Welcome to Day 7 of #NJ12DaysOfAuthors June Series! @RishiEdSharrow #TheLastBattle
At the end of this series, 1 lucky visitor will win a (12) Kindle e-book pack which will include a copy of each book featured in this series + a $10 Amazon gift card + a book trailer, courtesy of 4WillsPublishing! Simply leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing!
On the 7th day of the June “12 Days of Authors” Series… Nonnie’s gift to you…
AUTHOR, ED SHARROW!
NJ: Uh, Ed, where is your bio? Oh, well, let’s move right along. Is your author name a pen name or your birth name?
Ed: I write using my birth name with first nickname, “Ed Sharrow”.
NJ: How long have you been writing?
Ed: I have been writing consistently for about four decades. However, I began by writing short plays and screenplays. Most of these were never produced. I began to write novel-length stories in 2005.
NJ: What genre or genres do you write under?
Ed: One of my decisions that has hurt my professional progress as a novelist has been not focusing on a single genre. I began with a fantasy, Atlantis Sinking, continued with a science fiction, Virtual Humans, then wrote a murder mystery for fun (and to try to appease the elements Hollywood producers were seeking), Murder in the Fifth. Finally, I wrote a fictionalized, but as fact-based as possible, biography, The Last Battle: The Life of William the Conqueror. Within a few months, I will publish another biography, The Tomb of Anthony.
NJ: Ed, if you’re a good writer, I don’t feel that writing under more than one genre hurts you professionally. I think it shows just how far your imagination can stretch and it also points to your wide-range of talents. Now, are you indie-published or traditionally published?
Ed: Self-published. I initially queried literary agents, but found that bouncing between genres is generally frowned upon. Now, that I am settling into Historical Fiction/Biographies, I may approach traditional publishers again.
NJ: How many books have you published to date?
Ed: Four novels published to date, with a fifth on the way. Only two are currently available on Amazon: the historical biography, The Last Battle: The Life of William the Conqueror and a murder mystery specifically written with the goal of developing a feature film or television series from the initial premise, Murder in the Fifth.
NJ: Which is your favorite and why?
Ed: Isn’t everyone’s first their favorite? One downside to indie-publishing is that I realized how I am improving my craft and my early books were really learning experiences. I removed the availability of two books. My favorite is the historical biography, The Last Battle: The Life of William the Conqueror.
NJ: No, I don’t believe everyone’s first is necessarily their favorite. Most often, the ones that show growth in our writing, generally the last one published, is the favorite of many. Before I go any further, you mention above that one downside to indie-publishing is that you realized how I am improving my craft. I don’t understand that sentence, but, let me say this. One of the biggest perks of Indie publishing (and there are many) is that you’re able to take down those earlier works that weren’t as polished as they should have been when you first published, and re-do them – as opposed to being locked in with a publisher who has all the control over your work and you having to get permission to do such a thing. I’ve been told that permission isn’t given too often in these cases, so, that’s one of the biggest positives to Indie publishing, FYI. Please give us just a little background on the book you mentioned above. What is it about?
Ed: The Last Battle: The Life of William the Conqueror follows the life of the man responsible for creating much of Western Civilization as we know it today. William united Normandy (Northern France) with the Anglo-Saxon isle (Britain) – the first version of the EU. His edict to create a language that all of his subjects could understand resulted in the creation of the English language. He also spearheaded other culture changing initiatives such as creating a judicial system that incorporated trials by a jury of one’s peers, a modern system of taxation, and he ended the sale of humans as slaves (unfortunately this didn’t last). He sought the endorsement and approval of Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and in the process expanded the reach of that church in North Europe.
NJ: Interesting. Where can readers purchase your book and how much is it?
Ed: Amazon. Paperback $14.99, Kindle $8.99.
NJ: WOW! $8.99 for an e-book? Ed, I have been in this business long enough to know that quite a few readers have a purchase price point and will only spend so much on an e-book. How do you price your books and what is your logic behind the pricing?
Ed: My goal is to average $2 “royalty” per sale across all methods. Sometimes this means the Kindle price is slightly higher to keep the print price lower.
NJ: Ed, it shows that you published this book in 2016, yet it only has 3 reviews. My suggestion to you, my friend, would be to not worry so much about what you’re pocketing per book, but focus more on actually selling the book. As I mentioned, many readers have a price point as to what they’re going to spend on an e-book and unless you’re a celebrity or an author with name recognition, then your book won’t move. Trying being competitive with the industry – notice what others are charging for their e-books and seriously consider adjusting your price. Your book has been on the market for 5 years. It should have way more reviews than 3. Just a helpful (but tried and true) suggestion. Ed, I got on social media many years ago because my social media manager at the time, told me that I needed to be on Twitter, specifically. He did not give me an actual reason as to why (I had to learn my “why” on my own), just that I needed to be there. What was your main reason for getting on Twitter? For support? For fun?
Ed: I joined Twitter in 2012 because I liked the challenge of expressing thoughts within a limited number of characters. I believed this would help me to be more succinct in other writing as well.
NJ: Oh, that’s a different concept but if it’s worked for you, that’s amazing! What other social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) do you use to market your book(s), and have you found them to be beneficial?
