Christopher Greyson is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author of mystery, action, and thriller
novels. His Detective Jack Stratton series has been read by over half a-million readers and counting. Greyson’s educational background is an eclectic mix of degrees in computer science, theater, and communications. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife,
Katherine Greyson, author of the bestselling romance-mystery series Everyone Keeps Secrets,
and their two children, Laura and Christopher.
Can you describe your start as an author? Did you go the self-publishing route, or did you find a traditional publisher?
I started writing because I love reading. I may sound like a PSA, but reading transports you to another world. The great part of writing is that I get to pilot the rocket ship that’s taking me there. Self-publishing is like the Wild West of the literary world, so I decided to head to the new frontier and haven’t looked back. I’m an independent guy, so I love that the decisions are mine and the freedom that I have with self-publishing.
Why did you pick the mystery/thriller genre to work in?
I'm a firm believer of doing what you love, and it’s a genre that I love. From hard-boiled to cozy, an action-packed whodunit gets my blood pumping.
What are the advantages to indie publishing over traditional publishing?
Freedom. I write what I want to write when I write. I call the shots from cover to credits and everything in between. I’m not knocking traditional publishing at all. I think the big publishers are great and filled with many wonderful people and offer a valuable service. For me, traditional publishing is like sailing on a cruise ship. Some people love that. But give me a fast ship and the wind at my back. It's a lot more work, and we get to the same place, except when I arrive my hair's blown back and there's a big smile on my face.
What advice would you give to a new author who is trying to figure out how to publish his or her book?
Read. There is a ton of information out there—books, forums, magazines, etc. Read everything and develop a plan. Sure, you can write while you’re doing it, but don’t rush, either. If you finish your book and you’re not ready to publish, wait. Write another while you make a plan.
How different are the rules of the game today than from when you first started? When did you start?
How about how different are the rules this morning? We’re linked with tech, and the technology to get words to readers changes so fast you have to be on your toes.
What do you believe explains the popularity of your work?
I think it’s because I write from the heart about people. Right now if you listen to the media, you'd think we're all different. I don't. I think at their core people have so many things in common, but I don't purposely go and write about X and Y. I write about Jack. I write about a homeless woman, and I try to put myself in her shoes. And if I do it right, the reader gets to meet someone new and spend some time with them. I think readers like that.
What kind of feedback do you receive from your readers, and how does that shape the work you do?
I’m blown away by all the positive feedback. The greatest impact it has on me is that someone has given me their time to read my books. That's a huge gift—time. I owe my readers for that. I'm indebted to them, so I work to my utmost to get them the best book I can.
Looking back, if there is one thing that you would have done differently, what would that be?
Life is full of coulda-woulda-shoulda-dinta, but the biggest thing I would have changed is enjoying the ride. It was fun, but I got stressed. Covers, editors, beta readers, the occasional mean review, got me worked up, and at times I threw my hands up. I'm learning to let go and just enjoy where I am and what I'm doing.
Do you feel there's still a stigma associated with self-publishing these days, or do you see that as largely having been erased?
I don’t know. To me, it's like asking a soldier in WWII on the front lines if they got drafted or enlisted. They’re both soldiers. I respect anyone who puts a part of themselves out there.
Poornima Apte is a Boston-area freelance writer and editor with a passion for books.