B.V. Larson has sold millions of copies of his books and continues to delight his readers with more than fifty books in print. He took time out of his busy writing schedule to answer a few of my burning questions.
What does your writing process look like? How do you publish so frequently?
You have to be willing to WORK. Many, if not most authors don’t really want to work hard. You also have to love writing, the way a street musician loves to play his instrument so much he’d rather sit in the street with coins rattling in his hat than do anything else.
Except for a few of my books, my entire list was written since I got into kindle in mid 2010. It’s all a balance between writing every day and not burning out. As to process, when I’m writing a new book I write 7 days a week until it’s finished. Usually, that’s about 3k words a day. I write that fast because it’s the best I can do year in and year out. When the book is done, it’s not really done, there are several editing passes (paid outside editors) and a rewrite by me as well before it goes live. Then I take a week or three off before starting the next. That process has put out around 5 books a year, steady, for 8 years now. If I went faster, I’d probably burn out. There are a lot of authors who put out a book every 30 days, but we’ll see if they can keep that up for 10 years…
You’re self-published, but have sold more than two million books. What made you eschew traditional publishers? And how has that decision impacted your success?
I haven’t avoided traditional pubs. I regularly use their services. For example, I sell a line of college textbooks, all traditional. I also sold two fiction novels to a trad pub about five years ago, and I regularly sell audiobooks (all pro-published, none of them are ACX). I’ve even got traditional foreign translation deals in German, Bulgarian, Romanian, Japanese, Polish, and I think Spanish. As for a big-five, Barnes&Noble type deal, the truth is I feel like they’ve been avoiding ME. Before 2010, I wrote several novels but was steadily rejected (some of those became bestsellers later in the kindle era). Now that I’m big, they do approach me, but they don’t want to pay! There’s a big difference between a 7% royalty (traditional paper standard, before taking out agent fees) and 70%. Even though the traditionals will sign for 25% per ebook, that’s still a long way from 70%. I’ve been all over NYC publishing offices having meetings with editors. There’s very little sense of a partnership with the traditionals, no hint of flexibility. I’ve offered them deals that I know will make both of sides money, but they’re rejected because that’s not how they do biz with authors. It’s their way or the highway–or in my case, more Indie writing.
Orson Scott Card or Isaac Asimov?
I honestly like both. In fact, I’ve read both of them in the last year. (Or rather, listened to them as audiobooks). Asimov’s Foundation books are a fave of mine, as is Ender’s Game. Influences from both can be found in my stories.
What makes you want to write across genres?
I don’t really do that these days, but I used to. I would LIKE to write across genres, but people usually don’t read across genres like I do. That means that to write a fantasy or a crime novel for me now means a significantly reduced income and a lot of annoyed fans. I’ve been “type-cast” to some extent. People expect a certain experience from me, and they reject anything else. If Spock could dance–really well–would we want to see it? Probably not.
Originally, since I’ll read almost anything, it seemed natural to write in varied genres. I enjoyed the challenge. When you write a LOT, it helps prevent burn-out if you change things up now and then, like a pro sports player enjoying a swim now and then instead of throwing a ball around constantly. Unfortunately, as a pro who has to support a family with my writing, these options are less viable now. Not that I’m complaining, I love the life.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a book tentatively titled Dark World, from Undying Mercenaries, my biggest series.
|B. V. Larson is the author of more than fifty books with over two million copies sold. His fiction regularly tops the bestseller charts. He writes in several genres, but most of his work is Science Fiction. Many of his titles have been professionally produced as audiobooks and print as well as ebook form. Eight of them have been translated into other languages and distributed by major publishers in foreign countries.|
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