Blog Archive

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

From a Nothing to an Author: Author Interview with E.V. Anderson

Writing a memoir is so different than writing a novel as you are exposing who you are. What made you decide to bring your past into the open for others to scrutinize?
I began writing Tales of a New Jersey Nothing as a form of catharsis. My brother passed away about ten years ago, and I’d never fully processed his death. Truth is, I hated him for most of my life, because he was an alcoholic and a drug addict, and treated me horribly for many years. It wasn’t until right before his death that we reached a sort of understanding—but it was too late. The memoir is ultimately about forgiveness, and moving on. 
As far as publishing the book goes, I hadn’t really considered it until a few friends read it and said, “You’ve got to put this out.” I didn’t consider the whole “scrutiny” part until the book came out last month, and people who’d read it said, “Um, Ervin, you sure didn’t hold back, did you?” No, I didn’t. 
Why did you think your story would resonate with others? 
As I wrote the book, I began to include other things, like my own issues with drugs, my first love, and my dreams of rising up from a troubled childhood and making something of my life. I think the themes of the book are universal: family, love, loss, so I do believe others can relate. There’s also quite a bit of humor, as well, to balance out the heavy stuff. My life so far has been both tragedy and comedy, so it’s all in there.

How long did it take you to write the first draft? How many rewrites did you do on it? Who helped you with the editing?
The first draft was written very quickly. It took maybe three months. The words just poured out of me. I’ve been tinkering with it every few months for the past five years. I can’t say how many drafts it went through, because I never really stopped working in it—until last month when I released it. As far as the editing goes, I’m very lucky. My amazing girlfriend, Julia Lee, just happens to have a fancy English degree, and did the editing for me. She’s a peach!

Did you try the normal route to find a traditional publisher to handle your book? When did you decide to self-publish?
I was lucky in that I just had my first novel, The Many Lives of Lilith Lane, co-published by Plympton and Amazon Publishing late last year. Plympton publishes only serial fiction at this point, so my memoir wasn’t something they’d handle. I also felt, since this book is so personal, that it would be best to publish it myself. I wanted to maintain full control over it, so I didn’t really pursue any traditional publishers. Having published a novel by traditional means already, and having gained “some” fans, it seemed like the perfect time to release the memoir.

For those who haven’t marketed their own book, how do you actually put it together – ie. layout, cover design, input to various online sources, promotions, etc?
I have a very good writer friend who’d gone through the process already, and she helped me along the way. Once again, when it came to putting the book together—cover, layout, formatting, etc.—my girlfriend Julia was invaluable. I couldn’t have done it without her. And I must say, I think my self-published paperback memoir looks just as good as my traditionally-published novel. 
There are, for those who don’t have a brilliant partner to help, many downloadable, cheap books available that explain exactly how to get your work ready for self-publishing.
How do you write? Did you do an outline first? 
I’m not big on outlining. I’m with Stephen King in this camp. I start with a general idea, and then see where it takes me, or where the characters take me. Tales of a New Jersey Nothing began as a blog, and I wrote it out of order. One day, I’d write about an incident that happened when I was five. The next day, I’d write about something that happened when I was twenty. Eventually, I put the chapters in order, made sure it all made sense, and voilĂ , a memoir was born. 

What type of publicity/promotion has worked best for you in generating sales?
Regarding promotion, I don’t know what the heck I’m doing! Seriously. I’m still learning. But the free giveaway of the Kindle version on Amazon certainly brought in a lot of readers for the book, which can result in reviews, word-of-mouth, and good mojo. And, hey, if anyone out there has some great marketing tips of their own, feel free to send them my way!
Of course, I use Twitter and Facebook the best I can, and just ran a Goodreads promotion, which certainly helped. I also sent word to many fans of my novel, hoping they’d want to check out the memoir. Ultimately, though, I think Tales of a New Jersey Nothing will live or die by word-of-mouth. And for word-of-mouth to happen, the book has to touch people. I believe it will. Cross your fingers.

What do you know now about writing/publishing now that you wished you had known sooner?
That it’s impossible. Still, even if I’d known that all along, it would not have deterred me. I’m a writer. If I go a day without writing, I feel bad about myself. I can’t help but write. Yes, it’s impossible, but so worth it.
What is the best advice you’ve been given about writing or that you’ve learned that you would like to pass along?
Just write, and don’t let rejection stop you. I think the difference between writers who succeed and writers who don’t is, in most cases, simply determination. I’d been writing for more than a decade before having any real success. Some writers give up if they don’t achieve the success they think they deserve within a year or two. If you say you’re a writer, if you believe you’re a writer, just write, and do it for yourself and no one else. Do it because you can’t imagine not writing.

To learn more about Ervin and his writing, here are the links to get you in touch...
Amazon -to buy          Facebook page           Goodreads


No comments:

Post a Comment