Indie Self-publishers Account for More Than Twice The Number of Big Five titles: What Does Author Earnings Say to the Industry? by Porter Anderson

What Does Author Earnings Say to the Industry? 
by Porter Anderson
Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson has reported on the upcoming FW’s Digital Book World conference, March 7 to 9 in New York, where the mystery analyst, called,  Data Guy will present a keynote oration, Outside the Data Box: Taking a Fresh Look at ebook Sales, the Indie-publishing Market, and a Fast-changing Publishing Business.
As an author, I'm very interested in where indie self-publishers come down. So, this is what interested me from Mr. Anderson's article:
Author Earnings asserts that on Amazon’s bestseller lists, indie self-published titles account for more than twice the number of  Big Five titles.

“What has changed,” the report tells us, “is the degree to which Amazon’s overall Top 20 bestsellers, and even the overall Top 10, have come to be dominated by self-published titles from indie authors—nearly half of which were not priced at $0.99 but rather ‘full-priced’ sales at prices between $2.99 and $5.99.”
From the February 2016 Author Earnings report
FROM THE FEBRUARY 2016 AUTHOR EARNINGS REPORT
From the date on which “our spider ran,” in Guy-talk:
  • Four of Amazon’s overall Top 10 bestselling ebooks were self-published indie titles
  • Ten of Amazon’s overall Top 20 bestselling ebooks were self-published indie titles
  • Fifty-six of Amazon’s overall Top 100 bestselling ebooks—more than half—were self-published indie titles
  • Twenty  of Amazon’s overall Top 100 bestselling ebooks were indie titles priced between $2.99 and$5.99
The most interesting question for us at this juncture is just what the trade publishing management attending DBW will make of this. Can it be that the “legacy” industry is being outclassed so substantially by “indie published” authors—the self-published sector?
Indeed, of interest to everyone, the report goes on to submit that it can tell us “how many ebooks a day Amazon.com is actually selling.” I quote the report:
As of mid-January 2016, Amazon’s US ebook sales were running at a rate of 1,064,000 paid downloads a day…
Total: 1,064,000
  • Indie Self-Published ebook KU full-read equivalents    155,000
  • Indie Self-Published regular retail ebook sales    293,000
  • Small/Medium Publisher ebook sales     204,000
  • Amazon-Publishing Imprint ebook sales     115,000
  • Big Five Publisher ebook sales     244,000
  • Uncategorized Single-Author Publisher ebook sales   53,000
Where the partisan nature of the Author Earnings effort always surfaces most clearly is, logically, in its claims about indie-author earning power, that original two-year-old agenda, “the pie chart that interests us the most,” as the report puts it. Here it is:
From the February 2016 Author Earnings report
FROM THE FEBRUARY 2016 AUTHOR EARNINGS REPORT
Ebook sales on Amazon.com, Data Guy tells us “are generating $1,756,000 a day in author earnings. But less than 40 percent of those author-earnings dollars—from the largest bookstore in the world—is now going to traditionally-published authors. And less than a quarter is going to authors published with the Big Five.”
What follows immediately is the bone that Author Earnings always wants to pick with the industry, with the Authors Guild, and with standard reporting methods:
“Is it any wonder that the traditional publishing media and historic author advocacy groups are reporting declining ebook sales and shrinking author incomes for their members? We humbly submit that, for author earnings, these organizations are looking in all the wrong places. $140 million a year in Kindle Unlimited payouts is going directly to authors, and yet that enormous sum of income is somehow uncounted by traditional author surveys. And as we are now able to measure, that sum is only the tip of the iceberg. There is also a vast swath of the market not being reported on at all, along with a whole host of authors not paying dues to author advocacy groups and simply going about the business of earning an income with their art.”
This is the language of self-publishing as what some of its champions call the “shadow industry,” a creative corps that cares nothing for the customs and concerns of the industry, and yet seems never to tire of carping at the establishment. It’s always worth noting that even some of the most-honored self-publishing bestsellers have taken contracts when offered.
And as anyone familiar with negotiating basics knows, by framing its results in ways that call out “the other side”—in this case, traditional publishing—Author Earnings repeatedly has hobbled its own efforts to widen the discussion. Rather than simply present an interpretation of the market and let that interpretation speak for itself, the material is served on a bed of right and wrong. Eyes glaze over, chips remain on shoulders, collegial exchange seems hard to come by.
For the first time, Author Earnings expands to print sales, and there, the Big Five are allowed a 47-percent dominance of daily revenue to authors from print bestsellers. The chart:
AE chart 3
FROM THE FEBRUARY 2016 AUTHOR EARNINGS REPORT
The commentary that goes with this one:
“It’s interesting to note here that the Big Five hold less than a quarter of print bestseller slots, and their unit sales, dollars, and author royalties are less than half of Amazon’s print business. This is a greater percentage than any other publishing type, but it again stresses the need for balance and perspective when the top publishers’ numbers are taken to represent the whole of the industry; they don’t even represent half of online sales in the format they are supposed to dominate. And self-published indie authors, who are already taking home 14 percent of online print author earnings, have captured a significant share of the author dollars from online print sales.”


