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READERS: DC Gomez is a bestselling author, so there’s a lot to discuss. She tells us about her latest book series – the Intern Diaries – and we talk about her other top books. If you’d like to see her, she has many upcoming events displayed on her website.
WRITERS: For the writers, we talk about choosing the write as a hobby or career. You don’t have to be a full time writer or you fail. She brings a unique perspective because she has been a bestselling author.
So this morning I have as a guest, a wonderful wall of books and their owner DC Gomez. So DC Good morning. How are you?
DC: Good morning, darling. I’m wonderful. How are you doing today?
Stephen: I am doing great. And it’s not actually morning for you, is it?
DC: No, it’s still very morning. I’m actually in East Texas.
Stephen: Yes. Ok. Okay. Okay. I had you in the wrong spot in my head. Why don’t we do that? Tell everybody a little bit about you, some things you like to do besides writing where you live and whatever. I am
DC: a USA Today bestselling author. I’m an award-winning author, which is fun.
I’m also a podcaster, so I’m so excited to be here. She’s connecting cuz it’s hard to be on the other side of the microphone. I was like, oh, what am I doing? This doesn’t happen often. I am in east Texas. So for everybody who’s wondering, the weather yesterday was 32. Today’s supposed to be 80. So living the Texas dream, what can I say?
It sounds like Ohio. . Thank you. It’s this weather that goes up and down. You’re going? I think I’m good. I think I’m good. We’ll take it from there. So I do multiple genres, which is interesting for most people because I go from urban fantasy to lit to straight children’s books and devotional.
So I do a little bit of everyth. And one of the things that I enjoy to do, I’m a reader, obviously, in the background, so I’m a huge avid reader, but I also enjoyed when I have free time. So today, this Sunday, as soon as we’re done, I’m gonna go food shopping so I can cook. So that’s kinda nice, some things that I do.
Stephen: Nice. Okay. Now I gotta jump on something real quick that you brought up. You write in mul multiple genres and just about everybody’s advice is don’t do that. Stick with one genre, do different pen names, but you have done it. And not only that, you’ve been on a USA bestseller list, so let’s even before we even talk about everything else, Why did you choose to do that and do you find all the different genres about as successful or is there one you’re more focused on?
DC: One of the things that I can be honest with myself and the world is I probably don’t have the bandwidth to handle multiple pens. I just the nature of what it is, I just don’t. I will look to be able to, I think I was multi managing multiple Facebook page and became very real that I was like, I couldn’t do this for multiple pendings.
Like I could not handle the switching back and forth. So it became very obvious to me that I needed to make a decision. So why do people want you to have only one pen name? Let’s be honest. It’s easier to market. Your readers can stay. If you pick urban fantasy, this is what you’re gonna do. And then everybody can jump in the urban fantasy bandwagon, it’s kinda easy.
The difference comes in when you have multiple genres is you stop branding to a genre, but you do to a brand. So what people can expect from DC, and this is what I tell ’em, is you’re gonna get tons of quirky characters. You don’t like quirky characters. I am not your girl cuz this is what you’re gonna get.
You’re gonna get tons of action, you’re gonna get some shenanigans and ventures, and one of the things you’re probably gonna get is faith to black. So you’re not gonna get a lot of exclusive sex from me. You’re not gonna get tons of horrible languages not because I don’t use them, but because that’s just not the brand.
Since I do write children’s books, the topics tend to vary. So you will know what a Charlie book is, my children’s series compared to a cat lady book. So it goes from there. But the brand is very much, it’s gonna be, humor is gonna be full of action’s, gonna have quirky charact. And somewhere underneath is gonna have the message.
So that’s kind what I focus on, just because switching from brand genre to genre just became something I couldn’t handle it. I have friends that have multiple, and I’m like, whew, you’re my hero. I can’t .
Stephen: I I love that and I think I’m going to have to Ruminate on that for a while myself, because I have, when I first started, especially, I pushed back and basically, oh, you’re a newbie, so nobody wants to listen to you.
But I was like, but that’s not how I read. I said, I’ve got I read the Suki Stack House, which are the romance paranormal stuff, which guys usually don’t read. I love them. But I turned around then and went and Ra read Dean Koontz and I read I. Yo young adult books when they are interesting.
So I I have Asamov, I got done Reading Foundation and went right into something completely different. So I’ve always been like, but that’s how I read that. So it doesn’t make sense that I should only write , and people are like, oh no. Write just one genre. That’s all you do. . I’m like, but other people do it well, yeah, but that’s Stephen King and he’s his own brand.
