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Steven Pressfield is a mentor to many writers through books like The War of Art and Turning Pro.
But Steve learned his creative lessons the hard way, and he shares that story in his new book, The Knowledge. In this interview, I ask Steve how he turned real life into fiction, accessing the darker side of life, choosing book titles, and more.
In the introduction, I mention Kobo's move into South Africa, the new self-publishing salon with me and Orna Ross, and India's move into cashless payments. In my personal update, I talk about the inevitable self-doubt that comes with any new creative project, and the launch of End of Days this week. Plus the Petal to the Metal podcast for anyone thinking of leaving their day job this year.
Today's show is sponsored by my own How to Write a Novel course, which I created while writing End of Days, so you get a behind the scenes look at how the book came together. One course member, Leigh Anderson said, “This course is exactly what I was looking for. I now feel well on my way to writing and completing my first draft. It has been a real breakthrough for me.” Check it out at www.TheCreativePenn.com/writenovel
Steven Pressfield is the author of screenplays including The Legend of Bagger Vance, novels around the classical wars of ancient Greece and modern warfare like Gates of Fire, and non-fiction works including The War of Art and Turning Pro.
His latest book is The Knowledge: A Too Close to True Novel, which is the origin story of The War of Art.
You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher or watch the video, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.
- On writing in different genres
- How personal should fiction be?
- Whether writing from our dark side can be cathartic
- The key to choosing a book's title
- Why the theme of a book matters so much and how to find it, even when it's elusive
- Where Steven sees blogging fitting into his writing business
- Steven's view of the current state of the publishing industry
You can find Steven at www.StevenPressfield.com, or on Twitter @SPressfield
Transcript of Interview with Steven Pressfield
Joanna: Hello, Creatives. I'm Joanna Penn from thecreativepenn.com and I'm here today with Steven Pressfield. Hi, Steve.
Steven: Hi, Joanna. It's a pleasure to be here with you again. It's great.
Joanna: Thank you so much. Just a little introduction.
Steve is the author of novels around the classical walls of ancient Greece and modern warfare like “Gates of Fire”, non-fiction works including “The War of Art” and “Turning Pro”, and screenplays including “The Legend of Bagger Vance”. His latest book is “The Knowledge”, which I have here, a too-close-to-be-true novel.
Steve, I want to start by asking you; you write across so many genres, as we've heard, you have so many ideas. Why “The Knowledge” and why now?
Steven: That's a great question but Joanna. I'm a believer, as you know, in the muse leading us. I feel it's sort of like a kite surfer, where you're the surfer down on the water and this kite is pulling you along.
So this idea just came to me, but it is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I mean, it's obviously personal. A lot of it's true. The setting and the events, or at least the interior events of “The Knowledge” are sort of my “all is lost” moment from back in the '70s in New York when I was driving a taxi cab.
And I had always wanted to do this, but I never could find the spin or the twist that would make it work. And I had an idea about 18 months ago that I thought would work, and I tried it and, you know, I think it worked. So that's why. Just sort of, I've been thinking about this for 35 years and finally it's just happened.
Joanna: The time was right.
Joanna: Yeah, that's really interesting. And I guess, because a lot of authors have a lot of ideas, and you obviously do. Just trying to put into words, how do you know that that's the thing you should write now? Like you said, you've waited 35 years to write that.
How did you actually know it was now rather than one of the other many ideas you have in your head?
Steven: You know, it's funny, I actually don't have that many ideas [laughs]. When I get one, I cling to it, you know, with both hands.
I do find usually when an idea seizes me, it really seizes me. It's like falling in love with somebody, you know, where you just know that your next however long of your life is going to be consumed by this romance, whatever it may be.
Joanna: Oh no, that's good.
Steven: By the way, it's just a flashback, and that you're right, I do write in different genres and I think it's a really good mistake. Anybody, you've created people that are listening in, it's a lot smarter commercially, I think, to find an identity or… I just stayed with it, but I somehow can't. The muse leads me in a lot of different directions. And although, sure there is a common thread but it's not obvious.
