Jeff Wilson interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: May 15, 2016 6:43:48 PM

Jeff Wilson interview with David Alan Binder

Short bio: Jeff Wilson is the author of the Archon Sigil Trilogy. In addition to writing Fantasy and Science Fiction




1. Where are you currently living?

I reside, for now, in Utah. Contemplating relocation to the fabled Pacific North West

2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

I have learned to seek critical feedback. If you don’t actively seek opportunities to improve, you deserve to hear more of it.

3. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

A self-published author has several advantages. I have more control over my product, pricing, marketing, and a whole host of other considerations. No one is going to match the devotion that you can give to yourself. On the other hand, this level of control is a double edged sword. If your product, your pricing decisions, or your marketing decisions fail, you have only yourself to blame. You are likely to struggle in some of these areas if you plan on doing them entirely by yourself, so this is not a route that everyone should take.

4. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I love having a physical book (there was no other feeling in the world like having the first print copy of my own book in my hands), but I appreciate the convenience of a single device that hold a library of books, and it has empowered me personally. The significance of eBooks for a self-publishing, which would be a viable pathway for almost no one otherwise, cannot be overstated. Self-published authors often out-compete traditionally published authors for eBook sales, while not being competitive at all with physical books.

5. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

I don’t think there are any secrets, apart from learning from someone who had done it before. Most of the advice you might get will be obvious, but it is meaningful to learn from someone who has travelled the path that you intend to follow. There are few significant barriers to self-publishing, you can only do it poorly, or you can do it well.

6. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

If when you first begin, you feel discouraged; know that you are doing something right. Being self-critical—without letting it wear you down—is as useful a trait as any other that an aspiring writer can have. The most rewarding part of writing for me has been taking something that I know is terrible, and transforming it into something that I love.

7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

I was surprised to discover just how viable self-publishing was. I wasn’t confident that I would see the success which I did, but was encouraged beforehand, and have seen it confirmed since, that self-published authors can execute strategies that outperform the marketing done for most traditionally published books. Regardless of the route you take, nothing can replace writing a good book, but from personal experience, I know how well self-publishing can work.

8. How many books have you written?

I have written one short story (The Blood Prince) and one full length novel (The Sigil Blade). I am finishing up work now on the first draft of The Sigil Knight.

9. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

I am a fan of limited outlining, as represented by working out a beginning, middle, and end to sequences and to the full book, while leaving room in between. If I outline too thoroughly, the narrative can become stiff, stifling creativity and innovation. My results are very poor when I don’t find myself adding on an occasional whim, that character I didn’t even know existed before I sat down to write that day.

I don’t mean to suggest that I don’t think deeply about everything I intend to write. I do, but I just prefer to keep it floating in my head. Things land where they should, instead of where they are planned, and the effect is so much better. Process is highly personal to each writer, so different approaches work better for some than for others.

In all cases though, find people you trust who are willing to tell you what you are doing wrong. Even if you receive criticism that you don’t feel is valid, it forces you to look at your work with a critical eye and honestly assess how it could be improved.

10. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

As an author, you generally (but not always) tend know what is going to happen, and it can be hard not to telegraph that. I suggest letting your characters decide how to resolve plot lines. If you’ve done a good job developing them, they will decide to do things that you would never have done. The twists will then feel honest, uncontrived, and surprise you in the same way that real people often do.

11. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

I was strongly motivated to write something I would want to read but have increasingly found hard to find. This was a largely single character and single setting narrative that is patiently paced and starkly differentiated from some of the trends that dominate epic fantasy literature today. Future books in the trilogy will expand in scale and narrative, but I loved being able to write something with depth on a more focused level, centered on a single character as an introductory novel.

12. What are some ways in which you promote your work?

The most powerful thing I did was to publish a short introductory story and give it away for free. As a new author, you begin with almost no audience. Writing The Blood Prince benefited me in building that audience, and just as importantly, it gave me the experience that I would build upon to launch my novel.

13. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I wished that I had done more work on developing artwork assets for my map. It is a feature in fantasy novels that I always loved, and to this day I regret not having made mine much better than it is. Never too late to fix it now!

14. What saying or mantra do you live by?

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, and then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it.

Begin it now.

- W. H. Murray

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