I think that’s really it. You said characters, so people like your writing and your characters. The genre is not as important. They like what? The way you write and I think sometimes. There are lots of readers, there are lots of authors that do that across multiple genres. So think what, every time I get some advice, I always think that’s good advice, but it may not be always true.
Stay true to yourself if it doesn’t feel right. Then stay true to what feels right for you, and that seems to have guided me better than just following advice. .
DC: That’s probably the best way, is be authentic to you and what feels right, because you can canvas everybody and everybody’s gonna give you million advice.
If it doesn’t make sense to you, it’s not gonna work. You’re not gonna make it work, it’s not going to feel right. You’re gonna be fighting yourself a lot, right? One of the things that you have to be aware is if you’re going to go brand and mixing your genres, it’s gonna take longer. So whatever is, be very aware what success means to you.
Because achieving it, it’ll take a lot longer because yes, people are going to have to get used to you switching gears and they’re gonna have to get used to it. But readers will follow and I think along with that though, cuz I write middle grade I think if there’s any demographic of readers, middle grade, don’t care about genres so much as they do what they like and they read the ones that read tons and yes if they read Percy Jackson and Love Jackson Rodin comes out with something else, they’re like, oh, Rick Rodin has a book and it’s the author and the brand at that point.
Stephen: And I think maybe that’s it. A lot of the advice you get is adult writing adult books. I don’t think that applies most of the time in the middle grade realm, and I think that’s something I have to always keep in mind. , for any middle grade writers and readers? I
DC: think for writers as a whole, one of the things we have to be very much aware is that it is easier to become successful if you stick to a very niche.
That’s just the nature of what it is. People can find you. You can target that entire demographic faster. That’s not how you write. You’re just making yourself hate what you do. And this is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. So if it doesn’t fit, I’ll say don’t do it. Find something that resonates with you and makes you feel happy
Yeah I agree. I think I’ve come to terms with, I, if I was on my deathbed, I think I’d regret more. Not writing all the things I wanna write, then I would, oh, I should have written one genre. I so I go, that works for me. So before we go off too far in a tangent, cuz we could probably go on for this forever, we wanna focus on your book a little bit.
It is, the new one is Plague Unleashed. So tell us a little bit about that and tell us about touch. Your other books a bit, cuz now I’m interested in all the genres you got.
DC: I think I need to probably do some clarifications. We’re definitely promoting play cuz it has a new branding, it has a new cover.
The whole So plague is book two and the Intern Diaries. So the intern diaries is five novels, three novels. And it’s based on the four Horse Mental APOs and Plague is probably one of my favorite ones because it’s just straight, wild. There’s zombies running around in Texarkana, so for anybody who’s been in East Texas, we’re like itty bitty town in the middle of nowhere, but everybody crosses us.
It’s fun. And you had typical, cuz I wanted, this is obviously before the pandemic, so you’re looking at 18 time. And the question one is, what if God forbid, Pessin had, and we’re talking horsemans, of course, a plague that won lose that didn’t meant to happen and is turning people into zombies, right?
So this is a question that I wanted to play with the intern Diaries is one Horsemans that’s introduced in one Supernatural Bean at a time. So by the time you get to Book five is Oh hell breaks loose. With plague. It was you got isis, ISIS is death’s new intern and death has a rule. You can’t kill people.
So if all the horsemens, you’ll find out the only one not killing humanity’s death. Imagine that. So ISIS is been tasked with figuring out what happened with humans. Don’t kill them because if you kill them, the, their souls are lost and death is gonna get mad. And when you do it, you better hurry up because 20,000 people are coming into Texana.
She’s no pressure whatsoever. None. So you have ISIS running around town with her guardian who happens to be a 5,000 year old talking cat. A boy. Genius is going through that 1112 age of Angst because nobody understands them, so he’s angry. You have an entire community trying to figure it out.
People just keep appearing walking around and trying to eat each other, and ISIS is trying to knock them out and put them somewhere until they can find a cure. Does not wanna help. I said, we talk quirky. There’s tons of quirk, there’s tons of madness, and all these people are just running around going, what is going on?
So yes. Nice.
Stephen: Super fun. And you said quirky characters, which, that’s always intriguing to me. That’s some of my favorite type of reading. When we, that I also find it interesting you’ve got, The Christian based four men of the apocalypse, or four writers of the apocalypse, but you mix in ISIS from Egypt, mythology and combine a little bit there.
DC: ISIS is her, she’s actually a 24 year old. Form. And her parents did name her after goddess of the apocalypse, the goddess of Egyptian. So you do get a little bit of that. If you read Constantine’s story origin, you find out that he is from Egypt. So there is this whole Egyptian mythology touch in there that you tend to be like what is going on?
