Monday, October 17, 2011

Indie Insider - G S Johnston

How many words do you do write a day? Where do you do it?

When I'm in what I call a writing phase, that is that first slog/plod/exhilaration towards a first draft, I try for 2000 a day. I need something to start kneading and proving. When it comes to massaging and editing, cuts and addition, the word total might only increase as little as a few hundred words. At the moment I have a room above the garage with a lovely view of trees and sunshine. My dog and cat spend the day with me there - they shoulder one another for the patches of sunlight as they move about the room during the day.

Do you think that people judge a book by it’s cover? Who makes yours?

The Cover is the door to the book. It's the first thing that attracts a reader. I guess the problem now is that they generally aren't on a book or bookshelf but just a postage stamp on the web. So I'd say they have to be a lot more simple and direct, in the same way that CD covers changed in the shift from LP records to CD. I worked on mine with a designer from Germany, He read the novel and had the original concept. We bounced some ideas around, showed them to a few people, and settled on the cover. It's had great reviews and it does combine well the major themes of the novel, that a Sara is overwhelmed by her friend, Martin.

What do you do when you get writers block?

Take the dog for a walk and keep my ears and eyes open. People on the street do and say the wildest things. I read something different, outside my normal circle of things. And watch old movies. Or move on to something else to work on.

How much time do you spend on social media per day? What do you concentrate on?

At the moment, I spend at least 2-3 hours a day. I mainly try to use twitter to drive people to something new on my website, the amazon book link, or an interview/review. On the website I try to have new and pithy little pieces which demonstrate my writing and humour. I've also tried to look at and become involved in how other people use these media. I just found a group, Read A BOOK AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE, who will promote my novel if I donate some of the proceeds to a charity of my choice. What could be better?

Which narrative form and tense do you think is the most difficult and why?

Omnipotent is impossible unless you're George Eliot and the present tense generally ends up awkward unless you're Michael Cunningham. I avoid both.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? What is your process?

I first show a manuscript to some close friends but the problem is they are friends and they really would have to be pushed a long way to say something is crap. But they do point out many, many helpful things. But also they have heard the project grow up - I talk a lot - so when they do get to read something there is no great surprise as they've heard what it's about. So I use Renni Browne at The Editorial Department (www.editorialdepartment.con). Whilst this costs, I've never met her, she knows nothing of the project except the manuscript, and she really doesn't hold back. Whilst this can be like a sock on the jaw, it ultimately is a fresh, direct opinion. And I trust her and don't take it personally. Not anymore, anyway.

How important is it for an indie author to use a professional editor?

I'd say it's vital. We have to compete with professionally prepared manuscripts. And these have errors and problems, but that's not an excuse for us to be sloppy.

How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish?

About 5 years, from first idea to finish. But I'm normally working on a few things and put things out to pasture for a while so I can come back to them fresh.

Please list three unique blogs or web sites for writers that you read on a regular basis.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Just that it would be fabbo if people read my novel and told me what they think. It's target audience is women from 18-80, who have fallen in love and felt a negative reaction from a friend. It's also for people who want to live more simply, reject mass consumerism and seek a quieter more simple life. Whilst it is serious, it is funny as well. And I need to hear what people think - for a long while I felt I was writing into a vacuum so it's great to have people I don't know reading things and giving me feedback. And thanks for this interview!

1 comment:

  1. A very good interview. I like the part about taking the dog for a walk. Mindless work is excellent for writer's block. And yes, it's absolutely essential to get your indie book professionally edited. I was surprised to read that it took you that long to write a book. Wow!
    Georgina Lee
    The Twin Planet Series