Interview With Best Selling Author & Selfpublisher A.D. WiLK

Andrea, known as A.D. WiLK, is actually still a young author herself, but with her debut novel “Wenn du wieder gehst” she could already celebrate a huge success. She is a repeating bestseller at Amazon and even made it into the top 20 of the Bild Bestseller charts. If you’re new to writing and want to learn more about Andrea and her experience as an author and self-publisher, read on… 🙂

Would You like to Tell Us a Bit About Yourself? How Did You Become a Writer? In Which Genre Are You “at Home”?

I am Andrea, 36 years young and live in Berlin with my husband, my son and my cat. I was fascinated by writing even when I couldn’t do it yet. Whenever I was asked as a child growing up what I wanted to do in the future, I said: being a writer. For a long time it didn’t work out. I always wrote, but never books or stories. However I never doubted that my name would be on a book one day. And then one day the words from Stephen King’s autobiography grabbed me and I started writing down the story that had been on my mind for decades: A love story. And somehow I am at home in that genre, yes. But my last book showed me that I need more. I like to look into the past and people’s lives and write about feelings. And they don’t necessarily have anything to do with love…

Although… somehow it always comes back to that. Because every feeling has its origin in love, I think.

What Is Particularly Important to You with Your Books?

That they touch the reader. That I make them think and of course that they feel entertained. It is especially the characters that I pay a lot of attention to. I try to really get to know them and not impose a certain idea on them that I might have had at the beginning of the book. They can tell me who they are and I let them find their own words.

What do Your Days of Writing Look Like?

I get up every morning (Mon – Sun) between five and half past six. After yoga and meditation I usually write down a few things that are important to me or that I am working on at a personal level, while sipping on a cup of ginger tea . And then I start to write. Or work on another project. As a self-publisher, marketing and design are also important topics. After taking my son to school, I do sports and then usually go to a cafĂ© to continue writing.

My husband and I both work from home and there is where we meet for lunch. In the afternoon I usually spend about an hour on my old self-employed job and then continue working on the website, writing blog articles, newsletters and keeping in touch with my readers. Sometimes I also take some time to write in the evening. And in between I always take a look at my social media, which is an important way for us authors to get in touch with the readers.

How Do Your Stories Come About?

I can’t tell you where the origin of my stories lies. But once the spark of an idea has taken over my thoughts, I just let it mature. Often storylines form while going for a run. Some things I write down, some things I don’t. In that phase it’s less about concrete scenes, but about getting a feeling for the story and the characters. And then at some point I start writing, but not plotting the story. Usually I barely know it. I just write a rough sequence for myself that fits on an A4 page and let the characters drag me through the story.

How Long Do you Work on one Book?

The writing itself goes fast. I write between 1,000 and 8,000 words a day. Depending on how far I’ve lived in the story. The pure paperwork therefore doesn’t take more than a month. But then comes the phase of revision and that is very important to me. I leave the manuscript for a few weeks and then go through it several times before it goes into editing and to the test readers.

I think Hemingway said that the first draft was always crap. And so it is. The first draft is not a novel.

Your Debut Novel “Wenn du wieder gehst” Became a Bestseller. What’s the Secret of Your Success?

I don’t have one. I’m someone who gets very deeply involved in any subject that interests me. So I learned how to revise books, how to make a good cover, how to write a blurb and how to contact bloggers and other writers. It took a year from the first word of that novel to its release. And not because writing took so long, but because I spent hours and hours reading and researching about the self-publishing book world.

If there’s no big publishing house behind you, you have to do everything you can to get to know your possibilities and abide by certain rules, or not. This is not a secret. There are many books that don’t get the success they deserve, simply because no one knows about them.

What Was the Best Feedback You Ever Gotten on One of Your Books?

Hm, it’s not that easy. I get a lot of feedback through direct emails and of course through reviews. Almost every word touches me, because I think it’s great and incredible that there are people who take their time to message me. Those who let my books rob them of their sleep, shed tears over my words or laugh when they find a scene funny. Some readers tell personal stories similar to my books and others point out mistakes or give constructive criticism. Some tell me that they have found their way back to reading through one of my books, after years of not reading at all.

But I must admit that the voices that I get for my book “Lauf Lebe Liebe” touch me in a very different, very special way. People draw so much hope from this book.

One reader wrote: “It leaves me thoughtfull and brings me so much comfort. Thank you very much for this wonderful book.” I didn’t expect that and even shed many tears while reading the mails.

Do You Use Special Writing Programs?

Yes, I do. I’m a big fan of Scrivener. You have to get into it, but there are great online courses out there, which you should definitely use. The program itself is super cheap. I use it also on the mobile phone and can thus also proofread or make notes out and about. The nice thing about Scrivener is that you can not only write in it, but also collect a lot of research material and notes in a single file.

For the correction I use papyrus. You can synchronize the Scrivener documents with Papyrus and don’t have to copy everything back and forth. For the book typesetting and the book layout I use InDesign. And together with my editor I use Word. I like iA Writer best for pure writing. It’s very reduced and almost as simple as a white sheet of paper in a typewriter.

What’s the Biggest Advantage of Self-Publishing for You?

That you can make your own decisions. I often hear from authors how they “fight” with their publishers about titles and cover designs. As a self-publisher, I am the one responsible. That can also be a disadvantage. But I love learning new things, deciding what I want to give up and what I don’t, and being flexible. For sure I make more mistakes, but that’s part of my journey.

Your Most Important Tip to Self-Publishers or Young Authors?

I think the most important thing is to make a conscious decision to be an author. With all consequences. This includes setting up routines such as writing an hour a day, networking with other authors for ten minutes a day or reading specialist literature. You have to grow into this world. It’s not enough to be great with words. It takes so much more to be a writer and especially a self-publisher.

So my most important tip is: get to know this world and build routines that root you in it.

You Publish Your Books Through the Book Distributor Nova MD. What Do You Value so Much About It?

For me it was important to have a partner who could get my books into the bookstores and who would also enable me to distribute or give away some of my books myself. I like to give up some tasks, but still retain some control. In March 2019 I got to know the people behind the e-mail addresses personally and since then a lot has happened. Thanks to Nova MD I have published my first audio book and in July 2019 I was able to sign my new book there.

Well? Have you felt like reading one of Andreas’ books? Click on the respective cover to get to your favourite shop:

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