Having retired from his working life in commerce and finance, Glyn Smith-Wild had the opportunity to write – something had wanted to do for many years, but never had the time. He lives with his wife, teenage son and a neurotic border collie in England’s West Country.
He enjoys nothing more than discovering more of the countryside in which he lives, including the Jurassic Coast on the south coast of Dorset, often ending up in one of the hundreds of country pubs in the area.
He has an eclectic taste in music, but would probably put Michael Jackson at the top of the list. His temptations are red wine and dark chocolate which he has difficulty in turning down.
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?
I’ve always found it more difficult to write in the mornings. There is, however, an exception to this rule. Quite often I am told by my characters (especially the outspoken and raunchy Katie) that ‘I wouldn’t have said that!’ or ‘There’s no way I would have done that!’ and I have to go back to my previous day’s writing. Usually I find that she is right, and have to make the appropriate amendments.
So my creative writing is done later in the day, and I wait to hear from my characters if anything is wrong.
Strange? You might think so, but I have become so close to the people in my books that I feel I know them almost as well as my close friends and family.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Seldom, but if and when it happens, I spend the time going back over previous chapters and that usually brings about the inspiration I need to get going again. The other thing that works every time is reading somebody else’s work.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t rush things. That is so important. Whether you are planning to self-publish or go the Agent/Publisher route, satisfy yourself that your manuscript is the very, very best that you can produce. There are many
tips and ideas on my website at http//www.glynsmithwild.com that an aspiring author should find interesting. Feel free to browse.
What are your current/future projects?
I’m considering a story within the suspense/romance genre, but this time with a sinister political undertone. Haven’t started putting it on paper yet, but it is beginning to take shape, and I hope to start writing soon.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I thought my first book -‘Sanctuary’ – was going to be a straightforward romance, but as the story unfolded, it was anything but. The thriller element happened about a third of the way through the book, and even now takes readers by surprise! I found that the suspense went well with the underlying romance throughout the book, taking the reader from one aspect to another and back again.
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?
It may well be easy for anyone to become a published author, but it is far from easy to make a living from it.
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
I have self-published all three of my books. I used CreateSpace, mainly because their facility is so useful in checking internal layout etc. and I’ve got to say that I have been delighted with the final outcome. Reasonably priced proof copies and self-use copies.
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 made minor alterations to e-book editions through Kindle’s KDP facility, only because it is so simple to do.
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’m still looking for something that works well. I use Social Media more than anything else. Sometimes it brings sales, but more often it doesn’t.
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
I have found Amazon far out performs all the others. I think being in the UK brings its disadvantages, but Amazon works for me.
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
I never thought that I would write a trilogy, but I realised after writing some three hundred pages, that there was no way I could finish the story in one volume. The most difficult aspect was actually tying up all the loose ends in the final volume.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
The cover certainly has a big influence, and the synopsis (the hardest part of creating a book, I find) has an equally important influence.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
Reviews are very important. How else can an author find out what people think of his work? In my opinion it is better to receive a nice review than to sell the book in the first place!
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
Reviews should be absolutely genuine. I don’t do review swaps, because I feel that I would be obliged to offer a good review whether I enjoyed the book or not, and I won’t do that. As for paying for reviews? I think that is rather unethical unless the reviewer agrees to be totally honest, and will tell you if they truly didn’t like the book.
Like everybody else, I had bad reviews. Of course I have. I can’t expect everyone to rave over my writing. It’s not to evryone’s taste.
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?
I believe there is a lot of rubbish being produced. But I also think there is a lot of good stuff. That’s where reviews come in. They should be able to sort the good from the bad. One or two bad reviews won’t put me of from reading a book, but when I see a majority of bad reviews, I turn away.
What is the intended audience for you book?
From what I can see, my books are read by a wide range of people which I find very pleasing.
What makes a good story, why?
I think the reader should be able to connect to at least one of the characters in a book, and I try to include in my books, some other aspect of interest. For instance, my books are all mainly set in France, so I try to bring the sights and smells of French life to life on the page.
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 read reviews, but I don’t respond. I respect the reviewers’ reponse even if, sometimes I might think it unfair.
What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, why? (Love, action, fight, death, racy, controversial, etc…)
The hardest things I have had to write about are the unpleasant things that happen to my characters within the story line. As I said earlier, I feel very close the people I write about, and I feel for them when they suffer in any way.
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?
There are some characters from my trilogy that I would like to use in future stories. My editor is always on about this, but as yet I haven’t found a way of dong so. But it may well happen in the future.
Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?
There is always an element of real life in fictional characters, isn’t there? I’ve got to admit that one or two of my characters are based loosely on people I have known in my life. They must have made quite an impression on me, I guess.
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?
I was inspired to write by a fellow dog walker during a period of depression. She told me that should find something to occupy my mind. Firstly she suggested painting, but that was totally out of the question. I have trouble drawing match-stick figures! The she said I should try my hand at writing. The rest, as they say, is history. When the blank computer page came to life with Mary, Ben, Katie and Georgina, a new life had begun, and my depression all but disappeared.
What are your thoughts about eBooks vs. print books?
I must admit, I still like to hold as book in my hand, but eBooks mean that you can read a wider variety of works so easily and cheaply. I try to avoid freebies, as I feel that one should pay something for the time and energy that an author has put into creating the book. We wouldn’t expect to get into the cinema for free, would we? Why should we expect authors to have to give away their work?
Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?
My second book involved the lives of diamond miners in South Africa, and I spent a lot of time researching the appalling conditions that they had to endure. It was not easy to get to the truth, because a lot of links were to white people – managers, etc – who didn’t seem to want to admit to the continuing apartheid that still existed in the mines in the late nineties. I’m satisfied that my efforts to uncover the truth, with the help of Janine Roberts, is factual, if uncomfortable.
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 do both. I like to think that I have attained a reasonable standard before I send my books to my editor and proof readers. If have had many a debate with my editor on the matter of story lines or characters’ attitudes, but we usually come to an acceptable compromise – and we’re still friends!
What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?
For me the main benefits of self publishing is the control aspect. I know that when my books are published, they are exactly what I wanted for them. I am not under the regulatory arm of a publisher in respect of, for instance, the cover.
Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?
My covers have been designed by a guy who lives in Indonesia, Lloyd Lelina. I found him through 99designs.com and I’ve been delighted with his work.
What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?
By far, it’s marketing. It’s difficult being a creative writer and a sales/marketing guru at the same time!