Today’s Featured Author: Chris R. Pownall

Today, please welcome Chris R. Pownall to my blog.

Interview

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

During my long career in technical sales, I had to produce a lot of reports, and over the years, I worked at improving my writing skills. Throughout my last couple of years, I was tasked with producing strategic marketing plans for countries including China, India, South Africa, plus several European countries. This served to further improve my written presentational skills.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences is in your books?

I would hope that my biographical books capture my true personality, and my experiences in life, is what they are all about.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? 

For me, writing is a pass-time and a hobby. Retirement from full-time work as an Industry Marketing Director didn’t come easy, as I missed the challenges of a very busy lifestyle. Writing provides new challenges as English grammar was never my best subject.

I write a little most days but it doesn’t dominate my life.

Following my retirement, my home office became my study where I do my writing. My wife Pat calls it my den!!

We both enjoy walking in the countryside, and we are seeing lots of places around the world by taking as many cruise holidays as we can comfortably afford.

Mornings are when I do my writing and this can begin as early as 05-00am, depending upon how well I have slept.

 What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

Writing provides a sense of purpose, in addition to family life and travel. It brings a certain discipline to how I spend just a few hours each day. I’m not a good reader, therefore, I need something to occupy my mind and provide a reason for research and a quest for further knowledge.

Once I start a project, I see it as a challenge until it is completed.

Do you outline your books or just start writing.

Before my retirement, I started writing my memoirs, with no specific structure to what I was doing. Basically, I ran out of steam, and decided to delete the lot.

Following my retirement, I reflected upon my earlier failure and considered a framework around which I could build. I decided upon five chapters and had several underway, at any one time.

Now, no matter what I am doing, be it a book project, or a magazine article, I set out a plan before putting flesh on the bones.

 Please tell us about your current release.

My current release entitled Majestic Norway, is a short book about our recreational travels in Norway. It is not intended to be a travel guide, rather, an account of our observations, experiences, and lasting impressions of this magnificent country.

I hope it will bring some pleasure to those less fortunate in their scope of travel, and maybe of some assistance to anyone planning a trip to Norway.

If I find there is a significant demand for this type of book, I shall no doubt contemplate writing more.

What inspired you to write this book?

I make notes everywhere I go, and it’s almost become a habit. During our recent trip to Norway, I thought I would like to share some of the places and points of interest along the way. It’s a little like my working days when reporting about a business trip. I get great pleasure recording details of our travels, and it’s much easier than writing fiction, when I’m wearing the hat of Rusty Nock!! (Rusty Nock is a pseudonym under which I have written three erotic novels.)

Book Blurb

funny how things work outMy first book entitled ‘Funny How Things Work Out’ is my memoirs, containing a few revelations that might make some individuals cringe. True to say, I have had a colourful life and my employment has provided much opportunity to travel to faraway places, and experience many interesting things. With the exception of the first three chapters, the book is not structured in chronological sequence; instead it covers specific subject matters in separate chapters, which overlap in time. The book focuses upon the humorous aspects of my life, which have occurred in many forms.

Other books by Chris Pownall include Onwards and Upwards, A Long Journey Back, Dane Mills Bosley, This is the Life, Spanning a Lifetime and Majestic Norway.

Author Bio

CRP book signing - Copy[1]Author Chris R. Pownall, who now resides in Nottinghamshire England, was born in 1943 in the rural Cheshire village of Bosley.

Chris failed his 11+ examination and received a secondary modern school education, leaving full time education at 15 years of age, with no academic qualifications to his name. He managed to secure an engineering apprenticeship at a nearby mill and attended Macclesfield College of further education, studying mechanical engineering until the age of 22 years.

Upon completion of his education and apprenticeship, Chris was promoted to the drawing office, but after 18 months in this responsible job, he decided it was time to move on.

In 1967, he joined the Merchant Navy, serving with the famous Blue Funnel Line, as an Assistant Engineering Officer. Whilst this was exciting and adventurous, Chris decided a life at sea was not for him, so following his initial training and one voyage to the Far East, he called it a day.

To further his engineering knowledge, he obtained employment as a design draughtsman, working for an engineering manufacturing company, and eighteen months later, he was employed by James Walker & Co Ltd, which marked the beginning of a forty year career in technical sales.

Chris progressed within the James Walker organisation, in a succession of sales management roles, finishing as an Industry Marketing Director, specialising in high performance sealing technology, within the global Metallurgical Industries. This role was to take him on many overseas travels, and in the last two years of his employment, he focused upon writing strategic market plans for some existing, plus new sales territories.

Although Chris has a loving wife Pat, retirement didn’t come easy, and after a few months, he was missing the demands of his occupation, with the days seeming endless.

He decided to take up writing and to date he has published seven books, with a possibility of more on the way. Writing has provided Chris with a retirement interest, as well as a major challenge, giving him great satisfaction, when a difficult project is finally completed.

Chris has a long standing reputation for being there when things go wrong and there are many examples of this in his three autobiographical books. He has encountered freak weather in faraway places and some of his working colleagues were reluctant to travel with him, knowing that something unpleasant was more likely to occur if he was around. Earthquakes and tornedoes in China to ice storms in the USA are among Chris’ encounters with Mother Nature.

Humour has always played an important part in Chris’ life, which manifests itself in his written work. He has witnessed many amusing situations throughout seven decades of life and he has appreciated the humorous side of everyday living.

As in most people’s lives, Chris and Pat have had their share of sadness, when at the age of eighteen, their son Robert, suffered a near fatal head injury. This was a life changing situation, which required great courage and determination on the part of their son Robert as well as unrelenting support from their Daughter Tracey, for Robert to regain his life after this tragic event.

