Daniel Parsons began writing short stories at the age of nine but didn’t attempt to write a novel until he was 15 and ¾. Since then, he’s become the proud author of four books with another due out this month. Let’s catch him before he goes on his (virtual) signing tour…
#1. So, what’s your favourite word?
Purloin. Some words instantly take you to another world or time period. Purloined always takes me to the smog-laced cobbles of Victorian London.
#2. What gets you up in the morning?
Purpose is a great motivator. It takes a long time to build your dream career. Most of the groundwork has to be done at dawn, particularly if you’ve just started out as a creative professional and you’re still working a day job to fund your passion projects.
#3. What do you truly, honestly think of social media?
I love it! Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it can seem like a chore if I’ve been without the internet for a few days and I’m greeted with a backlog of unopened notifications. However, I’ve made so many friends and great business contacts as a result of social media that I couldn’t give it up. It’s just too valuable!
#4. Gold dust isn’t it. Kindles or books?
Both. I’m a modern author so I appreciate ebooks and paperbacks. I first got a Kindle to check my own work and now I couldn’t do without it. Every alcove in my house is already crammed with paperbacks so getting a Kindle has meant I can continue to expand my library without having to throw out some of my favourite titles.
#5. Bosh. What do you think is the biggest challenge to your industry right now?
Time is the biggest challenge. The great thing about being an indie author in the publishing world is that you get to control every aspect of your work, from writing the book, to designing the cover and marketing it to readers. It’s rewarding work but every new skill you acquire takes time to master, and nobody has enough time as it is in this industry.
#6. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
For a short time, I wanted to be a zoo keeper. I loved animals. However, I was also a bookworm and quite academic as a child. Ultimately, when my two great passions fought, writing won the battle. I still love zoos, but I think I’d rather be a visitor than an employee.
#7. Roger that, Dr Dolittle. What led you to your current career?
I’ve always liked creative writing. It was a hobby I started aged nine and never stopped. After doing an English Literature degree at Cardiff University, I got a job at a publishing company. Due to learning a lot of the publishing process, I decided I could combine my publishing knowledge with my love of creative writing and become a self-published author.
#8. And the rest is history. Can you use your favourite word in a sentence?
Someone’s purloined my family jewels!
#9. Sounds painful. Now can you make it rhyme?
Absolutely not. I can’t coin a rhyme for purloin with no time.
#10. See what you did there. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stop worrying so much. You realise that nothing is as important as it seems when you look back a few years later.
#11. What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you?
My parents never pushed me into a particular career path, even when I excelled at certain subjects at school that would have led to big money. Encouraging me to find work I enjoy was very generous of them, especially because they’ve had to back up their support with cash in the past. After all, a creative career can be a slog in the early days.
#12. True dat. Tell us, what’s been your ‘career-defining’ moment?
October 2016 was the first time I hit a US top 100 bestseller list. Up until then, getting on any sort of list seemed like an impossible task but now I know it’s achievable. That means I can do it again!
#13. #YesYouCan. If you won a big award of some kind, who would you thank?
My Twitter followers. Some of my first fans came from Twitter. Every fan is appreciated by the first handful, the ones that turn up even when they don’t know you and nobody else cares that you wrote a book, are particularly special.
#14. Can you give us a timesaver of the day?
Break down your big goals into small, manageable chunks and then tick those chunks off your to-do list every day. Don’t break the chain. Working a little bit every day makes far more progress than having infrequent, hard-core work days.
#15. Where do you see your industry in 24 months?
Some of the most successful indie authors have already set up small presses to publish other authors under their brand. I think more of that will happen, and those small presses will continue to take market share from the Big Five traditional publishing companies. Eventually, the underdogs will become the new mainstream.
#16. Where were you 24 months ago?
Back then, I had two books and virtually no sales. Now I have four books with a fifth, Last Crawl, coming out at the end of April, and I’m making a reasonable passive income from my creative work.
#17. What’s an interesting fact about your company?
It’s not a “proper” company. It’s a one-person publishing machine that outsources work to freelancers. I think that’s how a lot of companies will look in the future.
#18. If you could have a 24-minute Skype chat with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Probably Terry Pratchett. He was one of my favourite authors and someone whose writing style I’ve always admired. If I could get just a few of his secrets in that short conversation, it would be worth it.
#19. What’s one word you’d want people to describe you with?
Inspirational. Oh, and handsome. If only there were a word that combined the two meanings!
#20. Inspohand. No need to thank us. Would you mind taking a selfie for us?
Not at all. I’m bad at taking selfies but I’ll inflict one on you nonetheless.
#21. Looking forward. What’s your favourite Twitter handle or social media campaign?
One of the coolest social media campaigns I’ve ever seen was the one that accompanied the Batman movie The Dark Knight. In essence, it was a worldwide scavenger hunt to search for clues about the upcoming movie. Cities all over the world were filled with fans in costumes, searching for stuff after clues were “leaked” by the Joker online.
#22. What’s one quote that defines your work ethic?
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison
#23. What’s been the best part of your day?
Waking up early and being able to think clearly before the rest of life gets in the way. I think anyone can be an early bird. They just have to fight through the first five minutes to see how rewarding it can be.
#24. We’ll take your word for it. Finally, anything to plug?
Lots of things! This year so far, I’ve released my first two audio books, The #ArtOfTwitter and Necroville. Plus, of course, Last Crawl, my latest comedy zombie book, will be out in just a few weeks.