ANDY WEIR: RESIST THE URGE TO TELL FRIENDS AND FAMILY YOUR STORY
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Andy Weir is a role model for every self-publishing author on the planet. His novel The Martian was published on paper by Crown in February 2014. The book have already been a huge hit.
Few days ago Andy received another acknowledgement by the readers. He won Goodreads Choice Awards in sci-fi genre for 2014. Our next guest is a very kind and modest person and you will be convinced by yourself with the following interview.
– Andy, your debut novel The Martian became a huge hit. You described the book with the following sentence:” It’s the story of an astronaut trying to survive after being accidentally left behind on Mars.” But what is the difference between The Martian and all other space or astronaut novels?
– I tried to be scientifically accurate in The Martian. All the technology you see in the book actually exists, and the conditions of Mars are accurately represented. There are a few errors and deliberate concessions to drama, but the majority of the book is real science.
– Do you remember the first time when you decide to write the story?
– I don’t remember, no. It would have been a long time ago, like when I was six.
– Probably the technical research was the biggest challenge during the write up process. Did you have a lot of moments when you put the script away from you for some time in order to refresh yourself?
– I wrote the story as a serial that I posted to my website chapter by chapter. Sometimes I would go up to three months without working on it at all. The book took three years to write.
– Tell us something about the creation of your main character Mark Watney? Is it close to someone from your real life?
– Mark is based on my own personality. Though he’s smarter and braver than I am and he doesn’t have my flaws. I guess he’s what I wish I were like.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– It took three years to write the book. The publishing process took about 11 months from the time we signed the deal to the day books were on shelves. Most of that time was just a long wait because the book was in line behind a bunch of other releases. The actual editing process only took a few weeks.
– Your publishing story is a dream-come-true for every self-publishing author. Would you describe what were the toughest moments when you were rejected by publishers and agents?
– The Martian was never rejected by anyone. I never sent it to any agents or publishers. My agent came to me and offered his services. The publisher came to us asking if we were interested in a print deal.
However, earlier in my life, I tried to get a book published (a different book, not The Martian) and was met with constant rejection. So I definitely know the feeling. After three years of that I gave up and decided writing would be a hobby. But fate has a sense of humor so here I am.
– Did you expect that the book will become a bestseller and how it changed your life?
– I didn’t expect it to do well at all. When I wrote it, I was targeting science nerds. I didn’t think it had any broad appeal. I assumed there would be only a small number of people interested in it. It has changed my life tremendously. I quit my day job (I spent 25 years as a computer programmer) and now I focus full-time on writing.
– What are the Top 3 most valuable advices that you may give to self-publishing authors in order to have a success?
– 1) You have to actually write. Daydreaming about the book you’re going to write someday isn’t writing. It’s daydreaming. Open your word processor and start writing.
2) Resist the urge to tell friends and family your story. I know it’s hard because you want to talk about it and they’re (sometimes) interested in hearing about it. But it satisfies your need for an audience, which diminishes your motivation to actually write it. Make a rule: The only way for anyone to ever hear about your stories is to read them.
3) This is the best time in history to self-publish. There’s no old-boy network between you and your readers. You can self-publish an ebook to major distributers (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) without any financial risk on your part.
– Who are you?
– I’m a computer programmer who bungled into a publishing deal. I still don’t know what I did right.
– What are your writing habits?
– I set “work hours” for the day. During that time, I’m not allowed to browse the web or watch TV. I try to write 500 words a day. Sometimes I succeed, other times I don’t. Sometimes I crank out 2000 words in a day. It’s inconsistent.
– What you did to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I didn’t promote the book at all. It got around through word-of-mouth by fans.
– Are you working on your next novel? Give us some hints what to expect.
– My next novel is tentatively titled “Zhek”. It’s a more traditional sci-fi story. It has aliens and telepathy and faster-than-light travel. That sort of thing.
– It was reported that Ridley Scott will direct the movie adaptation with Matt Damon staring as Mark Watney. Tell us some inside story about your work with them and what is your direct role into the movie production?
– Yes, the movie is in production now. As you can imagine I’m very excited about it. I have no role in the production, though they sometimes ask my advice or opinion on story or science.
– When the aliens will make an official contact?
– December 19th, 2741
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer)
– Q: After the success of The Martian, are you worried that you might never be able to make that happen again and maybe you’re a one-hit wonder?
A: Yes, I’m worried about that.
Take a look at his book