About Jen Rasmussen:
Jen Rasmussen is the author of the dark snark series The Adventures of Lydia Trinket. Quite qualified to write about fear, at the age of forty-three she remains afraid of dark rooms, spiders, and Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, daughter, and beagle (also a coward).
What inspires you to write?
Books! I’ve loved stories and storytelling for as long as I can remember, and from a very young age, I just wanted to be a part of that. I think for a lot of writers, they can go back to their childhood as readers and point to the authors and books that made them want to write. For me those were C.S. Lewis, L.M. Montgomery, Susan Cooper, and Tolkien.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m an outliner, and Scrivener is an outliner’s best friend. If I could meet Scrivener for lunch, or go to the movies with it, or be there to pick it up when its car breaks down, I would. Right now I’m writing a series, and I have the whole thing in one ginormous Scrivener file. It makes it so easy to look up things from prior books, use shared notes and pictures, and generally police continuity.
I think as far as the great planner versus pantser debate goes, you just have to let your brain work the way it works. Don’t try to decide which way is right or better. Just figure out which you are, and be that.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Not so loud that anyone can hear, although I have been known to swear at them occasionally. I often hear their voices in my head, especially if I’m writing in first person. But in general I’m one of those writers who makes her characters bend to her will, versus the other way around.
What advice would you give other writers?
I’m not qualified to give advice! But with that disclaimer, I can give an observation: there seem to be a lot of people who want to be writers, but who don’t actually want to write. Discipline is the name of the game. I’m not one of the many who insist on writing every day, but the difference between aspiration and realization really is as simple as applying butt to chair.
I’d add one additional piece of advice, not as a writer but as a reader: no matter how great your idea is, your proficiency with the language counts. I’m not talking about matters of style or minor nitpicks, but basic grammar, usage, and syntax. Know the language you’re writing in. I get so frustrated when I find a really good story that’s badly written.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’m indie. Like a lot of people who were writing before that was as good an option as it is today, I went through the traditional ringer for years: several books, 2 agents, no sales. I started to query the first Lydia Trinket book, but withdrew my submissions when I made my decision, so I’ll never know whether I would have had the option to traditionally publish it. (History says probably not.) But given a choice, I would absolutely still go indie.
I don’t think there’s a universal answer. I would just advise anyone getting into the business today to do your homework, and remember that these are business models, no more, no less. You might (or might not) be writing art, but the word for things you try to sell is product, and the word for an entity that sells products is business. So approach it as the business decision it is. Research extensively and without bias. And when you have all the facts, develop a plan, as detailed a plan as you can. Preferably with spreadsheets.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The only thing I can predict with complete confidence is that there will still be writers and there will still be books. Regardless of the hyperbole of a few people with distinct agendas, whatever market share the various business models, retailers, and formats have at a given time, the sky is not going to fall.
Apart from that, my sense is that we’ll continue to see an increase in the number of authors bringing their product to market themselves. The need for freelance editors and cover designers will continue to grow, resulting in more people working in their pajamas and slippers. The people who make pajamas and slippers, to say nothing of those wearing them, will rejoice.
But that doesn’t mean traditional publishing is going anywhere, either. Different models work for different people, or for the same person with different books. There’s room for everyone.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Paranormal Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print