C. A. Rudolph interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Aug 29, 2017 11:04:25 PM
C. A. Rudolph interview with David Alan Binder
1. Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?
Winchester, Virginia, United States
2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
That persistence pays off. I remember this quote by Anne Tyler: “If I waited until I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.” It’s very true. Sometimes the best thing is just to sit down and start typing. Eventually the path will open up and the story will just flow out.
Also, be aware that opinions vary, and that not everyone out there is going to love what you write. Negative reviews can take their toll, so don’t read them. You’re not writing for those folks anyway.
3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
I’ve heard lots of writers say that they do a “once and done” method. Well, I can’t do that. I write a draft of each chapter, and then when I start to get lost or lose my story’s direction, I go back and read what I’ve written—and make changes to the drafts. I do this several times throughout the process, but in the end I strive to make it the best I possibly can. Once and done will never work for me. I’m always nit-picking my own work to death.
4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
Traditional publishing is a crapshoot. And then, even once you’re published you have to share your profits with someone else. Self-publishing gives the author freedom of movement and total creative control of his or her story; it’s just a lot more work. I’m no stranger to hard work as I’ve been working hard my whole life in various day jobs to keep a roof over my family’s head. In comparison, being an “indie” is nowhere near as difficult. I’d take it over anything else I’ve done any day.
5. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
In today’s world eBook sales dwarf paperback sales. They’re cheaper, take up less space, and can be distributed by the speed of light worldwide. I still have readers that absolutely prefer paper over Kindle, but the number is staggeringly less than the amount of Kindle readers.
As far as publishing, I have to say that at least for now, I’d never go with traditional publishing. I was approached not long after my first book, What’s Left of My World became a post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction best-seller on Amazon (#715 in the entire Kindle Store) by a publisher who offered me less work in exchange for obviously fees and loss of creative control. It was something I just couldn’t say yes to.
6. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
There’s no secrets in the business, with the exception of how to properly market your books after you’ve published them. As far as getting published, the information is out there. You just have to seek it out. Make friends with a couple other well-known / successful authors in the genre you’re writing in, and ask them a lot of questions. I was lucky—I did just that and have had every answer I’ve needed along the way given to me graciously.
7. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I don’t have any experience on agents, so I’m reluctant to say.
8. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
Concentrate on the story and don’t worry about the details so much. Just tell the story. Everything else will fall into place if you spend the majority of your time concentrating on the words.
9. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
I found it amazing at just how helpful others are in the same industry—from my editor to my cover designers (http://www.derangeddoctordesign.com/ ) to my beta readers and my proofreader. Everyone is very creative, helpful and enthusiastic about what they do.
10. How many books have you written?
As of this interview, I’ve written and published two books:
What’s Left of My World: A story of a family’s survival http://amzn.to/2vS8T60
This We Will Defend: Book 2 of the What’s Left of My World Series http://amzn.to/2ij1848
Both are available in Kindle eBook (free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers), paperback and in audiobook via Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.
I’m currently working on book 3 of the series and hope to get it out by the end of the year. I’m also working on beginning another series of post-apocalyptic books with an entirely different storyline written from the first-person point of view.
11. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
It’s pretty simple—most everyone can write but not everyone can write well. The secret to writing well is writing more and as often as you can. It also helps if you’re a good reader. Good readers tend to be better writers.
12. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
Stephen King said to “Leave out the boring parts and kill your darlings.” There’s a lot of truth to that. Never be afraid to use any character’s background to your advantage. Everyone likes a good plot twist. Discuss options with other people, too. One of my best plot twists thus far was something that my wife suggested. I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on it.
13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
A lot of people told me that the cover of What’s Left of My World made them curious enough to read it. Cover art is a big deal—there’s even websites and blogs out there that specifically make fun of cover art. So get a good designer. It’s an investment. It’s also the very first thing your potential readers put their eyes on. The second thing is what you put on the back cover.
I try hard to make the story and the characters as real as possible. While I enjoy a good read where the primary protagonist is an expert at everything and never gets hurt and always seems to save the day, that’s not how it happens in real life. Every character has a flaw—some have two or three or more. Develop them as human beings, not superheroes (unless you write superhero fiction) and make the story something people can relate to.
14. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
Social media, Amazon advertising, and cross-promotions with other authors in the same genre are all good ways to promote. You must have a website. Blogs are okay but not as important in my opinion as a newsletter or something you can offer preferred readers in exchange for their loyalty. Word of mouth helps too.
15. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
Have as many trustworthy people you know read your stuff before shuttling it off to the millions of potential readers. Pay for proofreading, not just editing. The two are not one in the same. A second set of eyes does wonders. Some of my earliest negative reviews on my debut novel concerned the grammatical errors that I thought I’d found or my editor had found—but didn’t.
16. What saying or mantra do you live by?
“It’s only fiction because it hasn’t happened yet.” - Me
17. Anything else you would like to say?
Thanks for your time and for this interview.