Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Interview with Wayne Johnson

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
The Bastard’s Handbook is a reference point for all men who either see themselves as bastards or want to become a better one. It is designed as a humorous counterpoint to books such as Chicken Soup for the Soul and other similar self-help guides and is also the man’s answer to Why Men Love Bitches.

This book contains everything you need to know to be a success in business, life and love. It includes such information as how to become a dictator, how to avoid fights by using your girlfriend as a human shield and what kind of music you should listen to while claiming credit for someone else’s idea. This book is the definitive reference guide.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I did, and I actually managed to get an agent, but the euphoria was short-lived as although it is so difficult to get an agent that is only the first part of the process. Publishers expressed an interest but said that as I lacked a ‘platform’ they weren’t willing to take a chance on an unknown writer.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
The main factor was just having my book out there for people to read and hopefully enjoy. After investing such a long time writing it and then forwarding it on to agents etc it was important for me to see it out there for sale to the public.

What is your writing process?
I find it very hard to be disciplined with my writing, especially if I have no deadlines. I am an experienced magazine journalist and have also worked in newsrooms so I am used to writing to deadlines, which unfortunately means doing everything at the last minute. When there is no such time pressures I tend to write as and when the mood takes me, but if I am in the ‘zone’ then I can be pretty productive.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you.
I do a very brief outline but generally just go where it takes me and I tend to find that ideas come to me as I write. I am not really one for planning the whole book before I begin to write.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
No, but I did have a few people I know who have a critical eye or who are involved in publishing to read it through and check for mistakes I may have missed. However, if you don’t have these contacts then I really think it is a good idea to have an editor review it, although it can be expensive.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I am currently promoting it on Facebook, where I have experimented with ads, twitter (although I’m not really a fan), and Goodreads, plus reading and commenting on blogs aimed at kindle readers.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I do find it difficult but not just because of the time spent marketing the current book. I find it hard to focus on the next project while I still need to push and promote and remain excited about my present book. The most difficult part in starting the next book is finding time with my current work commitments and taking care of two small children. But then again, I don’t want to complain, I love writing and these are exciting times for indie authors.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
First of all be patient, reviews, sales, feedback etc don’t come overnight, you have to work hard on a few things first. Make sure that your book is edited and written to a high standard, as, just because ebooks tend to be cheaper than print, it doesn’t mean readers expect inferior standards. Also, spend time and effort or money on getting a professional cover that makes your book stand out and invites people in. Most importantly though, is not to get too stressed about the whole thing and don’t go into it expecting to sell millions of copies (although you never know).

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Lots of passions, actually. I love sport, especially soccer and basketball and I also love history and travel. I have lived in many countries other than my home of the UK, including the US, Thailand, Korea and Indonesia and have had enough interesting encounters in these places to give me material for many more books. But outside of these hobbies and pursuits, I also enjoy spending quality time with my wife and two young children.

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