IndieView with Sam Chiarelli, author of Dig: A Personal Prehistoric Journey

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? Writing about how amazing the world is and how fantastic dinosaurs are. What would you like readers to know about you? You are only as good as the team around you. I might let my writing mentor or an editor see the piece at this point once I’m comfortable with it. Editing has become one of my favorite parts of the process. Overall, I think Carl Sagan is also hugely important to how I think and write because he has a very clear, scientific style of communication interspersed with wonderful flourishes of literary abandon. Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? Firstly, choose your partnerships wisely. About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? I submitted my work directly to my publisher, Books by Hippocampus. I outline for theme. Get out there and the opportunities will come. Once I’m ready, usually a few weeks after the event, I’ll start outlining how I think all the elements might fit together. Distance helps to see what isn’t working. When did you start writing the book? I hope after reading Dig, you’ll want to learn more about your own childhood passions. Then wait a bit and polish it more. We all know how important it is for writers to read. Where did you get the idea from? Once I’ve completed the interview or the trip, I usually take some distance and let my subconscious work on the problem of putting it all together. I’ll draft to this outline, though usually some of the parts are moved around and edited during this phase. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? Do you outline? Your friends and family are a great starting point, but most authors struggle with getting the book out to the wider world. Lastly, be relentlessly kind and optimistic. I’m trying to outline why something is important, both scientifically and personally. I have many authors in both the scientific and literary camps that have influenced me, in both form and style. If so can you please describe it? Do what makes sense for you, your book, and most importantly, your audience. How long did it take you to write it? Wonder is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. I felt like I had found a partner I could trust with this project that had taken me many years to complete. Where do you live now? I’ll let the draft age a little before returning to it and finding the holes in it. If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? About 7 years start to finish. A marketing plan is in place with many phases. Also, don’t just read marketing articles and follow their advice blindly. I always edit after I draft. What came easily? The early writing exercises struck a chord with my mentors and peers so I knew I was on to something. Buried within these pages are encounters in museums big and small, prep labs, robotic dinosaur parks, and prehistoric themed hotels–and interviews with many of Sam’s childhood heroes: paleontologists, artists, and others who’ve dedicated their lives to revealing the distant past. What are you working on now? I’ll also start the preliminary research for the next book! About You
Where did you grow up? About Writing
Do you have a writing process? What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? I also try to take a lot of photos and audio recordings so I can reconstruct the experience in my mind. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? I’m not a traveler by nature, but this dinosaur pilgrimage to Colorado was one I needed to make. I’ll edit to make sure there’s clarity and energy in the writing. About the book
What is the book about? Apart from the physical act of traveling, it was difficult to get the first-person experiences, interviews, memoir elements, historical anecdotes, science, and travelogue pieces to work together. End of Interview:
For more from Sam, visit his website, follow him on Twitter, and like his Facebook page. Part science and nature adventure and part memoir, this book is all dinosaur. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have found that. The cover of Dig was created by artist Lindsay Smuck and it was inspired by conversations with my publisher. Do you listen to music while you write? I don’t have a formalized day-to-day process, but I usually identify a topic or theme, find some experience or interview that will illuminate that topic, and then take research and take extensive notes on that subject. Not toolmaking, not conscious thought, but the ability to imagine what the world was like 150 million years ago. Dig   follows Sam on a cross-country Amtrak trip with a final destination of a fossil dig in Colorado. Get your copy of   Dig from Amazon US or Amazon UK. I want to help amplify that most human of qualities through my writing. This book was particularly influenced by writers like Katie Fallon, Helen Scales, Brian Switek, James Prosek, Elizabeth Kolbert, Thor Hanson, and Michael Pollan. Negativity is easy to cultivate, but will cripple you. Don’t rely on some influential person or platform to “discover” you. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? Was it a particular event or a gradual process? I can barely carry a conversation with music playing, so writing with it is next to impossible. Do you have a target reader? Summer, 2011. I wanted someone who was just as passionate about the book as I was and would honor the spirit of the entire journey. I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Dig is about a cross-country train adventure to discover why people love dinosaurs so much and why some people, like me, continue to have a lifelong fascination with them. I might have a column with words like interview section, science of [particular species], childhood reflection. I enjoyed creating new connections between science and the literary world. After exploring my dino-filled childhood in Creative Nonfiction writing exercises, I realized I might be able to share my love for our prehistoric past in a way I’d never imagined. I believe that our sense of wonder coupled with a healthy awe and appreciation for the natural world is what we need in this divided time. I am a musician and music affects me far too much to be able to write with it in the background. 2019 will largely be focused on promoting Dig and finishing some essays. Do what makes sense for you, your book, and most importantly, your audience. So, I guess my target reader is me. Find where your potential readers are and go there. The image perfectly sums up the spirit and the adventure of the words. I try to write what I want to read, but cannot find already in print. It’s nonfiction, but getting to meet some of my childhood heroes like Mark Norell, Paul Sereno, ‘Dino Don’ Lessem, and Karen Chin was like a dream! Sam Chiarelli – 2 January 2019
The Back Flap
Sam Chiarelli’s   Dig: A Personal Prehistoric Journey   explores why we’re so fascinated with dinosaurs and why some people–dinophiles–never outgrow their Mesozoic obsession. So far, so good! Find where your potential readers are and go there. Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? I live in Pittston, PA. Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?