Get ready, everyone, because Life, the Universe, and Everything is about to fall into your lap. Right, so page back in your memories to 2021. A lot …Bookmarked Adventures: Free SF/F Writing Con!
Douglas W. T. Smith is the self-published author of Shadow of the Wicked, which ranked on Amazon’s Top 5 List in Dark Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery eBooks in 2021. Hailing from Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia, he is one of the CORE authors for Of Metal and Magic Publishing with a debut core novel To Wield the Stars due in 2022.
Between writing and reading fantasy stories, Douglas embarks on adventures in nature with his wife, son, and beloved dog.
We had an awesome Q&A session, and I’m sharing it with you here. Keep on reading…
- Tell us about yourself. We would love to hear how you became a fiction writer and your life that led up to it.
It’s kind of a strange story. I had always dabbled in creative writing and reading books, but it wasn’t until a friend showed me Lord of the Rings. At the time I was at university, and I was studying something that I wasn’t enjoying, so after watching LotR I fell in love with the lore and Middle-Earth. After devouring the movies, I had an epiphany. I wanted to write an epic story like J.R.R. Tolkien. So, I started writing my first book. I wrote the first 100 pages and showed it to my friend. There were many inconsistencies, and it heavily mimicked The Hobbit. I was a bit devastated but then I began looking at online writing courses to improve my writing and discovered that I could change my university degree to Creative Writing and English Literature. Since then, I haven’t looked back. Writing stories is a part of my life and it will be something I want to pass on to my children.
Thanks so much for sharing that. What a great way to look at your writing career, as a legacy.
- Can you share more about your Works in Progress? What are your plans for a full-fledged novel? Or do you prefer a shorter format? Are there any other plans you’d like to share? Any more stories for Jaromir and Talmage?
Shadow of the Wicked’s audiobook has taken up a bit of my time and I’m so happy to release that on all audiobook platforms. Outside of SotW, I’m currently in the last edits of my debut novel, To Wield the Stars. It will be published this year by OMAM Publishing in a shared universe. I’m pretty excited with that because I’ve been working on it for quite a while.
With Shadow of the Wicked, I wanted to write in the short form because I wanted to test my writing ability and see if I could write a story and keep it within the short form.
I have started the first draft for a novel in the same world–The Three Kingdoms. I have plans to write more stories for Jaromir and Talmage but I’m not sure what stories they have to tell. Maybe something as a ‘before event’ to follow their life story.
Congratulations on the audiobook release and I can’t wait to check out To Wield the Stars. What an intriguing title! Can you give us a little description/teaser?
Thank you. I’m happy with the title but I’m more excited about releasing the book cover, which you’ll have to wait and see when I do the release.
Here is the elevator pitch for TWTS.
Two sisters are separated across continents from an attack of a dragonlord and its army.
- What drew you to sword and sorcery and dark fantasy writing? Do you write or want to write in other genres?
I have always loved fantasy. I played fantasy games and read a lot of fantasy. It only seemed natural to start writing fantasy stories. As I began writing, I discovered the sub-genres of fantasy and sword and sorcery felt natural to write.
- Are you a full-time author? If not, how do you balance writing and other work?
I would love to be a full-time author but unfortunately, I’m not. I make time for writing. I get up early at 5am and write–or do writerly things–and I’m up late. I don’t sleep much but I try to work around my family and lifestyle outside writing.
- With a little one around the house, what are your tips for finding time to write while sharing life with a young family?
Create time. If you want it, make time to write. There’s a quote from Stephen King.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
It is all about time management. If you want to write stories, write them–even if no one will read them. There’s a lot of times during the day you can sneak in a quick writing/ editing session.
- What’s your advice or thoughts about getting involved in writing communities and reaching readers through supporting other writers?
I think writing communities are essential to make it as an author. Whether it be online or physical, the interaction and motivation from these communities are invaluable. It can open opportunities, grow your reader audience, and boost your author profile like this interview!
These opportunities can be a lot of fun, too, and I’m thrilled to have you here today.
- What is the writing community like in Australia and New South Wales, in particular? Do you get to participate in local events? Is Australia your primary market, or are you reaching other markets?
In my local area, it’s a hard community to crack. The demographics are a lot different from the city. However, in Sydney the events are fantastic, and the community is a lot stronger, but I did find more success and community engagement from my online platforms.
- What’s your advice about focusing on the best social media platforms, sorting through all the noise, to make what you do count?
