Chat with Jody Reynolds

Time for another chat with a budding author. This time he’s from the opposite end of the world to me. J.B. Reynolds lives in rural Northland, in the very north of North Island, New Zealand.

He is currently working on his Crossing The Divide series of short stories, which feature different characters and switch between locations in New Zealand and Australia. They are all, in a way, coming-of-age stories and are linked through the theme of relationships.

Let me ask you a few questions, Jody.

Fire away!

When you’re working on a book, do you let it stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

I do let it stew. The unconscious mind is a wonderful thing. Giving it that time to work means you can come back to it with a fresh perspective, and there always seems to be something new and exciting you can add to the mix.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Will you just ask that girl on a date already! You only live once!

Ha, ha! I see your younger self had higher priorities than book-writing. I just wonder: Did she… Would she have said ‘Yes!’?

(smiles) I think so.

Back to publishing. What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors?

I think email lists are the thing to focus on. I’ve forked out for Nick Stephenson’s First 10,000 Readers marketing course. It’s not cheap, and it’s early days, but I was persuaded to sign-up because all the free stuff I’ve seen from him has just been so useful. I’m very slowly implementing 

the strategies he suggests, as time allows, and I think the investment will be worth it in the long run. The other awesome resource I’ve found is The Creative Penn podcast by Joanna Penn. She does some really interesting and inspiring interviews with authors, editors and marketers—I highly recommend it.

I had the privilege of listening to her teaching at a Writers’ Workshop in Zürich a couple of years back. Most inspiring! Anyone else?

Another person I’ve discovered recently is Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur. He’s got some great advice, and the Amazon Book Description tool at Kindlepreneur is really useful for formatting the html code in your book descriptions. Jane Friedman’s site also has lots of great resources.

Great tips. We can learn so much from the experts. How did you decide to become an indie author?

It was in March of last year. Since the start of the year, I had been getting up early every morning to work on my novel idea. I was at a barbeque, talking to my cousin, and I was telling him about this and he suggested I self-publish some short stories on Amazon. He’d been looking into doing some self-publishing for his business – he’s an IT wiz – and said there were people making good money from it. I was intrigued, and the very next day I started looking into it. I did some research online, and discovered a couple of the big names in indie-publishing: Joanna Penn and Nick Stephenson. I watched a webinar the two of them did, then dug out a couple of short stories I had lying around and tweaked them a bit. And I just realised: I can do this! So I did. I was struck by the fact that I had a particular set of skills that made it doable, and what was really appealing was the control I wou

ld have over the whole process. I’ve just been chipping away at it since then.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

I was at my mother’s house a couple of years ago and was going through an old box of stuff she’d got out of the attic. I found a story I’d written in primary school, in an old exercise book. I was probably eight or nine when I wrote it. It was about this kid that has a terrible nightmare about getting eaten by an orca, only I called it a killer whale, and there was a giant squid in there too, and the next morning his parents find him in his bed and he’s stone cold dead. The newspapers report it as a cot death, even though he’s not an infant. It was pretty morbid.

Amazing! From what I’ve read of your short stories, they’re not quite so pessimistic. Anyway, thanks very much for the chat.

J.B. Reynolds raises children and chickens and writes humorous short fiction, where tragedy meets comedy and character reigns supreme.

His first short story was published while he was a university student, and in between that and a return to serious writing in 2016, he has worked as a graphic designer, landscaper, ski and snowboard technician, librarian, apple picker, and baker of muffins and teacakes.

He’s very excited to announce that his new short story “What Friends Are For”, No. 4 in the Crossing The Divide series , is now live and available to purchase for 99c on Amazon and other major ebook stores. Here’s the link.
It’s already got some good reviews!

Nowadays, when not writing, Jody is a husband, father, and high school teacher (not necessarily in that order). He enjoys sailing, cycling, and playing music, really loud, when his wife and kids aren’t at home. He has a big garden, where he likes to get his fingernails dirty, and he loves to eat the things that grow in it.

You can find out more at his website About J.B. Reynolds and on Facebook.

A Chat with MDNeu

MD NeuIt’s time for another interview with a budding author. Today I’m having a chat with Marvin Neu, who writes under the pen name MDNeu.

MDNeu describes himself as a passionate fiction writer with a love for travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically, he’s drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels.  His inspiration has come, among others, from Continue reading “A Chat with MDNeu”

Choose from (almost) 400 Agents!

I’ve just signed up to Agent Hunter and am staggered at the number of UK agents listed, each with a more or less detailed description of their interests and the genres they are keen to represent.

The FAQ answers many questions I had and points to Writers’ Workshop tips on writing a covering letter, which were very helpful.

Taking their advice, I’ve submitted my query to a couple of selected agents and am now eagerly awaiting their – positive, I hope – responses.

Interview with Writer Amir Lane

I’m trying something new. I’d like to introduce you to some up-and-coming authors.

Today it’s Amir Lane (pronounced Ah-meer), who ventures into a very different genre from mine. Perhaps it’s to your taste.

Amir is a supernatural and urban fantasy writer from Sudbury, Ontario and the author of Shadow Maker: Morrighan House Witches Book One, which follows physics major Dieter Lindemann as he’s dragged down against his will into Necromancy and blood magic.

Amir answered a few personal questions for me. Continue reading “Interview with Writer Amir Lane”

Make the Reader Work!

One of my grossest errors when I first started writing fiction was to tell the reader exactly what was going on, why, and what the characters thought about it.

How boring is this?

Another pastime of mine was to observe snakes. There was something mystical about snakes. Some people thought they represented an evil power, but there was also a long-standing tradition associating them with healing powers. At any rate, they fascinated me.

Show, don’t tell!show-dont-tell

I’d never even heard of that most elementary of all writers’ maxims. Continue reading “Make the Reader Work!”