Joanna: It's so interesting you say that, because I was actually going to ask you about personal branding. Because most of my audience will know you from “The War of Art” and “Turning Pro”, which I quote all the time. I'm always like, “Go and read ‘Turning Pro'.” And would you have considered, maybe earlier, now is a bit too late now, but using two different names?
If people want to write in different genres, do you recommend different brands, different names?
Steven: You know, that's another great question. I just was thinking about that yesterday. I'm working on another novel now that, again, is out of my genre. And I was just thinking that my name will be meaningless as far as selling that book. And I thought to myself, “Maybe I should just use a pen name and make it seem like a debut novel.”
I've never done it. I don't know how it works, but I think there might be something to that. Because if you're known and if you're branded in one certain area, and then you suddenly do something different.
It's like when Bob Dylan went electric. Everybody practically murdered him, you know? Because he was changing their expectations. He was subverting their expectations. People don't like that. They want…it's like, Woody Allen always says people are always saying to him, “Why don't you go back and do the funny movies that you used to do? We loved those funny movies. Why are you doing these depressing movies now?” So there maybe something to doing a pen name.
Joanna: Yeah. I mean, I'm just thinking forward. I'm really into the AI stuff and machine learning and Amazon algorithms do a lot with author name. So the brand is not just external. It's in the machines and their training around who buys the books. So I think it's a really good idea from like a technical viewpoint. And a lot of indies now have multiple pen names per sub-genre on Amazon.
Steven: Really? Really?
Joanna: Yeah, interesting stuff.
Steven: Honestly, I didn't know that. It makes sense. It makes a lot of sense.
Joanna: I have a question around…so basically a lot of authors, when they first start writing, often seem to write fiction based on their own life story.
Joanna: And there was an inherent problem, which is, how do you balance self-indulgent memoir with a story that people actually want to read like you've done with “The Knowledge,” because it's kind of half memoir, half fiction, right?
Joanna: How did you skirt that balance?
Steven: That's another great question, Joanna. And I can tell you that like the first three novels that I wrote that were never published, they were unpublishable and unpublished, were autobiographical. And they fell into that exact category of being too lame, and too ordinary. They just didn't get over the hump into being something that was fit for human consumption.
I remember that when I first wrote this pure fiction, it was a screenplay, and I vowed that from then on I would never write anything that had anything to do with me. And there would never have any characters that were based on people I knew and had nothing to do with real events. And that had been my guiding principle for like 30 years or so.
I only changed it for “The Knowledge”. And what I think is a real skill, I don't know how anybody does it, write about their own life and make it work. Unless they've got a lot of experience that are really a pro writer.
Because I think, the real skill is being able to zoom back and see a character that's you in a completely objective way. And that's really hard, because if you're writing about your own life, you're usually writing about certain pain that you went through, you were a drug addict, you know, you're whatever. And it's life just got to you, really in your emotion.
And as long as that's the case, I don't think it's possible to write about it. But I think a lot of times, when we read a memoir and it seems to us, “Oh my God! It's like human blood is on the page.” We have to remember it's a performance.
It's like when you see a great torch singer sing some heart-breaking song, and you think, “Oh man! She's tearing her guts up over this on the stage.” But in fact, she's sang this song 5,000 times and it's her skill to act the song and make you believe that.
But you did definitely have to have that distance to be able to treat the character that you and the other characters that are people you know, as if they were fictional characters. Manipulate them and make them say things they didn't normally say, et cetera. I hope that's an answer, but that's kind of, that's my answer.
Joanna: It's great. And, I mean, there are failed relationships in the book. There are dead-end jobs, there are rejected manuscripts. As you say, there's the dark moments. I wanted to ask you about tapping into the shadow side. So sharing your darker sides in your books.
