1. Please tell our readers who are you as a writer, and did you always want to be a writer, or did your passion for writing evolve over time?
I began writing in 2011 in earnest by joining the 2011 National Novel Writing Month. I was challenged by my daughter to enter when I said, “How hard can it be?” LOL! She loaned me her copy of Larry Brooks, Story Engineering 2 weeks before November 1st. Anyway, I finished that challenge and every November NaNo since. I’ve always dabbled with writing but never finished anything. Using Larry’s book, I figured it out.
2. What is your take on writing contests, free and otherwise, and do they help a writer get noticed? How about litmags?
I think any place that will take an author’s work that has a public viewing, will help an author get noticed. I tend to avoid those contests that require me to pay but even those can be useful. The same to be said for Literary Magazines. I want to be paid for my work the same as any other craftsperson. So I avoid sending my work in “for the exposure” with the exception of charitable publications or extremely prestigious magazines. Those are few and far between.
3. Your work as appeared several places. How has your publication, self-publishing or otherwise, affected your writing and your career?
Well, of course on my website,
I publish a free flash fiction every Friday.
My sites are as follows:
The publication hasn’t changed much about my writing or career. I’m still plugging along, writing stories as they pop into mind, or taking notes on those stories if I’m in the middle of writing something already. I have several story idea folders in my in-basket, waiting their turn.
4. How do you query those places where you sub your work? What do you do with rejections (declines)? (How do you handle them)
If I’m submitting to a magazine, e-zine or paper, I go to the appropriate website and follow their submission requirements. Nearly all of them allow submissions on line. I’ve only run into one or two that still require a cover letter and the manuscript to be mailed in. Contests tend to run the same way, now, all e-submissions. Just be sure to follow the manuscript formatting requirements. Nearly all of them have different requirements, including the types of font! The places generally send email rejections and acceptances. I put the rejections and acceptances in the folder where I keep a print copy of the story, my submission plan, and any notes I had from creating the story.
5. Did you work on your author platform before, during, or after you began to publish?
I began my author platform, starting with a Facebook page and a website, before I published. I’ve since added Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr to the list. I encourage writers to start to build their audience before publication. Get your readers rooting for you and excited for the publication. I continue to work on my platform, changing things, redesigning, adding features. I want it to be up-to-date, attractive, and easy to use.
6. What is your advice to writers who are getting started, young or old or in-between?
Finish your work. Get to the end of your story whether it’s a novel or a 500-word flash fiction. You can’t fix what isn’t down on the page. And it’s never too late or too early to start.
7. How has being a writer changed your life.
There’s a sense of accomplishment. People are interested when I say I’m a writer. They’re even more interested when I say I have books on Amazon. They always say they’d love to be able to write a book. I encourage them.
8. Who are your favorite authors, those you read growing up and/or read now, and what influence do you think they had on your writing?
Growing up I read all the big science fiction authors, Heinlein, Azimov, Clarke. As a young woman I found Elizabeth Moon (military scifi) and C.J. Cherryh. Now I’ve found new authors, Kevin Hearne (Fantasy) and Chuck Wendig (SciFi). But I’ve always been an eclectic reader and I’ve enjoyed Dick Francis, Carl Hiaasen, Agatha Christie, James Patterson, Tom Clancy, and so many others. SciFi in particular gives me the ability to think about alternative ways of doing/seeing things. It’s filled me with curiosity and wonder about the universe.
9. What is more important—writing for fame and money, or writing for the sake of writing? Do you think you could ever stop writing even if you made little or no money from it?
Since I haven’t achieved fame or money I must be writing for the sake of it. I enjoy thinking about stories, about how to make them come out right, and about sharing those stories when I’m finished.
10. Who in your life has been most supportive of your writing journey?.
The biggest supporter is my husband. It’s expensive to pay for editing, covers, and so on. He also does a lot of stuff around the house so that’s a big deal too. My mother, of course. She is a big fan and tells everyone she meets that I’m an author. I give her a copy of every new book.
Thanks to Connie for stopping by today. You can read her bio here and check out her work:
Connie Cockrell, Author
A 20-year Air Force career, time as a manager at a computer operations company, wife, mother, sister and volunteer, provides a rich background for Connie Cockrell’s story-telling.
Cockrell grew up in upstate NY, just outside of Gloversville, NY before she joined the military at age 18. Having lived in Europe, Great Britain, and several places around the United States, she now lives in Payson, AZ with her husband: hiking, gardening, and playing bunko. She writes about whatever comes into her head so her books could be in any genre. She’s published fourteen books so far, has been included in five different anthologies and been published on EveryDayStories.com. Connie’s always on the lookout for a good story idea. Beware, you may be the next one.