Ed: While I am on several platforms, I most often promote my writing to “new friends who I have yet to meet” on Twitter. Since much of my current effort is directed at bring Eastern and Western thought together, specifically at the intersection of Yoga philosophy and Christianity, I have created a community on the Locals platform. It’s free to follow me there, and over time, I will put more content behind the pay wall in that community. I tend to limit Facebook and Instagram to friends developed in-person.
NJ: Ed, supporting others is a huge part of my identity. I believe that when you invest your time and support in others, you find that your circle grows by leaps and bounds of others giving the same to you. When I first got involved heavily on Twitter, I was pushing others more than I was pushing myself – I continue to do so. Do you support others on social media? If so, how?
Ed: I support others, mostly through interactions, retweets and sometimes purchases.
NJ: And do you actually take the time to read tweets from others before you retweet them, or do you just hit “retweet” without ever engaging in the tweet?
Ed: I read everything I share or post on any account before sharing it. Except for the occasional book promotion which I haven’t read but I support the author.
NJ: Be careful there, Ed. That book promo that you pass on reading but decide to share anyway, could be a porn promo. You never know. That’s why it’s SO extremely important to read before you retweet anything. Now, if you could map out the perfect way that you would want others to support you on social media, how would you ask your followers to support you? Just imagine that everyone who reads this interview will run out and follow you. How could they best support you? What would you have them do?
Ed: To support me more directly, become a paying member on the Locals community. The minimum is $5/month for access behind the paywall. As more people join there, it will “buy my time” to work on projects.
NJ: We all learn something new almost every day while on social media and I like sharing what I have learned with other authors, in hopes that it will benefit them in some way. Have you come across any writing resources that might benefit other authors? If so, share 2 or 3 of them with us, please.
Ed: Writing resources vary depending upon my current projects. I use Microsoft Word to write and have not purchased a specialty writing application.
NJ: Authors are always seeking good formatting services. Who do you use to format your books, and would you recommend them?
Ed: A personal friend who does not want to format books for other people. I am planning to purchase cover and formatting services for the first time with my next book. I’ll watch on Twitter for suggestions.
NJ: OK. Can you share with our audience 2 or 3 of the top methods you use to market your books?
Ed: I’m a poor marketer. I was developing a MailChimp list, but the length of time between novels made that unsustainable. I am open to low or no-cost suggestions.
NJ: What is the one bit of writing advice you would give to any author, experienced or newbie?
Ed: Write for yourself and your audience will find you. Writing to please others will never satisfy.
NJ: Is your reputation as a writer important to you, OR might we look up one day and find that you are in a Twitter brawl with someone?
Ed: I have used social media in a variety of ways. I have participated in brawls in order to understand social media better. For example, some people are actually paid to inflame conversations online. Others like to comment on issues which are not part of their own community. It’s easy for someone in Los Angeles to disparage someone who lives in a rural or remote location for example. I lean conservative and overall these platforms (Twitter and Medium especially) are promoting far liberal viewpoints.
NJ: In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between the writers you see today around social media, versus the writers of old? (Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, even Stephen King)
Ed: Pre-computers writers had to think about their stories before committing them to paper. Today writers may start writing with little forethought.
NJ: Do you value professionalism in the literary arena and worry that the lack thereof makes it harder for those of us who wish to be taken seriously in this business? Or, does the unprofessional behavior of some around social media not bother you at all?
Ed: No bother. Freedom of speech benefits society overall.
NJ: Uh, Ed… I didn’t ask about your views on freedom of speech. I asked if you valued professionalism.
Now, if you have ever received any, how do you handle not-so-flattering reviews of your book(s)?
Ed: All feedback is good feedback. Negative feedback helps me to better define who my audience should be. I’m not interested in pleasing everyone.
NJ: Here goes another one of those questions that you seem to find tricky, Ed! Do you appreciate honesty regarding your writing because you know that only honest feedback allows you to grow as a writer, or are you one of those who would prefer that others lie to you and tell you only what they know you want to hear?
Ed: Who wastes time with dishonest feedback? Don’t waste my time if you can’t be honest about your perspective.
NJ: Great response, Ed! Whew! Do you blog about any specific topics or are you a random-topic-blogger?
Ed: Medium articles fall into three areas: 1) the intersection of yoga and Christianity; 2) personal, autobiographical stories; 3) educational subjects and ideas. The Locals community is currently focused on metaphysical insights into the Bible and behind the paywall I’m developing a course in the “Secret Language”.
NJ: Ed, I’ll let you have the last word here.
Ed: Typically, I only “friend” those with whom I have established relationships on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. I may create “author” accounts in the future.
OTHER QUICK FACTS ABOUT ED…
- Full-time writer
- I have a Medium account at edsharrow.medium.com and a growing community at unitedbylove.locals.com
FOLLOW ED ON…
Guests, thank you so much for dropping by to support Ed on Day 7 of the June “12 DAYS OF AUTHORS” Series! It would be awesome if you would pick up a copy of his book above, and after reading, share your review to Amazon. Ensure that you leave him a comment below, and also LIKE his feature before you leave, for your chance to win the grand prize package listed above! We’d both appreciate it if you would share this feature to Twitter and Facebook, as well.
To follow along with the rest of the features in this series, visit the “12 DAYS OF AUTHORS” home page! There will be a new series beginning in July! I’d also love it if you would #follow my site, as well as following me on Twitter @NonnieJules, as my truest joy is in service to others. I’d love to support you, too!
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