And I think the reality when it comes to us in our. We’re influenced by everything. know? So sticking to one genre tends to kind of, oh, one theme puts you very much into a small box. When you let yourselves just play with everything you know, you’d be surprised how much more fun you have.
So with this story is politic, a little bit of Egyptian, a little bit of Roman Catholicism, since we’re playing with a lot of that put Christianity in there, put all these little pieces, and you tend to find humanity. And I think that’s the beautiful thing about. We’re all a mixture of everything, so when you put it in a book, you going.
God, this is going to turn interesting and bad. Cause I’m also sending this in the Bible belt. So it’s like you have zombies in the Bible Belt. .
Stephen: I must say now I’m a little upset with you because that to read list that I told you about that I have, there’s now five more books that are getting added to that.
So thank you much for adding to my time. I love that. So if someone. A lot of times people are like what ki what’s it like? Is there another book or author that you would say you are writing or your books? These books are similar to
DC: if you like, urban fantasy, cuz this is a catch with it.
You have to enjoy the madness that comes with it. It is first person, so I have to give people that disclaimer. If you don’t like first person books, ISIS’s story is gonna drive you insane because it’s in her head and through her eyes. So if you enjoy temperature, the dressed in files is what you’re gonna get.
Or if you. Kim Harrison, the Halls, because it’s straight urban fantasy, it is definitely appropriate for a young adult just because the language unlike Kimson, and Jim doesn’t have a lot of the whole sexual it’s not meant to be that adult base. It does faith to black if she ever, I don’t think ISIS having kisses anybody in this series and put it in this perspective.
So you do have a series that. Applicable for anybody in like high school all the way up and up, but is very much madness and shenanigans all through it. Come on, you got a talking cat. How much more can you have? Who had more money than God? So Constantine is just ugh, attitude to the core.
You have ISIS who’s just trying to figure it out. What did I sign up for? So this is book two and it’s eight months after she signed up being a death intern. And at this point in time is when she finally realize. The horseman are real. She has no clue. Like for the longest time, Constantine’s like, girl, please, what don’t you go to church?
She’s what is that supposed to mean? You know that book relations, the horseman’s don’t, girl, don’t you read? And that attitude that comes with him, he’s oh my God. And she’s is this the apocalypse? He’s oh God, no. No. Nice. So when you’re introducing these things that we hear a lot.
and honestly put a person in there who has no clue. You just have a blast. You go crazy.
Stephen: It’s so much fun. Nice. Cool. Alright, so what type of feedback are you getting? Cuz you said this is book two, so some people have read book when I’m assuming book two. What type of feedback are what? What’s people saying?
DC: Here’s DuPont. I thought it was amazing. When I have people go in, they love Constantine. I was like, he’s such an angry little cat. It is one of those series that I think to some extent, like many of us, it’s very kind of cult bubbling. You’re either gonna love it or you’re gonna be like, There is too much pop culture references in this book.
There is too much shenanigans, so the readers might reader us truly enjoy the series. And so when we wrapped up the series, I had a lot of people like, I’m gonna miss them. So we all fell into this bubble of oh my God, what are we gonna do now? So the. World has become Reaper’s world. So it’s a whole universe that has every other size story kind.
One of the things that I did, you were talking about writing in genres. My urban fantasy all takes place in the same universe primarily. Cuz I didn’t wanna have to develop a whole magical system for every single story. I was like, no, my mind cannot process that much. He was like, how about we just stick you?
So all the urban Fanta all stays place, not to mention. Then I get to play with my characters. I get to have ISIS popping up somewhere. I get to have art show up, Constantine, get rules, the universe so he can send messages to everybody. So my linchpin in this universe is Constantine. He’s been around for 5,000 years.
So he knows everyone and everyone knows him. So anytime you wanna make a connection to all the books, just bring up Constantine. They’re like, oh, that, oh yeah, Constantine, that cat. So it’s super.
Stephen: So every time you’re talking, you’re telling me about this cat and all it. I keep picturing Alison Wonderlands, Cheshire or Cat with that attitude.
I just picture him in my head with what you’re telling me.
DC: A little bit more evil . Okay. And a lot more serious .
Stephen: Got it. Okay. I that’s good. That’s good. But if people are re if they’re focused on that character and that sticks with. You couldn’t ask for anything more because they they wanna see what happens.
DC: It’s one of those things that happened by accidents. So I have a reader’s man that is free. So the origins of Constantine for anybody’s looking to see what does she write? It’s a free novella. You can pick it up anywhere. And I honestly asked one of my first beta readers, I was like, Hey, I need to do a free magnet.