How do you recommend the authors kind of tap those deeper places?
Steven: It's really, really difficult. I wrote a blog post a couple of weeks ago that's called “Two Paragraphs”, that was the title. It was about “The Knowledge”. And in that book, there were two paragraphs following each other that are absolutely true from my heart. The real stuff that really took place in my real life that I'm trying to write about. And I couldn't for 35 years. And the whole rest of the book is just there to carry those two paragraphs.
You've got to be incredibly careful in using that real stuff because it goes over into self-pity. You totally lose objectivity on it. And it needs a stroke of genius, I think, in the sense of the concept of the story.
For instance there's a movie out right now called “Midnight Special”. And have you seen it or heard of it?
Steven: It's sort of sci-fi. It's about a little boy who has some incredible gift. He can bring satellites down out of the sky. He has this weird power. And the story is about his father. The boy is being pursued by this cult, this apocalyptic cult, and by the NSA, these American spies. And it's kind of a rolling picture of his father trying to protect him.
And if you look at that story, there may have been a real story. The writer may have been a father whose son died or something like that. So what he did, he knew he couldn't write that story, I'm guessing, because it would be just too heart-wrenching and too close to the truth. So he took it into the realm of sci-fi.
And I'm sure, let's say his son was so special to him, as kids always are, right? So he said, “Let me expand that specialness. I'll give this kid gifts.” He shoots lightning bolts out of his eyes, he can bring, you know, satellites down out of the sky.
And he is also trying to get to just those two paragraphs that are maybe about a father being able to release his son to death or to whatever. And so it needs some brilliant stroke to make it work, but it's very, very fraught with danger using your real dark side in there. Much easier to invent a dark villain and make the whole thing metaphorical and tell it as fiction.
Joanna: But do you think by doing that, it's cathartic that in writing such a book, you have almost exorcised that side? Or is it still there?
Steven: That's another great question, and it is cathartic. I've wondered if it would be and it definitely is.
I really felt like, I think it was “The Knowledge” that sort of clicked something to rest, at least in my own head. I mean, it was sort of a crime that I committed, as you know from reading it. And you can never make up for that, but at least I put it on the page in a form that other people can relate to, rather than just some crazy journal that I might write, you know, and bury in the sand somewhere. So yeah, it definitely was cathartic, it did work.
Joanna: Fantastic. I want to switch topics a bit because “The Knowledge” has a picture of a taxi on the front, which obviously is in the book. But I wanted to ask you about the title. Now, I'm in Britain, so I lived in London. I understand the title.
But I wonder if you would maybe explain the title for people who might not understand it.
Steven: Okay. As you know, Joanna, if you are going to be a licensed London taxi driver, there's a test you have to pass because in New York City, the streets are laid out in a grid, right? There's First Street, Second Street, Third Street and first, second and third avenue. So you can be an idiot, like I was, and find your way around New York.
But London is this maze of 20,000 lanes, alleys, back by-ways and stuff like that because it evolved over what, 2000 years or so.
Before you can be a London taxi driver and get your license, you have to learn all those streets and there's a test. And that is called “The Knowledge”. And I think if you ride in a London taxi cab today, there's a little sign that says, to be viewed by the passenger from the driver, saying, “Don't worry, I've got “The Knowledge”.”
And the test is called Calling a Run. And the examiner will say to the taxi driver, “Take us from Earl's Court to, you know, Basil Street,” and you have to recite, you the testee, you know, “Turn right, turn left,” zig zag and get there.
But of course in the book, the knowledge is metaphorical, refers to the knowledge of life, of learning how life works both on the external level, what you have to know to navigate, and also internally, your own internal demons, your own self-destructive stuff and even previous lives and obsessions and things like that. So that was the meaning of “The Knowledge”.
Joanna: The reason I ask is because when I write, I often come up with the title first. I come up with something then I'm like, “Oh, that's cool. I'm gonna write about that,” you know in fiction, fun things.