I think the bare minimum for an author is to have a website. If you turn that into a blog–even better. My best advice for handling social media is do it within your means. If you can only commit to 1 or 2 social accounts that’s okay. At the end of the day, we can only do what we have time for and what we prioritize. If you have edits to do to finish your novel and your time schedule is tight, prioritize what you want first. During your marketing plan, I think it’s absolutely necessary to be present on social media–whether that’s one or two accounts–if you want to sell books.
- Do you recommend Patreon for burgeoning writers? What are your top tips for starting one up? Same question for creating a website, newsletter, or YouTube channel. Any plans to expand?
I have a Patreon account and to be honest it’s okay, but it comes back to my previous answer–if you have the time to commit then by all means. With my experience, I think Patreon will be successful later on as I build more of a reader audience and have more time to offer exclusive deals but for now, I give free stories, merchandise and editing opportunities on my Patreon Tiers. (So, if you want to sign up, there’s some great options!)
I’ve recently signed up to Story Origin and I think that’s another essential for authors. It’s a platform to do newsletter swaps to grow your mailing list. I think it’s fantastic and all authors should have a mailing list.
Awesome advice and great suggestions. Thank you. It helps to hear from someone who has navigated so many of the choices we’re faced with.
If you want to get exclusive stories and content, or know when Douglas’ next book will come out, visit his patreon.com/douglaswtsmith and sign up. See below for more ways to follow Douglas.
- What has been your biggest highlight of the last year?
My biggest highlight of last year was publishing Shadow of the Wicked. To finally self-publish a book and call myself an author.
That is a great accomplishment. What was the main thing that prompted you to self-publish?
Thank you. The main thing that prompted me to self-publish was building my mailing list. I wanted to give out short stories as a reader magnet but as I began writing the story of Talmage and Jaromir, the narrative took control, and it became a lot bigger than I expected. I grew more in love with the world I was creating and the characters that I felt that Shadow of the Wicked needed to be published as a novella.
- Where do you want to be as a writer in five years?
I want to be a full-time writer. I want to publish a minimum 1 book a year.
Awesome! Follow Douglas in the links below to stay on top of his upcoming works!
- Any parting advice to those who dream about writing?
Find time to write. Get up 10-15mins early to write or on your lunch break. All those small increments of writing, sand grains, create a beach. It takes time so make the time. It’s a marathon not a sprint––unless it’s a writing sprint.
Great recommendations! And that makes me think of another question. I’ve been discovering just this summer the value of flash fiction and short story challenges. Tell us about your favorite writing challenges. Will you be hosting any like the writing sprints you mentioned?
I used to do short story challenges. For example, each month the Australian Writers’ Centre does a short story challenge, Furious Fiction. It was great to get the creative juices flowing if they were going stale and stagnant. I haven’t done one in a long time because I’ve had a full schedule but if I ever fall behind in my book ideas, or writing–I know where to go.
I’ve spoken to the head of the FSF Writer’s Alliance about hosting a writing sprint but I’m waiting to hear back from him. I love writing sprints. I did a couple on Twitter and TikTok, but I want to do it on Instagram as a live stream.
When I did the sprint, I wanted the participants to do something writing related. I know it’s called a writing sprint but if you weren’t drafting a story, I wanted writer’s to at least edit their book or have it related to their current project––without the distractions and with a community.
For a fun video Interview, check out the conversation with Douglas and our friend from the U.K., dark fantasy author Anna K. Moss.
You can discover more about Anna and her exciting new book here. Anna and I will be having our own conversation in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned!
More about my featured Spotlights
I hope you enjoyed meeting Douglas and getting a glimpse into the life of an Indie Author for some fun and inspiration in your own creative journey. I will be featuring more of my fellow Writers’ Alliance members, other authors, artists, and creators right here, so please like this post and follow me to keep on top of the latest. Feel free to leave comments.
My next guest will be a writer of horror fiction from Canada, E. B. Hunter. If you would like to be featured, shoot me an email. I would love to meet you. Please visit my pages for more about me and my books while you’re here. Thank you so much for dropping in.
Anna Sharples gives us tips here on the use, pros and cons of flashbacks. Enjoy 😊
Stay tuned – Interview will be posted 14 Aug 2022!
Join me here on Sunday for a fun and inspiring Q&A with Indie Swords & Sorcery Fantasy author from Down Under, Douglas W. T. Smith.
I plan to feature more of my writer and creator friends here on a regular basis. We’re all going through the myriad of stages to improve our writing, market our books and grow our reading community. This will be a place to glean tips and inspiration through it all.
