About Cyndie Shaffstall:
Cyndie Shaffstall, a quintessential entrepreneur in the software industry, wrote her first book in 1992, QuarkXPress: Making the Most of Your Negative Experiences, followed quickly by a dozen after-market computer manuals. In the years since, she has further contributed to the design and business industries as the editor and publisher of X-Ray Magazine and more recently, revealing some of her successful business practices in Small-business Guide to Winning at Web Marketing. Cyndie Shaffstall is a prolific writer of eBooks, case studies, press releases, blog articles, and other online content for her company, Spider Trainers—a provider of automated marketing—and as a contributing blogger to Target Marketing Magazine, among other print and electronic publications. Cyndie Shaffstall is the inventor and patent holder of Sassy Strappings, a fashion accessory. She lives in Denver with her two dogs, Felix Trinidad and Oscar de la Hoya—boxers.
What inspires you to write?
I am most often inspired by the places I visit and people I meet, but a simple love of writing drives my pen to paper. Seed Money and The Scribe were both inspired by my two-week trek through the Andes and visits to the Wira and Inca ruins across Peru.
Tell us about your writing process.
What I’ve found works best, is to rough out the story from beginning to end in chapter format. I write about a thousand words for each chapter and this helps me to keep me focused and work toward the logical end. Once I complete the chapters, I sometimes find I need to add additional chapters in order to better bridge the transitions, so I’ll add those in.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I have a person in mind when I create a character—often one of my friends or someone with whom I’ve worked. Since my stories are narrative style, I must talk with my characters and imagine how they might respond to the conversation.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t be a focus group of one. Just because you love your story, or something about your story, doesn’t mean it’s marketable. I rewrote the ending to Seed Money eight times—all based upon the feedback I received from my reviewers.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I self-published my first nonfiction book in 1992 and it was later bought by a publishing house. That gave me the experience of both paths. Over the years, I’ve earned royalties in about equal shares in the two processes, but given I own a marketing company, I felt I could do as good or better job than a publishing house in getting the word out about Seed Money and The Scribe.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Working nearly full-time now on book marketing, I’m really pleased to see sites like this one have cropped up to help authors reach the masses. It wasn’t that way 15 years ago, making it really difficult to succeed on your own.
What genres do you write?: fiction, nonfiction, mystery, science fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print