Kev’s Author Interviews Presents:
Kev: Tell us a little about yourself, Sally!
I have travelled around the world, worked in various industries until the age of 43 when I decided to retrain as a nutritional therapist. I felt that I wanted to work in something I was passionate about and also that was something that did not tie me into retiring before I was ready. I had written short stories and poetry before then but I really only got serious about developing that focus in the late 90s when I wrote my first book Size Matters, Especially when you weigh 330lbs. I have not really stopped since then. Before I began my daily blog, I contributed to both print and online media writing about health and I also produced a monthly digital health magazine called Just Food For Health for two years which later became my second book. We currently live in Madrid but are selling up hopefully in the next year. We have some travel plans and also would like to be closer to family in the UK and Ireland. My husband and I have a very flexible approach to plans as usually someone has a great belly laugh and it is all change!
Kev: What is your latest book about?
Well for some my next book is probably not going to be on their TBR list although in my career in management I have experienced a fair bit of political intrigue and mystery, a touch of romance and sometimes a little bit of back-stabbing! 28 years ago I wrote a people management training programme for the company I was Sales Manager for. Since then I have updated and adapted for each company I have worked for to the present day and I have delivered to managers at varying stages of their careers.
However technically advanced businesses across the board have become; there is still a huge requirement for effective management of a company’s greatest asset, which is of course the employees at every level. However, whilst it is aimed at companies of all sizes, particularly smaller organisations who do not have in house training, individuals who are undertaking any project with a management element will find useful. For example renovating a property where outside contractors are involved or of course, writing and publishing a book from start to finish!
Kev: Who or what influenced you to write it?
My husband David, who I have worked with in a couple of companies, has also used the programme to develop managers that he was responsible for and was keen that it be available to a wider audience. When we return to the UK I intend to return to my training consultancy that has been on hold for the last three years and add this programme to the courses I offer.
The other factor was that I consider it a shame that many people work on various skills throughout their careers and then put them to one side when they retire. When I interview writers about their books and ask their background I am blown away by their areas of expertise. I know that for most of us there comes a time when we hang up our spurs and move on to other passions, but I feel that with the advent of Ebooks and the more streamlined publishing process that there are some great reasons for writing ‘How To’ books on many subjects. Someone out there in the world, perhaps without access to formal training might find that Ebook a life changer.
Kev: Did you do any specialised research for your story?
I had my first official management position at age 21 when I did my training with a well-known restaurant chain. Between then and now I have managed teams of all sizes including in my last consultancy position as station director for an Internet television station. I always felt that people management skills were key to the success of a company however good the product or service might be and I found that training young supervisors and managers as early as possible extremely important. I also in that time was ‘managed’ and that provided me with a great deal of personal experience to draw on. Some managers were amazing and others typified all that is bad in a people manager.
Kev: What challenges did you face while writing the story?
Because the book has evolved over a period of years and has been added to and adapted every so often it was a challenge to bring it all together cohesively. Also we have been working on our house getting it ready for sale so I am afraid that work on this project has been a little intermittent. The other issue of course is that the language of management has changed over the years even if the actual principles have not. This has meant that I have had to re-edit several times. There comes a point when you wonder if it would be better to start from scratch but it seems to be getting there.
The challenge now is to come up with a zippy title.. Scullduggery Management Techniques for success has quite a good ring to it and might be closer to the truth than we might wish!
Kev: When you write, do you write off-the-cuff or do you use some kind of formula?
I am an off the cuff writer when I get going but it is usually preceded by a lot of research or when I am writing fiction, with a lot of walking and swimming! I tend to write in my head first and in some cases the framework for a chapter will be in place as I sit down at the computer and I rattle it off and then go back and edit. Throughout the writing process however there is always the constant read, read and read again.
Kev: How do you deal with writers-block?
I don’t actually tend to suffer from writer’s block and if I am stalled I tend to get up and do something constructive like baking or I will write a post for the blog as I then see something completed. I don’t tend to put time pressures on myself anymore. It will get done in its own time.
