Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Interview with Sean Platt
Sean Platt, co-author of the amazing Serial “Yesterday’s Gone”, is quickly becoming one of my Fave authors. I’m so excited he took the time to be part of this Author Series!
You can find him at:
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I didn't grow up wanting to be a writer, at all. I've always had an entrepreneurial streak and was more interested in starting my first business than anything else. I bought my first business when I was 18 and worked it for 12 years. On my 30th birthday my wife, who had been nagging me to write for over a decade, bought me a MacBook and strongly suggested I start writing. For the first time, I listened. That was five years ago and I've been writing every day since.
How long did it take you to write your book?
My first book, which is absolutely horrible and will never see the light of day, is terrible. It took four months to write. I started it the September after I got my MacBook and printed 600 horribly written pages four months later on the final week of the year. The book is an abomination, but it did teach me to sit in my seat and write as fast as I can until I finished what I started. That book, terrible as it may be, taught me I could be a writer. The second book I tried to write, which I would actually consider my first since it's seen print and been read by people other than my wife, was a short book for children, about 32,000 words. That book took two weeks to write.
What genre is your book? What made you choose to write in that category?
I have books in all genres. Our biggest runaway hit at The Collective Inkwell so far is Yesterday's Gone. It's sci-fi/horror, but more like LOST, or other scripted serials than anything else. I write for children, nonfiction, memoir, whatever. I write just because. I love the written word and there's pretty much no genre I wouldn't touch.
What was your work schedule like when you were writing?
My writing schedule constantly evolves. Because I write so much copy, I'm constantly trying to improve both my quality and word count. I treat it like a scientific formula, always improving the variables. I track my numbers, the times of day I'm writing, my environment, etc. Always tweaking. Currently, I try to get my necessary writing done before noon, waking at five, then spending the rest of the day getting other things finished.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I'm not sure how interesting it is, or even if it's a quirk, but it's my biggest rule and the one I try to impart to as many writers as I can: give yourself permission to suck. Too many writers sit hung up on every word or sentence on every page, and they end up with a fraction of what they should. This is cancer to your growth as a writer. If you're doing this now, stop. The first draft is about getting the ideas out of your head. Treat it like a conversation. In conversation, you don't stop to think about everything you're saying, you just say it. It's instinct. Your first draft should be the same. Revise later. I like three drafts – once to say it, once to say what I mean, and the last to say it well.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Life. It's as easy as that. Every conversation I have, book I read, movie I watch, TV I veg out to, stories with my kids, dinner conversation, eavesdropping in line at the supermarket – all of it. Because I write thousands of words each day, I'm forever drawing on daily life and pulling it into my writing. More than anything, I use much of what I see in scripted serialized television, simply because that's the copy I'm currently producing with the most frequency.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Ha ha, it's funny that I don't know the answer to that. If we're counting episodes as books, then we have well over 60 at this point, but I'm not exactly sure. I do know I wrote and published over 1 million words last year. I don't really have a favorite, but gun to head, I'd pick Yesterday's Gone, simply because I've seen the most success with that title, and because it's been out the longest.
Where can your books be found?
Right now, all of our books are available only on Kindle because we have leveraged their KDP Select program to shine a lot of attention on our titles. However, this is short-term, and we currently in the process of migrating our catalog. We'll be starting with Yesterday's Gone Season One in February, then quickly following with the rest of our titles, moving our entire library to iBooks, Kobo, Nook, Sony e-reader, etc., throughout the year.
Are you currently working on another book? If so, is it part of a series or something different?
Yes, ha, I'm always working on several titles. Right now I'm working on some short stories and the second season of Available Darkness for the Collective Inkwell (our serialized fiction imprint), along with doing the early plotting for our second season of Whitespace. I'm also developing a line of children's titles due out this summer. I'm super excited about these, and can't wait to see them live at summation Mark
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
There's nothing more I love than spending time with my family. Specifically, I love reading and watching movies. I also really love to eat good food, even though it makes me fat.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are ridiculously proud of me, which is the fuel I need. Half of what I do is to impress them. They're also my most tireless supporters, doing everything they can to help me write as much as possible and give our family a better life because of the words I write.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself in creating your books?
I guess the fact that getting to know myself was even possible. Before I started writing I didn't realize how therapeutic it was. Now I know sitting at the page is a great way to figure out how you think about something.
Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Do the work. A lot of writers are afraid to sit until it's finished. It goes along with what I said earlier – give yourself permission to suck. No one is born as a writer. Writing IS rewriting. Do it often and you will do it well.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Every day. Getting fan mail is one of my favorite things in the world, and I cannot imagine ever growing tired of it. Fans always tell me (and Dave) to hurry up and write faster. I always laugh and tell them I'm doing my best. :-)
What do you think makes a good story?
Anything that takes people on a journey and gives readers something to either feel or think about. Happy endings are necessary, but some sort of closure or feeling of accomplishment is. Never leave your reader feeling as if their time was wasted.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I certainly never saw writing as a part of that, since I thought writing was a poor man's profession. I am and forever will be grateful to the indie publishing revolution, and Amazon specifically, for giving guys like me a chance to go out and tell great stories, without having to worry about gatekeepers (other than readers, who really are the best gatekeepers of all).
Are you self published or do you have a publisher? If self published, what made you decide to go that route?
Both. I have titles published on my own, titles with Collective Inkwell, which is indie, and two serials with my co-author, David Wright, published under Amazon's 47North imprint. I'm a proud indie publisher for many reasons, but mostly because I want control over my stories and copyright, plus I want to be able to write with the speed and genre I want.
Do you have any free promotions of your book coming up?
We always have a free promotion going on since our biggest source of finding new readers is by using Amazon's KDP Select to make some of our titles free. Unfortunately, we never really know too far ahead of time what that schedule will be until we're adapting it for that particular week.
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