I had the nicest time sorting this interview with Daniel Greene, YouTube creator, and author of the Lawful Times series and an upcoming cyberpunk novel, A Witch’s Sin.
I hope you all enjoy reading it!
I discovered your channel three or four years ago with videos like the infamous review of Wizard’s First Rule! How did you get into reviewing books online, and why?
Because no one around me would talk about them, so I decided “Well, I will talk to infinite void about them” and – it turns out – there are a lot of people out there wanting to talk about them, too!
It’s been a lot of fun as a viewer seeing your channel explode in popularity in the last couple of years. Was the progression from relatively small creator to potentially the most popular fantasy-related creator difficult to manage initially?
While I sincerely appreciate the compliment, I don’t necessarily think it is accurate to say I am the most popular fantasy-related creator – shoutout to HelloFutureMe and Quinn’s Ideas. However, in terms of the overall progression and growth of my channel, I think – in most part – the attention came from the community itself. The more I leaned into embracing more niche communities in the fantasy and sci-fi sphere, the more people came into the fold. If there is one thing I have learned to be absolutely true is that – whether you agree or disagree on certain SFF topics – we all love to geek out and talk about stories. That’s really the core of the content I try to provide.
You have so many projects that have come out or are in the works, such as your recent successful Kickstarter campaign, two fantasy novellas, new merch, and an upcoming cyberpunk book, A Witch’s Sin! How has the feedback been on these projects and what are you most looking forward to in the future?
Well, I’ve always wanted to write a book, and I also knew a ton of people were interested on the whole process of publishing a book. So, for my first endeavor, I wanted to make all the mistakes. I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect – and it wasn’t – but I managed to create a sort of guide or path for others to follow and, for that reason, I felt like it was a success.
I also learned so many invaluable lessons through that experience and tried to apply them to my second book, but I know there is still a lot more on that book I could have improved upon. Which is why, for my third book – A Witch’s Sin, to be published by Wraithmarked Creative – I am taking all of those lessons that I have learned as well as bringing in the help I should have been open to in the beginning.
I wanted to be able to take the potential that so many reviewers mentioned and realize it to the best of my abilities. But, to be perfectly honest, my main focus when writing A Witch’s Sin was to have fun writing it and to create something that’s enjoyable on a raw level. Now that it’s been sent off for a final edit, I can say that – whether or not people love or hate it – I love that book.
Regarding our kickstarters, this has been such a great joy in my life. Being able to donate 100% of the profits from the Limited Edition Lawful Times and to make a difference on a level previously impossible to me feels like a dream come true. We took those lessons that I had mentioned previously, particularly from the experience of writing this third book, and applied it to the Lawful Times so that they have been professionally re-edited for this Limited Edition Kickstarter.**
**(re-edit is still in the works and coming approx. late 2023)**
As far as our limited merch goes – that one was the brainchild of my wonderful, soon-to-be fiancé – Kayla Torrison – who is currently typing this out for me. [Love you!] She did an incredible job, and it’s a great reflection a lesson I learned as both a content creator and writer – it’s okay – in fact, encouraged – to get outside help. And, being able to use my platform to promote something a person I love created? Few things have ever felt so good. I hope this is something I will be able to do for smaller creators in the future.
There has to be at least one Wheel of Time question on here, so what are you hoping to see from season two of the Amazon adaptation?
A better understanding of what makes Robert Jordan‘s world what it is and his characters what they are. Maybe, most importantly, longer post-production and editing so that the show can look up to par.
The final few episodes, I think everyone can agree, were inexcusable. We saw the potential of what could be and the few highs throughout the season. Some shows take more than one season to get on their feet. Let’s hope this is the case.
What is your writing and publication process?
Okay, so, full transparency – It starts with a general concept that I have wanted to delve into through storytelling for years. From there, I try to think about a setting that will best reflect the ideas that I want to explore.
Then, I typically get stoned and come up with the details to better fill out the world in order to make it feel original and vibrant. I’m a very big fan of strange details in fantasy worlds that give some character and flavor outside of what’s already been done before. I have found that being in a slightly altered state of mind is beneficial to coming up with ideas.
Once I’ve sobered up, I begin to outline what I want the story to be in an extremely vague manner. Usually, it’s just a few narrative beats that I know would reflect the ideas well, and then I start to freely draft the story.
After the first draft is done, I go through it in a spiraling cycle of self-hatred of what I have written before, finally, usually around the 3rd or 4th time of self-editing, I feel comfortable enough to hand the draft off for a first round of developmental editing.
