Author Interview #13, with Ms. Shelagh Watkins!
I interviewed Ms. Watkins earlier this year. She has been running a series of author interviews on her Literature & Fiction blog, and has compiled the interviews into a promotional book.
Hi Shelagh! Please tell us about the latest L&F book.
Shelagh: I started interviewing fellow authors mid September 2009. I hadn’t considered putting together the interviews until one of the authors, Maryanne Raphael, made the suggestion on one of the comments:
“Thank you so much for allowing me to be interviewed. You ask wonderful questions and made me look inside myself and my writing. That is a beautiful thing. I would love to see a book of interviews by you. Ever think of that? Best wishes Maryanne”
I was too busy adding more interviews to give the thought any serious consideration. By the time I decided to get on and do it, I was running out of time! If the book was going to be out and available for Christmas, I would have to crack on. Somehow I managed it and the book was available in time for the holidays!
The book was an immediate success so I decided to compile Literature & Fiction Interviews Volume II. This book is even better than Volume I, and I was one of the interviewed authors in the first book!
Was it your idea to publish the interviews in electronic format (ebook) as well as print?
Shelagh: Yes. I have published my own books in ebook format on Smashwords.com and find it an excellent site for uploading Word documents for conversion into a number of different electronic formats: Kindle (.mobi), Epub (open industry format, good for Stanza reader, others), LRF (for Sony Reader), Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices).
Most of the authors in both volumes expressed an interest in having the book available as a download.
Do you have a preference, when it comes to physical books versus ebooks?
Shelagh: I haven’t progressed to a hand-held reading device yet so books are still my main source of information and entertainment. Although I do read a great deal on the web!
It must have taken quite some time to put together L&F books 1 and 2…
Shelagh: The first volume is a compilation of nineteen author interviews and the second has twenty-five interviews: forty-four authors interviewed between September 18th, 2009 and April 3rd, 2010 (twenty-four weeks, approximately two interviews/week). The publishing of the books themselves added to the number of hours spent on each individual author interview. It was hard work, as is anything worthwhile, and these books, and the authors in them, are certainly worthy!
Are there any interesting “patterns” or similarities you might have observed via the interviews, with regards to authors’ personalities?
Shelagh: All the authors in both volumes are anxious to please readers. They enjoy every aspect of the writing process: researching, planning and writing, but their greatest joy comes from the feedback they receive from the readers who enjoyed reading their books.
Writing versus marketing/promoting – how would you compare the two (should a writer spend exactly 50% on each, etc)?
Shelagh: I think all authors would prefer to spend as much time as possible writing. Only a small percentage of authors make enough money to support themselves and their families. Consequently, authors have to supplement their income with other jobs or rely on a partner for financial support. With so much time spent on earning (day job plus writing in the evenings), there is little time left for marketing and promoting. Publishers still organize book tours but, unless the author is famous, book tours tend to be regional rather than national. As a general rule, the less well known authors are, the more time they will have to spend on promoting their books: arranging book signings, library talks and promotional events etc. Nowadays, the majority of authors spend several hours per week promoting their work on the Internet.
What would you like readers to take away from L&F book 2?
Shelagh: There’s a great deal to be learned from the interviews. For anyone considering becoming a writer, the interviews give a real insight into the process of writing. Readers of fiction and non-fiction will be interested in the authors’ books and will appreciate the opportunity to read the snippets taken from their books. In fact, for anyone who likes to read, Literature & Fiction Interviews Volume II is a darned good read!
Shelagh’s website: http://shelaghwatkins.co.uk
Literature & Fiction blog: http://shelaghwatkins.wordpress.com
Shelagh: Thank you for inviting me onto your blog, Jess. It has been a pleasure talking with you!
Most welcome — and thanks for featuring me in Literature & Fiction Volume II :)!
Note: Literature & Fiction Volume II is available as a paperback, and can be viewed online via SlideShare. Go check it out!