I’d like to welcome back author Thaddeus White
Please recap briefly about your books:
Most recently, my fantasy-comedy The Adventures of Sir Edric has been published. It’s a rollicking, fast-paced story, crammed with silly and cynical humour. I’ve also self-published two ‘serious’ fantasy books (Bane of Souls and Journey to Altmortis), and another in the same world (Kingdom Asunder) is close to completion.
What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news!
The Adventures of Sir Edric came out, which is my first traditionally published book. As I write this, there’s a couple of days to go, so I have no idea how well/badly it’s doing, but I do know your readers should give it a look. After all, laughter’s good for you.
Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)
Great characters, solid plot, great world-building, technically perfect.
Personally, I’m relaxed about typos and grammar errors when I read (I do go mad when I find any in my own work, though). Characters are what sell me something. I’d rather read about a fascinating fellow or clever lass doing something tedious than read about a boring man doing something that should be exciting.
Plot is very important too. Little twists can help invest a reader in a book, and if the plot seems shallow or non-sensical then it can be hard to take seriously or even to care about. Having a great world is good, but the world is the backdrop to the story. The foreground is the characters and plot, and if those are wrong, having a great world can’t rescue a book.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?
Er… yes and no. I try to as much as possible (although The Adventures of Sir Edric has also been professionally edited). Especially with my self-published stuff, I do as much as I can myself. Leaving aside the Yorkshire instinct to save money, I also think it’s just better that way. It’s my name on the cover, so I should do as much as I can and get the credit/blame. Worth noting my editor has picked up a few (small) points for potential change.
Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be?
Yes. If you go into business for yourself as a carpenter (or even musician) people applaud your self-reliance. Do it as a writer and people assume you failed to get an agent/publisher. Now, sometimes that’s true, but often it isn’t. The issue is market saturation of authors, and that some who self-publish rush to do it and have poorer quality because of that.
If you get something traditionally published then others, whose jobs depend on books succeeding, think it’s worth the green light. So, traditional publishing still has more kudos than self-publishing (although with the latter you have more control and get a higher percentage per sale, so it’s not all one-way traffic).
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?
Reviews are vital. An author saying “Buy my book, it’s good” may be truthful (or not) but they have a clear vested interest. A third party reviewing and confirming a book is indeed good (or not) is helpful for both readers and writers. Generally, authors shouldn’t comment on reviews. If there’s a factual inaccuracy, that may be an exception.
When buying a book do you read the reviews?
Reviews are often the second thing (after the blurb) I’ll check. I’ll read a few of the top positive and a few of the top negative before buying, or choosing not to.
What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors?
If they’re being neutral, I think it’s fair enough. It can be a bit awkward when reviews are swapped (that’s one of the reasons I don’t do reviews for fantasy any more). But the idea Mark Lawrence or Joe Abercrombie should be forbidden from recommending other good fantasy books is mad as a mongoose wearing a fez.
What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?
Thickness of skin is crucial. Too thin, and you’ll be upset at criticism (and criticism is your friend, it teaches you the ways you can improve). Too thick, and you’ll not take any notice of what other people say.
I’d also say, be stubborn. The middle third of a book is tricky. Initial excitement has worn off and the end is months away. Just keep buggering on. Lastly, engage with the community of your book’s genre. Whether that’s just one forum or a few (don’t stretch yourself too thin), you’ll get good advice on dos and don’ts.
How have you progressed as a writer since you started?
I’ve been doing it for long enough to have found the way that works best for me (a fairly light outline, solid word counts every day, redrafting in a certain way etc). There’s no magic X factor, it’s just a case of learning through experience. Listening to advice is useful but people do write in different ways and you shouldn’t force yourself to stick to someone else’s approach if it doesn’t work for you.
What aspect of writing do you least enjoy? Why might this be?
Proofreading. It makes my eyes go fuzzy, I get annoyed when I find mistakes and annoyed when I don’t. The only upside to proofreading is when it ends.
What are your views on authors offering free books?
I think it can make sense at the start of a series, but only for one or two books. More than that, and people will think that the zero price tag reflects the value of your work.
What are your plans for the future? When will we see your next book? Tell us about it.
I can’t give a precise date for the next book. It’s likely to be Kingdom Asunder, the first part of a trilogy I’m writing (currently on the second book, Traitor’s Prize). Unsurprisingly, it’s about a kingdom that’s being split in two by civil war. As well as the battle between King and Usurper, there are rivalries within both camps, and lashings of betrayal, murder and blood.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MorrisF1
Parody twitter – https://twitter.com/HeroOfHornska
Website – http://thaddeuswhite.weebly.com