When did you come up with the title? And how do you normally come up with titles for books? Do they come later? And what do you recommend for authors who struggle with titles? Because it's a big deal, right? A book title.
Steven: It is a big deal. And I think you're very smart to learn how to do it first. Anytime I've locked onto a title first, which is rare, one out of five, I considered that great, big help. Usually it's afterwards.
I think the key thing about a title is it has to be on theme. It has to be sort of what the book is about. Like the title “Chinatown” for the Jack Nicholson movie. It's exactly about the surface of things. It's not what's really beneath the surface. And so that, in groping for titles, I always try to find something. I ask myself, “What's the theme of this thing? What is it about?” You know? And “The Sun Also Rises” is a great title like that. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a great title like that. And so I thought “The Knowledge” worked for this.
Joanna: Well, that's interesting because you've talked about, in many of your blog posts and your books, about how often you don't know what's the book's about until Shawn reads it.
Steven: Sure, sure.
Joanna: So for people listening, Shawn Coyne being your editor, friend, business partner. He's been on the show, fantastic book, “The Story Grid”.
Did you know the theme of “The Knowledge” first? Like how did you find out the theme? And how do you in a book? How do we do it? Because we don't have Shawn.
Steven: Well, first of all, I think it's really hard. I don't know why, but the theme wants to hide and keep away from us. And I think as I have gotten, I would say for the first 25 years that I wrote, I didn't even know what a theme was. It didn't even cross my mind. I wrote completely on instinct and it wasn't maybe two or three years later somebody would say to me, “Oh, that book is about such and such.” And I scratch my head and go, “Oh, yeah. I guess it is,” you know.
I think a lot of great books have been written and movies have been made where the writer had no clue what the theme was. But as I get older or more experienced, I try to do that exercise earlier and to try to find out. And you just have to ask yourself the question, kind of, over and over, “What is this about?”
In “Casablanca” the theme is it's better to do, to act, for the greater good of the community, of the nation, than your own selfish motives. The theme of the first movie “Rocky” is, any bum can be a champ if he's only given a chance, which is an expression of the American dream.
Steven: And the Australian dream, too. But I find that I have a theme, or I have a file when I start a book, and it's called “Theme”. And I go back to it again and again. And I sort of write, literally, I'd go, “What is this damn thing about?” And I'll write out a few paragraphs and I'll go back to those paragraphs again and I'll go, “No, no, that's not it. That's not really…” And I'll try again and again and again. And finally, once you know it…
I know you know this Joanna, but maybe your listeners haven't heard this, this is a great quote that Robert McKee, who is the story structure guru. He was interviewing Paddy Chayefsky, the famous, three-time academy award winning screenwriter, and they were talking about theme. This was back in the days before computers.
Paddy Chayefsky said, “As soon as I figured out what…” He was a dramatist more than a…he said, “As soon as I figure out the theme of my play, I type it out on a single strip of paper and I scotch-tape into the front of my typewriter. And after that, nothing goes into that play, that is not on theme.”
And that's a real mantra to me. I believe that. But what's interesting about what he said is, “As soon as I figure it out,” which shows me that he doesn't have it figured out for quite a way. So that's how important…if you get me started on theme, I'll talk for hours.
Joanna: No, that's fantastic. That's really great. And then coming back to the book, I wanted to ask you about Teaspoon, the cat, because I really enjoyed the book but I kept coming back to Teaspoon.
I love cats. I'm a cat person. The cat became the sympathetic character almost. You care about the cat, and I wondered how you think about pets and emotion.
Was that something from your real life or was that an emotional hook into readers? Like an extra emotional hook with an animal?
