Thank you Carlos Aranda for taking time to have an interview with us. We absolutely enjoyed your answers and believe that aspiring and fellow authors will gain some valuable knowledge and experience from your perspective.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.:
If you had a choice of your book making money or helping people what would you choose?
I would always choose helping over money. I would feel that I have failed if I had a chance to make a difference in someone’s life and did not take that chance.
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?
My writing is regular. I get up about 4:30 am to start my writing day yes I know I am crazy but I love what I do. I start with my blogs then move to social media and then off to my book projects.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Kind of and by this I mean that I will be on fire ready to write when all of the sudden I hear my phone go off with either text or notifications and quickly forget where I was at. In this day of technology it is easy to get off focus and sometimes hard to return back to work.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Know that promotion work is an everyday thing. You always have to find new ways to market or invent yourself.
What are your current/future projects?
Right now I have my first book out and just have finished the second part to it. I have also finished a kids devotional book and working on the next book which is about great men of the bible.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
Being a Christian I felt that I could help others through my life and how not to make the same mistakes I made in life. I also write in the same genre but in different styles. It can be hard not allowing yourself to write the same way in your first or second book style.
What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?
The future is always good for authors. People love to read even now that you have technology with pc tablets that make it easy as well as fun. Being a published author myself it is never easy especially with trying to find new ways to promote yourself.
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
I am a traditional published author. I had to submit my manuscript to a few publishers to find the right fit for me. It is a lot of work to make sure that the company you partner yourself with will be a good fit for you.
Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?
I have added more content as well as did a little bit of editing. It is a lot of work but is well worth it to have a good polished final product.
What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)
My opportunities have been to meet great people around the world and to be able to share my life with them and to learn from their lives as well. I can not wait for speaking and traveling opportunities.
What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?
I use social media such as Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn. The best advertising I have found has been through ones I have found through Google such as ask David and Orange Berry book tours.
What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?
I write in Christian living. A good friend told me once you should practice what you preach. Through this book experience I have learned to live as I write in helping others in which at one point I needed that same very help.
What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?
If I am out I quickly send a email to myself reminding me later. I have lost so many time my thoughts because I will be repeating in my head what I want to write and then hear a song on the radio or someone will say something to make me think and there it goes.
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
My first book is about 295 pages. I like to stay in that area. I don’t want to burn someone out with an encyclopedia size book.
How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?
While writing I learn new things about myself as well as the responses I get from social media. I have been blessed in my life to know that I am making a small difference in others lives and that makes me feel good at the end of the day.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
I think it is very important. If you can catch the eye of anyone for just that moment to take a second look or to even pick the book up you have already done well. My book cover was greatly done by my company that I am published with. They captured the moment of a picture I took in my life that spoke volumes. I believe it is very important.
Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?
There is a lot of value in word of mouth. I have done well this way when I am able to get a format like this. This is a great way for exposure.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
With my Amazon.com reviews they have helped like you would not believe. I am the same way though. If I see a book that has a lot of good reviews I will take the time to check it out a little more closely. I think reviews are under rated because their value is worth it’s weight in book sales.
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
My thoughts on review swaps are great. I have got a lot of my Amazon reviews through swaps that where free. I have found a few sites that have people who will trade reviews. This is a great community of people who look out for each other and help each other in a way that is good for both parties.
Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?
Yes I know for a fact as I have had friends and family members give me bad reviews. You will never please everyone and there will always be that one person who will always have something to say. All I can say is smile and let it roll off your back.
Have you ever had an interesting, funny, or even bad experience during a live interview, reading, event, or autograph session?
I was doing a live radio interview and I forgot the question because I was nervous. I started to just ramble on trying to find my place and regain my composure. Good thing is since than I have done better.
With self publishing being so easy these days, do you believe there is an over abundance of books out there and how do you sort through all the hype or copycats?
There are a lot of books out there but I think it is a good healthy competition out there. I like it because it keeps me sharp to know if I get lazy that someone will rightfully take a sale that I should of had.
What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
Just that I would have failed publicly if I did not help at least one person through my writing.
If you have multiple books published what do you feel is your greatest work, why?
It will always be my first book. That was a big accomplishment for me.
What is the intended audience for you book?
I believe that everyone could benefit from my book including myself.
Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?
My book is based a lot on my life and the mistakes I made. I use my book to help others avoid the pot holes of life.
If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?
Always know you are special in your own way. Always loved and cared for. No matter what you have done or where you have been Jesus loves you.
Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?
It is a lot more easy than I could imagine in the times of Mark Twain. I love Facebook because you can keep touch with your fans as well as friends.
What makes a good story, why?
When it comes from your heart. When you can make readers feel what you have wrote is the best.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Names for the book are as important as the cover image. I believe that it represents in who you are.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I do read my reviews and I have been blessed by the good reviews. I have had a bad review but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. You just have to let the negativity roll off your back and know and believe in yourself as a writer/author.
What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?
Being able to speak at a local church. With a positive out come make you feel good and happy to do what you do.
What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, why? (Love, action, fight, death, racy, controversial, etc…)
Controversial is always the hardest. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. It is hard sometimes when you feel that others are attacking your beliefs and thoughts making them feel invalid.
What would you like to write about that you have never written about before?
A biography of my life. I think it would be fun to see where I started to where I am now. Kind of like a growth chart for children.
Have you ever had a book idea or characters come to you in a dream? What did you do about it afterwards?
I have a few book ideas come in the middle of the night. I had to quickly get up and find some paper to write them down. In the morning after a few cups of coffee I took that idea and expanded on it and went to work on it.
Do you have any characters you would like to introduce in other books or a combination of characters from multiple books you would like to write about in one book?
I have so many ideas but I am not just ready yet to reveal. So just keep watching and I am sure you will see something soon.
Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?
Mine is all real life. It is based mostly off my life.
What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
You have to be determined. You have to have patience and a lot of spare time to think and write. The main thing is you have to eliminate the word can’t from your vocabulary.
What book(s), author(s), or significant life event(s) have had a positive or negative influence in your life that inspired you to begin writing?
Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Charles Stanley, and Pastor Joseph Prince along with a few others. They have all inspired me to write.
What are your thoughts about eBooks vs. print books?
I love having a print book copy in my hand. eBooks are great for being on the run but I prefer to see a cover and to be able to hold the hard work of a person who poured their heart and soul into a project that I am sure they are proud of.
Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?
I would say my writing is a labor of love. If you knew my whole story you would understand.
Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?
Yes the challenges came as I had to learn more about my subject to be able to give a better representation of my book.
Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?
I have had a friend do it for me, but next time I will have a professional take a look at it next time.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?
For me traditional publishing has gotten me into places I could not get to with self publishing.
Do you have a subject/genre you would never write about, why?
Romance man I just blush thinking about doing something like that. It is not my genre or my gift.
What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?
All my talent and inspiration comes from God with Him I could do nothing.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
I believe I have a lot to offer people in their daily lives. A way to make daily living more easy.
Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?
Yes my cover design came from a picture I took. It is a big part of my book.
What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?
I would have to say waiting for the whole book process going through the publisher to wait for the final copy.
Books by Carlos Aranda
Connect with more from Carlos Aranda