What should I do? And he’s you’re Constantine. And I’m like, the cat you what? Like we gonna talk about the cat. He’s yes, do the cat. I. . Okay. So I had to go back and sit, like seriously, go back and go in. I know you’re 5,000 years old. Where are you in history? Where do I put you? So Constantine goes back to the very first empire in Egypt.
So we going to Memphis all the way. And then because I have this obsession with Egyptian mythology, so who do we have to introduce? Bud ABIs. Cause he is like my favorite. So you get to find out who death is. According to the series, you get to meet a very cranky. Who hates what he does and this really bubble of fur that happens to be Constantine.
Cuz everybody’s was he a prince? Was he a man? I was like, no, he’s always been a cat. Like he’s always been a cat. He just happens to have to be a cat now with a lot of money and a lot of power. So there’s a difference. But Constantine has always been a cat. When I wrote it, I tell my brothers like, this is an underdog story.
He’s for about two pages . That was about it. Yeah. And that I love that. I haven’t written as much as you have, but I love discovering that when your characters like grow on their own and suddenly you’re like, okay, I gotta go change my outline. I gotta change the dialogue at the beginning cuz it doesn’t fit the real character that’s emerging.
Stephen: And that’s one of the great Lego fun parts of writing, okay.
DC: Yes, absolutely. And Constantine did that. I think that story, I had a whole outline of what I wanted and midway through it went sideways and I’m like, this is not what I’m writing. This is. What is going on? And I’m sending messages to my editor like, this cat hates me, like this, hate, I dunno what to do.
So I literally wrote this as I kept rewriting this outline cuz it was not working. I was like, Constantine is one way. And I thought it had some other way and it’s just we’re just gonna go with it.
Stephen: Yeah, and that’s exactly what we were talking about earlier. Just go with what feels right. Go with your gut.
I love that. So if you had a choice this series of books, would you rather turn it into movies or a TV show? That’s
DC: such a hard question, and I keep going back and forth. Which one would I prefer? I will love to see a series because you can go in so much depth with these characters. You can truly bring their personality to life at the same time.
A movie would be fun because there’s five books. You can do a five bam, knock it out. But a series will give you a whole bunch of depth and you can play with all of them. You can explore. All these different craziness that goes behind the scenes and normally you wouldn’t have enough time to do in
Stephen: a movie.
And I love asking that question because things are so different than they used to be with movies and tv. A lot of times the people read the books would say, I’m not even gonna bother with the movie because it’s not gonna be good. , but that’s not always true anymore. They’re starting to understand if you really capture the essence and of the book and even get the author involved before it was always like, okay, we paid you go away.
We’ll do whatever we want. And then it flops and they’re like we don’t know why it did, and that’s not the case anymore. But then the TV shows have evolved instead of oh, we have to do a TV show that’s 24 episodes from September to May. It’s eh, we can do eight episodes and schedule it and put it out at the ideal time for.
And really delve into the characters. And really, so it’s such an interesting question. In today’s world, 20 years ago, it would’ve been completely different.
DC: Absolutely. It changes the way we
Stephen: see everything. Yeah. I love it. And it, it allows the choice of what would work best. It, what would do, would it work best as a two hour or three hour movie now and get all that action and all that.
Or is it best as these characters that build up and we grow over time? Stranger. Would not have been successful as a movie in the theater, probably would’ve flopped big time as my opinion. So yeah, I love the answer. I love talking about that with all the authors. Do you have a website that people can go to and check out all your information?
DC: do. You can check out dc goman author.com. I’m not very creative of my name, so I’m like, listen, it’s hard enough to find me. Let’s just stick to that. DC Gomez author seems to work
Stephen: as a web guy. You don’t wanna be creative with your web name. I do your main name. Nobody will find you and it’s pointless.
They wanna be able to find you. So stick with this basic as you, you can still get as long as no one else has your name, . So this is it. What are you working on for your next book?
DC: Right now I have two different books that I’m playing with. Trying to decide which one is gonna come first. I’m working on a trilogy, so the last book in the trilogy is getting ready to Come out, which is the order of the assassin series.
It’s a spinoff of the intern, so one of our characters, cup Inia, which turn assassin now up is to figured out trying to clean up who actually betrayed the odor. So he moves to Salem. So I signed notice, I promised my mother I was gonna do a book in Salem. Lo and behold, there has to be a book in Salem.
So this is it. So I’m trying to figure out do I join, jump into book three deployed and actually bring it all together. I go into Cat Ladies, I dunno. I have options and I’m kinda, I’m doing an exploratory year figuring it out, what’s next for me. So
Stephen: yes. Nice. Funny you say that I seem to keep coming around the Salem cause I wrote a short story for my kids that involved Salem Witches.
