Hello, I am Author O.J. Dyer, award winning writer of post-apocalyptic fiction and C.E.O. at my independent publisher Half Dead Association, LLC. I was born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan - but have traveled all across the United States. As a father of four my goal is to inspire people to chase their dreams, and to show my children that they can do/achieve anything if they put their mind to it.
1.What inspires you most to write?
What inspires me most is the passion of writing. Since I was a child, I always wanted to be an author and to be able to pursue a career in this field keeps me on my toes. I also am inspired by my four children. I wanted to be able to create a business that I could pass down to them and get the ball rolling on some generational wealth for my family. Writing also works as a therapeutic coping mechanism for me so if I ever get overwhelmed in the real world or feel any vast array of emotions, I sit down and write a chapter or a poem to escape and center myself.
2. What is your favorite genre?
Easily Post-apocalyptic or any form of 'Apocalyptic' literature. Technically it's considered a sub-genre, but you can never go wrong with it, and I've been locked in on them since I was in elementary school. I think I favor it because I was raised in an urban environment and felt like every day was doomsday the way we were struggling to survive. Scavenging for food, roaming gangs, random acts of violence, etc. I decided I loved reading something familiar to my living conditions, but different enough for it to be interesting.
3. Who is one author you admire if any and why?
Stanley "Babyface" James II because he's the Hollywood crip author. I came across his work a couple years ago when I was watching his interview with Street TV about his book 'The Bust' coming out. I had followed him on Instagram because I respected his movement and saw he was serious and focused on the moves he was making. Then one day he had posted a picture with one of my people out in Long Beach and I was like hold up let me do my research on 'Cuz. So, I had found out through the grapevine that he knew quite a few people from my section, and it was all well-respected, well-connected. This was like right before I started writing books myself, so for me it was inspiring to see someone living my dream successfully coming from the same type of environment I came from. Some time had passed, and I shot him a message just asking for advice before I took on this writing endeavor. He hit me back and ever since then it's been love and we support each other and chop it up from time to time. He always gives me free game, and I'm always on a quest for knowledge, especially from someone who has sold over fifty thousand books independently. For real, shout out to Babyface that’s my loc right there.
4. How do you overcome blank writing spells?
I don't often have blank writing spells but when I do... a couple glasses of wine and a nice hot shower saves the day every time. The hot shower gets my creativity flowing, helps me brainstorm ideas. The glass(es) of wine helps me get out of my head, think less and type more. *Don't forget to look over it again when you are sober for the egregious spelling errors you probably have committed.
5. What legal publishing advice can you give?
BUY YOUR OWN ISBNs, Stay away from vanity publishing/press, network, network- network!
6. How many books have you written, are any a bestseller yet?
I've written one so far with a total of 4 releasing this year. "Black Autumn: The Second Edition" releases 2/2/22 and is a Post-Apocalyptic Romance! I am not a best seller YET, but that will change soon enough. What I am proud of is that Black Autumn won Amazon.com #1 New Release for 30-Minute Teen & Young Adult Short Reads
7. If you had the opportunity to rewrite one movie script which would it be, why?
Hands down without a doubt The Warriors (1979). That is the greatest movie of all time in my opinion, but I hate how short it is. If I could rewrite the script the things, I would add is the formation of the gang to the big meeting as shown in the video game. I’d also add to the jailbreak arc that was shown in the comic books to the ending of the movie.
8. What are some difficulties you've experienced in your writing career; how do you handle book critiques/criticism?
Early on success, I know that sounds weird but hear me out. Personally, I don't pay too much attention to critiques as I am my biggest critic. After releasing my first project and getting an award on it, I feel like I must constantly perform at a high level. Success is a blessing and a curse honestly. I do value criticism, but I take it with a grain of salt never letting it make me or break me.
