is part of your focus is what makes you productive. This concept is what helped spark my idea on the daily routine.
I know I said five non fiction, but honestly those are the 3 books that have had the biggest impact on me since I started working on a better mindset and better approach to this whole online world.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read non fiction during the days that I work in the morning. I am picky with non fiction as it has to be something that will help me to improve and better myself.
Now for my off days this is when I get to read for true pleasure and I read fiction. I enjoy fiction books that are more fantasy based. Sure I enjoy a good scyfy, but I am picky with this genre because I have found that sometimes what someone else says is a good one I get board with. I also enjoy a good survival or post apocalyptic story line, one book I recently read was Collision Course.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
If I had to pick e-reader it would be iBooks, Kindle reader, or pdf. If I was being honest though I would tell you that while I do read ebooks, I prefer the physical style books. I just feel you pull more from a book when you are physically holding it. Plus too I am into survival concepts and stuff like that and feel technology is great and all, but we depend on it way too much and we need to think about if it decided to crash we needs to have a means of having books still. A book during hard times makes a difference in ones moral, if technology kills over or an EMP happens how are all those ebooks going to do that for you?
There is nothing wrong with being old school in some aspects of your life. For instance like reading, writing, and some day to day activities you bet your butt we are old school in this house. Why? it's a different learning experience and skill set that you pick up. Plus old school techniques are usually better for you, especially for your mind and brain muscle.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
For me it is a few things.
1. early bird promotion of it 2. setting it up as a presale 3. sending out emails to my VIP people and coaching clients giving them special access to it (usually a free for a week when it is out or a discount) 4. social media marketing 5. talking about it on my podcast 6. putting it on not just Kindle but also Smashwords 7. I only do one type of paid marketing and that is Facebook Ads
That is my whole marketing process in a short and sweet version. It works for me, others may feel to get sales and that type of thing they must do a lot of marketing outside of social media and a lot of paid advertising. To me I don't see that and I also don't see the value in going to Fiverr and paying for book reviews. There are other tactics to get book reviews that are honest reviews and not because you paid someone just to do that review. Again that is just me.
Describe your desk
My desk, that is a funny question that I don't usually get asked.
My desk is your normal size computer desk on wheels, it is really meant for a desktop computer. The only thing that hits the top of the desk is what is important to my main focus (my main success journey). On a typical day this usually consists of; my laptop (usually the chromebook), podcast setup, sticky notepad, my notebook for any notes, and my planner. Like I said I'm big into old school, for productivity I believe old school paper and pen is key and key for building that brain muscle for memory.
Now I do something special. I don't do a sit down work day for more then 45 minutes a day. I do a stand up work day and since I don't have an actual stand up desk I came up with my own style. My grandma gave me her little desk like thing that you use if you are sitting on the couch and it goes over your lap, it also has adjustable legs. So I use that and put it on top of my regular desk to make up my stand up desk. Since bringing in the stand up desk concept, it has honestly help physically especially with the legs. Trust me at first it isn't a cup of tea, you have to take little breaks. I still have my stool that I sometimes lean against if my legs just aren't feeling it during that work time block.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I don't think it is so much where I grew up that influenced my writing but the person that was in my life that influenced it. My great great aunt who was my twin soul made me the person I am today and the creative artist/writer you see now. It was those experiences, love, emotional connection, and so much more I had with her that sparks me to write even the non fiction stuff.
Sure our environment influences us. Most of the time those influences aren't always the greatest and sometimes if we don't take the time to recognize it our environment also is what is in control of us not us being in control of ourselves. I think if we all were honest with ourselves we would realize our inspiration and influences isn't coming from where we grew up, how we grew up, or the environment but comes from a person or people during those things that made an impact on us.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing as soon as I could pick up a pencil and put it to paper. You see I don't believe writing is just with words. I started writing when I was about four with art. I continued that way, and still do, it wasn't until around third or fourth grade that I expanded into writing stories with words. From there I honestly haven't looked back, I still at times favor the art aspect of writing but I don't limit myself to just that thus the books you read that I have written.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The fact that trying to be a published writer is more work then it is worth and sometimes the publishing company has the means to influence or change the book you wrote that they will be publishing. To me just like you should never paint over another artist's work just to paint your own, you should never ask a writer to rewrite their creative words just to meet your standards or concept you have for their book.
That is why I saw self publishing being the only option, or what some may call indie author, to have free creative concepts to any books that I write. Sure I have an editor, something that I feel is important to catch any writer errors. What I don't feel is important is having the potential of a team to tell you what to change in your book and how leaving you with no option to always say nope.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has given me that extra platform outside of Amazon to reach other readers. The worst thing an author can do is think that Amazon is the only place to gain a massive readership. When doing that all you are doing is limiting yourself.
For me there was no second thinking of where I would be publishing. Amazon gets me to their reader traffic and Smashwords gets me to all the others, because of this my potential readership is unlimited.
If it wasn't for Smashwords I think a lot of authors that self publish would have the options that we do and wouldn't have the success that we do.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.