CRYSTAL CHERER is a well known and amazing wattpad author. She has published over twelve books on the site with some books having more than a hundred chapters. Most of her books have over a million reads with many votes to compliment them. She is not new to the writing game, for that reason we reached out to her for an interview which she happily agreed to.
When and how do you start your day? What do you do to prepare yourself for a day of work and your morning routine?
My average morning starts around 6:30am by walking my dog, Taz, and packing a lunch before heading off to work.
What do the day-to-day responsibilities look like to you, would you consider yourself strict or disciplined when it comes to do your duties?
I work full time, and my work is fairly consistent in the customer service area, where I try to help people to the best of my abilities. When it comes to writing, I put family ahead of it, but there is usually time to get an hour or so of writing or editing in every day.
How often or how long do you write a day and how does it fit into your schedule?
I usually squeeze it into my work and family schedule. Every day can vary. Sometimes I go two weeks without being able to open up my current book. And at other times, I might get 5 hours on a rainy day. On average, I get an hour or so of writing time, often scattered throughout the day.
What is your favorite part about being a writer? Are you planning on making it your full time responsibility or a side job?
My favorite part is the thrill of interacting with the readers (a fairly unique feature on Wattpad), particularly if I’m posting a book. I love reading the comments. As much as I love writing, being a part or full time author is far from easy. I suspect it will always remain a hobby for me. One that takes up most of my free time, perhaps, but I’ll still keep my day job. 🙂
How did you discover wattpad and how long have you been using it? What benefits have you derived from it?
I originally stumbled across Wattpad in 2016 when I was looking for free ebooks for my Kobo. The site allowed me to read more books than what I could buy or what my tiny local library had to offer. It also introduced me to writing as well as many other awesome readers.
Who is your favorite author and what have you learned from him or her.
Mercedes Lackey’s style and easy flow of words was something that always drew me to her books.
QUESTION #7: What book of yours would you recommend to a person who hasn’t read your stories before?
That is a tough question, and I’d actually ask them what sort of story or theme interests them because I’ve dabbled in various genres, including zombies, dragons, werewolves, and spaceships.
QUESTION #8: If you were to write a song or poem about yourself, how would you begin it?
I’m not entirely sure, but there’d have to be drums or guitars. (Nickelback or Imagine Dragons, anyone?)
QUESTION #9: What does your writing process look like and what goes into your physical and mental preparations. How do you tune yourself into the writing mode during a writer’s block?
I’m pretty much a pantser (meaning I write as I go with minimal planning). This can lead to wild surges of inspiration as well as times where I just stare at my screen, re-read the last 3 chapters, then take the dog for a long walk with some good music to get the creative juices flowing.
QUESTION #10: What was the worst mistake you made in your writing journey and how will aspiring authors prevent the same from happening to them?
I haven’t really made any big mistakes so far, at least that I know of. As far as my writing goes, typos are my biggest foes, and the free version of Grammarly and ProWritingAid work wonders.
QUESTION #11: What do you look for most in your writing and how do you achieve the results you want? What do you consider the most important in a story?
For myself, I don’t really have any goals when I start writing a book, other than completing it and seeing at least one person leaving a positive comment on it. I mostly write for fun, but I do try to keep it clean so all ages can enjoy it. I just write what I enjoy, and everything else seems to follow.
QUESTION #12: Rank all your books:
i. Your favorite, the one you enjoyed writing.
A Different Virus Heartfire
ii. Most engaging and helpful or likely to win an award.
Helpful – Tips for Writing on Wattpad
iii. The bestselling or most read.
A Different Virus Heartfire with The Virus Within being a close second
QUESTION #13:Rank all your characters:
i. Your favorite or the one you could possibly have a romantic relationship with?
My favorite is Diane from A Different Virus Heartfire
ii. Most irritating and most likely to get killed by you.
If we’re looking at major characters and not passing ones, then probably Nicky during a coffee high (The Virus Within).
iii. The most badass or adventurous.
Badass is probably Trinity from The Virus Within. Adventurous would likely be Rachel from A Starship Called Starsong.
QUESTION #14:What was the most exciting moment for you in your journey and how have you coped with disappointment?
The absolute most exhilarating moment was when I finished writing my first book A Different Virus Heartfire. I think I rode that high for a solid 3 days.
Since I mostly write because I enjoy it, I really haven’t encountered many disappointments yet. I suspect that will change if I ever start querying traditional publishers, but if they get thousands of books and only plan on printing five, I know what my odds are and I think I’m prepared for it.
QUESTION #15: What does success look like to you in look like to you in this position? What new projects are you working on and when should we be expecting them?
As a hobby writer, success is mostly having fun while writing. I am making some money with my one book, and will have a second for sale shortly, so that’s a real perk.
Upon Wings of Change goes into print in 5 days on Amazon, and I’m working on revising The Virus Within and shifting the plot and adding to it. Hoping it’ll be ready for late 2020/early 2021 (and it’ll be over 500,000 words, in other words, bigger than the Lord of the Rings trilogy…) My other writing projects and ideas are in my ‘What’s Up?’ book on Wattpad.
QUESTION #16:Do you think you have developed professionally and personally through your journey? What can you tell us about it?
Oh yes, this has been a great learning curve. My English writing skills have definitely improved, much to the delight of my supervisor. Being able to talk with all the readers has also broadened my knowledge on various topics.
QUESTION #17: What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job and how do you overcome them?
The most challenging part of writing is actually sitting down and actually writing. It is amazing easy to get distracted by emails, comments, notifications, cover idea, and all sort of things. Part of it is scheduling time and setting priorities. The other part is that you sometimes need to revisit the source of your original inspiration so you *want* to write.