Steven: That's another great question. I'll give you kind of a lengthy answer to it. I did have a real cat in my real life, in this time. His name was Mo, M-O, which I decided is not a good fictional name, I have a better name. And in the book and in real life, he used to curl up next to my typewriter. And the carriage would just shuttle back and forth over his head and he would just let it stay there. And so I wrote that in the book, in “The Knowledge”, and I was like halfway through and then this comes back to the theme.
One of the principles of storytelling is that every character in the book must represent an aspect of the theme. So at some point I pulled back and said, “What is the cat? What does Teaspoon represent?”
And even though this was real life, so I'm asking in the fictional and I thought, “Well, he's right next to the typewriter so he represents kind of the character who is me, his muse.” Because while he's there by the typewriter curled up, my character is doing great. And so, as you know in the book, Teaspoon gets kidnapped.
Joanna: Yeah, that was terrible.
Steven: The character that is me, goes on this hunt to bring him back. And that's really the metaphor that is that the writer, me, has lost his muse, lost his gift and he's got to get it back. And so that's sort of a way that real life becomes treated as fiction and enlisted in the cause of fiction and that I would have managed in saying the sun also rises.
Let's say Hemingway, the real Hemingway, had an affair with a real woman that was equivalent of Lady Brett Ashley. And at some point when he was structuring “The Sun Also Rises”, I'm sure he asked himself, what does she represent? What does his character Jake Barnes's loving her mean, etc, etc? And after that, I'm sure he changed certain events and made them work, like fiction works.
Joanna: It's so funny saying that about Teaspoon. And of course, I didn't think that at all. I just thought the cat got kidnapped, but you've added that depth, that layer.
Steven: Let me just also say, so I don't take so much credit. Let's go back to Shawn. When Shawn read this book for the first time, in the first pass, Teaspoon did not get kidnapped. So Shawn said to me, “You've got to have the cat kidnapped.” I said, “He's right.” The analogy he used was the movie, “The Big Lebowski”, you remember that with Jeff Bridges where they steal his carpet? And the whole movie he's trying to get his carpet back.
You know, as dumb as that sounds, it works. You as the audience you go, “Is he gonna get his carpet? Is he gonna get his carpet?” So that was Shawn's idea, to have Teaspoon kidnapped. But it worked exactly according to the metaphor I was just talking about.
Joanna: That's fantastic. And I guess my question is about how do you learn this stuff over time? You're a very experienced writer, you've been doing this for years. Do you find that you're still learning stuff?
Joanna: And what has surprised you in the last year that you've gone, “Oh, I'm gonna add that to my repertoire”?
Steven: That's another great question. But I can tell you this that blogging about this and having writing books like “The War of Art”, “Turning Pro” and so on, really, they always say you learn when you teach, and it's really true.
A lot of ideas that you know passively, if somebody were to ask you, you would be able to answer…when you teach it, when you write it, you make it active. It's not passive, it's active. Now it's in the front of your brain.
I know there has been something, you know, that recently has really kicked in but I'm blanking out right now, Joanna. But you're right, it constantly happens. And as a professional, you feel like you're adding it to your repertoire. And I'm sure singers do this and actors do this, they learn as they go along.
For me, just to digress a little bit, I worked for about 10 years as a screenwriter in Hollywood, as you know. And that was the greatest learning experience. A lot of what I know or what I think I know, I learned there. Because just in the process of working with people.
I would go into a meeting about a script that I'd written and the studio exactly would say something like, “Well, what's the all-is-lost moment here?” And I go, “What? The what?”
You know, and then you learn. And all these little…one little element at a time. But the smartest thing, if anybody wants to know, that is, read all my books about writing because I've put everything I know in there.
Joanna: Of course as you keep learning, and that's why we're waiting for more books.
Steven: Yeah, right. They will be important because I keep learning.
Joanna: Exactly. Coming back on screenwriting, I tried to adapt one of my own books for a screenplay. And it was…I just failed miserably and it just seemed so hard. Screenwriting seems like another skill that is totally different to writing fiction.
Steven: It is, it is.
