Monday, October 17, 2011

Indie Insider - Steve Norris


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

If you totalled the amount of time spent writing end to end then I reckon I would be shifting a good few books in a year. As it is, paid employment is a major inconvenience to both writing opportunity and resultant brainspace left to get virtual pen to paper. With everything going on I think a year is about the time taken from beginning to end although my 2nd novel is in danger of drifting into a second year due to a difficult working year. Now if someone would pay me to write…


How many hours a day do you spend writing? Editing? Procrastinating?

If I’m lucky I get an hour in normal day. However sleeping and travelling time do provide a lot of thinking time so usually when I do sit down there’s no messing about.


How are your book covers designed?

My publisher came up with a design. I disagreed.
To be fair, I didn’t know what my book cover should like until I saw what I didn’t want it to look like.
This was where it ended it up and liked how many aspects of the story found their way to the cover. I also like the colours. I made it stand out and fitted with the theme of the book.


What do you do when you get writers block?

Have a drink, go to sleep. Tomorrow is another day.



Which narrative form and tense do you use and why?

My books are written in the past tense, it didn’t seem a conscious decision and I think on my first go, a few other tenses creeped in as well. I have dallied with the present tense in short stories. With thriller writing it creates a real intensity to the scene.

As for narrative, I love to get into the head of my characters. I use a lot of characters in my books and tell the story from each viewpoint. The super confident marketer in me would say that I skillfully interplay the storylines from each viewpoint providing a richness and balance to the story. A more feeble view might suggest it can get confusing at times with so many names and personalities.
In the end, it’s my writing and love it. I believe, if you are going to write, challenge yourself to be someone you’re not. By occupying another’s head for a while you really open yourself out to other people. Especially when dealing with the controversial and opposite viewpoints of my stories.

Did I say I love it?


Where do you get your ebooks formatted?


My Indie publisher, Mirador Publishing http://www.miradorpublishing.com does that, not really sure how. That’s what I pay them for.


Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

My first process involved parting with a lot of money and making a right old mess of it. I sent first draft to an editor, loved the story but told me to write it again to sort out writing issues. Fair enough, did all that, but didn’t feel the urge to re-spend the editing money. On recommendation from some beta readers I went ahead to publish. Immediately regretted it with some criticism from readers, so with a bit of help with some great friends, I have a clean second edition out there.

Moral of the story, don’t scrimp on the editing. Get it done otherwise your reputation will suffer.


Which is the most important social media platform and why? Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, LinkedIn, or any other one you use.

I have used them all but probably facebook has produced the most sales from marketing. But my view is that the cost of marketing against returns on sales is a harsh ratio for a new author with no background. Use the social media to get your name out there, but think laterally and be choosy where you spend money. I’ve tried charity promotions, author groups but few have created enough of a response to say that I know the final answer. I’ve started using twitter more recently and that has been very responsive in terms of contacts if not sales as yet.

The most effective cost per sale activities I have done is book signings in store. The risk is all on the storeowner and gets your books on a shelf where people can see it. Can’t beat that for creating a name for yourself. Talking to people in stores about your book also is great for sales, once they’ve engaged you in chat, a sale is not far away.


What are three unique web sites or blogs that you follow on a regular basis? (related to writing etc.)

I use a website WritersCave http://www.writerscave.co.uk which is a fabulous writing critique and challenge site. The writers on this site have changed me from someone who aspired to write into someone who can. It’s totally free and utterly priceless

I follow a friend’s travel blog on http://www.farawayhammerwriting.com. As a previous expat, I love this.

The other site I use regularly is www.authors.com, found some great ideas and advice on there for promotion.


Is there anything else you would like to share?

Indie Authors is the future. The established published market is constrained by the view of the salability of a book. Indie Authors is where people write because they love to write. Overlooking a writer because you never heard of them before might mean you’re denying yourself a great story and a great writer an opportunity. Sadly great books don’t sell themselves, they need people to buy them and read them and tell someone else to read them.

Buy an indie book today, you never know, you might find something unique and brilliant.


Check out Steve's blog: http://sgnorristheauthor.blogspot.com
His Amazon page is here.


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