5 min read

Success via Connection and a Banana Suit thrown in with author Dwain Smith #BookMarket

In the month of January, I'm doing a Twitter Interview (Twitterview) of many of the participants of the #BookMarket chat. These are people who come and generously share their wisdom week after week. The Twitterviews give them a chance to shine.

Yesterday, I had a chance to speak with Dwain Smith @DwainSmith. Dwain is an ambitious author, funny guy, and  owner of an awesome Banana Suit.

My take on the interview:

I was blown away by Dwain's ambition on his serial blog.  I have to say that I'm so glad the open Internet exists so that projects such as his Super Serial have a chance to take flight.


ClaudiaC  Q.1 - What 5 words would you use to describe yourself?

dwainsmith Verbalicious, energetic, geeky, whimsical, and potassium-rich. FYI - Verbalicious is like verbose but with more 'alicious'

ClaudiaC And how does that differentiate you from say... broccoli or a potato?

dwainsmith I've found that broccoli usually doesn't have much to say (except when trashing cauliflower).  And I'm slightly less starchy than a potato.

ClaudiaC Good to know! :) RT @dwainsmith: @ClaudiaC And Im slightly less starchy than a potato.

ClaudiaC  Q.2 - What is your favorite thing about the publishing/writing world today?

dwainsmith A2: Probably that it is so easy to find other like-minded creative types.

ClaudiaC How do you do that?

dwainsmith Whether stumbling across this chat months ago, or finding a cover designer for my last book, everything is so much more findable and categorized. Re: twitter, goodreads, tumblr, etc.

ClaudiaC  Who did your cover? How did you find him/her? It's intersting b/c ppl don't really know how to do the things you're talking about

dwainsmith I found my cover artist through you! @saint_upid did it. I've gotten so many raves about the cover to #Bullheaded

ClaudiaC Yeah, well, there's that! ;)

dwainsmith You get to know interesting people and it turns out they know interesting people that you want to know.

ClaudiaC Of course, you have to start out being interesting in the first place. Any tips?

dwainsmith The key, I think, is to try and ignore that social impulse to talk about yourself all the time.  Much BAD social media is people posting stuff and then saying *look at me look at me*

ClaudiaC Very true.

dwainsmith When social media should be about finding cool stuff people did and talking about that (hopefully w/them) instead.

ClaudiaC That's a great point. I think the question then is how do I used social media to spur my book sales if I don't?

dwainsmith  That is the million dollar question, isn't it? To be honest, I have no idea.

ClaudiaC I don't think anyone does. but it's a good question. RT @dwainsmith: To be honest, I have no idea.

dwainsmith  I know I'm selling copies of my books to people I don't know & I can't believe it's bc I have amazing marketing copy.

ClaudiaC  Personally, I think when there's *an* answer to that question, everyone will know it. What's YOUR answer?

dwainsmith I have to assume it makes some sort of difference, and the good news for me is that I actually enjoy it. For me, it's about staying on people's radar, continuing to put my content out there into the world, & showcase my authorial *voice*. That's what I'm trying to sell - that I have a worldview you should find interesting though 'authorial voice' sounds pretentious. And by interesting, I mean interesting enough to pay me to read about it.

ClaudiaC It's interestng. We don't talk a lot about the importance of world view yet it seems hugely important to who reads u

dwainsmithFor example, I've written about Greek mythology & superheroes. Not everyone who likes one of those things likes both.

ClaudiaC Seems like now is a good time for @dwainsmith Q.4 - How would you describe your writing?

dwainsmith A4: I like to describe my writing as lighthearted, whimsical, maybe a little absurdist. It tends to be plot-driven, and often features a fantastical element but I don't describe my books as fantasy.

ClaudiaC Like Camus absurd?

dwainsmith More like Christopher Moore absurd.

ClaudiaC  Q.4b - I know you started a serial fiction last year, @superserial. How is it going? reviewers?

dwainsmith A4b the serial is going slowly. As I expected, my eyes were a bit bigger than my stomach.

ClaudiaC  How is it slow? What's up with the eyes and stomach? I think it's enormously hard to keep up a serial, your other books, market, work a job... *phew*

dwainsmith I think of it as a grand 'writing exercise' - my idea was very complicated and more than a little meta.

ClaudiaC  hmm I'm not quite sure what this means. RT @dwainsmith: my idea was very complicated and more than a little meta.

dwainsmith And 17 issues in, I'm not quite where I want to being w/the story mechanics & w/how far along in the story I am.

ClaudiaC  But wow, 17 issues? That's more than a writing exercise. Why not just take the breaks off and let it happen?

dwainsmith I'm trying to write 4 interlocking stories: 3 are featured in the weekly installments, 4th is in the comments thread. I'm confidant I'll get there, it's just taking longer than expected.

ClaudiaC It think it's awesome! :) RT @dwainsmith: @ClaudiaC Im confidant Ill get there, its just taking longer than expected.

ClaudiaC Goodness, that is ambitious. How does the comments thing work?

dwainsmith@thesuperserial is in 3 parts - Vigilant, Intrepid, and afterpeople. Each are a take on a modern superhero convention. Each of those 3 titles are written by a fictional 'author' writing in a different style. And then in the comments, the 3 authors debate each others' work, and other geeky things they love etc.

ClaudiaC Wow. Again, that is ambitious. How is it to write?

dwainsmith It feels a little schizophrenic at times, but I am trying a bunch of different things all with one writing project.

ClaudiaC It's definitely intriguing. It sounds like so so so much work! How often do you post/update?

dwainsmith New issues go up on Tuesdays, with the debate in the comments happening throughout the week - it keeps the site fresh.

ClaudiaC We're winding down so I must ask... @dwainsmith Q.5 - Everyone has a super secret ninja skill. What's yours?

dwainsmith  A5. My friends know me as the guy "that actually does that crazy thing he's was talking about doing" Whether it's starting a web serial, or creating a tumblr blog about X-Men w/googly eyes, I tend to jump right in.

ClaudiaC  I love that about you! :) Great job! :)

ClaudiaC  So what did we miss? What would you like to add about yourself? your work?

dwainsmith Thanks! When I pitch ideas to my friends that always get that look in their eyes, bc they know I actually might do it. Right now I'm working on a musical featuring the music of Hall & Oates about detectives called "Private Eyes'

dwainsmith I've got to run, but thanks so much for taking the time to chat me up!

ClaudiaC Ok, we need to wrap up our awesome #twitterview with @dwainsmith! *applause* *applause* *applause* *applause*

My next #twitterview is with Amanda from @BookMasters tomorrow at 1p ET January 19.