Joanna: Should people who write novels learn a lot of the principles of screenwriting or even try screenwriting to get better at telling story?
Steven: I certainly think it's very helpful because in screenwriting, or writing for the movies, there are a lot more restrictions than on a novel. It helps to learn.
For instance, you really can't go inside a character's head in the movies. So everything has to be shown in action or in dialogue. And you can't go on any long descriptions of things like you do in novels. And you can't rely on your gift for prose where you can kind of do some wonderful prose.
I don't know how to dabble into screenwriting but the only way I think is like move to LA and go through hell for a few years.
I do think they are two separate skills. In fact, a few of my books recently have been optioned for movies. And I'll be in a meeting and someone will say, “Well, would you like to write a screenplay?” And I immediately say, “No.” And the reason is I'm not a good enough screenwriter. I was like maybe a B-list or a C-list screenwriter, not an A-list screenwriter. And if a book of mine was gonna be adapted, I would want to get somebody that was really good to do it.
Joanna: I want to ask you about the picture on the back of the book, which is awesome. It's a very cool-looking Steve next to a sign saying, Dangerous. And the ad is amazing. And I've shared it on Twitter and everywhere because it's a great hook.
Steven: Thanks, Joanna.
Joanna: No, it's just brilliant. How did you decide on that hook for the advertising? Because it's a stunning picture.
Did you take that picture all those years ago knowing that you'd do this one day?
Steven: No, no. But I thought it was a funny picture. And certainly people that know me as my grizzable self here might be amused to see me when I had hair.
Joanna: But you work in advertising, so you know about the hooks, right? Why did you decide that that picture was the hook for the ad?
Steven: That's a good question. But definitely I did think of it that way. I mean, if you call it, the ad says, Steve's All-is-lost moment, 1974. And I don't know if that works or not…
Joanna: It does.
Steven: It felt like that the audience would be people who subscribed to my blog, because nobody else was going to see it, whatever it was. And that they knew who I was in a vague sense because maybe they read the “War of Art” or something. And that this picture and that headline – the promise it would make would be, see another side of this person that you think you know.
So, again, I don't know whether it worked or not, but that was the concept behind it. I loved the photo. I thought it was really a great photo. And I just thought there's got to be some way to use it. We did sit down, me and Jeff Simon, who's our kind of design tech, brilliant, creative dude, and try to come up with something. Just like ad people did.
Joanna: I think I see perspective. And I just wanted to mention your book, “Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit”, which is basically about marketing. And you mentioned your blog a number of times. And a lot of authors these days seem to think that blogging might be a waste of time.
How do you feel your blog fits into your personal marketing, book marketing, as well as expression?
Steven: It's sort of conventional wisdom these days that if you're a writer…when I say ‘these days' I mean these days, when there are no more book reviews and basically in newspapers and for a writer the real problem is, how do you gain awareness out in the real world that your book even exists, forget about whether it's good or bad.
And so conventional wisdom is, you need to have a tribe, you know, have people that are aware of you. And the way to make that happen is to have like a blog or something like that where you're giving, you know, wisdom, more information or inside stuff over time. And theoretically, you acquire an audience that follows you.
And then when a book comes out, at least you can announce it to them even if nobody else is gonna know about it. I wish it was back to the old days like Hemingway and stuff where a writer could just be a writer. No one could be reclusive like Philip Roth. I mean, he would never have a blog or anything like that. He could never stoop so low as to do that.
But it is kind of fun. I've been doing it for like six years or something like that and, like I say, you learn when you teach. And every time I read a post about some aspect of writing or of the professional mind-set or of overcoming self-sabotage, I learn.
I wish I was doing better. I wish I had a bigger audience than I do. But it does seem to be something that helps, you know. I know a lot of people turn their noses up at it. And I did too for a while, but I think it's a good thing. It's very time-consuming, as you know, it can be a full-time job as you know.
