Today’s awesome author is SPENCER BROKAW, a thirteen year old novelist.
When I first met Spencer I thought of TOM BROKAW an American Television Journalist–only because he and Spencer have the same last name. Have you heard of Tom? I asked Spencer if he was related. He said Tom was a VERY distant relative. (Just in case you were wondering.)
Spencer published his first book The Impenetrable Spy in 2011 at age 12. Can you believe it? I’m in awe!
Below are a few questions I asked him and his responses:
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book at age 6. It was 21 notebook pages and it revolved around a man breaking out of jail to clear his name.
Do you have an agent? If so, how did you find him/her?
No, I don’t have an agent. I market myself, but I can always dream.
Did you self-publish your book or go with a traditional publisher?
I self-published my first book, The Impenetrable Spy in June 2011. I had been researching ways to publish electronically at a cheap cost. I stumbled onto Kindle Direct Publishing after two weeks. I submitted my book and it showed up the next day. FREE. All I needed was the manuscript, the product description, a cover, and some information. It seemed too good to be true. But it wasn’t.
Why did you choose the path you did?
I doubted that a traditional publisher would open up to a manuscript written by a 10 year old (published at 12), let alone publish me. I decided that self-publishing was the way to go.
Would you recommend this path over any other?
It depends. If you have the patience to hear a reply, and are calm enough to not throw a fit IF they say no, then I’d go with traditional publishing. But at least with self-publishing there’s a guarantee.
Were there any surprises about publishing your book that you didn’t expect?
The amount of people who cared. I didn’t think I’d sell 5 books, but I have sold much more than that. And now I have a website and a substantial amount of Twitter followers. (As of today Spencer has over 1000 followers!)
Where did you get the idea for your published novel? The one you’re currently working on?
I had written a book, Agent J, when I was 9. It focused on a bank robber turned CIA agent. When I was 10, I thought more and more about time travel (mostly after watching the Back to the Future movies), and looking back I wasn’t thrilled with Agent J. I decided to write a book with a new agent that could time travel back in the future when he dies, making him impenetrable. I wrote half of it at 10, finished it at 11, and then published it at 12. Agent J is introduced later in the book, and becomes a permanent character throughout the planned series.
I am currently editing the sequel, in which Zack is on the run for a murder he didn’t commit. I am currently writing Agent J from scratch because I loved the characters so much.
I am also co-writing a Christmas Elf-Spy book with another author, and we got the idea from a conversation we had on Twitter one day.
How much time do you write a day?
I don’t have a set time, mostly because I get sucked in so much. I only stop for eating once I start. I haven’t had much time lately due to extensive editing over the course of the past year.
What is your writing goal for the next five years?
I’d like to release the rest of The Impenetrable Spy and Agent J books, and start writing some other series.
What are your other interests?
In my spare time I like to listen to music, golf, play the drums, swim, and read. Music is an important part of my life, and I don’t know if I’d be the same without it.
Do you see yourself going to college for a writing career? Or will writing be only a portion of your career?
I’m not going to college for a writing career (journalism, etc.). I wouldn’t want to make writing a career (unless I get offered to be traditionally published), because it’d take the fun out of writing books.
Why do you prefer fiction writing?
Non-fiction is too dry and un-exciting for my tastes.
Do you think your book has the potential for a good movie?
Is there anything about you that might surprise readers/viewers?
I listen to 80’s bands such as Van Halen, RUSH, Def Leppard, Duran Duran, and RATT. I can’t stand modern music, or most of the 90’s.
Did you have your book professionally edited before you downloaded it?
My dad fixed like 15 things in my first book, and I had read it like 20 times and fixed all spelling errors. In my new book, my dad fixed like 20 things a page (began to’s and started to’s, adverbs, etc.). He said the first book shouldn’t have too many errors, but it shouldn’t get edited to the point where it looks like someone else wrote it. It should retain the youth of the writer. I didn’t format it either.
What’s YOUR one (only one) character flaw?
I’m not OCD, but I straighten up things a lot.
Here is Spencer’s COOL BLOG: Writing Tips from Spencer Brokaw
Thank you, Spencer for being Random’s guest for the day. We wish you the best in your writing endeavors and look forward to reading many more of your books.
HAVE ANY MORE QUESTIONS FOR SPENCER? LEAVE THEM BELOW.