Today I am excited to share an interview with author Jay Shaw. Jay offers some great advice to help authors and bloggers to improve their writing and promote their work.
My questions are in bold, Jay’s follow in plain text
About Jay Shaw
Jay lives in New Zealand, where she raises her two teenagers. She loves photography, and has a partiality for tall, dark-haired, military men in thigh holsters and combat boots. But isn’t opposed to the occasional shirtless cowboy in tight denim.
She spends her days having lunch with her most-excellent author friends, marathoning Netflix, and lurking on Facebook or Twitter.
Occasionally, you can catch her writing sexy space adventures, paranormal wolf-shifter escapades, or contemporary romances. And while there is guaranteed to be trials and tribulations, it is universally acknowledged her characters will eventually discover their one great love. A love all of time and space will lie down and be still for.
What is one thing you have learned from being successful in writing?
Other authors are not your enemy. Despite the fact that we’re all in the same industry, there is room for all of us, and if you have a question or need help just ask. There’s a hundred percent change one or all of us has been where you are now.
Is there a mistake you have made starting out that you wish you could change?
If a publisher or an agent asks for money upfront, they’re a shark. Avoid sharks.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
- – Create a social media presence long before your book is ready for sale.
- – Pay for a professional cover artist, make sure they are willing to listen to your ideas and then mold them to fit your genre.
- – Establish a beta reading group, and find a couple of critique partners.
- – You don’t have to agree with editor and beta-reader comments, but it does pay to consider them. In the end, it’s your book.
As a writer what are you most proud of?
Right now: the fact that I’ve completed, and published, my first trilogy.
Overall: based on feedback I’m able to write characters and stories that pull readers into their journeys and take them on a roller coaster of an adventure that allows them to escape their own lives, if only for an hour or two.
Looking back on your career, is there something you learned from the industry that you found surprising?
The industry isn’t as cutthroat as you’re led to believe when you’re on the outside looking in. Sure, there is definitely an element of that, but mostly, we authors want to see everyone succeed. If you ask for guidance, you’re likely to find others like yourself who are genuine in their desire to offer support and advice based on their own experiences.
What advice would you have for people that have trouble writing?
- – Once you’ve had your inspirational moment and come up with your story, establish a routine.
- – Write at the same time of day, every day.
- – If you write in quite, go to a café.
- – Go for a walk with a friend and vent about your characters, then go home and write the hell out of them.
- – Eat some chocolate, read a book, watch a movie or an episode of your favourite show, then go and write.
- – Try writing sprints. Challenge yourself and see how much you can write in twenty minutes, then thirty minutes, and so on. You’ll be back to writing whole chapters a day in no time.
- – Write with a fellow writer, be it in a café, at each other’s’ houses, or online. Having someone scribbling or tapping away next to you is a great motivator.
Do you have any writing tips that may apply to bloggers, authors or other writers?
The best one is check out Jenna Moreci’s YouTube vlog. Her back catalogue covers every possible issue you’ll come across on your journey to completing and publishing your novel. She’s got a fabulous outlook that’ll have you laughing at yourself and giving you the boost you need to carry on.
If someone wanted to improve their writing skills is there a book you would recommend?
I don’t read books on writing. I belong to local writing groups, and the NZRWA who have monthly meetings. For me, there’s a certain amount of comfort and reassurance to be had from learning from fellow writers.
Any upcoming projects you are working on?
I’ve just finished THE SHIFTING TIDE – Dragonus Chronicles III,
So, I’m switching to Contemporary Romance for a while and working to complete the next three novellas in my Movie Star Romance series, starting with LIMELIGHT BLUES. Then there’s the sequel to my paranormal romance WOLFHAVEN which I hope to get started by November, and an action romance set in Kenya and the world of black rhino preservation.
Any social media tips for authors or bloggers?
While readers want to know about their favourite authors, I don’t think they want to know everything about their favourite authors. Personally, I’m turned off by political and religious posts, pictures of your half-eaten dinner, and the billion or so duck-face selfies. I think a good mix of amusing memes, things that relate in some way to the book you’re writing, pictures of your holiday to some exotic locale, motivational quotes, character inspirations, and thoughts of the day give enough variety without preaching from whichever soap box is popular that week.
Where can people connect with you online?
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Jay-Shaw/e/B01CXLFUMG
Jays Romance Junkies: mewe.com/join/jays_romance_junkies
Do have any apps, books or tips that you use, as a writer?
I adore Pinterest. I use it like a back-up hard drive for my brain, there are boards for each of my books, WiPs, and anything and everything that might someday make it into a book.
How do you manage time?
Not as well as I should. I am to write in the morning and type up at night.
The rest is just fitted in around it like you would any other job.
What is the best advice you have received?
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” – Cyril Connelly
Writing is such a personal process that helps you grow both as a writer and a person, so if you only write to please others, there’s not going to be anything of you left in what you write. Every book has a reader waiting to find it.
Do you have any advice for people that may feel discouraged about reaching their goals?
Break them down into smaller chunks.
Ask yourself what you can achieve today, tomorrow, by the end of the month, the year, in two years, five. That way you’re always reaching one goal, and just about to reach the next. Progress is progress.
How import is fitness?
More important than we like to admit.
I go walking with a friend who is also a writer and we use the time to discuss whatever issue is bothering us as writers and or mums. It’s therapeutic on more than one level.
Anything I should ask that I have not?
- Favourite colour: purple
- Favourite animal: dog, snow leopard, dragon
- Favourite food: steak with mushroom sauce, cheesecake
- If you were stranded on a deserted island what would you hope you had with you: a military-grade knife, magnifying glass, paper/pen, saucepan, first aid kit.
What is the one thing you wish everyone knew?
No one really knows the answer, we’re all just winging it.
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