Richard B. Knight
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
I wish someone would ask me if I listen to music when I write, because I do. Gentle Giant, the Shogun Assassin soundtrack, and pretty much anything by Johnny Greenwood play in the background when I write. It gets me in the mood.
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 wake up at 500 every morning and read for about a half an hour before I write AT LEAST 1000 words. That’s my quota, baby. When I get home from work (I’m a teacher, you see), I send out my stuff to agents and try to get my book reviewed. It’s a daily routine.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I do, occasionally, but I have to write through it. Sometimes, the best stuff comes out of when you force yourself to write.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Make sure you have a schedule. Don’t say, “Oh, I’m going to write soon.” Nope, make sure you have a set time you’re going to write and set a quota for yourself. And, hey, hang in there, kid.
What are your current/future projects?
I’m working on the first draft of this crazy story called The Interdimensional Subwoofer. I’m still working out the story as I’m a pantser, not a plotter.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I try to write serious stuff, but then I start throwing crazy, supernatural stuff in my books. I mostly write speculative fiction because my creativity is driven toward it.
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?
I think the future will keep chugging along. The problem is, since anybody can pretty much self-publish their work, there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s not very good. This, in turn, makes self-publishing look pretty bad, which is a shame, because some people really pour their hearts out into their books and they’ll never get noticed because some jerk decided to write their work, not have it edited, and then, put it out there, tarnishing everybody’s reputation. It kind of sucks.
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
I’m self-published. I worked on my book for about five years before I finally put it out there. I made sure it was the best novel it could possibly be.
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 changed the cover because a lot of people said the cover wasn’t a good representation of the story itself. It was easy. I had one of my artists (I hired comic book artists, you see) make me a new one, and I had one, good as new. That’s the one great thing about self-publishing. You’re truly in charge.
What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc..)
Some people say, “I liked your book.” That’s really all I need.
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?
Try to get as many people to review your book as possible. You should spend as much time writing as you do promoting yourself. Can’t knock the hustle.
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
I like Book Baby. They do everything for you. You can be as lazy as you want to be, and their customer service is amazing.
What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?
My books are definitely in the magical realism category. They go nuts, but they’re all based in the real world.
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?
I let the inspiration gestate. I don’t have to rush or do anything. The inspiration will come back eventually. No biggie.
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
I try to get over 50,000 for each book, but it’s hard, because I cut a lot in the editing process.
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?
I have evolved because writing has made me much more focused on who I am as a human being. I’m not really sure if my writing has helped anybody else, but if it has, all the better.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
I think cover has a HUGE impact, even though you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. I know this because I’ve gotten more sales ever since I changed my cover.
Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?
Press releases are annoying. I don’t like or use them.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
There’s a great value in a review, especially if it’s honest. If somebody says there are a whole bunch of flaws with the book, and they list them, it can help you evaluate your writing and who you are as a writer in general. Hell yeah, reviews are super important.
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
It depends. I paid Kirkus to review my book because they’re legit. Their review has a value. They liked my book and said all the things they didn’t like, which helped a great deal. As for swapping reviews, I don’t like that so much but I’ve done it. You sometimes feel obligated to put a review you don’t mean, and I don’t like that. I always like being honest. It’s important.
Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?
I think so. The internet is a place where people can be assholes just because they can remain undetected. Some people just like trolling.
Have you ever had an interesting, funny, or even bad experience during a live interview, reading, event, or autograph session?
I have had many interesting experiences interviewing, but it’s always been on the other side, as I’ve interviewed a lot of people. Guru from Gangstarr fame (rest his soul), once threatened to kill me over the phone. No lie!
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 way too many books out there, and most of them suck, big time.
What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
I have no fear about getting a book published. I just wish I had more biters. I’ll be real with you. If I didn’t have to self-publish (My first book, The Darkness of the Womb, doesn’t really have much marketing appeal), I wouldn’t. Who would besides already established authors?
If you have multiple books published what do you feel is your greatest work, why?
My greatest work is my current work. But The Darkness of the Womb is pretty damn good, too. It’s certainly like nothing you’ve ever read before, and that’s the truth. You’ve never read a book about a suicidal baby.
What is the intended audience for you book?
People who like dark tales. If you like Tim Burton or Stephen King, then you will most likely dig my stuff.
Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?
All of my books taste like chicken.
If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?
Buy my books.
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?
You can pretty meet anyone online, so, yeah.
What makes a good story, why?
Good characters, fast pacing, and conflict. If you have those three things, then you have a good story.
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 are whatever. I change them frequently. Some have meaning, most don’t.
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 every last one of them. I don’t respond to any of them, and I prefer bad to good. I can learn from the bad, and it means the person actually spent time reading your book.
What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?
I attend a lot of pitch fests. I like them. Pitching and meeting people is a lot of fun.
What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, why? (Love, action, fight, death, racy, controversial, etc…)
I’m not good with scenes that have a lot of setting. Setting is my biggest weakness. My strengths are dialogue, conflict, and humor, so I tend to fall back on those.
What would you like to write about that you have never written about before?
I would like to write a straightforward book, but I don’t know how.
Have you ever had a book idea or characters come to you in a dream? What did you do about it afterwards?
I have never had anything come to me in a dream, but I have from just walking around and joking about. Stuff just pops in my head.
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 would. My character Steve Covington from my first book will make an appearance in another book down the line. I like when characters do that, like Kilgore Trout, or the man characters in Stephen King’s books. It’s like a reward for reading multiple books by that one author.
Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?
All of my characters are based on real people. It’s just easier that way.
What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
Writers must be willing to let their characters take the story places, and not the other way around.
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?
Kurt Vonnegut and his book, Slaughterhouse 5, changed my life forever. It proved that you could write about pretty much anything and people would read it if it was well-written enough and had honest, personal characters.
What are your thoughts about eBooks vs. print books?
I prefer print books. I like the smell and the feeling of turning the final page.
Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?
Writing is what I do. I teach for a day job, but I AM a writer. It’s my life.
Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?
The challenges are going through as many drafts necessary to finally have a product worth putting out there.
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 send them out to an editor. I cannot trust myself with my own work. I need somebody who hasn’t read it to give it an honest look through.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing?
The advantage is, you can finally get your idea and story out there. The disadvantage is a whole bunch of jerk-offs put garbage out there, and it’s hard for somebody to find your book with about 10 million other books out there.
Do you have a subject/genre you would never write about, why?
I don’t write romance because I don’t have a romantic bone in my body.
What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?
I write because it’s what I do. Inspiration can come from a lot of places, TV, other books, the world itself. Lots of stuff.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
My book stands out because it’s so different and unique. Take The Darkness of the Womb, for instance. It’s about a pregnant mother who journeys into her unborn child’s subconscious to prevent him from miscarrying himself. There’s an umbilical cord sea monster in the book. What other book has an umbilical cord sea monster? It’s totally original and amazing.
Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?
I designed my first cover, but when it was found to be a dud, I had one of my artists friends come up with their own idea for a cover. It’s much better.
What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?
Editing. Editing sucks, but it’s more important than writing. So much more important.
Books by Richard B. Knight
Connect with more from Richard B. Knight