Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Today's Meet The Author: C.M. Fields

Glad to speak with C.M. Fields today!

Tell us about all about you…as the non- author first then about you as author.
I am 42, an engineer and working for the high tech industry. I have more than 15 years of experience in this career and for a while I was sort of burned out, gained weight and had lost my mojo. As I don’t have a family yet and wanted to be prepared to have one, I took it upon myself to get in shape, live a healthy life and I educated myself on nutrition and exercise. With a mix of nutrition, regular workouts and yoga, I went from 220 pounds down to 165. Although I still want to improve and stay fit for the rest of my life, I am comfortable with the goals I have reached so far.

As an author, one of the things that drive me is a passion for traveling and experiencing new cultures. This passion has taken me to many different places and has helped me expand my views of the world. Working in the high tech industry with virtual teams gives you an access and a view to the world that opens your mind and gives you a bigger picture. My first novel is a project that I kicked around in my head for about two or three years. I would start writing something and then would stop. Then I would start something else and stop again. Eventually I realized that I simply had to plan my story and write it, so I did. I put together a rough idea of what I wanted to have in each chapter. Once I had this, things just flowed. I would come back from work, play some music and things would just happen. As a self-published author, I realized soon the road is long and there’s no easy way to make your message known. Just like everything, you have to be persistent and believe in your message, stay at it and keep going. So, this is where I’m at. I believe in the overall message of my story and will continue trying to spread it.

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since my early twenties. First I started with essays and short stories. Over time, I realized friends and classmates liked what I wrote. So, it eventually evolved into a desire to write a book. Off and on, it has been all this long… approximately twenty years. Looking back, I gotta say, it’s a long time!   I guess I have to start upping the gears and be more prolific.

What inspires you to write in the style that you do? (what genre do you write in? does it vary?)
This is my first novel. What inspired me to write in this style is that I wanted to give an overall message. There is a story in the book and I try to share my view of where things might be heading to; I felt I had to make it more generic, hence I chose this style.
In my next book, I will most probably choose a story in the first person, it will be a way more personal story and so will have to be in this style.

How many words per day do you like to write? Is that a daily goal or weekly goal?
I approach writing as a way to open your mind and your heart, as a way to pour your heart out with what’s bouncing around in your mind. It’s a sort of therapy, if you will. So, being that it’s something somewhat emotional and whimsical, there are days when I was close to writing an entire chapter, and there were other days where nothing came and I simply spent my time correcting things in the story, adding and removing little things here and there.

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?
The name of my first book is “A Life as a Stock”. It was first printed in September 2011. I published it and marketed it through iUniverse and it’s available in amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Sony books, and other major online retailers.

My sales have not been what I expected and I think it’s one of the things about self-publishing. You have to try different formulas and find out what works and what doesn’t. Right now, I had read different posts from successful authors that a low price for the electronic version of a book is something that has worked for them. So, I’m right now working on finding out how to lower the price of the electronic version with the major online retailers. I have gotten overall good reviews (you can find one at The Urban Times online: http://bit.ly/XJJ501) though.

Will your novel become a series?
Right now, I don’t have a series in mind. And it’s funny, I have been asked about this before. Maybe I should consider it.

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?
Even though I did not write my book specifically for the electronic version, I think it’s a great new platform. Everything I have read tells that it’s a growing market and platform. I’m all up for it!

Do you think it’s worth to ask buyers to purchase a digital novel for the same amount of $ as a print novel?
I don’t. When I first went into this I went with the same price thinking that that was the way things were done. As I have learned more about it, it’s clear that you can’t. And it makes all the sense in the world. With an electronic version you’re not using paper or ink to produce a physical product. You’re simply selling your story, that’s all.

How do you think the change in the publishing industry affects authors today?
My perspective is that with every major change, you have to focus on the big picture. It’s great because now everyone who has a story has access to publish it and have a shot at doing so. It’s not so great because anyone who self publishes has to go through a learning curve, has to try different formulas and find what works and what doesn’t. That assumes that your story is good and has potential; if it’s not, then that’s a different story.

If you could give a budding author advice what would it be?
Make it look professional. Proof read a lot, polish your message and don’t give up. Nobody’s going to do the work for you, you have to knock doors, try different formulas and, most importantly, you have to realize that most successful authors became successful until their second, third or later novel.

Don’t spend your money unnecessarily with publishing packages that promise you the stars. There’s a lot of cost effective alternatives. Look for those. Reach out to the book clubs and introduce yourself to them, give books away. At the end of day, it’s about making connections.

Can you recommend our readers a publisher that you like to work with?
The only one I have worked with is iUniverse.

If you could be a famous author, who would it be and why?
Gary Jennings. He had a way to transport you to the world he was describing. You could see and smell the world in the story, you could feel the dust in your feet.

Tell us where we can find your book(s) and provide a link!
Amazon.com:  http://amzn.to/10zWeAx
Barnes & Noble.com:  http://bit.ly/ZWmrak
Kobo Books:  http://bit.ly/1ajKGDF
Sony eBooks:  http://bit.ly/13SEFIZ

Thank you C.M.!

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