BookBuzzr author Carmen Fox’s eBook Guarded (The Silverton Chronicles) recently hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com. We reached out to Carmen to learn more about her.
The screenshot below was taken on September 14, 2015.
1. Hi Carmen, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Can you start off by telling us about yourself?
Sure. I was born in Germany, but since graduating from college, I have lived and worked in England, just outside London. For many years I drifted from course to course, trying to fill my life with new discoveries and knowledge. As a result, I know a little about a lot of things. This may be helpful for a Jeopardy contestant, but it wasn’t satisfying enough for me. Writing gave me a purpose. Every day I learn something new about writing, about publishing, and about myself.
2. How many words a day do you average when you’re writing a book? And, is there a particular time of day or night that you find you’re at your best?
I’m a procrastinator, so sitting down to write doesn’t always come easy. But once I get started, I tend to lose myself in my world. That could be late at night or during my lunch breaks. I aim to produce about 1000 words a day, less on the weekends, but occasionally I become so engrossed in the characters that I don’t rejoin reality until 3000 words later.
3. What’s the hardest and easiest things for you about writing?
Aside from getting started, the hardest thing is staying objective. I’m afflicted with many insecurities, as many writers are. For example, I love big, convoluted plots with misdirection and confusion deeply woven in, but many readers don’t, so sometimes, while I’m reading through a scene, I imagine the negative reviews and complaints, and I second guess myself. Once I’m in one of those dark holes, it takes me a while to pull myself out.
The easiest thing about writing is the writing itself. I live inside my characters’ heads and can see, smell and taste everything they do. The challenge is to convey this rich experience to the reader.
4. Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
I love the time suck that is known as Facebook. I’ve met so many great writers that way, and more than a handful of loyal readers. I don’t maintain a reader list, and even my newsletter has been neglected of late.
5. What are some of the things that you are doing to market your book? How does BookBuzzr fit-in with your book promotion plans?
Marketing is based on three areas: promotions, sales, and a continued presence in your chosen spheres.
In terms of promotions, I do blog tours and spotlights, although my main focus is on leveraging the cooperation between multiple authors.
Sales is the part I hate most. It’s one thing to lower the price of your book as part of a promotion, but quite another to say, “buy it now.” I tend to rely on Twitter and Facebook friends to spread the word, because having someone other than me shout my book is less painful.
Finally, my author platform. This is where I and my work become accessible to readers. My website is a collection of book blurbs and the occasional blog post. Daily sessions on social media make my presence more immediate. I use BookBuzzr to liven up my website with a reading sample (that looks so much cooler than simply posting a few paragraphs), but mainly I wanted to offer readers a place where they can find my book in an independent setting among other works in the same genre. It’s an invaluable tool.
6. When you are not writing, what are some of your favorite ways to relax?
I’m a geek, and my guilty pleasures are games. If it were up to me, computer games like X-COM and tabletop games like King’s Armory or Carcassonne would fill most of my day. Sadly my friends are less enthusiastic, so most of the time it’s just me and my tablet. When I’m done staring at pixels, I redirect my gaze onto tiny ink lines in big books. I read fantasy, crime, YA, middle-grade, and sometimes even literary fiction. For me, relaxation means plenty of me time.
7. What is your advice to aspiring writers hoping to get published? Do you believe writing courses are helpful?
Yes, yes, yes. The first course I took was a revelation, as were the second, the third… There isn’t an area of your writing that cannot be honed by a good teacher. Their feedback provides the independent opinion friends and critique partners cannot give. I also value writing guides. My greatest Eureka moment came after I understood showing and telling. I’ve mentored a number of new writers, and was astounded by how the correct application of showing and telling transformed their work from ‘showing potential’ to ‘publishable.’ Inspired by this change, I wrote my own how-to guide called ‘Show Don’t Tell.’
8. What projects are you working on now?
My main focus is on getting the sequel to Guarded ready. Readers are likely to be surprised by the direction I’ve taken, but I’m beyond excited by the story line. Guarded was, at heart, a mystery with some romance thrown in, whereas its sequel will be a romance spiced with a mystery. I’m also working on editing my novella, a story with a great twist, that I’m hoping to publish soon.
Thank you Carmen, for your Interview responses!
It’s been my pleasure. Thank you!