I love writing and reading stories. I have an entrepreneur side to me that likes owning my own business. Indie publishing today allows one to wear both hats within a reasonable budget.
What do you like about your authors?
I like an author who has an edge and who breaks with convention. I have a quirky side to me and I look for that in authors. I look for authors who say the things I can't say.
What's the story behind Wes Writers & Publishers?
It's simple. I want to bring great stories to as many readers as possible. I can't write all of the stories myself. I look for authors who have a similar mindset as I do. I began as a single author who decided to branch out into other genres. Being a publisher allows this to happen.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I like Smashwords because it seems very democratic with what it allows to be published. It also pushes out to a large distribution channel. The style guide that Mark Coker published has been very helpful to me to keep my books looking decent on many eReaders. Now here's what I wish for: 1. Faster Reporting 2. A more robust storefront. I think people should be coming here to buy books. I feel it would be a huge benefit and help more indie authors get discovered across a variety of genres.
Becoming an indie author/publisher was supposed to level the playing field. It might have for a moment. However the large retailers have changed things and it seems to me for some odd reason, they are doing everything to drive indie authors under a rock. I know there have been many abuses of review buying and swapping. But I think the medicine they have applied to remedy this has been too harsh.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I like to tell my stories the way I want to tell them. Writing is kind of cathartic. Many times a piece of writing starts with a voice in my head or an image. I like to write what I'd like to read. I like a book with great sentences. I like symbolism and metaphor. I do like some genres, but I'm not interested in a formula. I think life is full of irony. I don't believe in happy endings for the sake of happy endings. Good fiction should mirror life. Sometimes the good guy loses. Although his good deed may live on long afterward. To me that's the truth of life. I may not win over many readers with all of my stories and books. I know fiction is about "lying." But I don't care for the kind of lies in many fantasy stories that seem to be popular on the market right now. Magic spells and chanting seem odd in adult books. My authors share my belief. However we will add a fantasy author if he/she brings something different to the table.
What do your fans mean to you?
Our fans mean a lot to us. We enjoy hearing about what we're doing right as well as what we're not delivering. It's all about making sure each reader has a positive experience with our books.
What's coming up?
All of our authors are hard at work on so many projects. It makes me dizzy to think about how the upcoming year will be a ball of excitement.
Who are your favorite authors?
Of course the ones who are part of WWP (Wes Writers and Publishers) I started out reading anything I could when I was a kid. There were few books in our house. I liked Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes when I could get them. I think my favorite authors today are E Annie Proulx and Toni Morrison. I love their descriptions. I love how they pull one into the world of their characters. I guess characters a lot more than plot shape my writing. My all time favorite book has been Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. It's one of the few books I can pick up and just read passages any time. Ignatius and the whole cast are just nuts. The story of the book getting published after the writer's suicide is an interesting one.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing and publishing. Although I do a lot in bed via skype and texting.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Thinking about writing and publishing.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I like Bookbub. I get their emails. They have the kinds of books I'd like to read. Sometimes I ran across something on twitter. I still love physical books. I love going to used bookstores and "discovering" something I missed.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was something I wrote in my creative writing class about a king and his knights or something. I will have to look for it.
What is your writing process?
It used to be everything had to be written in longhand in a notebook then typed into the computer. That process worked until the digital age demanded faster. NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writers Month) held in November got me out of that habit. I still like to print something out and read it away from the computer. At some point I like to do a read through without a pen in my hand. Just read and make mental notes on what to fix later or make a quick jot in the margin. But to get a book done quicker, you have to do more on screen stuff. That's also the beauty of NANOWRIMO. It's a great way to blow a novel out of your system. One is forced to write X number off words a day to make it to that magical 50,000 words at then end of November. Are you producing a novel ready to be published? Probably not. I view it as a long outline ready to be fleshed out and shaped. Unless you're a genius, it'd be crazy to try and self publish anything right out of NANO.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first thing I ever read that had an impact I can remember is Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin. I loved that book. How do I know a book has made and impact on me? I want to write the screenplay for the movie. That's really what a novel is--a screenplay with a lot more words. Although please don't use stage directions in your novels. If you say, Sue turned to the right and walked out the door, I'll probably not want to read much more.
How do you approach cover design?
We are starting to hire it out. No more in-house cover creation. We can do a lot, but we're not artists.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I'll just list them. One I've talked about.
Confederacy of Dunces by Toole Postcards by E. Annie Proulx The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Hogg by Samuel Delaney
Hogg is a peculiar book and awful book in a lot of ways. I don't recommend it to the Church Mothers crowd. It's the kind of book I would publish.
What do you read for pleasure?
All of my reading is pleasure.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
iPad Mini. I can have all of my book apps in one place.
Describe your desk
Messy. That's why I write in bed or out on the patio. To get away from the clutter.
Why is this Interview so Long?
Just kidding. It has been fun.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.