Since I’ve been reading, watching and writing stories in the fantasy genre, I’ve enjoyed a common theme. No politics. Sure, there are good versus evil forces trying to whack each other into oblivion. Even The Umbrella Acadamy now has the Sparrow Acadamy to battle for their place in the world, as if going back in time and saving it wasn’t enough. But there’s an honesty to good versus evil in our entertainment that our current real world lacks, like the stout-hearted Hobbit facing the fiery maw of Mount Doom in the land Mordor. I kind of hope it won’t take us thousands of years to find our Frodo.
It used to be the other way around.
I used to think politics were reasonable. You had two sides of an issue. Your representatives debated the two sides using logic, conviction and maybe even passion. Granted some issues would be controversial and the debates would get heated, but reason would prevail in the end. You could feel good about living in a world like that, put entertainment and it’s battles in their place, freely enjoying the question of Alien versus Predator because when you inevitably didn’t get a definitive answer and the threat still waited around the corner for the hapless protagonist, you could walk out of the theater, and return to a world that made sense.
Now, it’s the real world where all the lines are blurred beyond recognition. People are walking around in utter confusion about who is bad and who is good, and there’s no one left to shine the light on reason. Lies become truth that’s wielded in the guise of helping the masses, when it’s all designed to further one man’s ambitions. A mere human who has the ridiculous notion he can take it all with him. Where? Is there a spacecraft waiting to transport him and his gold to a planet containing the fountain of youth? Will his minions follow him there, so he has someone to fire every other second? Well, at least they will believe him if he says it’s so.
My pod people don’t care about any of that. They’re too busy fighting battles they can understand even if the enemy is a mystery, because it’s me who gets to orchestrate the fates of my pod people. I can set them on a clear course that, when it’s achieved, will leave the sensible ones standing and the evil ones pounded to dust. Maybe my pod people will find love and friendship along the way, a fellowship of supporters who can pick a clear side and stick by it, confident they’re all in it together and have each others’ backs.
You can find my brand of entertaining chaos on My Books page for a nice escape from the blurry lines of reason.
Viewpoints all mine and my pod peoples’…
Enjoy great editing advice packed in a nice small does! 😄💚
Writing a story means deciding what point of view to take. Personally, I prefer singular points of view. It’s easy to keep track of everything that …Writing Multiple POVs
I’m working hard to get this out to the world, and this weekend would be the perfect time to enjoy a FREE short story. It was a winner in a writing challenge, and I promise it’s a fun read, with characters you will love immediately. Click on the cover for a link to your Nook Book at Barnes and Noble. You can find it on Apple Books, Scribd, and Kobo as well. Those links can be found on My Books page. If you don’t have access to these online stores, email me and I’ll send you a copy. I would love to hear what you think.
Today is the LAST day my YA fantasy, A Door into Evermoor, is FREE on Kindle! Come get you some portal story adventure with a magic revolver named …Today is the LAST day a Door into Evermoor, my YA fantasy, is FREE on Kindle!
Another tip from an author on TiKTok! 🎉🧡🧡
First off, I am in no way saying Rock and Roll is noise. It was on my am radio blasting me from the headboard from the time I was young enough to think Speed Racer could be my boyfriend. Even before that, I sucked my thumb as I fell asleep to Golden Earring’s Radar Love. Okay, TMI, but it illustrates my love of the genre.
But you have to admit, some voices in rock music don’t always leap out of the noise, and all you end up with is noise. That’s what it’s like trying to keep up with social media. A necessity if you’re an indie writer trying to leap out of the noise and get your books noticed. It’s been quite a journey navigating the crescendo, trying to be friendly, then weeding out the bot lurkers from the ones who are truly sharing their creative endeavors and interested in yours. But this isn’t about the challenges of marketing and sharing posts.
What I’m noodling over tonight is that there are some amazing voices that do leap out from time to time on Twitter, Instagram and yes, even the bizarre world of TikTok, really nice people who share tweets or posts because they believe in paying it forward. Creators helping creators. Some even giving free advice. My wish is to share those bits here as often as possible. When a TikTokker makes the effort to give great editing tips, or share how they made the decision to self-publish, I’m going to pass it on, because it’s fabulous stuff!
Another way I will be sharing is through featuring writers, artists, and all kinds of creatives in interviews on my blogs. I’m excited to bring you my very first one in a couple weeks. So, stay tuned for my conversation with swords and sorcery fantasy indie writer from Down Under, Douglas W. T. Smith. He has lots of experiences and tips to share from his own writing journey, and we both hope you will find it useful and inspiring.
This is a shout out to all the ones out there giving as much as they’re getting. Here is some Radar Love to fall asleep to… whether you suck your thumb or not.