Welcome! My name is Michelle Dalson, and I will be interviewing JD Bartholomew, author of Elia The Last Elf. He has experienced the harrowing process of writing, publishing, and most of all, marketing. He has taken the time to share his author journey, along with some helpful tips for other writers and aspiring authors!
Michelle: Hello, Mr. Bartholomew. Thank you for taking the time to discuss your writing journey. Before we discuss your books, let’s hear a bit about your background. How did you grow as a writer? What inspired you to write what you write?
JD: I didn’t take up writing until my senior year of high school. My English teacher had us write a short story and I produced a 12 page story that received a lot of praise from everyone who read it.
Michelle: Ah, so you still began writing at quite a young age. Was there a particular genre that you found most enjoyable to write?
JD: I’ve always been a fan of fantasy. I love how it has so many possibilities for stories and characters and you’re allowed to create your own world in order to tell your stories.
Michelle: That’s great, I love fantasy too. How has your writing developed as you’ve written your fantasy stories?
JD: The best way to grow as a writer that I have found is to just write. Many writers will say that the best way to grow is to actually read, but reading is incredibly difficult for me because I am dyslexic and I have Attention Deficit Disorder. Though I do enjoy reading, it is very difficult to stay focused on a book and sometimes it will take several months to read a book. I remember the first time I read ‘The Hobbit’. I was 22-23 and it took me 6+ months to read it all the way through. This has also caused trouble with my writing, but as I tell everyone I talk to about this, a Dictionary is my best friend. It also takes me a while to write out a complete manuscript, but it ensures that I get every story right the first time around.
Michelle: I see your point. I’m glad you emphasize that to grow as a writer, one must write. I’ve heard many say to read, and don’t get me wrong—reading is an integral way to develop your skills as a writer. However, if you simply read without applying your reading skills to create your own work of art, you will not grow as a writer.
The Planning Process:
Michelle: Let’s move onto the planning process of your novel. Pick ONE novel that you have published. Describe how you planned the storyline of this novel. Did you outline your chapters before you wrote them? Did you keep a document where you jotted down all your ideas as they came to you?
JD: I didn’t plot out the chapters of Elia The Last Elf or any of my other books since. I’m an “Adventure Writer” as I’ve heard it called by Brandon Sanderson. An “Adventure Writer” is a person who writes the chapters without any foreknowledge of what’s going to happen in that chapter. I do keep a little notebook handy in case I have some ideas, but that’s all the planning that I do.
Michelle: Well, if that’s worked for you, then that’s all that matters! As for other writers, what advice would you give about planning for a novel? Would you advise aspiring authors to follow the same steps you took to plan your book? Why or why not?
JD: I suggest you follow whatever works for you. Every story is different, every writer is different. If it’s better for you to do a web chart, then do it. If it’s easier for you to just make it up as you go along, do it. If it’s easier for you to make up your own form of planning, do it. This is your book. Do things your way.
The Writing Process:
Michelle: Okay, let’s discuss the writing process of your book. First of all, how many drafts did you go through before you finally published your book?
JD: My process begins with a hand written copy followed by a typed one. I usually only make 2 drafts, written and typed and then I edit the typed copy a few times before I determine it’s ready for publication.
Michelle: Ah, so you handwrite your stories! I’ve only met a few authors who have handwritten their books before putting it in print.
Now describe a bit about the editing process. Did you work with an editor? Did you find him/her helpful?
JD: After I finish the typed draft, I send it out to a few Beta-readers who give me their opinions on how the story can be improved. After that I take what they’ve told me and make the appropriate changes.
Michelle: That’s great. What important advice would you like to give to aspiring authors about writing, rewriting, and editing a novel?
JD: Write what you want to read. You’re never going to be 100% satisfied with the book. You’ll always look back at it and find things you can change. The key is to be content with what you have. It does you no good to sit and stew over the smallest detail.
The Publishing Process:
Michelle: So what route did you take to publish your novel? Large press, small press, or independent publishing?
JD: I self-published through CreateSpace/Amazon. I took this route because it was simple and the best way to start for a beginning writer. It’ll give myself a bit of a leg up should I choose to go the more traditional publishing in the future.
Michelle: That’s a good reason. Tell us what you feel are the pros and cons of this publishing route for you and your book.
JD: Pros: You get to control every aspect of the publication. You get to make the cover, set the price, you get to decide when it is made available. It may give you some more credibility should you choose to go with a more traditional publisher.
Cons: You have to do all the marketing. It will take awhile for people to start actually picking up your book. You need to be patient.
Michelle: Absolutely. The entire writing journey preceding publishing and following publishing involves a lot of patience. What would you say are the key factors a writer should think about before choosing one of the three publishing routes?
JD: Do your research. Research each place you are considering. There are sites that tell you if a publisher/editor/agent has a reputable background with the authors they’ve worked with. Don’t just go with your first choice because they may not be the best for your book.
The Marketing Process:
Michelle: Now let’s discuss what’s perhaps the most difficult process of an author’s journey: marketing. Explain how you drew people to read your book. Any marketing strategies you used?
JD: You need to be active on social media. Connect with readers and other authors. We are your best friends.
Michelle: And I’m sure you’ve done this through social media, since I met you through facebook. How did you use facebook to promote your book? How much time did you dedicate to connecting with others on facebook?
JD: Joined as many writer and promotion groups as possible. At least 1 day a week should be dedicated to promoting your book on those pages.
Michelle: And what about other social media websites? How did you use twitter to promote your book?
JD: Connecting with as many writers as possible. They are a helpful bunch.
Michelle: And are there other websites did you use to promote and sell your book? Any websites you recommend for other authors to promote/sell?
JD: If you have a YouTube page, use it. If you have a blog, use it. If your friends have blogs, convince them to promote your book on it. You can get it advertised in newspapers and magazines. There are many different places you can advertise your book in.
There are many different places where you can promote your book for free. It doesn’t cost a lot to advertise your book. Stay active in all your advertising. You won’t sell many copies if no one sees it.
- Facebook contact info: https://www.facebook.com/Biabub
- Twitter contact info: https://twitter.com/Biabub
- Goodreads contact info https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/17109205-jd-bartholomew
- Books: Elia The Last Elf: Ebook: http://amzn.to/1mbAuBO
- Where else can we find you? https://bookarma.net/author/jd-bartholomew
If you have any questions about JD Bartholomew, his books, or would like to know a bit more about how he handled the planning, writing, publishing, and marketing processes, leave your question in a comment below!