A self proclaimed wise-ass, Award Winning Author, Jeff Lee

A self proclaimed wise-ass, Award Winning Author, Jeff Lee IS ALSO
Jeff Lee
an award-winning writer of humorous ads and
 commercials. A former Army cook who is still considered deadly with a spatula. And, YES, a wise-ass who, one of these days, is going to get his.
Jeff worked for more than thirty years as  a copywriter and creative director for some of the advertising industry’s most recognizable agencies, winning numerous awards for his creativity. His books are full of Humor, Comedy, Crime, Murder, Mystery and contains some of the most hysterical sex scenes ever written. 


Hi Jeff!  Thank you for being on my blog today.
The advertising business is a high pressure job. How did that prepare you for writing books?

I spent more than forty years writing humorous ads, commercials, outdoor boards and Lord knows what else. And, it was a great training ground for what I do now. I learned how to work against the pressure of a deadline; how to be funny on command; how to make sure that each and every word works – in other words, how to write without a lot of fat. I also learned how to defend myself and my work to people who either didn’t get it, or wanted it written their way. In short, working as an advertising copywriter taught me how to write fast, be really good at working with words, funny as hell and fearless when it comes to my work.

What brought you to the point where you decided to write books?

Every copywriter I ever knew had a desk drawer or a carton at home, stuffed to overflowing with short stories, plays, novels and screenplays they’d written, and I was no exception. Being a copywriter, winning a lot of silly awards and then becoming a creative director made me hungry to write my own stuff. To tell my own stories. If you’re a copywriter, sooner or later, you find you want – make that, you have – to paint on a larger canvas.

Early on, what author or authors influenced you?

I was a voracious reader; used to devour books. So, my list of favorite authors could probably fill pages. But here are the ones that come to mind first. Top of the list has to be William Goldman; the man is the god of putting characters, words and stories together. Among other things, he’s responsible for writing Boys and Girls Together, Magic, Marathon Man, No Way To Treat a Lady, Soldier in the Rain, Harper, and probably twenty other books, INCLUDING The Princess Bride. Plus the screenplays for any of these that became movies, along with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He’s also rumored to have script doctored Goodwill Hunting. ‘Nuff said. Other writers? Let’s see. Anything by Michener. Joe Heller. Leon Uris. James Clavell. Yes, even Ian Fleming. John Fowles. Dan Greenberg. Ludlum. Trevanian. Raymond Chandler. Dashiel Hammet. Faulkner. Michael Crichton. Some Hemingway. And God knows, there’s a lot more. Looking at the list, I’m obviously a sucker for great characters and a good story, told extremely well.

Does being a wise-ass pay off?