Once I get that back, there are couple more drafts done on my end, and then I send it off for a proper edit. Once I get that back, there are a couple more drafts done on my end, and then I send it off for another edit. No, I didn’t accidentally repeat myself. Editing is a motherfucker.
This was the approach I took for A Witch’s Sin, the first book in the upcoming “Neon Ghosts” series. I tried to improve upon the lessons I’d learned from “The Lawful Times” and, if you’d like to see for yourself how that went – here is my shameless promo for the upcoming release of A Witch’s Sin.
If you want an example of a weird quirk I had mentioned, I had started thinking about how much advertising is prevalent in my life – both as a content creator and a consumer. Ads, sponsorships, and consumerism overall feels inescapable.
I hate how much our society tries to make people feel empty if they have not purchased something every day – it’s both disgusting and wasteful. My brain wanted to take that to an extreme. In A Witch’s Sin commercials are constantly playing in the back of every character’s mind.
Now, this is not a focus in the book nor is it a primary conflict. It’s meant to be seen as an everyday experience and a natural part of their world – one that is built on extreme consumerist culture. Advertisements are constantly running, even as they sleep, to showcase that even a person’s time spent dreaming can be bought by a company and used as an advertising space.
Now, when I sobered up, I was afraid that the thought might come across as ridiculous or stupid but that was not the case. It still seemed like a waking nightmare to exist in, so I kept it.
How have you found being a part of the book community, talking with authors/reviewers etc?
It’s funny, there seems to be this expectation that if I give a negative or positive review that it will effect the relationship I have with the author. Outside of one extreme case, I have never had an author change their behavior towards me, regardless of my opinion on their book.
The same goes for me in regard to my books. I think it’s easy to think about the potential drama of a negative book review but, in reality, we are all people and understand it is coming from a constructive place. I firmly believe that, even if you potentially disagree with the criticism itself, constructive criticism is a useful tool and it can be kept in mind for the future. Especially if you do not have a formal education in writing, feedback – as direct as possible – is the most important asset an author can gain after releasing a book.
What makes you pick up a book? Is it the cover art, the author, premise…?
I can honestly say it has never been the same thing twice.
What do you like to do outside of reading, writing, and creating content online?
I have recently had the blessing of falling madly in love with someone and, to be honest, before dating them I didn’t really have much of a life outside of my job. For the past year or so, I’ve felt like I’ve been playing catch-up. I’ve been exploring the city I live in and spending time with friends, I’m a bigger cinephile than most people think but, unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t seem to be a fan of that on my main channel so I decided to make a second channel called The Discussion where I talk about movies in depth with one of my best friends.
I also have. a habit of picking up hobbies for a couple of months, trying them out, and then putting them down again once I’ve gained some fun experiences. It helps me as an author, too, to do this and gain more knowledge about thing I hadn’t been familiar with.
Chess and board games as a whole are a very big passion of mine that I try to limit how much I share about on social media platforms. It’s important for me to keep parts of my personal life separate and to remind myself that not every aspect of my life needs to be content. I’d say that’s my biggest advice to other content creators – drawing those firm lines in your life to keep certain parts purely for you.
Finally, politics are also a big part of my life. If you follow me on Twitter, though, you probably already know that. ^^
Who are your go-to content creators?
Philip DeFranco, Red Letter Media, Legal Eagle, Dead Meat, Man Carrying Thing, Merphy Napier, Mr. Sunday Movies, Needledrop, Ryan George, Kings and Generals, CPG Grey, Hasan Piker, Roll with Cole & Charisma, Amanda the Jedi, Cosmonaut Variety Hour, Casual Geographic, Linus Tech Tips, Jarvis Johnson, GM Hikaru, Tekking101, Rustage, Marques Brownlee.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to start a BookTube channel?
The only way I have found that you can still grow today in the spaces/platforms that I am in – which, I want to say that I have absolutely benefited being an early participant on – is to find a niche you’re passionate about and make quality content for that niche, whether it’s a series or even a specific angle of storytelling.
After you have a stable audience, you can slowly begin to grow outside of that niche space. The more underserved of a topic, the better it will do on. People will share content if it’s the first of its kind on the platform.
If you could be any fantasy character, who would you be and why?
I mean, being Superman seems like it’d be pretty dope. I can take a literal sun bath and be back in time to catch a matinee showing of a favorite film anywhere in the world. Sounds pretty good to me.
Daniel’s Thank You:
I want to give a huge thank you to Tommye for this interview. They have been so genuinely kind, polite, and respectful throughout the interview process, and it was an honor to be a part of this. I wish them nothing but success for the future!
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