What are three unique web sites or blogs that you follow on a regular basis?
I appreciate the informal advice to independent publishers on this site: http://write2publish.blogspot.com
Excellent articles here: http://www.thepassivevoice.com
Much valuable information here: http://www.digitalbookworld.com
Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.
This time, I used beta readers. In the past, I’ve tried to get feedback from forums that critique writers’ work, but ended up confused as various people bickered over my content. I’m not willing to put up with THAT again! My beta readers have done a wonderful job for me.
How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish on average?
About a month. Once I start to write, it comes out in a flood! But I arrange the book in my head for months or even years before that – if the book is fiction, I like to live with the characters awhile, and get accustomed to each of their particular voices. (Wow, I think I just confessed to hearing voices!)
If it is non-fiction, I want to think about and discuss my theories over a fairly long period of time, to make sure they are as sound as they first appear. Many times, I have a great idea only to discover that it won’t hold up when I discuss it with my teenagers. They are brilliant and very critical. Sometimes that criticism is a drag, but I trained them to be that way myself, so I can’t complain!
How many hours a day do you spend writing? Editing? Procrastinating?
When I start the actual writing, I spend as many as twelve hours a day at it. While I am getting ready in my head, I often try to start writing, spending an hour or two putting ideas down, but I can’t keep it up. I prefer not to think of that as procrastinating, but as “preparing.” Once I feel mentally prepared, I am unstoppable.
How are your book covers designed?
I am a freelance photographer and graphic designer, so I design my covers myself. I have a certain amount of angst about it, especially when I see covers that have special effects which I can’t achieve, but the price is right! Also, taking photos is therapeutic for me, so I really enjoy setting up a photo shoot for a cover.
What do you do when you get writers block?
Something Else. I rarely get writer’s block, because I wait to start writing until everything is lined politely up inside my head! But occasionally I find it hard to get from Point A to Point B, and then I make myself go do something else. Sometimes, re-reading one of my favorite books (Jane Eyre, A Busman’s Honeymoon, Invisible Boy, and many more!) helps, because it inspires me and jump-starts my flow of words.
Another thing that helps is going over what I’ve already written. When I start writing in the morning, I always read over the last chapter first, and I usually find I need to make some changes to it as I read. Once I do that, I can usually plunge right into the next chapter.
How many hours a week do you spend writing?
Wow, I’m not sure! At least thirty, on average. Again, it depends on what stage I am in – when I am in full-on writing flood, closer to sixty. After I finish a book, go through the harrowing editing process, and get it released, then I usually don’t write much for a couple weeks, just to give my brain a break, but I am still blogging, writing poetry, etc.
Which narrative form and tense do you use and why?
I like to use first person narrative, because it is so direct and personal. My first book (which is unpublished) was actually two people’s personal journals, which eventually intersected. THAT was a challenge!
Where do you get your ebooks formatted?
I use the lovely and speedy Nick Ambrose, at Everything-Indie.com. He does a wonderful job, and since he’s in the UK, he works while I am sleeping, like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy! I really enjoy waking up to his emails, and his prices are very reasonable, too.
Which is the most important social media platform and why? Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, LinkedIn, or any other one you use.
For me, Facebook has been the most important. I use all the others mentioned, too, and I feel sure that Google+ will be huge in the near future, it just hasn’t quite got there yet. For ease of use and quick visibility to a vast number of viewers, Facebook can’t be beat. I think it depends a lot on your style – I tend to have a personal and conversational style of writing and interacting, and Facebook lends itself well to a style like that, whereas Twitter is perhaps better for a more concise approach. (That is a polite way of saying that I talk a lot and Twitter doesn’t give me enough space!)
I love Goodreads, and am learning more about their groups and the various ways to be involved there as an author.
Also, I use blogspot.com and have had several blogs there over the years. It is also pretty user-friendly, and works for longer posts, book excerpts, etc. My current blog is at roserobbins.blogspot.com
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I’d love to briefly talk about my book, Deep Blue Ocean. It is sort of a spiritual memoir, a collection of thoughts on God that are outside of any religious box. I think that, very often, people join religions because they believe it will help them to be happy, and then they are surprised and disillusioned when they discover they’ve only added a bunch more rules to their lives.
Religion is so often used as a method of control, or even as a weapon with which to beat others into submission! That’s a terrible thing, since I believe that’s the opposite of what a friendship with God should be. My spiritual journey has led me through some pretty catastrophic life events, but has brought me to a place of happiness and love toward other people, and my goal is to spread that around.
Thanks so much, Patricia, for this conversation!
Here’s the link to my book’s Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Blue-Ocean-ebook/dp/B005TJM98S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318433299&sr=8-1