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Today’s Meet The Author: L.M. Sherwin

April 3, 2013

Glad to speak with you today L.M. Sherwin!

 

Please, tell us about all about you…as the non- author first then about you as author.

First off, thank you so much for having me “over” to your blog, Kristine! It is an honor! As a non-author, I’m a pretty nerdy individual. I love reading (an addiction), drawing, playing video games, fantasy/sci-fi TV shows and movies, knitting, crochet, cooking, learning languages, creating languages….the list could go on and on, so I’ll cap it off there. 😉 In all seriousness, I have many interests and I try my best to give each one ample development time in my life. I am the wife of my high school (and college) sweetheart and we have an incredible life together. We have two fur-children in our fancy rats, Winterbell and Snowbell. 🙂

I’m a fantasy/sc-fi author and I love to write books that involve magic, mystery, and family connections. My novels (at the moment) are appropriate for young adults and adults alike. I really want my books to be approachable for everyone. I published my first book, Night Bells, in August of 2012 and its sequel, Silent Shades, in November. My most recent published work is a science-fiction novella called The Dark Ship. All my recently published novels and current projects take place in a fictional universe I’ve created called The Primoris System. The idea is that humans colonized another solar system in the distant future and find that they have to start their lives over on these worlds without the technological advancements they enjoyed on Ancient Earth. Most of the colonists discover that things they only dreamed about back in their old world (things like magic) exist in their new homes!

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was too young to hold a pen by myself! I had all these stories in my head and I rattled them off to my mother, who graciously wrote them down until I was old enough to write myself. Once that time came, there was no stopping me. I wrote short stories all growing up and we have tubs full of my old writings. In third grade, I decided I wanted to be an author when I grew up. In middle school, I started creating my own language and trying to create an epic novel. I could never quite get all the story pieces together (I honestly think it was a bit too grand for my adolescent mind), but I kept writing over the years. In college, I began my work on Night Bells and I vowed to myself that I would finish it.

After my husband and I got married, he challenged me to write an hour every day to build up my discipline as a writer. That practice changed my life. Within a year, I had written four manuscripts (one of which became Night Bells in its final version)! That was a very broad explanation for a very short answer: I’ve been writing all my life. 🙂

What inspires you to write in the style that you do? (what genre do you write in? does it vary?)

As a fantasy author, I’m most naturally inspired by other novels. I love reading grand, epic stories of magic, romance, adventure, and wicked villains. An avid reader, I’ve always favored fantasy stories. As well, I’m very much influenced by my love of nature and the world around us. For me, a hike in the woods is akin to a trek through Narnia. I’m always finding new characters in my head while out on walks and spending time outside helps me to conjure up new plot ideas. My style sometimes forays into science-fiction territory and many of my fantasy works (like Night Bells and Silent Shades) have science-fiction aspects within the story.

How many words per day do you like to write? Is that a daily goal or weekly goal?

On an “average” day, I try to write 2,000 words. Because I also have a job as an administrator for a graphic design company, I have to split my time between my author-stuff and my other-job-stuff. On a day when I have little other-job-stuff to do, I can sometimes crank out 4,000 words. I was sick one day about a month ago and I was able to work in bed and write over 6,000 words! So, I suppose it varies depending on the day, but my minimum daily word-count goal is 2,000. 🙂

What is the name of your first book? How long ago was

It printed? Where did you market it and did you have a good sale number?

My first book is called Night Bells and I published it last August (2012). For marketing, I mainly focus on maintaining an active Twitter account, Facebook page, and other social media outlets. I also ran an advertisement on Goodreads after I published it. While focusing primarily on these things, I also reached out to book bloggers for reviews, but most didn’t have the time. Most book bloggers these days are extremely busy and slammed with review submissions. I also tried giveaways via Goodreads with some good exposure. In “real life”, I had a book signing at a local Barnes and Noble store (which went extremely well). My sales have been steadily climbing. I’m happy with my consistent sales growth. More and more people are finding out about my books and that is the goal.

