Andrew Galasetti, author of To Breathe Free, talks about his approach to writing and his plans for the future.
Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do? Or is it something that you started fairly recently?
I’ve been a creative person since I was young and always loved to read, but writing is something that I came to a bit later in life. I was encouraged by teachers in high school and the desire to write grew stronger as I grew older And it wasn’t until later that I became aware that writing was a desire and talent in my genes. My late Grandfather was an amazing writer and became the biggest inspiration for my upcoming novel To Breathe Free.
Tell me a little about To Breathe Free.
To Breathe Free is a novel that follows a young narrator as he travels around New York City and into his family’s history. In the past, he and his family deal with abandonment, poverty, war, failure, death, and the struggle to hold on to hope for the American Dream.
I knew that I had the story for To Breathe Free inside of me but for a few years I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to translate it to the page. I had many false starts and was essentially burnt-out when my Grandfather passed away.
As I was saying, my Grandfather was a naturally creative person and had an intense passion for writing. However, I didn’t know this until he died.
When my family was going through his belongings after his death, they came across some old pieces of paper which contained poems my Grandfather had written decades before. The poems were beautiful, but one in particular, entitled Is what I am Where I am impacted me deeply. The poem expresses his desire to have his writing make a lasting impact on readers.
His dream was never fulfilled by the time he passed though. He had to support his family and because writers like him didn’t have the amazing opportunities that e-publishing provides writers today, he never got to publish his works and reach readers.
His poem Is what I am Where I am ignited a fire in me that has yet to diminish. It showed me what little time we have and I knew exactly what I needed to write. That is when To Breathe Free was born. With To Breathe Free I have written the story that has been floating around in my head and I am also fulfilling the dreams of my Grandfather by incorporating Is what I am Where I am and selection of his other poems into the foreword of To Breathe Free and woven with the novel’s story. And thanks to e-publishing, my Grandfather and I can reach readers without being stopped at the gate.
How do you write? Do you make yourself write a certain number of words per day?
I don’t really concern myself with how many words per day I can write. I just write until I feel I need a break.
And for inspiration to write, I search for it instead of waiting for inspiration to come to me. I look deep within myself, look in to the past, into the future, or find inspiration in nature.
Did you try to get a conventional publisher or agent interested before you opted for self-publishing?
Yes, I worked hard to pitch many literary agents and got the interest of some but things just didn’t work out. I was then faced with the decision to keep going with this route or to try the independent path.
It’s a very serious decision to make and no writer should just jump into it. I had to evaluate myself because self-publishing requires many skills of a writer. I have had many years of experience with technology, the internet, social media, blogging, different software programs, marketing, and entrepreneurialism (I started as an entrepreneur when I was 14). I knew with these skills that I had a very good chance of reaching readers even if I didn’t have a publishing house behind me so I made the decision to pursue self-publishing.
However, I knew that I needed achieve one of the biggest benefits of a publishing house before I self-published my novel. That benefit is working with an editor on developing my manuscript. That is why before I publish To Breathe Free this fall, my aim is to work with a professional freelance editor to push my writing and manuscript to be better so that I can provide readers with a quality book. Hiring an editor to do substantial work like this is expensive, so to help offset the cost, I am currently running a Kickstarter campaign where readers can pre-order To Breathe Free for just $4.
What goals have you set yourself? Do you want to sell a certain number of books in 2012? Is there some way you measure success, on your own terms?
I know that most self-published authors dream of selling tens of thousands of copies a month, I dream about it too. But I try not to let myself get focused on that dream only. I put my focus on creating a novel that reaches readers, impacts them, and ignites discussion about difficult topics such as racism, poverty, war, failure, death, and domestic violence. When I focus on this bigger picture, it provides a better way to measure success and keeps me much more motivated.
To Breathe Free by Andrew Galasetti will be published exclusively in electronic format in Fall 2012 on all the major ebook platforms and can be pre-ordered now for $4 here. You can also visit his website.