Please visit Chris’ website www.amazing-life-stories.webs.com, You can purchase any of his books on Amazon.

Most authors won’t earn a living as an author (at least right away)

When I first self-published my fantasy novel, Summoned, I had no delusions that it would be an immediate “best seller.” Heck, I knew from the start that it would be hard to find readers when there are so many other books vying for their attention. It is a daunting task for any new indie author and one that I think many are unprepared for.

moneyAs authors, we all have dreams of writing a book that hits the best-seller list. We want our novels read and as much as we love writing, we would like to make some money off of our hard work. But is it realistic to expect your novel to “take off” or for you to earn your living as an author?

Back when I entered the self-published world, I read a blog from an indie author who said she didn’t really start earning a consistent income until her eleventh book. It took her that long to develop a fan base and to figure out which marketing strategies worked for her.

Now I am not saying it is going to take that long for everyone but I also don’t want new indie authors to be fooled by looking at the success of indie authors such as Amanda Hocking or E.L. James or even those first timers that go through a publishing house like J.K. Rowling. We can’t all expect that type of success from the start.

But many would-be writers are under the belief that they can just write a book, post it on Amazon and expect word-of-mouth to sell their books. Not so. I don’t think most would-be authors realize how much marketing of not only their books but of themselves they will need to do to be successful.

Publishing a novel takes work. I don’t know how accurate it is but I have heard it is about 20% writing and 80% marketing. Of course for new authors, sometimes the best advice is to just keep writing rather than spending their time on social networking sites as being an “established” writer adds more credence than any marketing.

I have seen several posts about a self-published author survey done in 2011. The survey of 1100 indie authors showed that the average amount they made was $10,000. More than half of the authors in the survey made less than $500 a year. (And in case you are wondering, romance authors made the most and those who used professional services such as copy editing or cover design made more than average.)

It was only after the release of my short story, The Search, (a prequel to my trilogy) did my sales start to take off. I would not say I make a “decent” amount at this time and certainly not enough to live off of. But with each month I am hopefully building up a fan base who will purchase my next book.

I don’t want to discourage anyone but to make the aspiring author – or any author – realize that writing one book will not take care of you for the rest of your life. That is a myth. Many authors will never attain the success they dream of and those who do will likely release ten to twenty books by the time they are a “success.”

I read it somewhere that many authors can make a decent living off the sales of their books, but many aren’t going to make a decent enough living doing nothing but writing.

Well until then…I will just keep writing.

Using World Literary Cafe to promote your book

I have written about many good websites for author support or promotion (Authors Database, Independent Authors Network, Goodreads, Wattpad). Here is another one to add to the list – World Literary Cafe.

newswire_logoThe World Literary Café is an online community bridging the gap between readers and authors.  They offer promotions to authors, reviewers, bloggers and editors by bringing them together on one site.

Readers are able to discover new authors and great books, including notices about free e-books. For authors, they provide resources on publishing, marketing and connecting with readers.  They also connect bloggers, reviewers and other people in the author services field (editing, cover design, publishing, and marketing) with authors.

Now to take advantage of these services you do need to become a member of the site. But that is as easy as filling out the form after you click the “Join Now” button.

Once a member, you have the choice of selecting paid or free book support. I will cover some of the benefits of their free services first.

Free book support

If you are planning a free book promotion, you can list your book here. Just post a listing under the correct date your book will be free. If it is free multiple days, then list under each date.

Linking authors and bloggers

If you are looking to promote your book or a blogger looking for authors to feature on your blog, you can check out the Author-Blogger Connection to arrange blog tours, interviews, reviews and guest posts. I have used this both as a blogger looking for authors to feature on my Friday Featured Author spot and as an author promoting my latest release.

Tweet teams

If you use Twitter to promote your books, you can widen your exposure by using the tweet teams. By signing up for this, you are partnering with nine other authors. You agree to tweet up to two tweets for each member on your team. You also agree to tweet out a few tweets for WLC (see their daily tweets list). Now this really works on the honor system as no one checks to make sure everyone does their tweets. And there is no requirement on when your partners have to send the tweets. They could send them all out at midnight. I always tried to spread the ones I did for others throughout the day.

There is also an Indie Kindle Tweet program where WLC will tweet out about your book for you. You can sign up once a week (no promoting of erotica). You must use a few of their key words and include #indiekindle in the tweet. 

Paid services

They also offer a few paid services. Social Media Mania is $45/day and offers an excerpt of your book on their blog and will be advertised on their Twitter and Facebook accounts and through their Triberr account. There is a cheaper version ($20/day) if you have a free e-book but this comes without the excerpt.

Today’s Hot Titles allows you an advertising spot on the WLC homepage. Up to 6 books are featured every day and are promoted through Twitter and Facebook. This costs $25/day.

New Release Registration runs from the 1st to the 7th of each month and features a link on the WLC homepage. This cost $45 and offered for books published within the last 45 days.

I have never used any of their paid services but have used their free services with good results. It is certainly a place I suggest authors check out to promote their books.

Get listed on Authors Database

The key to marketing yourself as an author is to be visible in multiple locations. The more exposure you can get, the more chance you have of attracting readers. Last week through another blog, I learned about the Authors Database. Now I don’t typically sign up on every website but this one looks to be pretty good with over 1300 members.

adb_badgeThe free database allows you to list all of your social media sites and book listings in one location. Readers won’t just find your link to Amazon but also the Kobo store, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and more.

The site randomly features different authors and tweets about them. And best of all it is FREE. Want to know what a page looks like? Check out mine.