Today I have YA author/poet/songwriter Carroll Bryant here for a little Q&A session. Before you dig into this interview, make sure you check out his new release
, “Of The Light.”
TK: Why did you choose to write YA?
CB: I didn’t really choose it as much as it chose me. That and the fact that when I was younger, I had the best time of my life. It wasn’t until I hit 30 when life appeared to start slowing down a little. I realized that life is more exciting when you’re young so I gravitated to YA for that purpose. I think it’s because when you’re young, and on the cusp of adulthood or early stages of it, you’re allowed to do things that you won’t be allowed to do when you’re older. You’re allowed to make your mistakes. That and the fact that basically, the whole world is at your feet. I mean, there’s so many people you can choose to be at that age. Youth is a lot of fun. At least, it was for me. Not that aging is all that bad. But younger, life moves pretty fast. And I miss that. So I guess I relive those days through my characters.
TK: I know you also write poetry. Which is your favorite to write?
CB: That is a tough call. Poetry started me to songwriting and from there I expanded into books. And while poetry is written in the moment, books take a little more time. They both have their pro’s and cons …. it’s like asking me which of my kids do I love the most. Obviously, I love the kid that gives me the least amount of trouble the most. LOL Unfortunately, they all give me trouble at some point or another. Poetry, books and songwriting. LOL They are the three stooges of my life. Haha
TK: How do you come up with your characters? Are they based on real life people or do you sit with people, watching for hours?
CB: Interesting enough, a combanation of the two actually. I draw off of some people I know, friends and family, and soemtimes I take from complete strangers after watching them for a certain amount of time and trying to imagine what they must be like in private. As we all know, we all the the piblic us and the private us. Anyhow, my parents always comment on how much more quiet I was when i was younger. I would sit and watch people like and owl searching for field mice. The older I got the more vocal I got. Which is why my mother wishes I was young again. LOL Now as for names, I visit graveyards from time to time with my trusty little notebook and pen and take from tombstones. Then I go home and sit down and pick the best first names, last names and figure out which ones sound better. That’s how I came up with my character, Zenakis Vinzant. (Two last names) in my new book, “Of The Light”. And the doctor in the book, Dr. Ortman Fletcher, was also two last names I threw together. In fact, in this new book, Zenakis is basically living my life from when I lived in Columbus, Ohio. I pretty much took a year of my life and placed it inside this book. The family members and girlfriends and everythign else, are basd on real people with just their names having been changed. So I guess it’s a science fiction book with a non-ficiton story. LOL
TK: How long does it take you to get a book out? How long do you spend editing/reworking until you’re satisfied?
CB: From the time I get an idea, it can swirl in my head for a year or more. When I start writing it, it can take 30 to 90 days to write. (Except “Flower Power” that took six months to write) Once it’s done, I take about a one month break from it before going back in to do a first edit. I will do about three to five edits per book. Each edit takes me about a week. Once it’s ready to be sent to my publisher (Bookbaby) It takes them about two weeks to format it into a PDF/Mobi file then they send it out to all the major Ebook websites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, The Reader Store. And so on. From there, it can take a week to six weeks before all the websites have it up and listed. Amazon is the fastest. Barnes and Noble seem to take the longest. TK: There’s a whole debate going on now as to being “Indie” or being “Traditional” published is the way to go. Your thoughts? Why did you choose to go the route you did? Do you feel that there are advantages/disadvantages to each? Would you switch?CB: Good question. First of all, I had no choice but to go the “Indie” way. Like so many others before me, I got rejected by a few publishers. After the third time, I said to heck with it. (This was around 2000, 2001) And I put the books away to concentrate on my songwriting. It wasn’t until after my auto accident when I was sitting around a lot recovering did I turn my attention back onto my books. I had learned about E-book publishing and did my research and decided that this would fill up my time for a while. I just didn’t know where to go or what company to use until I got an email from CDBaby (the company I went through to make my CD) telling me about this new company Bookbaby. Since I used and trusted CDBaby, I went with Bookbaby and haven’t looked back. They are great. Now, since then, I have actually been contacted by a “traditional” publisher recently through my agent. I took about a whole five minutes to think about it before turning them down on their offer. I like having full control of my work. From writing, to editing, to cover design, the whole nine yards. I make all of the decisions and I don’t have anybody in my ear offering me “suggestions”. I call the shots. For some people, I wouldn’t advise that, but for others, like me, who isn’t looking to live off their royalties then it’s a great gig. Writing for me is fun. I aim to keep it that way. For as soon as it isn’t fun anymore, it’s over. And I don’t want it to be over.
TK: How do you go about your marketing campaign? I know you had a “hiccup” in your writing not long ago – how did you overcome all the negatively that was (wrongly) placed upon you/your works?
CB: I know exactly what you’re getting at. That “hiccup” was a girl that I met and thought, at one time, was an amazing young lady before she showed her true colors. And yes, at one time I was on a roll. I had several interviews/reviews lined up and completed until she turned against me for unknown reasons and forged an alliance with other bloggers to back out of their promises too like she did. I was pretty much blacklisted. At first, I wanted to just fold up the tents, but there was too many people who overwhelmed me with their support and eventually, I decided to stay on Goodreads and continue to write. At first, I thought it was the end but I soon realized that there was more than one way to skin a fish. My manager used some newspaper adds in specific towns and cities plus, I started blogging. (And Tweeting) And I found another avenue to let people know about my book. Sales have been just wonderful. Then I also realized that it wasn’t about sales for me anyway. It was about publishing my books. Since about a month or so ago, I have had a few of these people/bloggers come to me for an interview after discovering how successful my blog has become. (About 185 hits per day and ten days in April alone of 200 or more) In just my first four months of blogging, I am approaching 12 thousand hits on my blog. I was told that is a very high number. And it seems to be rising every week. I feel extremely fortunate for that. However, I declined their invitations for another intwerview and such. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. I think there are some people who now regret taking her side or listening to her. I am beginning to acquire a very solid following and now some of these people who turned me away want in on the action. The only reason i was able to overcome that hiccup was because of the wonderful people in my GR groups, my friends, my fans. I mean, without them, I would have left. I feel very lucky. This girl almost ruined me. I almost allowed her to. But that’s how much I used to care about her. I was willing to walk away from everything because of her. It was only when I finally realized that I never meant a thing to her was I really able to get myself back on track. I was so upset abut losing my “Rolex” and trying to get it back when I finally learned that it was a “fake” Rolex, a knock-off and never had any value to begin with. This is when I was able to finally move on.
TK: What advice can you give authors starting out?
CB: Believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. Don’t listen to the negative or the positive, listen only to yourself / your inner voice. Do what you want to do. Remember, if you don’t like your own writing, nobody else will either. The number one thing I have learned about young writers is, they don’t have much confidence in themselves. If you’re only in it for the money, then you’re in it for all the wrong reasons. I even had a young writer back out of a chance for me to help her to be published Indie style because she is going to wait for the traditional option to present itself. She thinks if she isn’t good enough to be published the old fashioned way then she isn’t good enough to be published. How tragic is that?
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