In modern day. And then about a year after that, I went with a group of authors to Salem and we wrote a group of short stories that we released as an anthology. So I got to visit all the places that I had only seen on Google Maps from my original story. And then I found, and you may even be part of this, there’s a gathering of which authors coming up in Salem this year and next year.
They already have it planned for next year. It’s 55 authors and stuff. I’m like, okay, I guess I need to go back to Salem just to meet all these authors and see what’s up with that. So it just keeps coming back. It seems
DC: It’s such a fun town. I recommend it. I love it. So yes it’s very much a okay, who are some of your favorite books and authors that you like to read? .
That’s such a hard one. Can you tell them I addicted?
Stephen: I was laughing thinking of that. Yeah.
DC: I am definitely in love with urban fantasy. So Kim Harrison, when it comes to Urban Fantas is one of my tops. You talk about Charlene Harris, I love her stuff as well, but I also read a lot of middle school as well as young adults.
So things that I’m waiting for patiently saying loosely, is the last book in the keepers of the Last City. So it’s a middle grade series. I’m in love with this. I’m just wanting, let’s wrap it out. Like I don’t have enough patience to wait. And I also love Rick Gordon and I like Rick Gordon insets, like I love the books that he’s pushing out.
Yeah, I love a lot of this stuff and I’m a huge fan of a lot of my indie friends who have amazing books. So favorite books is usually one of my reading now. Cause other than that, I’m like, there’s
Stephen: so many so what’s the one book you’ve read two or three times in your life? Gone back to.
DC: Probably the Alchemist, believe it or not, this is probably the book that has changed the way I see and the idea of dreams coming true.
And that is a very short book. It’s over 20 years old. It still has that touches my soul every time I read it. And probably You still there with me?
Stephen: No. Oh. You there? I’m
DC: here. Are you? Hello, are you there? I can see you.
Can you see me? Hello? Hello? Can you see me? Steven? Can you see me? Hello? Oh. Hello?
Stephen: Go have it. Yeah, we were froze. So sorry. You were talking about the Alchemist and how much you liked it. I think we caught most of that. Awesome for that. So if not maybe when we meet sometime. I will say though, I love what you said about magic. because I noticed we one of those things that things happen in your books that you don’t think about and plan, I realized a lot of my stories are essentially showing kids there’s magic in the world and there’s magic all around you and you can bring out the magic.
That kind of is the overall theme of everything I’ve been writing without thinking about it. I love what you said about magic, that’s great. In your town, do you have a favorite bookstore that you like to go? I
DC: have a very small town, which is hard. So basically you can either go to Books a million or you can go to the library.
So I tend to spend a lot of time at Books A Million, which is fun, to the point that I think the people know me by name. So this is where I spend my time. Just even when I wanna write or pick up a book, I tend to go to books A Million cuz that’s what we have
Stephen: here. What’s there? Yeah. Okay.
Yeah. All right. We have a little bit of a author discussion, but before we do that, if someone came up to you on your, on the street and said, Hey, I heard you wrote some books I was looking at these new, this new series you got, why should I get your book and read it? What would you tell ’em?
DC: Ideally it will be, comes back to, do you like to be entertained? Do you wanna escape from life for a little bit of while and enjoy some characters that are having a blast trying to figure it out their own lives? Usually I write for people to engage, entertain, and just of get lost in a book.
That’s usually the essence of why I write. So if they enjoy fantasy, you enjoy characters or you enjoy, just to have really fun read, pick up a book, you’re never gonna go wrong with the.
Stephen: Agreed. Agreed. And if it really doesn’t click with you, put it down, go find another one. Give it to somebody that would like it pass it on.
Okay. So before we talk about our discussion, we’re gonna talk about writing as a career versus a hobby and how to choose and whether you should choose and all that. where are some places that you’re going to be over the next couple months? Any visits, anywhere or any conferences?
DC: I have a really packed schedule, so I’m confirming things as we go.
I’m going to be doing, I’m gonna be in Jackson and Florida, Jacksonville, Florida in March for the Facebooks convention. I’m going to be in Savannah in July, which I’m exciting. We’re gonna do Tyler beginning of April. So I have a whole bunch of events that we’re literally locking into. To make sure we get them all in.
So it’s exciting. It should
Stephen: be a really funny year. And you’ve got a calendar, I think, on your website, correct? Yes.
DC: That’s the one thing that’s getting updated this week now that we’re confirming a locking an
Stephen: event. Yes. Great. Okay, so you brought up the topic of writers choosing to write as a career or as a hobby, which I think is a good topic because you have been on u s a bestselling list, so you’re a bigger writer than most of the people I talk to, and I think that’s wonderful.
Where does that choosing come in? Where can you say, I wanna be full-time? If you’re just starting what advice do you have? What thoughts do you have on that?
