Welcome to Ron Francis
Please tell us a little about yourself. I’ve always wanted to write books, but never had the time or training. It seemed like one of those things normal people just couldn’t do. Then one day I lost my job and suddenly I had the time so I took a shot. I actually wrote my first book in six or seven weeks. I spent the next several months revising it and then I tried to shop it to a publisher before deciding on releasing it as an ebook. I am also taking writing classes now, I guess I did it backwards, release a couple books then learn to write. I’m a regular guy, I love sports, the Knicks, Mets and Giants are the teams I usually cry over. I love movies and I love sci-fi. I’d rather camp and hike in the mountains than hang out on the beaches and I love to travel. I go to church on Sundays and I try to spend as much time with my family and friends as possible. I’m single and have no kids but I do have four siblings and a dozen or so nieces and nephews. I’ll let you read the rest in my author bio on amazon.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My book series, Deep Space Endeavor are science fiction novels. So far there are two books, Book One: Saving Kaldor and Book Two: Royal Intrigue. Book Three: Death Match will be out in December 2013. I also have a series planned in the Urban Fantasy genre and an adventure series. I have no idea when those will be out.
Who or what are your inspirations/influences? Star Wars is actually my big influence for writing. I saw Star Wars when I was seven and it has sparked a life of creativity and imagination.
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I don’t know what the research norm is, but for each of my first two novels I did over a hundred pages of downloaded research on everything from culture to names and fictional space ships to snake bites. My favorite resource is the internet. Encyclopedia.com, dictionary,com, various science fiction sites and even wikipedia
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print, audio.) Are you intending to expand these? Right now, my books are only available as ebooks on amazon
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I edit my books as far as I can, then I have a couple friends I send it to. They pick up where my limited skills leave off. They are not, however, professional. I would use a professional if I could afford it, but sadly I’m still unemployed. I do believe the overall product would be better if it were professionally done, but I also believe it’s better to release a book with a few errors than wait for that magical time where you might actually have money again. I do recommend getting your book professionally edited if you can afford it.
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? If a question is posed during the review, even if it is not necessarily worded as a question, I will sometimes comment on the review to try and provide an answer. I think it’s only happened twice, but both times I was extremely polite and thanked the person for their feedback. I don’t want people writing reviews to think I’m going to attack them if they leave a bad one. There have been a few I really wanted to leave negative comments on, I had a problem with a spammer that left bad reviews on several author’s books, all copied and pasted within minutes. It wound up that he was on amazon under seven or eight aliases leaving bad reviews on indie books. I don’t know to what end, but he was banned under those names and his reviews were removed. I think he’s back under a couple new names, but I’m not gonna complain about it. I know I’ve got a long way to go as a writer, I’m still learning and growing and some of the bad reviews are actually helpful.
Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? Rarely, only when I’m really blocked. It would usually be U2, Oasis, Guns and Roses or the All American Rejects.
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? When you watch a movie, you see a world. When you read a book, you imagine a world. If you and I read the same description, the world we imagine could be completely different, but in a movie, we see what the director wants us to see. In video games, you use a controller to control the movements of an avatar, in a book, you become the avatar, you place yourself in the shoes of the protagonist.
What advice would you give new writers? Go for it. Release that book, even if you’re scared, or even if you couldn’t afford professional editing. As long as your book sits in your computer, nothing will ever come of it. Once it’s released, anything can happen. You may wind up only selling a few copies, or you might go viral, you never know. The right person could read your book at the right time and suddenly your life is different. It hasn’t happened for me yet, but I have sold more than a few copies and that wouldn’t have happened if I kept Deep Space Endeavor locked away in my computer.
What are your best marketing/networking tips? I’m really still trying to figure all of that out, but one thing I did that worked alright was making a business facebook page dedicated to the book series and then paying a guy to drive traffic to my page. He got me almost 1500 likes in two weeks. I believe many of those likes turned into sales.
Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? Anything Star Wars! I also read all of the Stargate novels and loads of other science fiction and fantasy novels. I read for research because I want to write in those two genres.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I have a phobia of walking on sewer grates or subway grates. Whenever I’m in Manhattan, they’re everywhere on the sidewalks and I wind up weaving in and out around them. It probably drives the people walking around me mad, but I can’t help it. Along those lines, I also have a phobia of accidentally dropping my keys down a sewer grate, not my wallet or my phone, just my keys.
Book links, website/blog and author links: