|David Wailing (not an auto)|
DW: In total I’ve written nine novels, not counting a few that were started then abandoned. But only five of them have been published as eBooks. The others remain safely incarcerated in the attic like deranged family members we prefer not to discuss.
As for my favourite, right now I think the book I haven’t started writing yet will be the best thing I’ve ever done. And I suspect that will always be my answer!
Ah yes, it's the same for me too... the next book is always perfect until I start the messy process of actually writing it! Your Auto books deal with a scary future... how much is fact, and how much fiction?
DW: It’s interesting that some readers do find the Auto Series scary. I think a lot of us have a real love/fear relationship with technology!
There are many elements in the books based on fact or technologies currently being developed – things like self-driving cars. I’ve tried to extrapolate a lot from the present day, not just gadgets but also attitudes and social conventions. When we see a group of friends sitting together, all silently staring at their smartphones, it’s easy to imagine a future where people’s focus is entirely on their own private digital worlds. Maybe that’s what readers find scary?
Obviously autos themselves are still fictional, but you can see their roots in Siri or Cortana, and in virtual avatars that pretend to be real people. Also fictional are international laws which forbid all internet access unless via your auto, which identifies you no matter what you do. That sounds draconian, but already UK legislation is heading in that direction, insisting we all give up some privacy for the greater good. I’m finding that much of the Auto Series is gradually coming true in some way or another!
I've noticed social conventions changing too. It used to be terribly bad manners to answer a call or text when meeting people face to face, yet now this is so acceptable that friends sitting together even text each other across the table. Of course many 'meetings' take place online now. We met on a Kindle forum, where most of the discussion naturally concerns ebooks. Considering your subject matter, are you a confirmed ebook author and reader? Or do you have a secret paper habit?
DW: Mostly I read using my Kindle, as it’s especially good for new books and for sampling. I am still happy to read paperbacks, although it’s rare that I buy them any more. For books you already know and love, paperbacks are ideal as they allow you to skip back and forth to read your favourite bits, which is tricky to do on a Kindle.
Speaking of skipping back and forth through the book, I know that you also offer editing and proofreading services. Do you do all your own editing? And is this easier or harder than editing someone else's story?
DW: I do self-edit but it’s much harder for me to edit my own work than someone else’s. My author brain and editor brain can’t really co-exist, it’s one or the other. So like every writer, I rely on others to check my work and help me polish it. If you want to produce anything to a high standard, you really do need other pairs of eyes to look over it, no matter how experienced you are.
I agree two pairs of eyes are better than one, especially for proofreading, though I find cover design the most challenging part of publishing indie. Who does your covers?
DW: I do! With the help of some pre-purchased imagery. I’m no graphic designer but I can just about put together something effective, as long as the design is fairly simplistic.
I'm impressed! Apart from getting to design your own covers, what's the best thing and the worst thing about being an indie author?
DW: There are lots of wonderful things about being an indie author, but the best is that it’s even possible. The simple fact that there are now platforms for writers to directly reach an audience is something I still find staggering. We all tend to take this for granted, and give Amazon and the rest a hard time when they’re not perfect. But I spent two decades submitting my work to publishers and amassing piles of rejection letters, despite hearing horror stories from authors who did get a publishing deal, only to find they were treated terribly and hardly made any money. There was no choice, it was the only game in town. But now we make the rules ourselves, and that’s something we should always be grateful for.
The worst thing is that because we can all now publish our own books, it’s even harder to get noticed. The flipside of that great freedom is that everyone else has it too!
Also, as with any new industry, a number of middlemen (promoters, advertisers, social media sites) have sprung up to make money out of authors’ desperation to reach a wide audience. Unfortunately it’s becoming the case that authors with the highest disposable income enjoy the greatest success, as they can afford the high promotional costs. Just like with traditional publishing, many people make a living out of books – but it’s rarely those who actually write them.
Sadly true. Finally, if you were marooned on an alien planet with your Kindle and had forgotten to pack your charger, how would you use your last few precious minutes of battery life...?
DW: I would turn on my Kindle’s wi-fi, log into the nearest interstellar sub-etha network, type a message (very slowly, using the Kindle 4’s painful keyboard) to flag down a passing spaceship, and hitch-hike back to the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy. No prizes for guessing which book inspired that!
Thank you very much, David... oh, and don't forget to pack your towel!
Find out more about David Wailing and his books at www.davidwailing.com
The Auto series is available for Kindle with some great promotions coming up in the next few days...
AUTO 1 (FREE download between 23rd and 27th November.)
AUTO 2 (available from Monday 23rd November)
Or try the separate stories in the Auto series for 99p each.
Or try the separate stories in the Auto series for 99p each.
*Katherine Roberts (not an auto) is a fan of the fantasy/science fiction genre and writes books for younger readers. Her backlist is now available as ebooks, and her latest series about King Arthur's daughter is available in both hardcover and paperback, too. Find out more at www.katherineroberts.co.uk