Zeedub Selfies: Balance, Boons, and Bonkersville
Posted on May 13, 2020
Category: Zeedub Selfies
Zachry Wheeler, Science Fiction Novelist

Zeedub Selfies is an ongoing series where I talk to myself like a reclusive weirdo. Which, in truth, I am. I developed a simple tool for authors to hone their interview skills with random questions, which ended up being way more fun than intended. Thus, I thought it would be amusing to record my own answers from time to time.

What has your experience been like as an indie author?

It’s been a roller coaster, that’s for sure. The first year after publishing my debut novel was total insanity. I had no idea what I was doing and relied heavily on the experiences of other indies (for better or for worse). I made a lot of mistakes, but that’s part of the learning curve. Then out of nowhere, Transient got optioned for a movie and landed in development, which sent my world into overdrive for a time. Things have quieted since then, thank goodness. It’s still a wild ride, but I have settled into a more comfortable groove.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Hmm, that would be a tie between BookBub ads and award submissions. BookBub is a promo service that offers massive ROIs (if you are lucky enough to get selected). It’s one of the lowest investment risks an author can make, so they are hugely valuable. Award submissions, on the other hand, are some of the highest investment risks. BUT, if you can secure a win (which Max and the Multiverse did), then you can slap that all-too-valuable “award-winning” designation on your author profile.

Any website or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer?

Most authors have a smorgasbord of websites and resources that help them with the writing process. If I had to pick one, I would say Kindlepreneur.com. That site has been a huge boon for my marketing strategy, especially when it comes to Amazon Ads.

What is your role in the writing community?

I’m not sure that I have a role, per se. In fact, embracing that anti-role is more or less my role. The material I submit to the writing community is often a rebuke of the conventional wisdom, which has given me a rebellious reputation. I must be doing something right, as I keep getting invited to events to give my presentations.


Slinging my (debatably) valuable opinions

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

The Mortal Vestige is my latest release, which is the third and final book of the Immortal Wake series. It’s definitely a must-read if you have read the previous two, as the second book ends with a hellish cliffhanger (not a provocative decision, just how the story needed to resolve). The third book was mentally exhausting to write, and I am super proud of the finished product. It’s definitely the most personal book I have ever written.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

Writing “The End” to complete the Immortal Wake series. The first book was my debut novel, which took ten years to write. I published seven more titles before I returned to end the saga. Publishing The Mortal Vestige felt like a rebirth of sorts. I view this book as my official transition from hack writer to competent author.

Is there lots to do before you drive in and start writing the story?

Depends on the material. If you are writing a multi-view epic with a huge cast of characters, then yes, you probably need some sort of outline or glossary before you start. But if you’re telling a single-view tale with a handful of characters, then you can jump right in and figure it out as you go. I have several WIPs where I started the first chapter within minutes of thinking up the idea. There are no hard-set rules. Some authors generate detailed outlines for simple stories. Others jump into sprawling epics with a handful of notes.

What do you do for exercise?

I used to be a gym rat once upon a time, but not anymore. The combination of large groups and loud music really unsettles me these days. Now I work out at home. I have a calisthenics routine that I run through twice a week. I also go for regular hikes, usually close to sunset to bask in those glorious New Mexican vistas.

What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?

This has changed a lot over my life. I used to have a long list of “see this” and “do that,” which I have largely abandoned. At this point, I don’t really have an end-of-life goal that drives me. All I really care about is what I’m currently working on. When I finish that project, I proceed to the next, on and on without a goalpost. That said, I would rather not die during a work in progress, which I suppose is inevitable one day. (cue sad violin music)

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I hear from them fairly often, which is always nice. Most reader messages are about Max and the Multiverse. They either want to say how much they laughed and enjoyed the series, or they have a needling question about the plot. It’s expected, as the story arch is total Bonkersville. I never mind, because answering those questions is the most fun I have as an author.

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