DC: One of the biggest things I think people have to realize is it is okay not to be a full-time author. It is okay not to make this a business.
because if you decided to make it a business, you have to treat it like a business, good, bad, or indifferent, and it’s really hard because as creative, when I think of writing, think about it in three parts. You have the arts, which where the stories come into play, you have the craft making this into a book, and then you have the business of where it comes into selling it and be able to be remarkable.
And thinking about promotions and thinking about reaching your audience, a lot of the times that we see is we have a lot of. . We’re trying to figure out, do I do this? Do I not do this? And we’re putting in hobby money and expecting business results. So one of the things I, one of my TikTok partners says that the best.
I was like, never thought about it that way. And one of the things that is really hard, and she, Jamie Dolphin, who’s an amazing author, says, and a lot of the times we turn into writing because we love it. It is our passion and escape. Then we turn into money, we monetize. , then we find ourselves burning out because we have nothing to escape or every day cause the things that we were doing for fun and we’re doing it for work.
So it is being very honest with ourselves and saying, what is your definition of success? Would you be happy with five, 10 people reading your book if you won more than that? What are you willing to do for it? Are you willing to mark it? Are you willing to learn? Are you willing to take classes? Are you gonna do ads?
What are you going to do to get you to be. Not saying competitive, cuz I don’t think authors compete while there is 8 million books out there. So you’re competing for eyeballs. You can make a really good community. You can have a really solid tribe, both of authors and readers who love your books. without feeling that competitor, without feeling salesy.
I think that’s the issue. A lot of authors feel like, I don’t wanna think of this as a business because I don’t feel like I’m selling. I don’t wanna be that used card salesman. You don’t have to do that, but you do have to decide. Business is a business, are you going to be trying to be marketable?
Which means you have to think about sales. You have to think. , is your website up today? Is your Amazon page, are you gonna go wide? Are you gonna go Kindle Unlimited? There’s a lot of those discussions that you have to be able to do. And here’s the part that is hard for a lot of people. I do a lot of coaching from sparring authors, is writing is a very selfish kind of profession.
Nobody can do it with you is literally just you sitting in front of a. Here’s the problem. Most people don’t take vitamin seriously, so most of your family is I can’t go out cuz I’m gonna ride. They’re like, what do you mean you can’t go out? What are you doing? Or even more I need five hours to work.
You’re home. Why can’t you do the laundry? Why can’t you clean? Why didn’t you cook? Why you not taking care of the kids somehow? This is the only profession that we have that people downplayed. I was like, you’d be OK if I went to McDonald’s for 10. But I can’t sit here, write for 10 hours. Were you home?
Why didn’t you do these things? I’m like, but you think these ads are gonna happen magically,
Stephen: or with that it’s like you spent, last year you wrote a book and put it out and we’re not living in a million dollar home. So it obviously isn’t worth it. And I always think, but wait a minute, I know people that go to a job year after year, and they struggle to keep up with bills.
what’s the difference? At least this is an enjoyable, and I think people also, like you said, if you have a good career and job, you can do this as a side thing. And it doesn’t have to be a full-time, a hundred thousand dollars a year to be a successful career and make you happy. I got a friend that a couple years ago, changed careers to drive truck and so he leaves usually Sunday afternoon and comes back Friday.
and he has every evening with three or four hours, he just sits in his truck watching tv. And I think, dude, if you would write for one of those hours, you would get a book every couple months done. Because you have five days a week, nobody bugging you and you have to be off the road. You can’t be doing something else.
Yep. It’s just, I think, again, like we said earlier, people hear the advice and or they feel like they gotta be a full-time author, they have to make a hundred thousand or they, but think about it, if you just sold one or two books a month and you had enough money to pay for scripter to pay for the advertising, now it’s a fun hobby and.
Enjoy your life with doing it. And sometimes it is more fun than other stuff. , it’s one of
DC: those things, it’s a lot of the getting the pressure of ourselves and giving ourselves grace to be in this space and to know, okay, what are you willing to do? Like, why is it a business for me and not somebody else?
A lot of it’s probably, cuz my mind works a little different I’m very much into, I like having the swags that goes with it. I like having the book box that goes with it. I’m now open up an Etsy. So I have an Etsy shop that you can buy a merchandise for that you have. Nice. That’s something that I enjoy the control, I enjoy the disability.
I enjoy running a small business, but I also realize my time is very limited. So a lot of the people in my life, I’m going, when do we see you? I was like, Oh, be this event. Do you wanna come and visit? They’re like, no, it was, we’ll have
Stephen: dinner . Be careful with that. Cause I invited my cousin mentioned, Hey, I’m gonna be at the library at this author event.
