The End of Year Interviews – #11 Kenny Soward
Before we get stuck in, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
I work from Kentucky, USA, where we have majestic hills and beautiful land. I appreciate good whiskey and dark beer, so you’ll often find me at beer festivals or tastings. I live with my partner of 11 years, Michele, and four cats.
If you’ve released new work in the past twelve months, can you tell us about it, and how you think it’s done, thus far?
I released Galefire #1 on 12/15/15 and have since pulled it off the shelves to prepare it for re-release in January, 2017. While it has been an entire year since the first release, pulling it was necessary in order to properly plan the entire series. I spent 2016 revising it and also wrote another 3 books in the series. Having the series complete allowed me to make improvements in the overall story arcs which will thrill readers. Currently, I’m finishing the edits and should have Galefire #1 back on the shelves in January, 2017.
Was there anything about your release(s) that you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I would have completed at least 3 books in the series before releasing #1 the first time. Not a huge mistake, but it forced me to make revisions that took a long time. Had I approached Galefire with the entire series in mind, it would have been a much smoother project. Lesson learned. Patience is an author’s best friend.
How do you feel your writing style or process has changed this past year?
While I’m constantly learning, I’ve been able to tighten up my writing processes a great deal. I’m more consistent now, writing every day starting about 6AM and completing my sessions through the day. I look past putting words on the page for my own pleasure and think hard about how to please my readers. How to make them say, “Wow.” It’s a big shift that hits every writer at some point in their career, I imagine. That doesn’t mean writing more flowery but often means simplifying things, writing directly, and paying special attention to word choice. Saying what you mean.
Do you have a proudest moment of the year?
I seldom have proud moments. It’s more like the satisfaction of accomplishing a long-term goal or discovering something about my direction and process. For me, it was the realization that I wanted to focus on creating book funnels for multiple books in a series rather than write and release a single book at a time. Putting my first story on Patreon was pretty great, too. Oh yea, I appeared on the Grim Tidings Podcast with Seth Skorkowsky. That was a major highlight of 2016. The guys at Grim Tidings are so fun to work with.
Do you have a surprising fan/reader moment of 2016?
A beta reader for my Patreon stories commented on the improvements I’ve made since she first started reading me. She said I had a “sticky” style that drew her in. Otherwise, 2016 was less about releases and more about the prep work. I expect more interesting moments in 2017.
Do you have a favorite 2016 interaction with a reader or a favorite review?
I didn’t pay much attention to reviews last year, at least not in terms of being pleased with myself. I noted the good comments with the hope of creating good habits, and learned from the neutral or negative comments with the hope of improvement. Perhaps I’ll crow more next year.
Has anything occurred that you’ve had to put down as a learning experience?
Aside from the aforementioned premature release of Galefire #1, I learned that doing some editing up front (editing what you wrote that day) can go a long way to solid story development and less time cleaning up small stuff later. I draft quickly and return to edit the scene at night to clean up passive voice, diction, and clunky sentence structure. The biggest learning of this past year was to have patience. To always improve my processes, to tighten the narrative, and be more efficient all around.
Do you have any advice for new authors or anything about the industry that’s changed that you think new authors should really know about?
One thing will remain constant, and that is to write as much as you can. To practice and get better. Industry-wise, I think it is important to keep up with what’s happening, both genre-related and how to publish, then go out and try some things with the expectation you will make some mistakes. Don’t give up on indie publishing just because the road is harder. Scoring quickly with a major publisher doesn’t guarantee success. It’s a hard business, and it should be.
Do you have a favorite book from the past year? (nb: This doesn’t have to be self- or independently- published, though it would be nice if it is).
I enjoyed the Daniel Faust series by Craig Schaefer which, I believe, is an indie series. I love the urban fantasy stuff with fun characters and a twisty plot.
What are you currently working on?
I’m finishing edits for Galefire I : Fade Rippers and will be building a super fun mailing list for this series complete with great deals for my readers and plenty of behind the scenes interaction. I can’t wait to get it out.
What do you have planned for 2017?
I am releasing 2 books for Ragnarok Publications, most notably Dead West Omnibus 2, but I’ll be spending most of my time the Galefire series, putting out one book every four months and building my list.
Where is the best place to keep up to date with you and your work?
Thank you for your time, and all the best for the year ahead.