This week, we got to interview the lovely Renee Scattergood, author of the Shadow Stalker series. Composed of 6 episodes per part, the series has really favorable reviews on Amazon, and we’re definitely fans! If anyone is proof that being self-published can work out, as long as you put in the effort and work to market yourself, it’s Scattergood.
Here’s what she had to say.
So you live in Australia, but you’re from New Jersey. What is the writing community like in Australia? Do you feel like writers have a good presence?
Well, I was born in New Jersey, but we moved to Florida when I was 13, so I don’t really remember it much. I don’t get involved in the writing community here so much. I live in a fairly remote area. Most of the writers I know are all online, but the online indie community is fantastic. A very friendly and helpful bunch.
Your love story with your husband is a dream come true, a whirlwind romance. Do you think having a supporting, loving partner is important for writers?
Absolutely! I don’t think I could have done this without his support, especially since we have an ASD/ADHD daughter. He keeps her occupied for me when I have to work, so I actually can work. And his encouragement has really kept me going. It also helps that he is friends with a fairly huge gaming community online, and they read and help spread the word about my books, so that’s pretty awesome.
Why do you think you were so shy about sharing your work with others at first? It took a while for you to finally break that barrier.
I think every author pours a lot of themselves into their books. In a way, it’s like baring your soul to the whole world. It’s a quite vulnerable position to be in. I think it’s why a lot of writers find it hard at first. I expected criticism, so that wasn’t the issue for me. I think I was just afraid people might see through me, into the real me, and that was pretty scary.
You vowed that you wouldn’t edit as you wrote anymore. How has that been going for you?
It’s been going really well, actually. Now that I have a step by step process, it’s been a lot easier for me. My first draft is bare bones; it’s more like an extended outline. When I finish that, I go back and flesh it out. That’s where I start showing and adding in all the senses, the character’s quirks, more detailed descriptions (if needed). While I’m writing the first draft, to keep myself from being tempted to edit, I’ll make notations of things that come to mind so I can keep going. Using Scrivener to write makes this so much easier, but you can easily do it in Word with the comments tool as well.
What would you say is the best thing about self-publishing?
I love the freedom. I’ve always had a very entrepreneurial spirit. I love being the one making all the decision, and even though I’m not doing all the work myself (it’s important to have a team), I love having the final say. Then there is the feeling of euphoria I get when my book is released, and I know that I’m the one who made it happen. It’s a great feeling. It motivates me to keep going. I can’t wait to get into the next project.
Would you recommend it to others?
I would recommend it to those who love to be their own boss. If an author is more comfortable with other people making the big decisions and doing the big work, then self-publishing is really not for them. You have to be willing to learn the whole business, not just the writing side of things, so it’s a huge undertaking. And it’s not easy. It really has to be as much of a passion for you as writing.
How have your marketing courses paid off?
Well, they’ve given me a good base to start with. Marketing tactics change faster than technology, though, and what worked back when I was in college isn’t necessarily going to work today. But I did learn how to make a plan, how to study my target market, and things of that nature. That is definitely stuff you need to know.
We have quite the aspiring writer following. Is there any advice you’d like to share with them?
Yes! Whatever happens, even if you think you’ve failed, never give up. Learn from your experiences, apply them to your next project and keep moving forward. If you do this, eventually you’ll succeed. You may not become rich or even a best-seller, but you will be able to make a good living doing what you love.
Where can readers get your books?
My books are sold on Amazon, Smashwords and most other online retailers. You can also find a listing with links to all the stores on my website: reneescattergood.com
I’d also like to say that the first two books in my Shadow Stalker serial are free, so if you love dark fantasy, check them out!
Can they follow you on social media?
We’d like to give a big thanks to Renee Scattergood for taking time out of her day to answer our questions. It was an absolute pleasure!
It is our hope here at Literative that readers and aspiring writers can take some sort of value out of these interviews with real authors. It’s difficult work, and unappreciated at times, but it’s worthwhile in the end. To all of those too scared or shy to show their work to others, use Scattergood as an example: you can do it!