Saturday, 20 October 2012
AUTHOR INTERVIEW - JAMES HUTCHINGS
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?The latest thing I've published is 'The Case of the Syphilitic Sister'. Chapter One has been published at JukePop Serials: http://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/13
I'm intending to post new chapters monthly.
It's a detective story where the detectives are superheroes.Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think there's very little connection between whether a book is good, and whether the movie adaptation will be good. A good book can make a bad movie, and a bad book can make a good movie.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I got a rejection email for one of my poems which said that "There were several amusing parts in this poem, but it’s not consistently funny throughout, which is what I’d be looking for in a humour poem. I think the problem (as I see it) is that you’re often vague or allusive; specific details tend to be funniest." This would have been a lot more encouraging if the poem was meant to be funny.
What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
My other main hobby is coding online games. I spent several years writing an online game called Age of Fable (www.ageoffable.net). I don't have any plans to do more on it, but it's still online, and you can play it for free. I've also done a few smaller projects. For example I did an online version of the computer game Oregon Trail.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Nowadays anyone can self-publish. If you can make a Word document, you can have an ebook on Smashwords or Amazon. However that means that if your work is no good, no one's going to stop you. I'd recommend that people get onto Critique Circle (www.critiquecircle.com) and/or Scribophile (www.scribophile.com), put their work up, and listen to what people tell you. Don't 'defend' your work against people's 'attacks'. They aren't attacks, they're helping you. I've found that the people who defend their work have a strong tendency to have the worst writing, I suppose because they're not making the changes they need to make.
If you don't know how to use Photoshop or a similar program, I'd recomment hiring someone else to make a cover for you. This can be relatively cheap - less than $100 depending on what you want. Smashwords has some information on people who do this.
My next point doesn't matter if you're going to self-publish, but it is important if you want to be published by a regular publisher, or if you want to submit stories to magazines. Most places won't publish work that's already been published. And most places count putting a story on the internet as publishing it. In my opinion that's silly, but that's what they do. Scribophile and Critique Circle are exceptions, because google doesn't index them and you can't see any stories without logging on. However there are writing group websites out there where, if you put a story on the site, that counts as the story being published. That seems like a really terrible way to set things up, but they're out there.
There are two schools of thought on promoting your work after you publish. Some people say that you should spend a lot of time contacting blogs, posting on forums, running your own blog and so on. Other people say that you're better off putting the energy into writing more so you can have more books out. I honestly don't know which one is right.
There are a lot of sharks out there, who make their money from authors and not from readers. They will make all sorts of promises about how they're going to promote you and help you, but these are lies. Authors do not pay publishers, ever, and if they're asking you to pay then it's a scam. Of course if you're self-publishing you might end up paying someone to design a cover for you, or you might pay for internet advertising, but those are different things. You might also pay a printer to print your books if you want to get physical books rather than ebooks - but in this age of the kindle and print-on-demand I don't know why you'd want to. Preditors and Editors (www.pred-ed.com) is a good website to look at, and you can get good advice at the forums of Critique Circle. The best-known reputable and free self-publishing venues are Amazon Kindle Direct, Smashwords.com, and for physical books Lulu.com.
Finally, I'd suggest learning to touch-type if you can't already. You're going to be doing a lot of typing, and every hour you spend getting faster at typing will save you ten in the long run.Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No, never. In fact some people have asked me whether they should publish a negative review, and I've always said yes. On my blog (www.apolitical.info/teleleli) I have a list of reviews, which includes negative ones.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
'The Case of the Syphilitic Sister' is intended to sound like an old tough-guy detective story. It was originally called 'All-American Detectives', which was meant to sound like a comic book. However the people at JukePop Serials thought that was a bit bland.
I do my own covers in PhotoShop. The cover of 'The Case of the Syphilitic Sister' uses pictures from two old, now public domain, comic book covers.Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes, always. However all my books are ebooks, not printed. But if anyone has a blog, or can do an interview on Goodreads or a similar site, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Where can readers follow you?
My blog: http://apolitical.info/teleleli/
The Case of the Syphilitic Sister: http://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/13