About J.B. Markes:
J.B. Markes is an American author living in South Korea. He is a fan of all things fantasy, stemming from his early days of Dragonlance, D&D, and 8-bit RPG video games.
What inspires you to write?
For the most part, I write what I’d like to read (or what I’d like to see in a movie). The great thing about writing is that it’s an entire movie in your head that starts and stops for coffee breaks–not so different from reading in that regard! Ever seen a movie that was so great right up until the ending? Well, here’s your chance to fix all that!
I was one of those Dungeons & Dragons nerds as a teenager. I never realized what a creative outlet that was until my group all went their separate ways. I think writing is a way for me to get back into the DM seat for one last campaign (I know, I know… D&D terms… the cool guys get what I’m saying).
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a rough outliner, and I mean very rough. I have the most specific vague plans imaginable. I have mainly the concept and the ending in mind before I ever start banging the keyboard, but all of those little details that get me from A to B (to C to D) are left up in the air. I have key milestone moments in my story that serve as brief oases and then I’m sprinting across the desert once more.
I spend more time than the average writer on each and every paragraph of the first draft, I think. I like to shoot for 1000 words a day (1500 if I’m on a roll), but it’s not uncommon to have days with as little as 300 words if I’m not happy with a particular stretch. I stress a lot over dialogue and making sure each person remains consistent, and I try to focus on quality and let the quantity come when it comes.
The first rewrite (and subsequent edits) is where I go back and iron things out to make things flow better, the second is mainly a copy edit. Then I put it down for a few weeks and do one last edit before sending it off to the editor. I beg for beta readers all throughout the process. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of luck with finding willing and able beta readers, but I try not to let my self-esteem suffer too much.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk out loud usually. I’m not as crazy as those other fiction writers! The truth is I don’t talk out loud because I find it hard to imitate the actual character voices that are in my head.
What advice would you give other writers?
For other writers, you keep doing what you’re doing. You’re awesome. For aspiring writers, stop aspiring and just write. Writing is free. The only thing it demands is every last ounce of your free time. It’s the most jealous craft/hobby imaginable and one of the few that makes you feel guilty for not doing it on a daily basis.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I never tried to go the traditional route. I think I talked myself out of it for many years as I mulled over the plot of my first novel. It’s one of those things where you know you will get rejected before you even start, but that’s just the nature of the business. I lurked the Kindle Direct Publishing forums for a few years before I finally decided to give it a go. I like the freedom of self-publishing. I like the security in knowing the novel I worked so hard to finish won’t be rejected simply because it lacks a Hollywood happily-ever-after or has unconventional messages.
But that’s not to say I won’t try the traditional publishing route someday just for the experience. There are obvious advantages and disadvantages to both avenues. It’s for each author to choose what’s best for them and I’m sure both avenues will remain available in the future.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Brighter than ever. Self-publishing has created a platform where the reader wins. The cost of books is going down while the number of new releases goes up. Niche genres are getting more attention than ever, and I’m certain there are new ones on the horizon. The only question is…do you have time to read them all?
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Fantasy, with a few Sci-Fi and General Fiction ideas screaming to get out.
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print