by Ron Vitale
I have a special treat for readers. S. M. Reine was kind enough to take time out of her busy writing schedule to do an interview with me. Sara writes urban fantasy and paranormal novels and has a series of fantastic books out (be sure to check out her Descent and Ascension series). She's a great example of living the indie writer dream and gives some great insight into all the hard work it takes to make it as a fiction writer. For more information about Sara and her books, visit authorsmreine.com.
How have you been able to produce so many books so quickly (do you write full-time, part-time)?
I'm a full-time writer these days. My husband stays at home to take care of cooking, cleaning, and our son, so really all I have to worry about is writing. If I couldn't write a lot of books under those circumstances, it would be very embarrassing!
What's a typical day for you and do you write every day (or night)?
I write almost every day that I'm not editing. I like to focus on one or the other - new material or editing old material. They're different parts of the brain, and I don't switch back and forth too easily.
In general, I write a few hours in the afternoon or evening. However long it takes to meet my daily quota, which generally ranges from two to five thousand words per day. I don't have a schedule because my son is a tiny demon/terrorist that rules our lives, and spending time with him is a priority.
There's been a lot of discussion about fiction writing with many wondering if it provides writers with a living wage. Does your writing provide you enough income to live off of or is it supplemental?
Yes, I make a living off of writing. It's my family's only source of income since October 2012, and I've personally been writing full-time since April 2012. We're very blessed.
Indie publishing has created a whole new class of authors that can make a viable career out of our passion for writing. Ten years ago, I would have probably been considered a midlist author (assuming I was able to have gotten published), with all the pitfalls that entails - and certainly not capable of supporting my family. But this is a new era of publishing, and it's very favorable for the authors!
I've noticed that you always have a book free on Amazon. How do you do that if KDP offers writers 5 free days per enrollment period?
Kobo and Apple's iBookstore allow you to set the price of your books to "free" on their stores. If you make a book free on another website, Amazon's bots will discover those lower prices and price-match. I have many books that are "permafree" by this price-matching technique.
Do you still create your own covers and do you do your own conversions for your books? (Nook, Kindle, Kobo, iBook, etc.)
Yes, I design all of my own covers and also do all the formatting. I know what I want my product to look like, and I also know what will appeal strongest to the readers I hope to reach. It's most effective to handle the entire product on my own.
It's also easier to have total control. Dealing with contractors adds a lot of pieces to the machine that can fail. I don't like being dependent on the health and free time of others.
What has been the most challenging part of being a writer?
It's emotionally exhausting to write constantly. I have to get up every day and write something new, even when I'm not particularly jazzed about the book. By treating writing as a job, it has become a job - and my boss is a merciless mistress that expects me to put out a lot of novels. ;)
What has been the most fulfilling part?
Connecting with readers has been amazing. I get emails from them telling me how my books have helped them escape during difficult times in their lives, such as when they're sick or grieving, and it's incredible to have the opportunity to make that connection with people. Plus, readers are just the coolest people in the world.
Do you work with a publisher or do you do this work all on your own?
I do everything on my own aside from editing. I hire contractors to edit - a copy editor and several proofreaders. They're a heck of a dream team to work with and their support is priceless to me!
What has been the biggest tactic to help you with being discovered by new readers? (Social media, writing new books, marketing, blog tours?)
As mentioned earlier, permafree. I write a lot of books and several of them cost nothing to download. It lets readers try out my books without ever having to drop a penny. By the time someone actually buys one of my books, they can feel confident that they'll enjoy all of my writing!
What advice would you give to new writers starting out in the field?
Know your corner of the market and know your audience. That means reading a lot! Read everything you can get your hands on. Read in the genre you want to write. Read in genres you hate. Read what's popular. Read the stuff that gets terrible reviews. Read, read, read! You'll get a great sense of what readers love and hate, and (more importantly) what you love and hate. A good writer is a well-rounded reader.