Born and raised in Southern California, Cody J. Sherer was always fascinated with Science Fiction, Fantasy, and other similar genres of movies, books, and shows. He began his writing career at the age of 20, though he did not publish his book until a few years later. His journey from reader to writer started when a friend had the idea of writing a non-fiction book of short stories together. At the time, the then Accounting major thought that writing sounded enjoyable. They began writing the book and writing stuck with Cody. Now, he mostly writes Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but also tends to dabble in Mystery and Detective genres as well. You can find his books on Amazon. Cody is currently working on more books that are scheduled to be released out in the coming months and years.
What inspires you to write?
Initially, my love for reading, my brother, and my best friend. I grew up reading books mostly from J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Raymond E. Feist with some others thrown in as well. These books fueled my love for reading which eventually lead to my love for writing. Somewhere along the way, my brother took up writing. Though it would be many years before I joined him as a writer, his endeavors as an author would ultimately push me to accept when my best friend came up with the idea of writing a book together.
As for inspiration on writing, people, places, things, movies, books, video games, and just about anything that can get the imagination going. A writer’s goal can be to entertain, illuminate, educate, or bewilder. I think those are best portrayed and inspired in life. As such, my inspiration can come from almost anything.
Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process is quite fluid, actually. There are times when I outline an entire book, times when I outline each chapter, and times when I don’t outline anything. For the most part, I do try to keep at least a rough outline in my head. I’m never afraid to change it and often my book will end far and away from the original ending I had planned/thought up (if I even had an ending planned.)
I generally use my laptop when writing, though I do have a notebook and a smart phone too. If I had to assign percentages it would look something like this: 70% laptop, 20% notebook, 10% smart phone. Sometimes I write at my desk, sometimes in bed, sometimes in a park, it really just depends on my mood. I’ve found that sometimes a routine is helpful and other times it gets you stuck in a rut.
Thought I am not the best at drawing/sketching, I do have a sketch pad that I use to sketch characters, settings, covers, and creatures. Sometimes having a picture of what you are trying to say can help you with finding the right words.
Unlike some authors, who say there is a specific time of the day that works best for them, I find that the spark of inspiration can come at any time of the day. Sometimes I can get away with writing down a few notes, but often times I launch into my current project and try to take advantage of the spark. This all isn’t to say that a writer must wait for the spark of creativity (though I am sure some must.) I try and write a decent amount every morning and I can usually get 500-1,000 words done. However, it is the times when the spark hits that allows me to get in the 3,000-5,000 word range. Not that it is a race or anything, but for me the 3,000-5,000 word range seems to be the sweet spot for producing my best writing. It usually comes out to one or two powerful scenes.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My interacting with my characters looks something like this:
What does X (we’ll use Paul) want?
How far is Paul willing to go to get Y (revenge)?
How does Paul’s need for revenge alter things for Z (Emily)?
How does Emily’s influence change Paul’s desire for revenge?
What else is going on in kingdom A (Carmalia) that would change Paul’s desire for revenge?
Who else is going to be affected by Paul’s desire for revenge?
How can B (The Wizard’s Council) use Paul’s desire for revenge to further their own mission?
Now, there are probably 50-60 other questions I can ask along the way, but they are nearly constantly being asked in my head when I am writing. While I factor all the answers into my writing, the answers that have a bigger impact get top billing. The more central to the plot a character is, the more questions there are dedicated to that character.
What advice would you give other writers?
Be patient and don’t take other’s advice as something set in stone. There are often exceptions to rules and you never know if you are that exception unless you make the attempt. That having been said, most exceptions are also exceptional writers. 🙂
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first book that I ever wrote, I wrote with a friend. As such, the decision was split. We dove into the self-publishing side of things with little to hold us back. While I learned a lot from this, it was definitely a mistake. Rather than having 100 or so books printed so that we could get a feel for how the book would be received, we went with much more than that. I’m not trying to discourage people from self-publishing, it is an excellent approach for some authors. I do, however, advise against self-publishing in large numbers before getting a feel for how the book will be received. Otherwise you might get stuck with a thousand books that are unsold.
This experience has most definitely changed my outlook on publishing my second and third books. While I still self-published, I switched to the Ebook route. There were three main reasons for this. 1. If you choose a place like Amazon (or smashwords), it costs you nothing up front. 2. You don’t have a bunch of excess inventory sitting around in your house. 3. You can edit on the fly without having to worry about books that are already printed. Now, I do plan on getting both of my Ebooks into print-on-demand programs, because they are similar to Ebooks in the above sense, however, since Ebooks cost less to produce, I can offer them at a lower price and it helps to get a feel for what the readers think of my books.
I’ve never gone with a publisher (none of them have accepted any of my stuff,) but I can point out that one of the nice things about self-publishing is the ability to choose exactly how your book is presented. You get to make the cover, do the marketing, etc. The downside is: You have to make the cover, do the marketing, etc. It is a trade-off, but it is one that I don’t mind making. I do intend to try to get a publisher in the future, but at the moment I enjoy the freedoms that go along with self-publishing.
The way I see it, there are numerous types of publishing that one can choose and there are numerous personalities of writer. Everyone should research their options and choose the option that best suits them and their book.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m positive about the future of book publishing. A lot of people are worried about the recent upheavals in the realm of books (Borders closing, Ebooks on the rise, B&N taking a bit of a shot, etc.) I understand the concern, however, I look around and I see that one thing remains true: People/businesses that offer quality products are thriving. That isn’t to say that places like Barnes and Noble don’t offer quality products, but there are a lot of independent bookstores that offer books the employees enjoy. That reads like a recipe for success to me. Instead of relying on the author’s reputation, why not rely on your employees to bring in good merchandise?
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery, Z-poc
What formats are your books in?
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