Kevin T. Johns interview with David Alan Binder

posted Apr 4, 2017, 4:25 PM by David Alan Binder

Kevin T. Johns interview with David Alan Binder

 This is my first ever interview that was answered by sending me a YouTube video of the author answering the questions verbally.  Kevin T. Johns is a crack up and you get to see video and have the experience I did.  It is a very different experience than my previous interviews.

 Interview:  https://www.youtube.com/embed/pJ9F03r-vro

 Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-T.-Johns/e/B00GY65N8S/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1491260613&sr=8-1

 Website:  http://www.kevintjohns.com/

     1.     How do you pronounce your name? 

    Again, to appreciate this answer you have to see the video!  I guarantee you will laugh.

 

2.     Where are you currently living?

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

 

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

Perseverence, Stick with it.  Keep going.  So many authors get hung up on book number one and well like what’s book number one, come on guys, you want to build a career, you don’t want to have just one book and so sticking with it, getting that one book done and then moving on is so key.

 

4.     What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

Violence, probably violence, all my books are filled with blood and guts.  They are ostensibly YA books and about teenagers and yet they all feature massive gore so it actually disqualifies them as being actual YA books.  So, basically I write thriller gore books that have teenagers in them.  That is probably my most interesting quirk.

 

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

If you want to self-publish it basically means you are going into business as an entrepreneur.  Being an author is one career, being an entrepreneur is a whole other career; in both of those careers is extremely complicated and extremely difficult and challenging, so if you are choosing to self-publish.  I think that some people think that self-publishing is the easier route if all you care about is getting the book into the world.  If you care about getting the book into the world, and finding readers and making your money back and building a career

 

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

Even if an author’s total focus is Kindle e-books they still like the print books.  Something you can hold and put on a bookshelf.  There is nothing like that.

 

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

Pushing past perfectionism is the most important thing.  So many authors, especially first time authors get so hung up on wanting their book to be, they want the first book to be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  You know they want their first book out of the gate to be the biggest, greatest thing ever.  It is not going to happen it is not reality.  You know becoming a massive author and writing these masterpieces takes time and so if you want to get a book published.  It is about being willing to say this is the best I can do right now with the resources and skill set and knowledge I have available to me and then putting it out there and being willing to ship.  Saying, yeah, maybe it’s not perfect, maybe it’s not the greatest thing in the world but that doesn’t mean that it does not have value that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t deserve to be out there in the world.  That is my biggest tip on publishing.  Get over yourself, get over your perfectionism, get out there, and make something happen. 

 

8.     How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

For most things that I am not the expert in, I go to the experts and I get that knowledge.  You probably can’t see but next to me is a bookshelf and every single book next to me is about writing and publishing and writing stuff.  Let me see, there you go [holding up book] Guide to Query Letters.  There is another one here, called how to get an agent or something [he finds it and holds up] How to Get a Literary Agent.  Long story short if you want to get an agent go read some books on the process and study up on it.  Do the things required of you, do the hard work, and make it happen.  None of the stuff in life is easy and no one is going to hand you all the answers.  If you could find all the answers to life in a blog post then, hey, more power to you.  Most people actually have to read books to get the information they need.  So, go buy a couple of books on how to get an agent and do the stuff the books suggest.

 

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

In addition to being an author, I am also a writing coach.  So I have a job where every single day I do is work with writers to help them succeed, primarily new writers.  I have a million suggestions for new writers but I would say the most important one is creating a regular writing habit, creating a schedule where you use something that I call, non-negotiable writing time.  That means just scheduling time into your day where you are writing and not doing anything else and not leaving your writing until everything else is done or the world is perfect.  My number one tip is make a writing schedule and stick to it.

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

No one really cares; we get so wrapped up in ourselves.  Oh my god what are people going to say, is my book good enough or are people going to make fun of me or mock my book or whatever.  I mean we get so hung up on ourselves and what people are going to think of our books, but the reality of it is no one cares.  Three hundred thousand books or 30,000 books or something are published every single year, yours is just going to be one of them.  So many writers are going to be concerned if people are going to, not like their book when the real problem is no one is going to care.  That’s the biggest challenge is getting people to care, if you have haters, if you have people ripping on your book then good on you because that means you’ve made a big enough impact that people actually care enough to hate on you. 

11.                        How many books have you written?

Six books under my own name and one more about to come out and four others under other people’s names as a ghostwriter so eleven total.

 

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)?

The biggest thing is understanding that writing is a craft.  It is not some magical thing where god reaches down and blesses you with the magic of the muse and suddenly you are the greatest writer ever.  Writing a book is very much like learning build a brick wall, you need to do an apprenticeship.  You need to do the hard work of learning your craft that is how you even get better at it.  You are not going to get better at it by sitting around waiting for the perfect idea or the perfect moment where everything is going to be great.  The muse is going to inspire you, I mean, you need to approach it like a craft and learn and read.  There is a reason I have 25 books next to me right now on writing.  It is so I can get better at writing that is my number one tip there.

