Monday, March 26, 2012

Indie Insider - A.C. Ellis

How many words do you do write a day? Where do you do it?
I try to write between 1,500 and 2,000 words per day, but quite often don't do that. Life quite often steps in and re-arranges my schedule. Get the car fixed, baby sit the grand-daughter, you know, that kind of thing. Oh well....
I write on my laptop at home, and also download whatever I'm working on to my Nook Color to write when I'm out. Coffee shops, book stores with coffee shops. That sort of thing.
Do you think that people judge a book by it’s cover? Who makes yours?
Yes, readers do judge a book by its cover. I have done some of my own covers, and I have had others done by professional artists. My favorite cover was produced for my mystery/suspense novel, In Pursuit of the Enemy, by an unknown artist at Infinity Publishing for release in May, 2007. I had described what I wanted to my contact at Infinity, and when I opened the envelope containing the first copy, I literally gasped. They'd hit the nail on the head. I love that cover.
I also very much like the cover produced by iUniverse for the 2007 edition of my science fiction novel, Worldmaker, although it is just a bit less successful in execution than the Infinity published book. I'd told them I wanted the disembodied hands coming out of deep space and grasping planet Earth, but told them I wanted the planet divided up like a Rubik's Cube (that's a major element in the plot.) They didn't do that last part. But it is still an extremely good cover. Much more so than the one I did for the eBook version of the novel. But even that one isn't bad.
The covers for my two Booklocker produced books, Soldier of 'Tween and Shadow Run, were done by me. They're not bad at all, and I don't think they have hurt sales.
I did the cover for my short story collection, Spaceships & Brass Knuckles, as well. It was recently released as an eBook only. It's very tongue-in-cheek, and I think just right for the collection.
In short, I like the covers for all my books, and I think they have helped sales.

What do you do when you get writers block?
I don't believe in writer's block. We all make a conscious decision to either write, or not to write. Sometimes I don't write, but that is a decision I make, either because something else has to be done, or I'm feeling lazy, or whatever. No matter what, I decided not to write. I'll own up to it.

How much time do you spend on social media per day? What do you concentrate on?
I probably spend more time than I should on social media. I do probably three or four hours a day. I know a writer in today's world must do some of that, especially if he concentrates on eBooks, as I do. But I have to be careful that it doesn't cut in to the time we should be dedicating to writing. Remember, the best promotion you can do is to produce more books.
I concentrate on Twitter. I have it set up so that everything I do there goes to Facebook. There are a few blogs I check in on, on a pretty much regular basis. And I do half an hour to an hour a day on the Kindle Boards. Let's face it, that's where most of the eBooks are being sold.
Of course, that's on top of keeping my own blogs current. I don't do as good a job at that as I should, but I try.
Which narrative form and tense do you think is the most difficult and why?
I don't think I've ever used a tense other than past. I don't think I ever will. As for the use of first or third person, the project dictates which I use. I'm just as comfortable using either.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? What is your process?
Again, it depends on the project. I have used all three. My work is usually pretty clean; For many years I was the editor for a large technical writing group. I do pretty well in that area. It's simply a matter of separating myself from my work.

How important is it for an indie author to use a professional editor?
See above. Errors slip through. Errors slip through in the best traditional publishing houses, and they definitely have professional editors. Our job is to make sure it doesn't happen more often that at the traditional houses. Nothing's perfect, but we want to make it as close to perfect as we possibly can.
How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish?
Again, this depends on the project. I've written a novel in less than a month. I've also taken a couple years to finish a novel. It all depends on what else is going on in my life. During the break-up of my marriage and through the divorce, I got very little done. Let's face it, life happens. 
Please list three unique blogs or web sites for writers that you read on a regular basis. 
Lawrence Block's blog (LB's BLOG - Telling Lies for Fun and Profit)
Lawrence Block is my all-time favorite mystery/suspense writer. His novels rock! In particular, his Matthew Scudder books.
John Locke's blog (JOHN LOCKE BLOG)
John Locke sold more than 1,720,000 eBooks for the Kindle in 2011. Definitely doing something right. Probably more than one something.
Dean Wesley Smith's blog (The writings and opinions of Dean Wesley Smith)
Dean Wesley Smith has written more than ninety popular novels and well over 100 published short stories. He has become one of the leading gurus on the world of indie publishing.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
Indie publishing is much more fun than the traditional publishing I did for many years. There are better opportunity for the writer to get closer to readers. There is more interaction between reader and writer. That's healthy.
Link to my Books on

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