You guys all stop in. They took it to mean he needs support, so let’s go and hang out with him for three hours and sit there. And I wanted to talk to the other authors and and they like monopolize my time. Which I was happy, they were so willing to support me, but it was like, great, you’re here.
You, you made me feel good. You bought a book so I could sign it. Great. Go away . I’ll you later.
DC: There’s them.
Stephen: I also work a lot with kids, and this falls along that lines. I think we need to do a little more storytelling in school, having kids learn it more. Practice it more because writing can be a.
Career, a side hustle something they can do their whole lives and be happy about it. There’s a lot of people that have a 40 year career as a lawyer, and then you, they say, oh yeah I’ve published eight books also. What it’s because it’s a fun hobby. It allows me to relax and enjoy the fantasy or whatever it is.
And so I think kids need to realize that they can do this right from the start, from an early. because honestly the best way to learn to write is to write more and be honest about your writing.
DC: It’s one of the things that gives them a creative outlet that is very healthy, that is very balanced, and then they can express themselves.
A lot of the things that comes with middle grade as well as sand adult books is it comes with so much energy and they have so many emotions and so much. And we’re better to express it than a kid at that age. And sometimes the hardest part for them is writing the, finding the right words to say everything they want.
But once they find themselves into a book and they start writing is amazing. The things that they can come up with and how well they do it, which I’m always blown
Stephen: away. Yes. Yeah. Kids because they, they haven’t been told you have to do this or you have to do that. And I’ve talked to a few teachers, worked with a few groups of kids and I’m like, look, we’re gonna work on story.
We’re going to write and stuff. I don’t care what you misspell, I don’t care what the grammar is. That’s all stuff we can fix. And that’s stuff you’re gonna be learning in school anyway. What we want now is to worry about your story and making it alive and vibrant and exciting for people to read. And that’s where I like to focus.
Okay. Let me ask you this. What would you say going the other way we’ve talked about it doesn’t have to be a full-time career, it can be a fun hobby. What would you tell people that say I do wanna write, I wanna make it a career. I want to become a USA bestseller. I want to be able to have enough money to quit my job.
What advice and would you tell.
DC: This is the part that they have to make some really important decisions at the beginning is a, do you have a budget? And how much are you willing to expend? You know what I mean? That’s one of the things. I was on a panel last week and one of the authors says, most authors who writing don’t make $4,500 a year.
And I was like, woo, that’s such a scary thought. But are you gonna go traditional? Do you wanna have a publisher take care of everything or you gonna go Indy? And if you go in Indy, you have to realize you gotta pay for everything. So you have to have the money up. So the decisions is, if you’re trying to make it a business, is making sure you understand what does that success means?
What are you trying to achieve every year? What is your mark? Are you aiming to have? How many new readers are you working on a newsletter? How are you gonna bring people into your works every single time? And I think that’s the hardest part about it, is. Because we’re living in a world that it doesn’t magically happen.
It’s the interesting part. Back in the days, people fell in love with the books. Then they met the author. Now is the other way around. They wanna get to know you. Are you coming up authentic to them? Are you connecting with them and then are you selling them? There is a whole science to the art of selling that sometimes we take for granted.
So sometimes if you’re trying to make that business decisions, you have to. It’s gonna take you a few years. It’s not gonna happen like every business in this country, but also what is, what does success means to you? You have to know that from the beginning. I hear a lot of people like, I’ll be happy if I sell one book.
I was like, so if I buy you a book, will you be happy? That’s not what I meant. What exactly did you mean? That like you have to be specific in order to achieve these work because it’s not, you’re just aiming at pie dreams. You’re aiming for all these things. You have to be able to say, this is what I want, and work towards that.
Stephen: And be honest with what you want, like you just said. And realistic because, and I think a lot of the new authors still have that fantasy in their head of, oh, if I write a book and get it out there, it’ll be world famous and everyone will love it. And I’ve learned, and I laugh now because I thought this way a little bit.
But you say, so who is your book for? Oh, it’s for every. . All right. You obviously are new because no author that’s been writing for a while ever says it’s for everybody cuz they understand it’s really not. So you need to be realistic about it. And I also tell people that they need to worry more about the fun of writing than worrying about.
Cuz I I’ve seen authors. At these conventions asking panels of authors and stuff, it’s do you recommend we publish on this? Do you say we should advertise with this? And when you talk to them, they’re like, oh yeah, I haven’t even started my book yet. Why are you worried about how you’re gonna publish yet if you haven’t even do you, did you outline it?
Do you know who your characters are? Because that’s way more important right now than what you’re go the publishing. You can actually screw that up several times in different ways and still be successful and figure it out. But you screw the writing up and you’re not, and it doesn’t matter what you do with the publishing.