In what way? As a copywriter, it earned me a shelf full of silly awards for my alleged creativity, as well as the raises and promotions that went along with them. As a novelist, it might not have earned me much money yet. But my wise-ass nature has earned my books nothing but 4 and 5-star reviews, with pretty hard-boiled reviewers gushing about how funny my books were, and how they can’t wait for the next one to come out. And I’ve got to tell you, reading a 5-star review from someone who’s laughing so hard they can’t type is so damn gratifying it puts a nice warm glow on a meager sales day.

Are there parts of your life that are in your stories?  

Not really. That’s the way the guys at Witness Protection want it. So, who am I to argue?

How did your story, Chump Change, which is about "Fish” Fishbein," a bounty hunter and repo guy in La-La Land come about?

Hair of the Dog, the second book in my Adventures in La-La Land series had been out for about six months or so and was getting all 4 and 5-star reviews. Then my publisher announced they were going out of business. Which royally pissed me off and left me wondering if I even wanted to write another book again. About six months after that, all of a sudden, I was hungry to write another book for the series. And this time around, I got really ambitious. It was going to feature four times as many villains, a lot more murders and be funny as Hell. Then the thought occurred to me, what would happen if someone stole a small fortune in small change? Like, an armored car full of quarters. Which would be almost what the city of Los Angeles used to rake in from their parking meter racket. The rest is history. By the time I finished the first draft I had a gang of un-wise guys; a corrupt televangelist and fledgling porn producer; his wife and co-minister, who was nuts about winning toddler beauty pageants; her brother, the city of L.A.’s Parking Meter Czar; a defrocked talent agent; a porn shoot gone hysterically off the rails; a marching band full of naked Roman zombies; and a porn star who talked like Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes. Oh, and a slow-speed freeway chase involving a repo’ed Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile and the armed and dangerous deadbeat who owned it. But please, don’t give away the surprise middle.

Tell us about, The Ladies Temperance Club's Farewell Tour?   

RIGHT NOW FREE ON Kindle Unlimited
A dozen or so years ago, I had a partner and we owned a small ad agency. One of our clients was this huge association for trailer and RV oowners. It was like the triple A, but with a social side. I used to love to sit with the executive director and hear stories about some of the shenanigans that went on at their yearly member jamborees and conventions. I mean, nothing could fire up a night of X-rated hootin’ and hollerin’ like a heavy storm, a rain-soaked field stuffed with a couple of thousand RV’s and trailers, hundreds of liquored-up WWII and Korean War vets, and thigh-high mud. Which started me thinking up a story about three BFF’s, a humongous RV, gallons of Chardonnay and a magical mystery tour around the western US. Along with a quest to find the perfect place to bury the body of the waste-of-skin boyfriend of one of them, who’s frozen solid and stuck in a big freezer in the belly of the rig.

Do your books usually convey a theme or message? 

Not really, other than L.A. can be a hugely entertaining and funny place in which to live. And, if you think your life is a couple of clicks past nuts, check out what Fish Fishbein, my series MC has to deal with on a daily basis throughout the Adventures in La-La Land series.

Writing a book is one thing, when did you start looking to get your work published?

I finished the first draft of The Ladies Temperance Club’s Farewell Tour during the summer of 2005. Then I started sending out query letters to every literary agent I could find. Six years later, I  had amassed a collection of more than 500 rejection letters. Most were form letters saying, thanks, but I don’t work in your genre; or, I only represent non-fiction; or, I love your book, but don’t know any editors who work with comedy; or, you’ve got such a unique voice that I don’t have a clue how to sell you, or to whom. And, that doesn’t include the hundreds of others, who never bothered responding in the first place. So, in 2011, I said the hell with the “publishing” industry and put my book up on Amazon, as an eBook.

What was your ambition for your writing career to start with and what is it now?