Kev: Preference for writing: Day or Night?
I like the early mornings when I am at my freshest… I tend to make more mistakes if I spend too long in front of the computer.
Kev: What is your process for editing your work?
Read, read, read and read again. Then I hand over to my husband who formats my books and he will read and carry out his usual editing process both automated and manual. He then gives me back the manuscript and I read again. When we print I will do another read through of the hard copy proof, as there are always small things you have missed. With E-books I will do another check when formatted.
Kev: How do you come up with your book covers?
Some book covers for the non-fiction business titles are basic. For the fiction books something within the story usually presents itself. For example in Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story. Sam had a way of cocking his head to one side with his mouth slightly open displaying his small bottom teeth. It was definitely a ‘Say What?’ expression. We used a butterfly for Flights of Fancy and a tape measure for Size Matters.
Kev: Do you think the book cover is important?
I do, more so now that so many people are buying online. When you are in a physical bookstore the titles are displayed by genre and then author. You usually only see the spines of most of the books. Online bookstores are different. You see the cover and that is where your eye is drawn as you scroll down. This does not mean it has to be complex and in fact I find the simple imagery of some covers to be riveting.
Kev: Which publishing platform do you prefer and why?
David has used InDesign since we began Moyhill since it was the print era. He now uses Ebook formatting software depending on the book. It will depend if fiction or non-fiction. Number and type of illustrations or graphs and tables etc. A couple of my books have both and when we convert will probably simply do in pdf. We always format for EPub and Mobi.
Kev: Do you face any daunting obstacles during the publishing process?
Yes, keeping my husband fed and hydrated! 😀
Kev: What methods do you use to promote your work?
In the good old days of print only I would use press releases and advance copies since promotion was on a more local or national level. I sent copies of my first book to national papers and women’s magazines and it resulted in some great publicity. I would also walk into radio stations and leave them copies and this led to interviews and in the case of my first book the start of my career on radio and Internet TV. Now with Ebooks and the availability of the world-wide web it is a different ball game. We converted seven of my books into E-versions late last year and without snail mail and extortionate postage costs this has rejuvenated sales for most of them. Gratifyingly in places around the world where print copies would not have reached.
My blog and social media has played a huge part in the promotion on a wider scale, which is why I not only enjoy the process of interacting on all the different platforms but also the fact that my books are reaching a wider audience. I am afraid like most of us fame and fortune are currently not on the agenda there is still the thrill of seeing that someone in Iceland has downloaded one of your books!
Kev: Do you have any advice for new authors?
Rome was not built in a day! Apart from a handful of writers overnight success is not on the cards. However, it depends on why you write as to what your definition of success is. For me I am working at something I love. The fact that people have read my books and taken the time to comment and recommend is wonderful.
Like anything in life, when you are passionate about something it comes across and so I would always start writing about a subject or in a genre that you have studied or read a great deal about.
First be a reader.. Then find your unique perspective that will make your favourite subject or genre come alive in a new and different way. Before you publish the book, put your reader hat on, and look at what you have written through the eyes of those who are going to buy the book.
When you have read your book several times you will develop word blindness and it is always great to have someone else to read as well. I am so lucky in that respect and it is something I really am grateful for.
If you love it… Keep at it!
Kev: Which social media platforms do you use the most?
Apart from my blog I use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + and Pinterest. I have just recently begun to use book trailers and have those on YouTube:
http://youtu.be/B_ZV9fWzPLA Book Trailer Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story
http://youtu.be/Yll_WSB6vvU Book Trailer – Size Matters
http://youtu.be/3uRuQ6okQ1g Blog Trailer
All books available in print and E-versions
Smashwords – http://Moyhill.com
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/30254656-sally-cronin
Blog : https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com
Thank you so much Kevin for letting me share my latest project which I plan on releasing in June.
SALLY CRONIN, EVERYONE!