 

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

Twists are dependent on not being a pantser a lot of the time.  There are people who think they can just make up a story as you go along and some people can but a lot of the time, if you want to have good twists that pay off well you need to plan ahead of time.  You need to do the story planning long before you start drafting so that you know how to set up those twists and have good payoffs.  Something I will say though is I like to end chapters with something I call the thrust and twist; (I don’t remember who called it that) but it is the idea is that you want to end chapter by stabbing the reader in the gut.  (As if stabbing them in the gut is not enough); then you want to twist give it a little twist.  So, the thrust and twist gives the story some kind of momentum.  You never want to give the reader an excuse to stop reading and the end of a chapter is a really good excuse to stop reading.  If you stick those thrusts and twists at the end of every chapter; that can be a cliffhanger, it can be a surprising revelation that is the stuff that keeps people turning pages and keeps them reading your book at the end of the chapter and wanting them to continue on to the next chapter.

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

I think that as readers we can all kind of sense authenticity versus commercial gambits.  There is the idea that I am going to write as to market or I’m going to try to write something that everybody loves.  Screw that, the books that I love aren’t the books that you love; we all love our own thing and the writers that wrote those books stay true to their visions.  They stay true to their authentic voice and what they have to say about then world so what stands out about my books is that I don’t compromise I don’t care if you like my book or not.  I wrote this book for a certain audience and I would love, for you to be part of that audience but that audience is largely dependent on the experiences you’ve been through in your life.  I grew up in a small town as a punk rock kid; getting beat up by hicks and jocks and these guys who picked on me.  If you grew up super wealthy in a massive metropolitan city, you might not be able to relate to anything I write about in my books and that is okay.  However, my books aren’t for you, my books are for the people who are like the punk rock kid in a small town who’s going through the same crap I went through.  That’s whom my books are for.  That’s what makes any book that stand out; just not compromising for commercial interests.  Just being authentic and true, knowing who your book is for and them writing the book for that person and staying true to that vision.

 

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

Answering interviews, interviews are always a great way to promote your work.  The best thing you can do to promote a book is to give it away to people and ask them to read it and write reviews because nobody wants some indie author shoving a book down their throat like this crap on Twitter, like buy my book.  There are so many books; there are Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald books that I still haven’t read so why would I go read your indie romance when those are out there.  You have to come up with something better than just read my book on some Facebook ad or something.  The best thing you can do to market your book is to get it into the hands of the people who it is meant for and then ask them to write reviews and tell their friends about it.  Don’t be afraid to give away your work because reality is (giving away your work sucks) but did you do this to make a million dollars or did you do this to connect with people and get your message out there to the world.  That is the main way I’d promote my work and that is finding readers who are in my target audience, offer them my book for free and get them to write a review; that is a pretty good way to promote your book. 

 

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

With my first couple of books I worked with an editor and a designer named Forrest Adam Sumner, he was such an incredible creative partner, he was just the first editor, and designer I worked with.  I don’t think I understood how lucky I was to have him.  He was charging ridiculously low fees for absolutely extraordinary work.  Ultimately (we did not have a falling out) but something happened in his life and he went off and disappeared and we stopped working together.  If I could look back on my publishing career the one thing I so regret not having him.  He made my work so much better, he brought the quality of everything just that much, one more level higher.  We connected right off the bat.  He was just that brilliant, creative partner that you want and since he was the first editor I worked with, I did not realize how lucky I was.  If I could do anything differently, I would go back in time and pay him more money to show him how much I appreciate what he brought to the project.  He really went above and beyond.  That is a rare and special thing. 

 

17.                        What saying or mantra do you live by?

I love the Ernest Hemming way quote, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”  That is important to keep in mind.  Everyone thinks of Hemmingway as being a master of the craft and yet here he is saying he’s but an apprentice and that he is always learning.  That we are all always learning, I think that is so useful in so many ways.  I think we always want to be improving; we always want to be learning as writers.  We also want to remember we are never masters, we can always do better and that’s okay.  We don’t have to beat ourselves up for not being geniuses.  If Hemmingway says he was an apprentice then it is perfectly okay for you and me and whoever is out there, trying to write their novel to be apprentices as well.

 

18.                        Anything else you would like to say?

I’ll say that I am a writing coach if you are looking for some support, some advice, and some accountability to help you though the novel writing process then pop by my website [he laughs and says can you guys here my kids?  I have three daughters and they are upstairs going crazy] anyway, that is what I will leave you with.  If you are a writing watching [or reading] this and struggling with your writing or if you are looking for support or looking for advice or you just want a partner to help you through this crazy process that is writing a book I am a writing coach and you can visit [my website].   There is information there about my coaching program or you can just send me an email at kevin@kevintjohns.com  This writing thing is my life and my passion so I care about it and it is what I do every day.  If you want someone to connect with, if you are feeling alone or depressed or if you are struggling.  If you have a story within you and you just don’t know how to get it out or you don’t believe you can do it.  I believe in you I know that you can do it.  If a moron like me can do it, you can do it too.  So, hit me up and I’d love to hear from you or check out my novels; I’ve got two Young Adult novels called The Page Turners and The Page Turners, Economy of Fear.  I have a thriller called, M School which I think is pretty great.  It came out last year and I’d love for you to check it out.

Thanks so much for watching [or reading].  I hope you enjoyed it, and I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks everyone.

 

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