Joanna: Yeah, exactly. But every time I think, “Oh, I shouldn't do this anymore. I should just write.” I look at you and I go, “No,” because there's clearly a benefit.
Last question; you and Shawn Coyne have published many of your books under Black Irish, which is your imprint.
How do you see the publishing industry right now?
Steven: Wow, I wish Shawn was here to answer that because he knows a lot more about it than I do.
A book I wrote like two books ago called “The Lion's Gate”, which was a big, serious, non-fiction treatment of the six-day war, the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, was brought out on the mainstream press, Penguin Books. And to my amazement, basically their promotion pitch was to say to me, “Why don't you promote it?”
So in other words, if you're self-published or you have a small indie press, you're up against that problem, that you don't have very much reach.
But I think even among the big five publishers, they don't have that much reach either. Because it's not like in the old days, they had relationships and they could get “The New York Times” and “The London Times” or whatever, to review a book. But nowadays, so few books get reviewed there.
For somebody like me that's been around for a while, I will never have a book reviewed by “The New York Times” ever again. So it's really hard.
The book business for the writer's point of view is harder than it's ever been. And the ones who seem to succeed, other than the big brand-name people that are out there, are people who build a cult or a tribe themselves. And I keep hearing these stories about like these female writers who write this kind of body stripping stuff, you know?
Joanna: Romance? [laughs].
Steven: Romance, whatever it is. Or they write saga after saga and they've got like hundreds of thousands of followers that scoop these things up right away. I'd love to read an article about that, if someone would research those kind of people.
But otherwise, publishing is very, very tough these days, even with the big five mainstream publishers. They have limited clout, even at that level. Unless you're writing a book about Donald Trump or a cook book or a book about cats. In that case, all bets are off and it's a best-seller. But if you're talking about a real fiction, it's tough.
Joanna: Nice, fantastic.
Steven: And if you're like me and you switch genres, it's even tougher [laughter]. Don't switch genres.
Joanna: Well, you have a fan base in my audience here, all writers and we love your books. So whatever you come up with, you know, we'll be there.
Steven: Thank you, Joanna. Thank you.
Joanna: Where can people find you and your books online?
Steven: My website is just my name, Steven Pressfield. And of course we have, Shawn and I, we're a company, Black Irish Books, www.blackirishbooks, and that's what I…and of course around Amazon and around all those places.
Joanna: I got to ask you as well, do you do your own Twitter account at @spressfield?
Steven: No. I think…no.
Joanna: Is that Callie?
Steven: Yeah, Callie does it. I gotta learn…I mean, if Donald Trump can do it, I can do it, you know. I got to figure out how to do it. But it's got to end with the word “Sad!”
Joanna: Well, thanks so much for your time, Steve. That was great.
Steven: Thank you, Joanna. It's always nice. You know I never give interviews except to you and about two other people. So just don't quit writing because you're so great at it. So, thank you so much.
Rachel Morgan says
As a full-time author living in South Africa, I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know Exclusive Books had partnered with Kobo for their ebook sales! Thanks for sharing that news 😀 (And for another great interview!)
Henry Hyde says
Brilliant. The man’s a legend – he makes it all seem so easy! Steven is such a regular guy, no ego, no fuss, and he wears his knowledge lightly, but he’s achieved so much, it’s inspiring. Thanks to you both for that (and he’s right, you do ask great questions Joanna).
Safe journey to New Zealand.
Ingmar Albizu says
Amazing interview. Now I want to read ‘The Knowledge’.
Yvonne Carder says
I sincerely appreciated this interview. I found the section about pen names pretty intriguing. I shared the article to a Facebook group that I follow (The Write Life Community), since someone just posted a question about whether or not to use a pen name. I though this was super relevant because it’s something we’ve probably all thought about at some point in our careers.
I’ve read ‘The War of Art’ and I might just have to check out ‘The Knowledge’.
Thanks as ever for your awesome interviews!