There are two things I’m extremely good at and passionate about: cooking and writing. And there’s no way in Hell I’m ever going to open a restaurant. I mean, that way lies madness. I love to write and keep people entertained. That’s my ambition. The more, the merrier.

Who do you read?

Funny, between first drafts and a ton of editing, then all the administrative foo-fah that goes into constantly marketing and supporting my work, I don’t even have time to catch a bad reality series on TV, let alone read. The last book I read was several months ago, titled MASTERED. It was written by K. L. Silver, a very good friend of mine, who’s a damn good writer and works primarily in erotica. Aside from my own work (I do dozens of polish drafts before I publish anything), that’s the list. And here you probably thought that being a writer was all about A-list parties, hanging out with other celebs and either getting hammered with Capote and Hemingway, or tearing across the country with Kerouac in a hot sedan full of blondes, burgundy and benzedrine. As if…

What advice would you give to your younger self?

1. Sit up straight, clean your plate…and keep your eyes and ears open. Because you never know where or when you’re going to see something or hear a line you’re going to want to use in a book.
2. Don’t write to please other people. The world already has plenty of Ian Flemings, Steven Kings, Woody Allens and Ludlums. And it doesn’t need – or want – another one. Find your own voice, your own unique way of telling a story. And once you’ve found your voice, never, under any circumstances, let it go.
3. Pay special attention to anyone who’s ever pissed you off, let you down, made you feel crummy about yourself, turned you down for a date, or given you an STD. Because as a writer, you’ll get to have the last word and the last laugh. I’ve written four books and am working on my fifth. So far, I’ve murdered an ex-professor who hated my guts and a former close friend who tried to rip me off, and made countless horses’ patoots out of other former friends, dates, bosses, drill sergeants and even a relative or two. Lemme tell you, it’s good to be the king.

Jeff, you have two other books, what is happening with them and will readers get a chance to read them?

When my publisher went out of business, I had two books with them, which were selling on Amazon. Hair of the Dog and Bird Boy. Since the publisher had put them up, their Amazon pages immediately disappeared, along with their pages on GoodReads and every other online EBook seller. I’ve gotten the rights back to both books, and in my spare time, I’m getting them in shape to re-publish. This time around, I’ll be self publishing them.

What are you writing now?

I’m about 20,000 words into the first draft of Fish Fishbein’s next big Adventure in La-La Land. Since he and his two assistants are heavily tattooed Harley riders, the best place for them to find a murder victim has to be in the middle of the biggest, loudest, druken-est biker rally on the planet. Yup, fasten your seatbelts. The boys are off to Sturgis.

Where online can people find you and your books? 

Here are the links to find my books:

Farewell Tour’s Amazon link: amzn.to/1KEN8U3
Chump Change’s Amazon link: amzn.to/1LDs9VS
Face Book Author Page: on.fb.me/1QPczqQ
My Website: bit.ly/1uHEmSo

We're at the end of our interview. I want to thank  you,  Jeff for being here.  I SO enjoyed talking with you. Such fun.

My pleasure, JD. I had a huge amount of fun doing this interview. ~Jeff Lee

Again, Jeff Lee's Website is : http://jeffleewriter.weebly.com/

Audio Books: What Indie Authors Should Know by Rachel Rueben

I recently looked into making my books into audio versions, but then I read this article!
If you are looking into adding your book for sale as an audio book you might want to read this article as well by YA Author & Novelist, Blogger, Podcaster & Investigating Journalist, Rachel Rueben.



Audio Books: What Indie Authors Should Know


Over the past few months indie authors have been discussing audio books and many of us have questions such as; how do you make one, should even you make one, and where do you promote them? So I went on a quest to learn the ABCs of audio books but before I begin let me be clear.  When I refer to audio books I am talking about both MP3 files as well as CDs.  Yes, there are people still listening to CDs!