So that, that’s what I’ve tried to get others to understand and again, My problem is I am not a, oh look, I’ve got 20 books out. I’ve been on the s USA bestselling list. I’ve been on u s A today, whatever. And on Oprah I am not that person. So it’s hard for me to say, this is what you should do and for people to listen.
So I love when , I’m talking to a, an author that is a full-time author and has been on that and is saying the same thing. There you go, folks. Listen to DC.
DC: It becomes a very understanding of who you are and what you want. What we see a lot, and I know I have a lot of my peers who also saying it is sometimes our dreams don’t match the amount of work we wanna put into it because it’s going to take work.
Whether you decided to do a Kickstarter or you’re gonna do a book funnel campaign, whatever you are going to do, it takes work. And it takes having cast skin. Everybody’s not gonna like your books, but here’s the reality. Do we, like every book we read, we don’t. We don’t like every genre we read.
What makes us think that everybody’s going to like it, but it’s also understanding who is our audience. You said it really well. Who do you want to read your books? Who are you targeting for? I know very well that my target audience is usually gonna be females between the age agents of 25 to about 45, who enjoy urban fantasy, who enjoy working characters, can it be broader than that? Absolutely. But usually that’s what you’re looking for. Who does that demographic? Why? Because it’s going to help if you’re going to be running ads, it’s going to help you if you’re going to be marketing at different organizations, but you have to be very comfortable.
Everybody’s not gonna like him, right? , everybody’s not gonna be your tribe. And what is it that success means
Stephen: to you? Yeah, and I think when you, when people are like, oh, but I feel slimy if I advertise and I’m pushing it, and maybe it’s because you haven’t defined who you’re talking to about your book.
Maybe it’s cuz you really do feel like that used car salesman that no matter who comes in, I’m gonna sell ’em this car. And if you feel that way, maybe you need to define, because if you write a picture, and it’s a great picture book for five year olds or seven year olds, whatever.
If you are talking to a five or seven year old, you’re like, oh, look at the bunny. And oh look, he’s got a sad face and you don’t have a problem pushing it and selling it cuz you’re not in that sales mode. You’re talking about the book. , but if you got a 12 year old, you’re going to have to really push it to get a 12 year old to buy a picture book.
And maybe that’s the mindset to think of that if you have the right demographics and the right tribe, you’re not selling it so much as sharing it with them and you’re doing those readers a disservice. If your book is really good and they really would enjoy it, it’s a disservice not to get them to read it and understand.
Different mindset. I think
DC: once you change the way you’re looking at the marketing side or the business side or the process that we have, it changes how you treat it. Because here’s the thing is nobody ever complains with McDonald’s. Put Onion app, right? Nobody ever complains when Hobby Lobby sends you an email about their sales.
Then why? As creators we get upset. It’s oh my God, I can’t send a newsletter saying that I have a sale. I get emails every day from coach. I’m never mad when they tell me to have a person sale. I’m never upset about it. Why? Cause I’m expecting you to sell me things, right? So we change the way. As a writer, people expect you to send them words. We write for a living. Why are we mad when we send a newsletter telling them of our days? So you right, change your mindset, change the way you’re looking at it, and then understand and be very comfortable with, are you willing to do the work. If you’re not, then stay as a hobby and enjoy it.
At the end of the day, I don’t think we should be suffering authors. You should be fun
Stephen: and enjoyable and I would honestly bet if somebody said, oh, I just wanna do this as a hobby. I am going to publish it and put it on Kindle. I’m gonna do this. They’re more interested in making sure the book is fun and they enjoy writing it and all of that.
I bet they would do way more success in sales and all that than somebody that’s only focused on getting done so they can sell it and make money. That relaxed attitude comes through in the book, comes through in the sales that you do and talking to people and all that. It, again, a mindset thing, I believe.
DC: Totally agree with you. Yes.
Stephen: Alright. So DC I appreciate you taking so much time talking to me today. It’s been great fun. Hopefully maybe I can catch up with you at a con or something somewhere. Sure. Before we go I asked you about what would you tell people to read your book?
What would you, what would be some last minute advice you would give new authors truly
DC: to enjoy the writing process, to understand who they. To be authentic with themselves and to give themselves the grace to learn and be new at this job. And if you treat it as you’re new every day you are gonna learn something.
And every day you’re gonna enjoy
Stephen: it more and more. Nice. Great. Love it. All right. Thank you for being on and talking with us today. And I will let you know when this goes live and we hope to see some more good stuff from you.
DC: Oh, thank you so much. It’s such a pleasure. Thank you. Thank you. Have an amazing day.