WEEK ONE: An Interview with Charlie N. Holmberg
I always look forward to the Utah-based convention LTUE (Life, the Universe, Everything) as it's one of the best places (locally) for me to network and connect with other authors, agents, editors, and publishers. You would be surprised at how many movers and shakers attend this event
I have gained great friendships and forged bonds that have strengthened my drive and determination in my writing career. At this LTUE, I made the decision to meet with various professionals within the industry, pull them aside, and ask them five specific questions in five minutes. Most of these interviews sparked lengthy conversation beyond what I could have hoped for.
These men and women have shared with me their insights and experiences, their stories and their bits of advice. For aspiring authors, fans, and fellow literary community members, I'll share each of these thirteen interviews in the space of thirteen weeks.
Rafael: Hi Charlie, thanks for taking some time to talk to me! I’m going to try and ask you five questions in five minutes. We might go over that limit a little but I’ll try to be brief.
Rafael: Well, let’s get right to it. My first question: If you could pinpoint one primary reason for why you became a writer—a writer in your genre—what would that be?
Charlie: The reason I became a writer in my genre (laughs) is because I watched an anime called The Vision of Escaflowne and I thought that the story was so amazing! It had giant robots in it and dragons and it was so amazing that I wanted to create something like that. I couldn’t draw very well, so I wrote instead.
Rafael: (Laughs) That’s actually one of my wife’s favorite animes!
Charlie: I love it! It’s really good.
Rafael: Okay, well for question two, who do you think is a better judge of writing talent: agents, other authors, editors, or readers?
Charlie: That’s a good question! I really think it depends on the person. My instinct was to say agents, because they only make money if they keep up on trends and they should know what good writing is at that time. I think knowing good writing in general could be editors…but could I actually do answer D: readers? Readers know what they want to read right? So readers know what’s good and what is not. I mean, you have other authors and editors say that Twilight is a terrible series, yet there’s millions of readers saying no, it’s not. And in the end, they’re the ones who matter.
Rafael: Well you can’t argue against the majority when the sales prove their tastes right! By the way, I’m interrupting the interview for a split second to say that your earrings are awesome. Skyrim earrings! They’re great!
Charlie: (Laughs) Thank you! I love them!
Rafael: Okay, so question three: so what is your daily writing schedule?
Charlie: So I get up, get one kid ready for school, and the other one I give to my husband. Then I go to my basement and write ‘til about noon. That’s generally it! Then I’m a mom for the rest of the day.
Rafael: It sounds like you have your hands full, but you’re managing your time well! Well what would you say is the best marketing strategy in 2019 for indie authors and trad. pub. authors to sell their books?
Charlie: That’s tricky! It depends on what kind of author you are. If you’re an indie author, you have all sorts of marketing you can do, but you are limited by budget. If you’re a traditionally published author, you have very little marketing you can do because your publisher is in charge of all of it. As an indie author you can change the price of your book, and that’s what you use for book marketing ads like BookBub ads and insta-freebies. You have to be able to change the price of your book. Otherwise, if you’re traditionally published, marketing is up to your publisher, and if they don’t do it—you’re kind of screwed! But for both sides, social media marketing is always really good! Facebook ads are getting really up there (in seeing success) and same with BookBub.
Rafael: There’s advantages and disadvantages to both. I work with both myself, as my ebooks and print are up to me to market, while my audiobooks are promoted by Podium Publishing. Time plays a huge role in being successful as well. You really need to manage your schedule properly. Anyways, for the last question, what has been your most difficult challenge in your writing career up to date?
Charlie: Oh goodness! The most difficult writing career challenge up to date is probably when my books get turned down! (Laughs) Cause I mean, I have best-sellers now, I have international books, (but) I still have my agent and/or editor tell me we don’t want this book. It still happens! So your ego builds up to a certain point and you think you got this, but you don’t!
Rafael: And they’re saying no to your little baby!
Charlie: Yeah, it is like your little baby! Then you have to say, yeah, you’re right. This (book) is crap. There’s one book I still have that’s my baby but it’s not quite my brand, and I’m trying to sell it but its paranormal and that’s (the market is) not doing as well, so it sucks! And its YA so I don’t want to indie-pub it because children’s lit doesn’t do well in indie, so that’s what’s been hard. You think you made it then someone reminds you that you haven’t! (Laughs)
Rafael: Even after publication it doesn’t necessarily get easier. People tend to think that as soon as they snag an agent or put their book on Amazon, that the hard work is done! Anyways, those were the five questions! Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day here at the convention to chat!
We went on and talked for a few minutes more and I learned just how cool Charlie is!
She has been nominated for the RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance and she’s well known for her Paper Magician series, which was optioned by Disney in 2016. She’s published eight full novels in the past, with Smoke and Summons (her ninth book and first in the Numina Trilogy) just recently being released this year. Go check it out here! Below you can find a book description for Smoke and Mirrors!
Smoke and Summons:
A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.
As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.
A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.
Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…
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If I'm not writing, I must be dead.