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90’s humor! Pic by Nick D. Clements via Flickr

Major Misconceptions About Audio Books

Despite what you’ve heard, audio books aren’t for the blind or small children who are struggling to read. Lots of people listen to audio books at the gym, in their cars, and even at work. The numbers reflect this, because every major publisher has reported increasing audio sales since 2012.  This explains why it’s become standard for publishers to demand audio rights these days.
Another big misconception is that the bestselling audio books are all nonfiction. But not according to the APA (Audio Publishers Association) 2014 Sales Survey which says adult fiction takes 77% of the audio book market.  Don’t believe me? Just go over to Audible, the biggest audio book retailer, and look at their bestseller list.

The Pros and Cons

Pro: Right now Audible (which is owned by Amazon), has only about 180,000+ audio books for sale as of this date. However, that is predicted to explode as Google and Apple aim to make their software standard in new cars. This has the interest of many indie authors and it was the talk of many book conferences this year. There’s no doubt that the market has potential but it’s still small.
Con: The sad thing is, the most popular entry into the market is through ACX (also owned by Amazon), which makes producing audio books easy for authors but it all comes at a price. ACX has both exclusive and nonexclusive deals and none of them favor authors. For example, if you decide to go exclusive, you’ll get a royalty of 40% but you’ll have to remain exclusive with them for seven years. No, that wasn’t a typo, I said seven years, as in almost a decade! In that time, they will distribute your work to Apple iTunes and Audible however, there is no mention of Barnes & Noble, or Overdrive nor any of the other retailers in their FAQs. They also set the price of the book, not the author.

Pic by Jeff Golden via Flickr
Pic by Jeff Golden via Flickr

It only gets worse, indie authors who decide to go nonexclusive, will only get 25% royalties but they can sell their audio book(s) anywhere, even their own websites. Now before you despair, ACX isn’t the only deal in town, not long ago on Jane Friedman’s blog, one author talked about going to CD Baby to circumvent ACX’s undesirable terms. This may not be such a bad idea for the author who actually wants to make money from their audio books!
Keep in mind, there will be expenses associated with this as CD Baby does not provide narrators like ACX.  The average narrator can charge per hour or according to the length of the book.  Even if you decide to narrate the book yourself, you’ll need the proper equipment like a quality microphone and recording software. Another thing to note is CD Baby also has its own service fees ranging from free (minus 15% of your royalty) to $89.

