J.B. is an author of short stories with an impressively eclectic resume. You can find his blog here.
How do you relax?
It’s hard to relax when you’ve got three young children to look after. My favourite ways to relax are reading, sailing, going to the beach, playing music, and watching Netflix. I don’t get much time to do any of those.
What’s your views on social media for marketing, and which of them have worked best for you?
I think it’s potentially very powerful, but you have to be careful. It can be an enormous time-suck for little reward. I use Facebook, and have had some good responses from that. Overall, it hasn’t worked as well as I would have liked, but it’s early days, and I haven’t yet done any paid advertising. I’m considering starting a Twitter account, but haven’t done so yet, just because I’m wary of it becoming a distraction rather than a useful tool.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
I think the main advantage of indie publishing is the control you have over the process and the product. The hardest thing about it is building your brand and your audience. That takes time, money and effort. But the thing is, if you’re traditionally published, you still have to do that. Behind (almost) every overnight success there’s ten years of hard work. I think the way Amazon and Kobo and the ebook revolution have democratised the book publishing process is fantastic. The same thing happened in the music industry and there’s no going back. It means there’s a lot more books being published and it’s hard to stand out in the crowd, but you know, there’s seven billion people in the world. It doesn’t matter what you write; so long as it’s good, there’s an audience out there somewhere for it.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Not yet. That might have to change, as I find I’m pretty slow. I have a bad habit of self-editing on the fly, and I really need to work on that so I can get my first drafts flowing at greater speed. I’m also working to improve my outlining before a start drafting so I have a better idea of where the stories are going to go before I start writing them. It’s all part of the learning process.
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?
It’s probably a bit of both. When you’re in the zone and the words are flowing with ease and you’re enthralled with the sparkle of your own intellect, then it feels like a gift. And then when you’re editing and nothing is flowing and you feel like an imposter and you’re racked with self-doubt and trying to rewrite a piece of dialogue for the eighth time and still aren’t happy with it because it sounds forced and stupid and you think there must be better things you could be doing with your life, well, then it feels like a curse. Hopefully there are more times when it feels like a gift than a curse.
J.B. Reynolds lives in rural Northland, New Zealand, where he raises children and chickens. He writes humorous short fiction, where tragedy meets comedy and character reigns supreme. His first short story was published while he was a university student, and in between that and a return to serious writing in 2016, he has worked as a graphic designer, landscaper, ski and snowboard technician, librarian, apple picker, and baker of muffins and teacakes.
Nowadays, when not writing, he’s a husband, father, and high school teacher (not necessarily in that order). He enjoys sailing, cycling, and playing music, really loud, when his wife and kids aren’t at home. He has a big garden, where he likes to get his fingernails dirty, and he loves to eat the things that grow in it.
He is currently working on his Crossing The Divide short story series. The stories in the series feature different characters and switch between locations in New Zealand and Australia, but they are all, in a way, coming of age stories and are linked through the theme of relationships.