Throughout the month of March, me and my fellow hosts from IndieAthon have been interviewing some awesome indie authors and self-published authors. However, due to some issues we have not been able to post every single one of those Q&As, therefore I have another one left! So enjoy my interview with Sean Crastien!
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you start your writing career?
I’m Sean Crastien, a self-published author and artist. I have been publishing books since 2013, and started self-publishing in 2014. I have always been writing, ever since elementary school. I remember I would always write or act out different stories, which would either center on cats/dogs or even my teachers. In fifth grade, I told all my teachers that I was going to become an author and write a book that summer. That didn’t quite happen, but I certainly became an author. In middle school, I continued to write and actually finished one of my stories. (I usually had most stories in my head already, or finished them when I acted them out; however, it was hard to write it all down at the time.) In eighth grade, I started a different series, the first book being the one I rewrote multiple times from eighth grade and into tenth grade. In 2013, the second semester of tenth grade I believe, I published my first book. This book was under a different pen name than the one I use now. I left behind that pen name because the book not only sucked and never should have been published, but the publishing company was a complete scam and I should have looked more into them before I went with them.
I published the rest of the four-book series with them that year, wanting to keep the books in the same style and finish a series, though I wasn’t too happy with it. But I got to leave them behind at the very end of 2013, so that’s good. In 2014, I decided to try out self-publishing, not trusting publishing companies and knowing a big company would probably not want a kid’s work. I therefore self-published my new book under a new pen name, of Sean Crastien. This book later got rewritten in 2016, and I took down this first version, since I wasn’t happy with it and had jumped in the process too soon. At the end of 2014 and throughout all of 2015, I worked on my Clear as Mud series. In 2016, I started my M.R. series, which I’m currently working on. Apart from writing, I also do lots of art. I therefore do the cover art for my books (which was lacking at one time, but has gotten much better). I will make animations and trailers for the books on my YouTube channel. I have also started a web series on YouTube based off my M.R. series, to try and increase interest in that story, since it’s my biggest project. This method has so far worked pretty well, and people are actually buying my books, too. (It’s very hard to market a book.) When I’m not writing or drawing, I’m either working at a sandwich shop or doing lots of martial arts. My dream is to become a martial arts instructor, and I left college to do just that (plus a number of other reasons).
What is one thing you love about being indie/self-published? What is it like to indie/self-publish your book?
The best thing about publishing your book, traditional or indie, is to actually get it out there, see it on websites, and to have a physical copy in your hands of the story inside your head. Nothing can beat that. The process itself can be a bit fun, too. I use Createspace for self-publishing my books, and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in self-publishing. It can be a wee bit confusing how to use it at first, and my first few books therefore had huge formatting issues (which I later fixed, since you can definitely go back in to change the files later).
I love that, with self-publishing, I get to keep the story that I want (not some publisher) and I get to oversee the whole process myself. I get to write it, I get to edit it, and I get to do the cover art. The only downside to self-publishing is that I also have to market it, which I suck at. So that means my books are hardly going to get out there, unless if I can hire someone to do it for me. I wouldn’t, however, recommend self-publishing to everyone. I have read quite a few self-published books, and I must admit that I’m disappointed by 90-95% of them. Half the time, the writing is bad or confusing. Most of the time, the book needs a SEVERE edit and was not at all ready for the public. Most of the time, the formatting is also way off. It’s understandable that, at first, you don’t know quite what you’re doing. I was just the same. But once you figure out the rhythm, you should go back in, edit your book appropriately, format it as it should be (Createspace literally has an already-formatted document that I highly recommend you use), and publish the new file. If you do not know how to edit or how to draw/photograph a cover, then you should REALLY get an editor or cover artist. Createspace has those services, and though that means you can no longer publish your book for free (like I do, since I do each of those things myself), at least your book will come out more than decent. Your book will be much more presentable than the mess that I’m always seeing with self-published books. I know it costs a bit of money (I feel like the number is $200 per service, but I’m not too sure to be honest), but I’m sure it would be worth it. I can’t say if the editors or cover artists are any good, since I’ve never used them and learned these things on my own, but I love the site and therefore think it would be of high quality. The site itself will review your book with twenty-four hours and are very fast in getting back to you if you have a problem and need help. They are very reliable and I wouldn’t recommend any other website for self-publshiing. However, as I said, self-publshiing is NOT the option for everyone. Writers need to be honest with themselves if they’re good at editing at the very least. Most try to think that they are, and then, like I said, we end up with messes in the self-published section. I’m not trying to demotivate anyone from self-publishing or even just publishing their book in general, but you certainly need to be wary and thorough with your story.