Promoting Audio Books Can Be A Challenge

Recently, Goodreads (Another Amazon subsidiary) opened its doors to audio books so things are changing albeit slowly.  It’s also been rumored that Kobo and Google may be looking to get in the audio game so things are evolving. If this continues the supply will meet demand and we will begin to see marketing services catering towards audio books but right now, there aren’t that many options to promote an audio book.  Don’t get me wrong, there are several small advertising outlets for audio books however, there is no BookBub for audio books. (For those who don’t know, BookBub is the go to for online book advertising.)
On the flip side, getting a review for your audio book isn’t as challenging. I discovered several groups on Facebook, and Goodreads for audio books and reviewers. Below is just a small list of reviewers and online magazines catering to audio books.
Reviewers for your audio book
• Audio File Magazine
• Audio Book Jukebox
• Eargasms
• Books for Ears
• Audio Book Reviewer (Giveaways & Reviews)
• Audio Book Jungle
• Library Journal
As you can see, there are many things to consider before committing to publishing an audio book. If you do manage to produce one, you have to make sure the quality is just as good as your print or ebooks.  If listeners don’t like the quality of your book, it won’t sell. Another thing to consider is that this is a burgeoning market so it’s unrealistic to expect your ROI to be as high as your ebooks or print editions.  Indie authors have to see this as a long term investment and treat it as such.
So how about you, have you produced an audio book or are you on the fence?

~~~~~~~~~

OTHER Great Articles (THOUGH THEY'RE ALL GREAT!)by RACHEL RUEBEN:

Social Media: Why Your Numbers Mean Nothing!
https://cerealauthors.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/social-media-why-your-numbers-mean-nothing/

5 Things Indies Can Get for Cheap or Free!

Booktube for Indie Authors

How to get Featured or Reviewed by Amazon

Shelfari Is Closing! BUT, You Can Merge Your Account with Goodreads!



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If you have a Shelfari account, you can move the content to GoodReads. 
(Shelfari's Notice below.)
To move your Shelfari account to GoodReads, go to: http://www.shelfari.com/moveToGoodreads/ExportInvitation

Here is Shelfari's Notice

Shelfari and Goodreads, both owned by Amazon



For the past few years, Amazon has supported two online communities of readers: Shelfari and Goodreads. Both services share the same mission - helping readers find new books and share their reading - so it makes sense to merge them and create a great experience for readers on just one platform: Goodreads. We plan to complete the transition of the Shelfari community onto Goodreads by March 16, 2016.


We’d like to invite you to now move your books across to Goodreads. To make it easy for you, go to Move To Goodreads and you’ll find instructions on how to do this. You’ll be set up and back to discovering and discussing books in no time!


What will I experience on Goodreads?
If you’re not familiar with Goodreads, the core features you love on Shelfari – keeping track of books you’ve read and want to read, and connecting with fellow readers over your shared love of books – are at the heart of the Goodreads experience. You’ll also be able to enjoy additional services and features including:
  • 1. On-the-go access to your bookshelves and friends’ updates through the Goodreads iOS and Android apps.
  • 2. The ability to use Goodreads on most Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets.
  • 3. Personalized book recommendations from the Goodreads recommendation engine based on books you’ve enjoyed.
  • 4. More ways to share and enjoy your love of reading through the Goodreads Reading Challenge, the ability to write rich text reviews, and enter to win books in our popular Goodreads giveaways program, and
  • 5. Connecting with your favorite authors, including using Goodreads Ask the Author feature.


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Andy Smithson series by LRWLee, In A Nut Shell!

Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5 is OUT!
Andy Smithson series by LRWLee, In A Nut Shell!

Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered he is the Chosen one to break a 500-yr-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee when he unexpectedly and mysteriously found himself there. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight.
Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five!
If you loved Harry Potter, you’ll love the Andy Smithson series chalk full of mythical creatures, newly invented animals like zolt, herewolves, and therewolves, a complex plot with evolving characters, and positive themes including responsibility, diligence, dignity, friendship and more.
Purchase Kindle and Paperback

JUST RELEASED!
Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5
  

THE BUZZ
5 Stars! - “A marvelous book in a great series!” Erik Weibel (Age 14) This Kid Reviews Books Blog

“Readers of this series have come to anticipate a host of challenges, intense battles, and on an epic scale. In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, you won’t be disappointed. For lovers of fantasy, I consider it a must read.” Richard Weatherly, Author

“One of the admirable qualities I like about the entire series is seeing Andy’s growth from a self-absorbed kid to a more thoughtful teen as he learns how to deal with the various crises which face him, all the while knowing that the future may hold unpleasant consequences. The watchword for Vision of the Griffin's Heart is “courage.” Wayne Walker, Home School Book Review

OTHER BOOKS IN THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES:

Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Andy Smithson, Book One) ebook is FREE. Download a copy at Amazon , Smashwords , Kobo , Google , B&N .
Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks.
