Twenty Questions with Jamie Davis
Accidental Thief | $4.99 | 332 pages | Kindle Unlimited
Jamie Davis, RN, NRP, B.A., A.S., host of the Nursing Show (NursingShow.com) is a nationally recognized medical educator who began educating new emergency responders as a training officer for his local EMS program. As a media producer, he has been recognized for the MedicCast Podcast (MedicCast.com), a weekly program for emergency medical providers like EMTs and paramedics, and the Nursing Show, a similar program for nurses and nursing students. His programs and resources have been downloaded over 6 million times by listeners and viewers.
Jamie lives in a home in the woods in Maryland with his wife, three children, and dog. He is an avid gamer, preferring historical and fantasy miniature gaming, as well as table top games. He writes urban and contemporary paranormal fantasy stories, among other things. His Future Race Game rules were written to satisfy a desire to play a version of the pod races from Star Wars episode 1.
If you could go back in time and tell your younger writing self one thing, what would it be?
I would tell my younger writing self to hold off on publishing that first book until I had more of the series written so I could build some reader loyalty over the first three books in the series. This is something I’ve done with my two newest series and the readers are responding in a very positive manner to getting the books faster with a new release every four or five weeks.
How did you spend the first bit of money you earned as a published author?
I think I took my wife out to dinner on my first royalty check from Amazon. We went to our favorite local place for some good home-style country fare.
How many unfinished or unpublished books do you have?
I always have a project in process but I don’t have any unpublished books in the wings like some authors do. This might be because I go ahead and publish everything I write eventually. I feel like there will always be someone who’ll enjoy a certain book or character story so why should I hold it back because of my doubts.
What is your writing process? Or, how many hours a day do you write?
I write about four hours a day, seven days a week. I get up early in the morning and write from four AM until eight or nine AM. Then I spend the afternoon working on marketing, responding to email, and connecting with readers and other writers. I also work in the afternoons on outlining the next story I’m planning to write. Then each chapter has a few sentences or a small paragraph describing what is supposed to happen. Once that’s ready, I have the info I need to flesh out the story from there into a full-sized novel.
What was your favorite childhood book(s)? Why?
That’s hard to say. I was a voracious reader as a child and read anything that was fantasy or sci-fi related. I guess if there was a single series it would be the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I read and re-read that series at least ten times in between reading everything else I was picking up. The books connected with me. I identified with the characters and could see myself making similar decisions and mistakes. I use this a lot when I write today. I think it’s important to connect with your readers so they can identify with the things your characters do.
On average, how long does it take you to write a book? (First draft, rewrites, edits to finally publishing)
It usually takes me two to three months to write and publish a book from start to finish. I write the first draft in a month, edit for a few weeks, get the editor/proofreader to go over it and it’s ready to go!
We all get bad reviews sometimes when we publish. How do you deal with bad reviews?
I celebrate one-star reviews when I get them. They are either review trolls who like to go around and leave one-star reviews on everything they see or they’re opportunities to learn from an unsatisfied reader. I see the former as a badge of success. Only successful people have others trying to drag them backward back into the pack. The latter are opportunities to improve my writing craft and connect better on the next project with the readers.
How would you describe your average reader? Or, do you even have a particular kind of person in mind when you write?
It depends on the genre I’m writing. For LitRPG books (which I co-write with my 23-year-old son, Chris), I picture a person very much like myself or my son. Male gamers who enjoy stories about gamers and the worlds in which they play.
For my Urban Fantasy books, I picture a female reader between the ages of 30 and 60. I know these are my target readers because I’ve surveyed the readers on my email list and I know their demographics.
I think it’s really important for authors or song writers or any artist to do this if you’re trying to make a living at this craft. If you just make art for yourself (which is fine), you can’t get upset if it doesn’t connect with others. I try to find the juxtaposition between what I like to write and what I think readers will enjoy, too. So far, I’ve guessed mostly right.
What are your hardest scenes to write?
For me, it has to be romantic scenes or interactions. I don’t write sex scenes but every good story has some sort of relationships in them. It doesn’t have to be overt but attraction is part of the human condition and a story without that angle at least somewhere seems empty to me. My wife is my primary beta reader and she tells me when I need a little more interaction and tension between the main character and their primary love interest.
