Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m an alcoholic. Not reformed. A practicing alcoholic. In fact, I’m practicing right now!
In what genre do you write?
I write humor. Laughing is good for you. I read that in one of those lurid tabloids with headlines like ‘My Vacuum Cleaner Is Really A Spaceship."
How many books have you written?
Twenty in the last five years. Twenty-four if you count the ones I’m not fond of. OK, I’m not fond of any of them because I forgot what they were about and my favorite book is my next one.
You’ve chosen to self-publish and are very successful at it. What would you say is the key to success for the self-published author?
There are several things I’ve observed after numerous mistakes.
Style. I stay true to mine. I don’t do litrachur, which I’m unqualified for. I aim to entertain and I never lose sight of that goal.
Approbation. I don’t delude myself that everyone will enjoy my work. I do what I’m good at. Humor. It comes natural and unforced. Some don’t think it’s funny, but I do. That’s what counts.
Work. If a sit-com aired five episodes a year, it would fail. I keep a steady stream of stories underway. You have to produce. You have to imagine you are a writer for ‘Lost’ and you had better get some words typed or start looking for a real job.
Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your books?
Audiobooks. My sales became respectable when I started narrating my books and offering them as paid downloads. I can state, with provable accuracy, 90% of my sales are audiobooks. Beyond that I don’t see any silver bullet marketing scheme, so I don’t bother looking. My entire marketing theory is ‘write another book’.
What are you working on now?
I’m narrating a funny novel entitled Sheriff Skunk written by Robert Tacoma. I have fun narrating books I like and for some reason folks enjoy my reading aloud. I try to bring the book to life with ridiculous voices and appropriate emotional tone. As for writing, I keep five novels underway at all times, sometimes more. That way, no matter what kind of mood I’m in, there’s some spot of work needing done I’m in the mood for. At present I am editing (typo hunting) the fifth instalment of my Devlin Abnormal Investigations series. A sequel to Crusade entitled Crusodomy. A sword and sorcery comedy tentatively titled The Magnificent six-and-one-half (I’m enjoying this one because I’m the star. Well, I’m the idiot bard who writes poems opening every chapter). Also a comic romp about a giant gator called Big’Un, a private eye thing, and a couple others.
You’re a very prolific writer. Tell us what your writing schedule is like.
I pound out 1,500 words a day, regardless. It takes about three hours of actual typing. I walk, work-out, fix tractors and stuff, until the hour arrives when I can begin drinking. That’s my creative time, when I contemplate what I’m going to write tomorrow. Sometimes the entire novel flits across my eyes. I don’t remember it the next day, but I remember I wrote it in my head the night before, and I was drinking, so it can’t be that hard. Also, I know this is not how it is done and I don’t advise anyone to attempt the nonsense I engage in. Seriously, the story is always there in my head, I just have to force myself to type it. I then edit which is basically weed out typos. My stuff is always first draft, and it ain’t literature. I do things the way the Pulp masters did. The guys who wrote Doc Savage, The Shadow, Tarzan, Conan. They got paid by the word and they churned out some words. Some of them wrote 50,000 or more a month. I’ve found that’s the way I enjoy doing it and I can continue to do it as long as I remain true to my goals. Show the reader/listener a good time. Make them smile. Make them laugh. Make their day a little lighter. Make them open their wallet and give me money.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
In a coffin. With a liver that exploded like those old black-and-white films of nuclear testing on the Marshal Islands. They actually screwed up the Bikini Atoll. That’s unforgivable. I like bikinis. If I could get my hands around the responsible person’s neck, well, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Did I mention I’m a 6’4”, 220 lb Alcoholic? Har!
Where can readers find you?
I was kidding about all that ‘alcoholic’ stuff. If it gets out it could adversely affect my security clearance. Anyway, you can find all my audiobooks, six-bucks or less! Instant download! At veinarmor.com Samples of everything are available for free downloading and listening pleasure. E-books I don’t care about but I put them on amazon. If I ever get started the audiobooks will be on audible.com but don’t anticipate their arrival. If it doesn’t involve writing or narrating, I am not really keen on messing with it. Actual paper books? I occasionally make a print run, it sells out and I don’t bother ordering any more. I sign every book and I make sure veinarmor.com is the only place you can get one. Actual paper books are a low priority. They’re expensive. Bulky. Subject to me spilling rum on them (I sell them anyway, stain and all. It’s my Caribbean Seal of Approval. Adds value, I like to think.) Oh! And I am veinarmor on Twitter where I make bad jokes and announce new releases. I quit all those other social thingamadoodles but I enjoy Twitter.
Thanks, Greg for your wacky and very entertaining interview!