How do you feel about online book reading? Do you have a book that you’ve written for a digital shelf like ibooks or kindle?

All of my books are available for Kindle, Nook, Novel Nook, and Smashwords readers. In fact, my first book Night Bells is free in eBook form at Smashwords and Novel Nook. It is my hope that it will one day be free digitally on Amazon as well. I think eReading is a terrific model. I adore my own Kindle and have thoroughly enjoyed reading books on it. I still love print books (which is why I still publish my books in print as well), but I think eReading will continue to grow in popularity.

Do you think it’s worth to ask buyers to purchase a digital novel for the same amount of $ as a print novel?

Absolutely not. Part of the reason that print novels are (and should be) more expensive to readers is due to reproduction costs. An eBook, however, does not have to be printed and is therefore much “cheaper” to distribute. I try to price all my eBooks under $5.00 and all my print books under $15.00. I want readers to have access to my work and price should never be outrageous, in my opinion.

How do you think the change in the publishing industry affects authors today?

I think the biggest challenge with the publishing industry today is its volatile nature. What worked for authors (marketing-wise) even as recent as last fall may not work anymore. As an author today, you have to constantly “study up” on the industry to find out what is trending in marketing, what methods of publishing are working best, and how to reach readers in the most genuine, efficient way. Honestly, this aspect of publishing can be somewhat tiring, but with consistent effort, research, and social networking, it is possible to “stay ahead of the game” or at least stay “with the game”. 🙂

If you could give a budding author advice what would it be?

I would tell budding authors this: It is of the utmost importance that you manage your time well. Becoming an author takes immense amounts of time, dedication, and hard work. It can be overwhelming and it can even be hard to squeeze in writing time every day when you’re busy with marketing, formatting, developing, and maintaining an online presence. If you want to succeed as an author, however, you must continue to write prolifically and get your work out to your dedicated readers. Learning to split your time between writing, marketing, publishing, and social networking is essential. You really do have to “do it all”, but the good news is that, though it is challenging, it is totally possible. 🙂 You can do it!

Can you recommend our readers a publisher that you like to work with?

Well, as an indie author myself, I’d tell them to go the indie route and work for yourself! In all seriousness, being an independent author is an amazing journey. Though you are solely responsible for every bit of the writing, editing, formatting, publishing, and marketing, there is something extremely satisfying about working for yourself. I don’t have to answer to a publisher about my deadlines or about my choices regarding distribution. I can choose and hire my own editors. I can develop my own cover art or hand-pick an artist. I can publish how and when I want. So, my advice would be to seriously consider your options. There is nothing wrong with going the traditional publishing route, but that was not personally the best choice for me. I have loved my time as an indie author and have no future plans to approach traditional publishers.

If you could be a famous author, who would it be and why?

I would be Juliet Marillier. She is my absolute favorite author of all-time. Her novels are so rich, beautiful, and enchanting! Daughter of the Forest, her first novel, is my favorite story ever and I have read it more times than I can reasonably count. I would be her, because her writing style speaks directly to the heart. Her words are carefully woven into a tapestry of vivid imagery and immense meaning. Her talent is astounding and I can only hope to aspire to one day be as successful as she.

Tell us where we can find your book(s) and provide a link!

Here are the places you can find each of my books! I truly hope you’ll consider checking them out and if you do, enjoy!

Night Bells : Amazon (eBook and print) // Smashwords (FREE in eBook) // Nook (eBook) // Wattpad (FREE in serialized form) // Novel Nook (FREE in eBook)

Silent Shades: Amazon (eBook and print) // Smashwords (eBook) // Nook (eBook) // Novel Nook (eBook)

The Dark Ship: Amazon (eBook and print) // Smashwords (eBook) // Nook (eBook) // Novel Nook (eBook)

Thank you!

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