Want to know what makes the most disturbed minds in dark fiction tick?
Check out our interview with author Jack Wallen, where he shares his experiences as an indie author of an impressive list of titles that will scare you into submission – then leave you with bloodlust for the next.
Welcome Jack! Can you start off by telling everyone about your background – when you first started writing and what you write.
I was an actor for twenty years. During that time I started writing stage plays. But something very strange happened while I was in graduate school. I was with a group of wonderfully close friends and we were very much into role playing games. We were deep into the heart and soul of Vampire: The Masquerade when I realized there was so much depth to the character I was playing that he needed a book!
I was just absolutely sure I could write it. And I did…but it was horrible and never saw the light of day. But that kick started something inside of me that would be picked up some ten years later when I realized my career as an actor wouldn’t last forever. I knew the economy was going to knock theatre in the gut and I had to have another means with which to express my artistic soul. I remembered that story and how much joy it brought me. That’s all it took.
2. Why did you decide to go the self-publishing/POD route with your work instead of submitting it to traditional publishers?
Most of my books defy the traditional genres and I refuse to lock either my books or myself down to tradition roles. I was pimping A Blade Away to agents and publishers, but no one was brave enough to publish a book that dared breathe life to the taboo that is a transgendered killer killing transgendered men!
Add to that my desire to have more control over every aspect of my work and you have the makings for a perfect marriage. I do my book covers, I write my blurbs, and do my marketing. It’s a full-time job, but one that I truly enjoy. I love every aspect of writing — I love getting my hands dirty with the reaching out to readers and the blogging and such.
My choice to go indie also has everything to do with the fact that the writing was so clearly written on the wall. The traditional model was dying. Just like newspapers, the old regime simply has become too rigid and not agile enough to handle the speed of need demanded by consumers. Writers can publish so much more quickly now — the traditional model can’t keep up. They simply aren’t ereader friendly.
3. What misconceptions do you think people have about self-publishing? How would you/have you tried to blow these misconceptions out of the water?
The biggest misconception is that indie writers aren’t as good as traditional writers. In most cases we are better. The only difference is we don’t have the financial backing and marketing power that traditional writers have enjoyed. But most readers will find, once they discover an indie author they like — the writing is just as good.
I’m also a reader and over the last two years I’ve enjoyed far more indie authors than I have traditional authors.
There’s another misconception that we don’t put as much time and effort into our books. Not so. Take my books, for example: I write a rough draft, do first rewrites, send them to beta readers, take in their feedback, make changes, send the book to two different editors, and then finally send it to another editor for formatting. It’s a lot of work…and most of us are doing this while we have full time jobs.
4. How do you handle wearing so many hats as a writer – author, editor, cover artist, marketing master etc.?
The hat I wear has a built-in therapist up inside. Plus I was already a bit ‘touched’ before I hopped on this crazy hayride.
I’ll be honest — it’s tough at times. There are days I’m not sure what I should be doing — writing, marketing, blogging, or sleeping. But I will admit I am no editor. I have dyslexia, so my ability to edit my work is nil. That is why I have people that take on that task for me. If I didn’t I would be making a huge mistake. But then I strongly believe no writer should ever think they are capable of editing their own work. If you are one of those that feel you can, stop what you’re doing immediately and rethink your decision to be a writer.
No one can do everything. Period.
5. If you could impart one piece of wisdom onto up-and-coming authors who are faced with new mediums for sharing their work and an ever-changing landscape in the book & publishing world, what would it be?
There are going to be days when you feel your confidence has been sucked out your backside and there’s just no reason to continue on. Those days are many, no matter where you are in sales, rankings, contracts, profit…it’s just part of the game. You have to allow for that and you can’t let it break your spirit. Sure, it’s going to get you down. There will be days when you simply want to give up…you can’t. When you are hit with those days you just have to write through it. Lose yourself in your work and don’t let the negative reviews, the lack of sales kill your spirit or your drive.
It’s a long, tough road, but it’s one that is so worth the effort. Even when you feel like nothing is going your way; remember how cathartic your writing is. It’s therapy and some day that therapy is going to make you money.
6. What final words would you like to share with the readers of Bloody Bookish?
I break rules — a lot of them. I kill characters and go down dark paths many writers are afraid to visit. If you enjoy a crazy ride, one with some genuine characters and ever-changing landscapes, give my books a try.
My next books include the following:
- Engame: The next Fringe Killer book.
- Shero II Zombie A Go go: Everyone’s favorite transgender superhero.
- Lie Zombie Lie: The fourth book in the I Zombie series (Bethany is back and she’s PISSED).
- Klockwerk Kabaret: My first book in an upcoming steampunk series.
- The Nails of Calvary: The first in what I am tentatively calling the “Job Trilogy”
You can find out more about my on my website (http://www.monkeypantz.net), follow me on Twitter (@jlwallen), or on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jlwallen). If you’re looking for a book cover designer, check out my company, Adorkable Designs (http://www.adorkabledesigns.net).