(Photo courtesy of J. A. Myers)
To give my readers and fellow writers an insight into the processes and successes of other like-minded creatives, I'll be featuring some hardworking authors in my journal each week.
Today's author is J. A. Myers, and she's independently published.
I'll keep this brief; there is one thing in this world I dislike and it's talking about myself. But in me there are different parts, the writer, the reader, the editor, then there is a photographer (not a particularly good one) and a speed freak.
What made you want to become a writer, JA?
I enjoyed getting lost in a book, but when looking for the next book to read, I couldn’t find the right one. So someone told me, 'if you can’t find the book you want to read, write it'.
What are your thoughts on the indie vs traditional publishing argument?
It depends what you want from the book. I am just happy to say my book is out there. I did want to be traditionally published, but abandoned the idea; when self-publishing on Amazon you can do everything and monitor it all yourself.
Tell us a little about your latest novel.
Phaser came out on 02/08/2017, five years after it was written. It’s about a young girl who is struggling to find where she fits in, until a character called Jason introduces her to a whole new world and a gift she could only dream of.
Watch J. A. Myers in her first interview (Jan 2018) on The White Room!
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Can you share your top three marketing tips with us?
For me I don’t really count my sales. I don’t push it as much as I should. I was told in a networking session at university that if you only push your book and aren’t interested in anything else, the audience might not be as persuaded to buy your book because they don’t know you.
I have my website which covers a range of different things, from writing tips to reviews and it advertises my editing services. I have a gallery page because I enjoy photography. I want people to know who I am and what makes me tick before they are introduced to my book. I think it bridges the gap between reader and writer.
Do you have any productivity tips you can share with us?
I don’t write when I’m not inspired, I edit instead. This allows my brain to think in a different way, rather than trying to be creative when I don’t feel like it.
Don’t force yourself to stick to a plan. I find if I have a plan it gives me a reason not to stick to it. I like to be a bit spontaneous and creative with my time.
Tell us about your typical writing day.
It depends on what I am doing and who else is in the house. I am a little too sociable; I like to be around people, so if there is something going on I couldn't concentrate. I usually have my music on (loud). The music helps get my mind to flow and to relax. I do about 5-6 hours, flicking between writing and editing.
What is your definition of success? Would you say you're successful?
I am a successful author because I have a book that is published. I have succeeded my own goals. I think as long as the writer succeeds in their own goals they are successful, it can’t be determined by someone else. Don’t feel like you have to compare yourself to someone else who might have gone further. Everyone works and moves at their own pace.
Would you share some of your writing goals with us. Have you met any of them yet?
I have 7 more books I would like to publish over the course of the next few years. I would also like to become some sort of editor as well. If that’s just by running on my own, or getting a job in a company, I don’t mind either way. As long as I can edit other people’s work and help them achieve the goals they have set.
How do you deal with negative reviews and criticism?
I haven’t come across any yet. But I have been declined by publishers, which is hard, but then you think about all the times you apply for a job and don’t get it. To me it is the same thing; there is something they don’t like and most of the time it is based on personal preference. It doesn’t mean it will never happen, it just hasn’t happened yet. There is no point getting hung over it and winding yourself up about it. Book reviews are all based on personal preference, read the review and see if there is anything that you might be able to improve on. It’s a way of refining your skills and learning about your own writing.
Do you have a favourite author for fiction? Why are they your favourite and which of their books would you recommend?
I have many authors I love, I could be here all day to name them all. They change every time I find something else that’s fun and exciting to read. Jon Graham’s Reaper is one I recommend to a lot of people, because of the writing style. But if someone was struggling writing fantasy, Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series is great, it’s a vampire series written in the real world based in America. Lucy Blue inspired me to write 2 of my books, so they are very special to me. I love Robert J Crane's Sanctuary series because they are just incredible. I actually recommended them to family members and they have enjoyed reading the series immensely.
Where do you get your ideas/ how do you find inspiration?
Every writer hates this question because no one is satifised with ‘they just appear to me’. It’s not what they want to hear because it’s not exciting enough, but for most writers it is true. You could be looking at a cloud and it reminds you of a dragon. Or something someone says might link two ideas together. My dad has a thing about scary trees, we had a whole conversation about scary trees, by the end we came up with a whole new vampire concept. Honestly, ideas just happened, they can’t be stopped or forced.
Like this cover? I designed it! To check out my design services, please visit the 'Services' page. Quote 'PHASER' for 10% off.
Can you share any free resources or tools you have found helpful?
Grammarly is a brilliant tool that has helped me understand a lot. It’s free to download the basic version but you can pay for the whole lot. I used it a lot in my coursework and my novels.
Can you share your top world building tips with us?
Research. Understand how the world works before you start creating your own. I created a whole world for one of my novels and someone asked me which way my rivers flowed, and I had no idea.
Be creative. Once you understand how the world works you can bend the rules to what you want.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Please tell us why and what your pre-writing processes are.
I don’t plan unless it’s a world building situation. I don’t like planning, I feel like I’ve already written it and I lose interest. I get the idea down first.
Why do you write, JA?
I enjoy the chance to get away from normal life and explore in a different one. And now for the real reason - control! I love being able to make all the decisions, well most of the decisions.
In order of importance (most important first) when shopping online, what do you look at first? For example, cover design, formatting, reviews, description, price, publisher, author name, page count, preview, formats available.
1. cover design
5. page count
6. author name
7. formats available
In order of usefulness (most useful first) when marketing your book, which techniques do you recommend? For example, social media, media coverage (newspaper, TV, podcasts etc), blog tours, perma-free/ giveaways, writing more books.
1. social media
2. writing more books
4. media coverage
5. blog tours
I appreciate the support from readers and audience, and thank you to all those who have downloaded my book so far.
Thank you so much to author J. A. Myers for sharing her insights on writing and publishing books. If you would like to support JA and her work, please consider purchasing a copy of the book, Phaser, available on Amazon now. Check out the handy link below: