Award-winning author, Chariss K. Walker, M.Msc., writes both fiction and nonfiction books with a metaphysical and spiritual component. Her fiction expresses a visionary/metaphysical message that illustrates growth in a character’s consciousness while utilizing a paranormal aspect. Her nonfiction books share insight, hope, and inspiration. Even though Chariss writes dark-fiction about insanely dark topics, such as sexual abuse, incest, pedophilia, sexual assault, and other inappropriate dinner conversation, there is always an essential question of the abstract nature that gives a reader increasing awareness and perception. All of her books are sold worldwide in eBook, paperback, and many are in large print.
What inspires you to write?
Knowing that there will be a finished product soon if I keep writing. It is purely inspirational to turn a few ideas into a few pages, then a few chapters, and finally a completed book that can be held in the hand.
Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process is simple. I treat it as a job where I am both the employer and the employee. I write every day and even though my employer would give me the weekends off, I find that I like the overtime. I sit down to write, with intention each day. I set a goal to write between eight and ten pages a day. Sometimes I fall short of that, but it is still the goal I focus on. I do not edit during this goal oriented period. I wait until a chapter is finished before I begin to edit. As I edit, the work naturally expands and grows with more inspiration. This I do during the school year because I have a daughter still in school. During the summer, I start new folders with book ideas that I want to work on in the Fall and I begin the promotions for the books I have completed that year.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes, I talk and listen to the characters in my books but it is more than that. I begin to visualize my characters in their different roles and in each scene. I become the wife of the hero or the artist or best friend as well as the main characters.
What advice would you give other writers?
This advice will primarily be for Indie Authors, but it applies to all writers, published or not.
Write, first and foremost Use an editor, rather than a friend or family member, to proofread your work
Set it aside for a few days after it has been edited and read it again with new eyes
Set up a budget, no matter how small, and begin your promotional idea folder before the book is published. In fact, you have to know where you are going before you can get there. Make a map and follow it closely.
Being an author is far more than simply writing; it is editing, publishing and promoting. You can either hire someone to do those things for you or, like most of us, you must do these things yourself. It takes the joy out of the creative process, I know, but it is essential to a successful book. There are millions of books out there and you have to know how to get your book in front of readers. It doesn’t happen miraculously, it takes planning. Having your book available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble is merely having your book listed along with millions of other books and it doesn’t necessarily generate sales. You have to do that.
Don’t rush to publish.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
With my first book, Make a Joyful Noise: Searching for a Spiritual Path in a Material World, a nonfiction book written to bridge the gap between spiritual and religious doctrines and beliefs, the traditional publishers said it was an intriguing idea but that the concept was too broad and couldn’t be accomplished. They were wrong. I also learned that even if they accepted my book for publication, it could be over a year before it was actually available in print, plus they didn’t offer eBooks at all. I knew I had a lot to say and felt an urgency that the book should be in print. I went with a rather large subsidy or vanity publisher and it cost a lot $$$ without a lot of benefits or support. Once the book was published I was on my own although during the publishing process they assisted and directed. After that, everything was extra. Even after my book won several awards and went to 2009 Book Expo America (BEA) and the 2009 Beijing, London and Frankfurt International Book Fairs, they didn’t assist me when interested parties wanted to negotiate the foreign rights to the book. They didn’t respond to the requests and simply let any interest die. I was too green to understand how to help myself with those requests and I lost a lot of money due to that publisher. It is very odd that they worked that way because most traditional publishers welcome foreign rights negotiations. It’s more money for everyone. I do not recommend that option.
Knowing that eBooks were the future, I self-published that first book on Kindle, again without support from the publisher. I paid to have the paperback version formatted to mobi, but even that required my participation so I learned a lot about the process. Then my first published paperback was up on Amazon/Kindle as an eBook and listed for sale worldwide. That was exhilarating. After that process, I began to play around with the directions on Kindle and Createspace. I liked what I saw and I owned all the rights to my published work, so I developed a Createspace paperback version that was more easily available and promoted. From then on, I was hooked on self-publishing. I am proud to be an Indie Author.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that we are headed toward more and more eBooks because the younger generation of readers would rather use an electronic device to read their books. It makes it easier to take the book(s) along on vacation or share with friends. Although I still personally love the library and bookstore, I have a teenager as well as adult relatives in their forties who simply cannot be bothered with the weight of a printed book. I think there will be a huge upset in the publishing industry and that both authors and readers are tired of being told what is “good” by those in the publishing industry. They would rather hear what their friends have to say about a book.
What do you use?
Both eBook and Print
What genres do you write?
Nonfiction, body mind and spirit, inspirational, chakras, Fiction thriller, paranormal, contemporary women,
What formats are your books in?
Professional Editor, Beta Readers