David Estes interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Apr 30, 2016 3:36:29 PM
David Estes interview with David Alan Binder
Get the David Estes Starter Library (FOUR books!) for FREE by joining my mailing list: http://s.privy.com/s8hg9k5g
Author of Strings, The Dwellers Saga, The Country Saga, Salem's
Revenge, the Slip Trilogy, and The Evolution Trilogy, and The Adventures of Nikki Powergloves
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/David-Estes/e/B007R75PEU
1. How do you pronounce your name (only answer if appropriate)?
2. Where are you currently living?
3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
That being a writer is more than a career—it’s a calling.
4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
I HATE sitting at a desk to write. Anywhere else works. I’ve written an entire novel sitting in a chair on Waikiki Beach. I’ve also written in cafes and at the pool, but mostly I like working in bed. It’s comfy!
5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
You have to do what works for you. And every book can find success in a different way. The beautiful thing, however, is that authors have A CHOICE these days, whereas before they had very limited options. I’ve built a career self-publishing, which eventually helped me land an agent and an audiobook publisher. So I guess I’m a hybrid-published author.
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
My audiobook publisher is Podium Publishing, located in Toronto, Canada. They are famous for the bestselling audiobook of THE MARTIAN, which later became a major motion picture starring Matt Damon. They have also won numerous audiobook awards, including a SOVA (Society of Voice Arts) award for my audiobook, THE MOON DWELLERS, narrated by two award-winning narrators, Julia Whelan (Audible 2015 Narrator of the Year) and Will Damron.
6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I don’t believe print books are dying, but they are certainly less appealing than they once were. They are heavy, harder to access, and more expensive. 95% of my sales are eBooks, which is good for readers because they’re cheaper and good for me as the author because I earn higher royalties.
7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
There are no secrets. You have to write a good book, first of all. Then you have to target the agents/publishers whom the book would most appeal to. Or you can self-publish, but be sure to EDIT/REVISE your book before doing so.
8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I got about a hundred agent rejection letters, so I gave up. Then I wrote a book called THE MOON DWELLERS, and it sort of took off, so suddenly the agents were knocking on my door. That’s how I got my agent. My suggestion is to make as many industry connections as possible, and use them extensively. If your book is good enough, having that “in” will give you a chance to land an agent.
9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
Write as often as possible, and don’t spin your wheels on the same project for too long. I could’ve agonized over my first trilogy, trying to find an agent and publisher for it. But that would’ve been a waste of my time, because it wasn’t the “right” series. Instead, I self-published it and started working on my next novel, which became THE MOON DWELLERS. That was the series that finally put me on the map and launched my career. Write every day, improve your craft, and never give up.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
That I’m a pantser, meaning I don’t need to write from an outline (in fact, I HATE outlining). I generally just have a few bullet points of ideas, and then I start writing. Half the time I don’t know where my story is going until I get there!
11. How many books have you written?
27. 24 are published, including 17 YA novels, 1 middle-grade novel, and 6 children’s chapter books. The other three are in various stages of publication. Most of my books are in the Science Fiction and Fantasy realms.
12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
Read a TON by talented writers. Learn from them. See how they build suspense, how they develop characters and setting, how they plot and twist. Be a student of writing. Personally, I thought these two books were excellent in helping me improve as a writer: 1) On Writing by Stephen King 2) Writing a Breakout Novel by Donald Maas.
But there are no tricks. Practice is the most important thing. Seek out feedback and don’t be afraid of constructive criticism.
13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
They need to be both surprising AND believable. If you surprise your reader but they say “That makes no sense,” then the twist won’t work. At the same time, if your twist is believable but the reader saw it coming from a mile away, then the reader won’t be too impressed. Keep them guessing and use misdirection.
14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
It really depends on the book. My books have stood out because their concepts are unique, and the characters are complex, flawed, and interesting. I think having a unique concept is particularly important in Science Fiction, while character development is crucial in any genre.
15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
BookBub is the best site by far. When I do a promotion on BookBub, I usually get between 20,000 and 40,000 downloads (my record is 42,000 downloads). No other promotional site comes close to BookBub. The only downside is that they’re very competitive, so getting a spot on BookBub can take months, or even years. I’ve been fortunate enough to have done more than a dozen BookBub promos.
The other way I connect with readers is via Goodreads. It’s the best book community out there, and I have an awesome YA group that doubles as my fan group. We chat about books, movies, TV, and anything else the members are interested in.
I also offer four free books (The David Estes Starter Library) if readers sign up for my newsletter on my website. That’s a great way to get new readers.
16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I probably wouldn’t have self-published my first trilogy. It simply wasn’t good enough, but I was impatient. I should’ve used it as good writing practice, and waited until THE MOON DWELLERS to have my debut novel. That being said, I did earn a few fans/readers from that first trilogy, and also learned a lot from some of the constructive reviews I received.
17. What would you like carved onto your tombstone? Or what saying or mantra do you live by?
It’s your life. Don’t settle.
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