QUESTION #18:When how did you master the courage to share your work with the rest of the world and what were the first reactions you received? How do you face the negativity and hate?
To be honest, when I posted it, I thought maybe a dozen people would see it, so I didn’t really have stage fright. People loved the idea behind my first-ever rough draft, but I’ll admit I got a lot of people commenting on the typos and stuff. A Different Virus Heartfire went through 4 major revisions as I learned the fine details of grammar and sentence structure.
QUESTION #19:Do you write with songs or you prefer dead silence? If yes, what are your go to writing songs?
This varies by day, but almost always with music. It’s either something I know well so it isn’t distracting, or its an instrumental (search battle music on youtube). Usually something that fits the scene and creates some quiet background noise.
QUESTION #20:Have you had any issues with people stealing and distributing your work and how did you deal with it?
There have been a few occasions, mostly with Mirror sites that Wattpad goes after as soon as they learn about them. DMCA takedown requests are the other usual alternative. I do put a small blurb at the bottom of one of my chapters that says ‘If you’re reading this anywhere besides Wattpad, then it’s a pirated version. Please go to Wattpad.com to read my books.’
QUESTION #21:What promotional method or practices did you use to promote your book? Which ones did you find the most useful? How did you get so many people interested in your work?
Oddly enough, I didn’t really promote my book – I was too busy writing and posting new chapters. Wattpad is a slow burn, and it takes time for your niche writers to find you, but once they do, word of mouth and library reading lists quickly build.There are places in the forums to post your stories, and small contests to join that really help a new writer or undiscovered book.
QUESTION #22:What was the most exasperating experience you have had in your journey?
That would be when A Different Virus Heartfire joined the Paid Program. There were a startling number of people, mostly younger ones, who declared that authors should never charge money for a book, even though I had 10 free ones and just 1 paid one.
Some people would just say ‘you should publish your book if you want to sell it’, which only showed that they knew absolutely nothing about authors or getting books published. Most traditional publishers require an agent, and there’s only a handful in Canada, and most of those don’t have openings. Yes, self-publishing is possible, if you’re okay with spending hundreds or thousands of dollars and investing hundreds of hours into developmental editing, copy editing, line editing, formatting, proofing, etc. Upon Wings of Change is about to be self-published – and it took me 14 months to do so.
QUESTION #23:Is there a timetable for when you write and what you write? If yes, share some tips on how to make one.
I always advise people to do what works best for them. For me, I only work on one project at a time to reduce stress. I tend to work on it whenever I have free time near a computer, primarily in the morning or evening.
QUESTION #24:Where do you see yourself and your work in ten years from now?
I hope to have a lot more books on my profile. Perhaps even get one traditionally published.
QUESTION #25: How did you discover and harness your writing skill and develop your own style of writing? How did the whole journey begin?
When I joined Wattpad to read stories, that Create button kept tantalizing me, and I eventually decided, ‘Why not. I can try writing a short story.’ Well, the short story morphed far beyond my original plans and eventually became the 495,000 word story known as A Different Virus Heartfire. It’s been a four year learning curve to get to this point, and I’m still learning new tricks and tweaking my writing style.
QUESTION #26:What sparked you’re the plot of the first book you released and what writing tips can you offer to upcoming authors?
My first book was a whim, and I was fascinated by the idea of someone becoming a trader in a zombie-infested world, so I built it upon that. Find something that inspires you and go from there. Some people daydream it, some people plot, and some just write and see what they come up with on the spur of the moment.
QUESTION #27:What was your family’s reaction to your writing success?
Mostly, they were confused. But supportive. They don’t read sci fi or fantasy, it’s just another one of my strange hobbies in their eyes.
QUESTION #28:Do you ever consider luck, your gender, ethnicity or race as a helping factor in your success?
No, I haven’t. Most of my readers don’t know my gender, ethnicity, or race.
However, being Christian, I suspect God had a hand in my immense success as there were far too many ‘coincidental’ events and things happening at just the right time ever since I started writing.
QUESTION #29:How do you feel about all the success you have garnered as a writer, Are there any specific people who helped you out and encouraged you on this journey?
My friendly editors on Wattpad have made a huge difference and helped more than I can possibly express in words.
QUESTION #30:Any advice for the young, doubting or upcoming writer who feels like giving up?
Don’t give up. Wattpad is a slow burn, and by the time you see smoke, you’re way behind the newsflash that you’re on fire. It took me over a year to get a hundred followers – and I have 4 completed books by then. Just 3 years later, I have over 50,000 followers. Don’t let your lack of reads discourage you – in fact – I encourage you to write down how many reads and votes each of your stories has once a month (google Doc Sheets is great for this). This will let you see just how much progress you’re making since most readers are silent.
And don’t forget that 45% of stories only have 1-2 reads. If your book gets more than 500 reads, you’re in the top 10%! (How Many Reads to the Top?). Fewer than 10% of writers on Wattpad ever complete a story, so the top of the mountain isn’t really that far away. If spelling and grammar are your enemies, I suggest Grammarly (free) and ProWritingAid (the free one also works decently).
If you’re an established writer, just keep writing what you love, and remember that once upon a time, you were a new writer as well.
Thank you Crystal for agreeing to the interview, I personally have learnt a lot from you and I hope the readers do too. we hope to have you again on our blog.
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I am a fifteen year old book addict and writing enthusiast from Ghana in West Africa. I love potato chips and jelly, pizza too but not so much. If you want to know more about me, you can follow me on other social media platforms. Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter!!!!