What is the best way you’ve found to market your books?
Building an email list is the number one way I’ve found to consistently market my books to those who’ve identified themselves as my readers. It keeps me connected to them even when I don’t have a book coming out for a few weeks or months. Then when I have something new to send their way, they are ready and waiting for it.
What do you think are the challenges facing new writers?
The challenges faced by new writers are similar to those faced by more established writers, it just a matter of scale. For the new guy (or gal), you are struggling to find and identify with your readers. I remember when I had an email list of five people. I was related to all of them. You have to start somewhere and build on that base with consistent and persistent effort. Small changes, over time, build mountains. The same is true for authors. Try to do something to improve and build on your writing business every day.
What are some things you’ve had to sacrifice in order to write and publish?
I’ve given up a lot of TV time. I don’t watch a lot of narrative TV fiction. I’ll always have the news on in the background while I write. It’s my background buzz, but I don’t watch TV much for the shows that are put out (most of the time).
How often do you read for pleasure? How many books a year do you read? How fast do you read (words per minute)?
I love to read for pleasure. I try to read a book a week. It keeps me connected to what’s popular out there and what is working for other authors I know. I’m a pretty fast reader so I buzz through books quickly.
Many indie authors live and die by KU (Kindle Unlimited) and the “normalized page read’. What are your views on KU, Amazon and where do you think KU will head in the future?
Whether or not you are “all-in” for KU or not (or somewhere in between like me) is a straight up business decision. I like to keep from having all my eggs in one basket which is why most of my Urban Fantasy books are available in all the various online ebook stores. For LitRPG books, though, at least half of the readers in the genre are KU readers. This makes it a good business decision to put your book in the KDP Select world for at least the first few 90-day cycles until you’ve satisfied the readers on Amazon.
Authors need to examine what their long-term goals are and not just chase short term money. Amazon could change the terms of service in a heartbeat and drop the KU program. If and when that happens, there will be a lot of unhappy authors who didn’t have a good reason and a plan for their books.
Many writers find editing drafts frustrating. How do you edit and what is your process?
I like to read aloud to myself or have my computer read the book aloud to me. My ears catch things my eyes never would. It’s a good trick to remember , especially for those who can’t afford expensive editing services when starting out in this business.
What software do you use to write?
I’m an avid Scrivener user for my writing. I use the StoryShop.io tool for planning my books and organizing my characters and settings. When it comes time to edit and compile the final draft into a book, I move to MS Word and Vellum to edit and publish respectively.
Fans often have a preconceived notion of you. What is one thing your fans would be surprised to learn if they really knew you or spent the whole day by your side?
I think they’d be surprised by my other artistic pursuits, whether it is my music (I play electric bass in a church praise band), or how much I like to cook and prepare food. Each of them is an outlet for my complex creative drive.
What did it feel like to publish your first book?
I felt like I’d accomplished a lot and was simultaneously proud and nervous about the reader reactions.
What are some of the difficulties of writing characters of the opposite sex?
You have to put yourself in the head of the characters you’re writing. This includes members of the opposite sex. I think it’s really helped me that I’ve learned a lot by observing my two daughters growing up in our household. They’ve taught me how women react differently to the same situation than a man would. I don’t always get it right but that’s where my wife (my #1 fan and beta reader) comes in. She sets me straight when my female characters say something out of line with who they are.
And finally, if they turned your life into a movie, who would you want to play you? Why?
My life as a movie, wow! I think I would like John Cusak to play me in the movie of my life. I’ve always identified with him and his movies growing up and I think he’d be able to get inside my head and understand my motivations and drive in life.
My notes: Jamie, thank you for taking the time to do the “20 Questions.” You and Chris did an outstanding job on Accidental Thief. A lot of respect goes out to you and all nurses, first responders, law enforcement and firefighters who put their safety at risk and often putting their own lives on the line, trying to help others.
You can check Jamie Davis out on his website: http://jamiedavisbooks.com
His latest book co-written by his talented son Chris Davis is on Amazon here. Accidental Thief
I’ve included a universal like here. It will take you to Amazon based on your countries IP address. Accidental Thief
Follow Jamie Davis on Twitter: @podmedic
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