5 minute interview with Dan Jeffries

12 Nov 2015 16:18

  • 5 minutes with Dan Jeffries

    Dan Jeffries is the author of 'Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir'



  • What was the last book you read?

    I’m just about to finish Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I am a REALLY slow reader, so it’s taken me well over a year to complete it (I have been writing and publishing my memoir r during this time, so I feel like I have a valid excuse!). It’s a fantastic read though, and really demonstrates the art of perfectly picking every word, made all the more impressive by how long and detailed it is. I also love Jobs’ concept of Reality Distortion, something I definitely found myself doing too! For a book about technology though, I would have loved to have seen a more innovative approach to embedding some of the rich media available, such as video.

    How can social media aid the Publishing industry?

    Social Media is invaluable and should be embraced as much as possible. But it doesn’t always have to be the obvious routes. To help raise funds for the production of the book and Web App, I launched a Kickstarter campaign which raised over £3,500. The funds are of course invaluable, but for those who kindly contributed, I think the sense of being part of something different made it particularly special. And of course everything was shared via Facebook and Twitter.

    Name your three favourite apps

    Only three?!

    Google Drive was an essential part of the writing process, allowing me to share each chapter content with my Copy Editor (who lives in Amsterdam) and enabling us to go through it in real time. Gone are the days of sending manuscripts though the post! And the app allowed me to review and edit content on my phone. Amazing.

    A major discovery for me was Asana, a free Project Management website and app that allows me to create projects relating to content, the website, social media and more and assign tasks to those involved. With so many people working on different aspects of the book, it was a lifesaver.

    And finally... Word Counter by Supermagnus Software (a free download for Mac OSX). As much as I loved Google Docs, it was impossible to do an accurate word count, because each chapter was in its own document. With Word Counter I could drop all the downloaded Word documents into the app and it would tell me exactly how much I’d written.

    110,000 words is OK…isn’t it?

    Go on, let us know your musical guilty pleasure

    Being a House and Techno DJ and Producer I should probably claim that I have no musical flaws. But, if the truth be known, I am a huge fan of TV theme tunes. I’ve recorded mixes that are available online to download and even DJ’d them in clubs! Watching a crowd go nuts to the original version of Neighbours was a moment I’ll never forget.

    What would be the title of your autobiography?

    Well that’s an easy one — because I’ve already written it! It’s called ‘Me, Myself & Eye’ and tells the story of being born with one of the world’s rarest medical conditions…and then finding out I had another one.

    What was your first job?

    I think the first ever job I had was selling moccasin slippers on a market stall. Not very exciting.

    What is the silliest thing you have on your desk?

    I work in the same office space as my book cover designer, so we have numerous different versions of the front cover dotted all over the walls. So it’s somewhat odd (if not silly) to have so many versions of my face staring at me all day!

    Tell us about a passionate interest you have outside the business

    I absolutely love music. It’s really my first love. I studied Drama for my degree and specialised in sound design whilst DJing once a month. And then when I moved back to Bristol I started teaching music technology and became a course leader and curriculum advisor. I run my own record label (though it’s been somewhat dormant of late) and also run and promote a club night in Bristol called Heist. The process of producing music is frustrating yet exceptionally rewarding. Not too dissimilar to writing I guess.

    When was your first London Book Fair (LBF)?

    I first came to the LBF two years ago. I was half way through writing Me, Myself & Eye and, being a total novice and completely green to the world of publishing, just wanted to get some feedback and advice. I think I was a little naive. I produced a short video on my iPad to show interested parties the idea behind the book and took a few folded A5 manuscripts, just in case. However, I have to admit that I felt like a minnow in a sea of whales. I had no real idea what I was doing. I think my favourite moment was when I went up the Penguin stand and asked to speak to someone.

    “Who’s your Agent?”

    “Err…I don’t have one?”

    And it was conversations over.

    However  I did speak to various organisations that helped with self-publishing and printing, and that in itself was an invaluable experience.

    What piece of advice would you give first-timers at the Fair?

    Don’t be scared. If you’re a first-timer like I was, it can be very daunting, especially when you don’t know the make-up of the industry. But take your time, get a feel for the place, attend seminars, speak to people. You’ll soon find your way.

    The one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in publishing today is…?

    Find an angle. I was going to say ‘Don’t give up’ but that’s probably been said a hundred times before. If you can find a unique angle, a story that’s not been told before, a method of storytelling that’s not really been utilised before, you’ll inevitably find someone who will share the same passion and vision as you. 

    Oh — and don’t give up.

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