9. What are your best experiences in your writing career?
Winning the #1 New Release was dope, and I went crazy when I saw it. But it was kind of anti-climactic because I was homeless at the time, I was really living in a car with my pregnant girlfriend. Is it weird to just say it like that? Some people probably would be ashamed to admit that, but it’s part of my story and it happened you know. I don't really care what people say about me. So, it was like yeah this is amazing, but do we have enough money for food, gas, and our vices today? As far as the process, I'd say it was fairly standard. The upside of being homeless is you have nothing but time honestly. I took that time to mostly watch videos on planning your own series, editing your own series, and how to self-publish through Amazon. I also read a lot, mostly 'The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding' and "Blue Rage, Black Redemption". I created my whole business plan and entire series plan in a notebook from the passenger seat. I remember telling my girlfriend that I was going to write a book and release the prologue separately at first as an e-book and it was going to do numbers, it was all manifestation. I just didn't know I would win an award for it. But yeah, when it happened, I didn't believe it at first. I saw it on my phone first, then I grabbed my girlfriend 's phone and checked hers and that's when I was like "Oh This Is Real!" I was ecstatic for a few hours and then it was back to fighting reality and figuring out what was my next step in the publishing game.
10. Do you prefer to write in silence and or have some sort of sound in the background?
10/10 recommend having music in the background. Music helps me get out of my head and not overthink what I'm writing, and it puts me in the zone. For action scenes I listen to rap music, for sexual scenes I listen to old school R&B, and for conversational pieces I listen to Beethoven.
11. What are some encouraging words you'd give to another author/writer?
Don't be so hard on yourself, trust your process, nobody can write the story that's in your head but you, and don't give up.
12. How did you decide the pricing of your material; how did you go about promotion/advertising and distribution of your work?
I just followed my gut honestly. I wanted to make sure the price point didn't break my consumers bank account but at the same time I went with what felt like I was getting adequately paid for my work. "If you are good at something, you don't do it for free." Promoting strategies, I use are posting stickers and flyers around the city, featuring on interviews (text and video), and paid advertising on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. But word of mouth is king in this industry. Currently I'm working on things like getting an Author Tube channel going, utilizing sites like Goodreads, and planning book tours and signings.
13. Why should anyone read your book?
Because it is the next big thing! I have been told that description is my strongest aspect, and that you don't just read my books. You FEEL them, I transport you into my world. Everything you plan on doing has already been done before, but I put such a unique spin on it that it's mesmerizing. The Ascendia Series is post-apocalyptic romance with a flair of tragedy. It has been said to be a perfect blend of You: by Caroline Kepnes and Rot & Ruin: by Jonathan Maberry.
14. Did you have a book coach?
No, like most things in my life I just jumped into this feet first, with the sharks. In turn I proved I can hang in this industry on my own. But some people need a book coach, and I would never knock them for that.
15. What was your favorite subject in school?
Is it cliche to say creative writing? *Laughs* I would say it was a tossup between creative writing and history. But if I must be completely honest, I hated school. I dropped out in the eleventh grade because I was too preoccupied with gangbanging. I was a product of my environment. But look at me now, father of four and business owner. The streets taught me what school couldn’t. Being well-versed in both book smarts and street smarts it's no surprise that I can out hustle many other writers.
16. Are you self-published or have an established publishing contract elsewhere?
Independently Published. I say that because I feel like in my eyes there are three lanes versus the traditional two. Self-Published (Low), Independently Published (Medium), and Traditionally Published (High). So, what's the difference between Self-Published and Independently Published? I see a lot of people self-publish subpar books that are like 30 pages long with their name slapped on as "Publisher" and it's just out there with no editing, a cover that looks like it was made by a toddler, no marketing, etc. and anybody can do that. When you are Independently Published you take it more seriously. You write a well thought out story, get it edited by someone else professionally, get it designed professionally, have a real marketing strategy, and have a business name. So that's where I'm at with it. I have a legal publishing company I founded and publish through, my significant other is a professional editor, and I have years of experience in graphic design.