Book one is also available in paperback.










Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning (Andy Smithson, Book Two) 
is available in Kindle and Paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook first…Savings of $16!


Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor (Andy Smithson, Book Three) is available in Kindle and Paperback .










Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace (Andy Smithson, Book Four) Kindle and Paperback.
is available in








Power of the Heir’s Passion (Andy Smithson, Prequel Novella) ebook is FREE. Pick up a copy at Amazon , Google , B&N , Smashwords . It’s also available in paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook for $.99 first…Savings of $1!






ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
L. R. W. Lee

L. R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series.
L. R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.



L.R.W. LEE INTERVIEW
1. How did you come up with your main character, Andy Smithson? Did he just pop into your imagination or did you specifically develop him?
Andy is patterned after my son. After our first child who was what I would call compliant and seemed to need little to no correction, our son arrived on the scene. As with most 2nd children, he was polar opposite and provided much fodder for an engaging main character.

2. How did your experience with building a business help with your writing?
It has been invaluable for I understand that writing is only 50% of the writer’s success equation. Unlike Field of Dreams, with so many good books available today, just launching it, even on a well trafficked platform like Amazon, does not get recognition. Because of my corporate background, from day one I began working to build a platform – Twitter and Facebook primarily and now also Book Nerd Paradise. As well, I understand the importance of the author community, for no author can succeed these days without the support of fellow authors. My background has also helped in understanding the need to optimize my books to rank well on the variety of sites they are listed on. There’s much more, but those are the biggest helps I would say.

3. Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work?
I have to say JK Rowling. The imagination she revealed, the strength of her characters, the world building, the depth of plot over multiple books…she definitely shaped how I think about writing.

4. What do you love the most about writing for young people?
Young people are moldable. My passion for writing is to share with readers principles that from my experience can help them live more peaceful lives. A few of these principles include overcoming fear, frustration and impatience as well as understanding that true success in life is not from riches, fame or power, but rather responsibility, diligence and dignity. If they can finish any of my books closer to understanding these principles, I feel very fulfilled.

5. Which part of the creative process is your favorite? Least favorite?
Designing the story arc is my favorite part of the creative process for you can take a story anywhere your imagination can go. My least favorite part is editing/revising. Even though I know the narrative gets much stronger as a result, it’s still my least favorite part.

6. How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished?
Usually about 6 months.

7. I know that most authors love all their characters but which of your many “children” is your favorite (besides Andy) and why?
I have to say Mermin, the kindly old wizard who speaks with a lisp. I love him most after Andy because he’s so warm, humble and approachable. He’s fallible and he knows it, which is why he doesn’t apologize for his mistakes, rather he is comfortable in his own skin.

8. Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides middle grade/young adult fantasy?
Funny you should ask. Yes, I’m actually noodling with a story arc of a YA Sci Fi story.

9. How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel?
I can see how much I’ve changed and improved in showing rather than telling my readers what’s happening. I want them to engage and to show – providing sight, sounds, touch, smell, and taste cues is a big part of that. I was particularly thrilled when my editor came back a full week sooner than expected with this current book because I had improved so much between book three and four. My pocketbook also appreciated that. 



THE DEPTH OF THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES
If you’re an adult looking for a clean series you can sink your teeth into, Andy Smithson is definitely it! In it I develop four layers simultaneously: 1) Andy Smithson in Lakehills, TX 2) Andy in Oomaldee 3) the Afterlife 4) a meaning layer. A few examples to demonstrate the depth…

Symbolism is used extensively (a couple examples):
 The fog of the curse symbolizes blindness and oppression.
 The magic key unlocks doors, brings stone statues to life, as well as revives. Put another way, it symbolizes bringing forth, opening up, and revealing (aka taking responsibility).
 Methuselah is not only a weapon and helper, but also represents justice as it divides good and evil. Consistent with life, justice requires diligence to uphold.

Names are also important in this series (a few examples):
 Andy means brave or courageous.
 Alden means helper.
 Hannah means favor or grace.
 Imogenia means blameless.

Alchemy used throughout the series (a few examples):
 Alchemy played a significant role in the development of modern science. Alchemists sought to transform base metals into the gold or silver and/or develop an elixir of life which would confer youth and longevity and even immortality.

THIS is Andy Smithson series by LRWLee, In A LARGE Nut Shell!    ~JD


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The Authors' Words

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Posted by JD Holiday on Sunday, June 15, 2014







The Authors' Words


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