Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I studied languages and other cultures as an honors student in college, and I've been traveling around the country since I was just a little kid. Writing has been a part of my life since I learned to form letters on paper, and it never crossed my mind that I might grow up someday to be anything other than an author.
Which writers inspire you?
The greatest influences in my writing have been: Jim Butcher, author of two incredible series with wildly different settings; Eoin Colfer, whose imagination is surpassed only by his understanding of childhood scheming; and Douglas Adams, whom I consider the best modern writer to thumb his nose at the conventions of writing.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
None as of yet, but I’ve had talks with a few other authors that may come to fruition. ;)
When did you decide to become a writer?
Ever since middle school, I’ve desired to be a writer. Whenever I’d have to stay home with the flu, The Hobbit was my bedside companion, the perfect adventure story to read for when I couldn’t even get out of bed. I knew I wanted to write to inspire that same sense of joy that I was given as a child.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Full-time writer. It’s hard to commit to that kind of lifestyle in today’s society; after all, there are bills to pay and mouths to feed, and writing isn't known for its explosive levels of income right out the gate. But I'm at a point in my life where I don't have any huge commitments yet, and my family has been incredibly supportive in allowing me to take time to pursue this goal.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
In my opinion, outlines make things too real. I feel committed to it once I’ve put it down where everyone can see, and it takes much more effort to change it at that point. I know where I want to end up and what direction (more or less) the stories will take, but the journey to get there is always a surprise, much to my delight.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
It’s a numbers game, so you have to play to put the odds in your favor. I combed through the Book Reviewer Yellow Pages and plucked out every site I could find that might be interested in my book; no matter what genre you’re writing in, there’s someplace there for everyone. Then you contact those reviewers and hope they are receptive to your book. The best advice I could give is to make your book accessible. Put a few chapters online so readers can get a look without feeling pressured to commit to the whole thing. I tell every reviewer to take the files I give them and spread them around; if they know someone who might like the book, I want them to put the book in that person’s hands. That’s one more reader for me with no added effort. Obscurity is more dangerous than piracy, in the digital age of books.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Good books attract good reviews as a matter of course, but even poor reviews help to bolster a book’s visibility. When I read book reviews—and it’s terrible that I do this, but it’s true—I focus almost exclusively on the unfavorable reviews in the 2- to 3-star range. These reviews are, in my opinion, the ones that are written by people who wanted to like a book but for some reason couldn’t. They found favorable things to say in addition to the unfavorable, and that’s important, because that means they’re giving equal consideration and not just blasting or praising a book with little to back it up. And when someone hates a book for a reason I disagree with, who knows? Maybe that negative review just found your book a new reader.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I welcome readers to connect with me through my author website, www.TomShutt.com, or to find me on Goodreads.
Any Comments for the Blog readers?
Keep doing what you’re doing! We authors and bloggers exist to give you awesome content, and your readership means everything!
Any feedback for me or the blog?
Thank you for having me, and for continuing to support indie authors!