My first book happened when I was in grade school. It was a bona fide novel, around 300 pages, about a boy who is befriended by an alien who has been tasked to catalogue Earth for a sort of intergalactic science group. So the alien gets a first-hand look of our world through the eyes of a kid. It was a terrible book, but fun to write and a great experience. It taught me that writing is something anyone can do, and being a "writer" just means that you write.
My later book, which is now the No. 1 Highest Rated book on Smashwords.com (as well as being available at amazon.com), is called BILLY: MESSENGER OF POWERS. That one I wrote for my wife. I'd been working in Hollywood, doing scripts and rewrites for some fairly big production companies. But all of the scripts were supernatural thrillers or horror films. My wife wanted me to write something where the point WASN’T people in mortal peril of being possessed or whacked by a guy with a knife, so I wrote BILLY. It was her birthday present, and she loved it. It actually knocked her previous top book (Harry Potter) off her nightstand, which was a huge coup for me since none of my other works had ever made it that far with her. ;o)
Did you query agents or traditional publishers before publishing on Amazon?
BILLY is actually being published as a print novel in a few months, as well. But I retained the electronic rights and the audiobook rights. The audiobook had already been done - available at www.whoisbillyjones.com - when the print publisher came a-sniffin', and I wanted to maintain control of the audio work that had already been done by a stellar voice talent named Andy Bowyer. In other words, I'd gotten Bowyer's great work on deck and didn't want to let anyone ELSE exploit the poor guy.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?
Again, it was just another revenue stream in addition to "traditional" publishing. But I do like the control and oversight you have with self-publishing. Plus, hey! It got me this nifty interview!
Will you try to garner a traditional publishing contract for any future books?
Again, I see the best of all worlds as having the work out there in as many forms as possible. So definitely. In fact, I'm also pursuing top secret technology that will enable me to implant my novels directly into the cortexes of house pets, so you can listen to BILLY: MESSENGER OF POWERS or my other work while walking the dog, changing the kitty litter, or even flushing a dead goldfish down the toilet. The possibilities are limitless!
Did you design your cover art? If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information?
Oops! That one's top secret!
If you used a graphic designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover
Well, see the answer to No. 5. But I CAN divulge that I was very involved in the creative process for the cover. I'm a control freak. In fact, I'm controlling YOU right now. Don't believe me? Try to look away from this interview. Go ahead. I dare you.
Couldn't do it, huh?
'Nuff said. I'll also be responsible for six of your next ten shopping decisions, and one emergency midnight trip to the bathroom.
How did you feel when you got your first sale? Are you pleased with sales so far?
I felt really good when I got my first sale, of course. I've been more excited with the critical acclaim so far (probably because it makes me feel all warm and snuggly), as well as the sheer number of people who have either taken the time to review BILLY online or even to dig up my email and send me very kind notes. They're all on my "Do Not Kill" list (hey, don't judge... you know you've got one, too).
What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
Well, I have my own facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michaelbrent-Collings/283851837365?ref=ts#!/pages/Michaelbrent-Collings/283851837365?ref=ts and I do the "tweeting" thing. So I'm fairly involved. But I have to balance that: it can really suck your life away.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My stuff's on sale at smashwords.com and a variety of other sellers that are hooked in with smashwords.
What’s next for you?
I plan to eat a potato chip. Probably more than one. Beyond that, the possibilities are endless!
Oh, you meant writing-wise. Well, I've got a pair of TV series in development right now, and a supernatural thriller screenplay of mine should start principal production this winter. I've also got a nonfiction book on how to teach martial arts that I'm working on (did I mention I'm a black belt?), as well as a number of short films that I'm writing for a director friend who is looking for showcases for himself and some up-and-coming talent. I also have a blog at www.whoisbillyjones.com/mylittlethoughts that I update every few weeks. It's a "pure fun" affair. I do talk about real life stuff, but try to do it in a way that you'll get a giggle out of it.
And with the last five minutes I have to myself each day I eat, sleep, and occasionally shower. Just kidding. Why would I waste time showering?
Author of smashwords.com best-reviewed e-books: