Author Interview: Chris Sheldon

How long have you been writing for?

About 12 years, seriously.

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

Starting. The first sentence…

What genre do you generally write?

Non fiction; I’m a fisherman, and write about all aspects of the sport.

Do you have a favourite author and why?

Chris Yates. Originally a photographer, he is a fisherman first and foremost, who fishes in a classic, some would say ‘old fashioned’, style. His latest book is actually not about fishing, but the countryside, called ‘Nightwalk’. In it he described nocturnal wanderings through the countryside, describing the wildlife he encounters. It’s brilliant. His fishing titles, (‘The Lost Diary’ springs to mind) are as good and are accessible to all, you don’t have to be an angler to enjoy them.

What is your book called and how did you choose this title?


A book about the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’.  Every fishing author writes instructional stuff, and many contemplate the philosophical ‘why do we go fishing’ theme. I wanted to do something different, and most of my book is about why the things we do work, or don’t work. There’s some instruction as well, and some contemplative bits. But mainly it’s about trying different things, and always wondering, ‘why?’.

Has your book been published and how did you go about this?

Yes. I’ve self published, initially as an eBook, and then as Print on Demand, in both cases with Amazon KDP, and both formatted by Jo .

Approximately how long did it take you to finish your book?

A while! Difficult to answer accurately. I write a column for the Countryman’s Weekly newspaper, and a lot of ‘Thinking Fishing’ is made up of work that appeared there initially. Some of it is new material (perhaps a third of it), and one of the longer pieces was a feature in Staffordshire Life magazine. I think the earliest article was probably written about 5 years ago. The ebook came out 2 years ago.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Know when to stop. Don’t rewrite again and again. You have to get to a point, quite early on, when you say -‘that’s it’, and move on. Keep it fresh, and easy to read. Remember you’re writing for you initially, not doing an essay for an exam.

Do you use social media to promote your book? If yes, then which social networks do you like the most?

Not as much as I should. I use Twitter, and have a website.

What other ways do you market your book/s?

I’ve done a few book signings, and I publicised those with an interview on my local radio station ‘book club’ show. I’ve also donated copies to local libraries, and had a few posters done of the cover.

Have you enrolled your book onto Amazon’s KDP Select and how have you found it?

Yes. I get some income from it, although not a great amount. I suspect I could do more to take advantage of it.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

You can only do so much as an independent, self publishing. An Agent is the next step for me, if I can find one to take me on. So, next time – professional guidance and support.

What books do you like to read in your spare time?

I like Lee Child, Frederick Forsyth, early Tom Clancy. James May. Some biographies, especially musicians (Clapton, Gilmour, Hendrix etc). Just finished One Hundred Days, by Admiral Sandy Woodward, who commanded the Falklands Task Force. And of course, anything on fishing and the countryside.

What do you feel is the most important stage of writing a book?

After actually starting, I think at some point you need to actually plan the structure of the book, have some idea of how many chapters, how long each part should be, and so on. Otherwise, how do you know when you can stop, and move on to the next bit?

How did you go about designing the cover for your book?

I know a genius illustrator called Joe Watson. You can find him online. I gave him the title, we had a chat, and the following day loads of sketches appeared in my email. He came up with the idea for ‘Thinking Fishing’ based on the Rodin ‘Thinker’ sculpture. It’s brilliant, I wish I had that sort of imagination!

Are you writing or considering writing a follow-up to your book?

Yes. It’s ongoing. I still write my monthly Countryman’s Weekly column, and those will form the bulk of the new book.There are other articles as well.

Do you have a day job (if so, what do you do?) or do you write full-time?

I wish!  I work in a big secondary school, with Special Needs kids.

Check out Chris’ latest book, Thinking Fishing