Welcome To Author Talk
Today, I have the wonderful privilege of interviewing Ezio and Michelle De Angelis.
Please tell us a little about yourself and your background? About you as a Writer
We are often called Australia’s number one husband and wife psychic team, which is nice. We live in Sydney but our work takes us around the country where we present psychic shows to audiences. It means a lot to us to be able to do this work full time because we both feel it’s very important to help people understand that there is life beyond this one. We both see private clients for one on one psychic and mediumistic consultations. For many years we ran a spiritual teaching centre called The Gathering, where people came to learn about spirit and unlock their psychic potential.
We met around eleven years ago and have been married now for eight years. Our interest in spirit and esoteric subjects brought us together. We originally met briefly at a Psychic Fair but in truth, we feel like we came to earth to reunite as husband and wife. Being spiritually minded, we have both had visions of past lives we have shared together. We enjoy each other’s company and are best friends. Working and writing together comes naturally and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
How lovely for you both. Time does fly, for I remember you before you were married. It must be wonderful to know you are both soul mates.
- What are your ambitions for your writing career?
For the main part, we just like sharing spiritual insight, ideas and experiences in a no fuss, easy to understand and logical manner. Between us, we have published four books and would like to write and publish a few more before we are done.
- How long have you been writing?
Since around the mid nineties. We first co-authored our book Postcards from the Other Side in 2012.
- Which writers inspire you?
Illusions by Richard Bach is Ezio’s favourite. Michelle read far too many books to have a favourite!
- Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I think Johnny Depp would be a superb main character in Rainbows in the Dark…although he might be a bit old now lol. Our other books are non-fiction spiritual books so the characters are actually playing themselves!
- What is the easiest thing about writing?
When you are in the flow of the book and the voice in your head is consistent throughout every page the writing comes easily. When you are in the flow, the writing does take on a life of its own…or in our case, the life of the spiritual inspiration that defines the feel, tempo and goals of the writing.
- How long on average does it take you to write a book?
About three to six months…if we are dedicated to the task! Rainbows in the Dark was written in about four or five weeks but that was highly unusual. Ezio wrote a chapter a day long hand on the train to work and then typed it up at night.
- Do you ever get writer’s Block? If so, Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Not if the idea is right. But we have to be inspired by the project. Neither of us really write just for the sake of writing. We tend to write when we have something to say…or a pressed by a deadline from our editor at That’s Life Magazine.
- Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
I, Ezio don’t read a lot. Michelle reads anything a lot of fiction just for fun and has always been a big reader since she was a child. We don’t generally like reading books in the same genre as ours because we prefer to keep our voice unique and uninfluenced by other writers.
- For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
Both…but who doesn’t love paper books? As a published writer…we sell both kinds but our preference is to see our books on shelves in bookshops which is more and more difficult as many shopfronts have closed down over the last few years. There is a beautiful, elegant and romantic quality to paper books but electronic books are just so easy to obtain it’s obviously going to grab a bigger market share as time goes on and the world becomes more and more electronic.
- What & whose book/s are you reading at present?
Ezio has just read a book called I can see clearly now by Margaret Marlow and Michelle has read three books during the few weeks it has taken to return this questionnaire but doesn’t even recall the titles as she reads so much.
- Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
Postcards from the Other Side was professionally proof read and edited by our publishing house. Previous books we did ourselves because we self published them. Having said that, we have read many self published books that could really have used a professional editor so it’s worth investing in an editor. A good editor will help you define and more clearly state your case through your writing.
- Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
Not really…although we let chapters sit for a few days after writing them before going back for the re-write. Most first draft writing needs revision to make its message better or clearer or simpler. the trick is to just get all your thoughts and ideas onto the page…that satisfies the creative urges…then go back a short while later and panel beat it into a more appealing shape.
- When did you decide to become a writer? What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
For me, Ezio, it was after I read Illusions. But I didn’t think I could ever write anything that simple, elegant and brilliant so I didn’t really try until my mid thirties. I was 17 when I read Illusions. I always knew there was a book or two in me. Writing together was a real highlight for both of us. Two writers, one voice.
For me, Michelle it was when the opportunity arose – when I was invited to write articles for magazines and then when we got our publishing deal for Postcards.
- Why do you write?
For the love of putting ideas into writing…and the thought that someone else might find those thoughts of relevance to their lives. Also, to document and honour the people and spirits we work with. That’s really important to us. primarily we are mediums and share the Afterlife message through our everyday work. Writing is something we do as part of that.
- Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Both. Books are part time. Our weekly column in That’s Life Magazine is pretty full on. We write when we have time and that usually works for us.
- Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? How successful are you at achieving that goal?
No. When we write…we just go for it head down and tail up!
- Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Do you use a special writing program, or just type away?
Computer and just type away!
- Where do the your ideas come from?
Spirit, our work, things we have learnt over the years. Apparently there is an ideas factory and we can tap into it…as can others. It’s got to be inspired for us. We don’t just write for the fun of it because we are too busy. At least three separate editors have described us as natural writers but we usually only write if we have something worthwhile to share. As mediums, inspiration comes mostly from real life experiences through our work.
- Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
If you are going to get a publisher to take you on, you need an outline and book proposal. They won’t even look at it otherwise. They take the view that if you can’t formulate your ideas well enough to create a logical proposal then you won’t be able to express it properly. Having said that, once you get to the stage of actual writing, stream of consciousness can be very valuable to get inspiration out of your head and heart and onto the page. When things are really flowing, all sorts of things jump into your head and it can be difficult to keep up with the ideas, examples and stories.
- How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Practice, Patience and Perseverance…oh…and rejections play their part too! Rejections if taken on board in the right way, can show you where you went wrong and help your own unique style evolve. It’s important to write with an authentic voice. What we mean by that is if you try and write like someone else, you will miss the magic of your own style. But in all honesty, most of us start out trying to sound like someone else, even if we don’t realise it. Its hard not to be influenced by others. But in time, your own style comes to the fore.
- What is the hardest thing about writing?
Writing is generally pretty easy. Getting the project’s “voice” right is the key. Getting published and supported is more difficult that we ever imagined.
- What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Nothing really. Writing Postcards from the Other Side was actually a really smooth and easy project. We co-authored it and wrote as one person. Our process was that one of us would write a chapter and the other would fill it out, massage it into shape. Our publisher said that she couldn’t tell who wrote what…two authors…one voice. That’s what we strived for.
- How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?
That’s the difficult part. We initially started with a supportive publisher but she left the company a few months after we released our book. While she was there, they assigned a PR person and that was great in getting us some promotional exposure but mostly we sell and promote our books through our shows. Luckily we have our Mediumship Shows to help promote our books and we still have it displayed in bookshops.
- Would you or do you use a PR agency?
It’s very costly and if you don’t also have the distribution network…it won’t work. So our answer is yes…and no. Yes if we have guaranteed distribution, no if we don’t.
- Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
It’s difficult to discuss this without sounding negative and the answer is different depending on whether you are published by a reputable publisher with connections and distribution or just trying to make your own way and self publish. Let’s be honest here. The chances of being taken up and supported by a real book publishing company is very slim. It just doesn’t happen very often unless you have a major media platform. So be smart. If you are self publishing, don’t print thousands of copies because it’s very depressing seeing them stockpiled in your garage! Marketing is part of what and who you are. For us, we are mediums. We connect people to their loved ones in the spirit world and have carved out a very small niche in which we can sell our book through our shows, website, Facebook. Social media and on line is the best way these days but it’s not easy.
When I, Ezio, published my first book, I just assumed I could run an ad and sell lots of copies. So, I ran an ad in one of the major new age magazines. The ad cost me around $500 and I sold four books which didn’t even nearly cover the cost of the ad.
- What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Our book is heavily displayed in everything we do, but we don’t actively market just the book.
- How do you relax?
Time away from work and people, being outdoors, spending time with family.
- What is your favourite motivational phrase.
Ezio: Here is a test to see if your mission on earth is finished. If you are alive, it isn’t.
Michelle: You are infinite, keep it in perspective.
- What is your favourite positive saying?
- What is your favourite book and why?
Ezio: Illusions – Richard Bach. It talks of spiritual and physical possibilities, of only we can see the world as it truly is.
- What is your favourite quote?
Ezio: What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.
Michelle: I never knew how narrow was your mind until I stepped so slightly from it’s one track and fell so far in your estimation.
- What is your favourite movie and why?
Ezio: Remember the Titans. It’s about overcoming adversity, prejudice and finding the power in teamwork, respect, honour and working hard. It also has great sixties music and wonderful emotive acting.
Michelle: The Mists of Avalon. It evokes a previous life and connections with my Guide.
- Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
Doing pretty much the same as we are now. Working for spirit, living, loving and spending more time with those precious to us.
- What advice would you give to your younger self?
Ezio: Be a bit more upfront about what I need in life.
Michelle: Don’t take everything so seriously. Try and have some fun.
- Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Ezio: David Bowie – still living. I have had a lifelong fascination with his music, creativity and willingness to not rest on his laurels. He was the first person to show me that it was okay to be different, to change when change was needed.
Michelle: Jennifer Saunders. She is so funny!
- If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Ezio: Illusions by Richard Bach. It’s just too good!
Michelle: Margaret Mitchell. Her book Gone with the Wind is just beautiful.
Wow! Thank you both of you. I have learned more about you than I thought I knew. You are both inspirational.
Now we want to move on to learning more About Your Books
- What genre are your books?
- What draws you to this genre?
Our work as mediums.
Ezio – I also have felt a lifelong compulsion to seek answers about life and death and the enduring nature of love and soul.
Michelle – it is my area of knowledge and expertise.
- How much research do you do?
Our lives and work are our research, so we do a lot of it!
- Have you written any other books in collaboration with other writers? If so, with whom?
We co-authored Postcards from the Other Side.
- Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?
Because we work as a husband and wife team. As to affecting sales – we hope it did in a positive way.
- What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
That’s easy. If a publisher takes you on, they usually have some distribution set up which is really difficult to procure on your own if you are self publishing. Distribution gets your book into more bookshops that you would ever be able to do yourself. That’s the main one. Creatively, they have people who can help edit, style and print the book which saves a lot of time and hassle for an author. Financially, you don’t have to outlay any money if a publisher takes you on…but you generally earn less per unit rate per book.
- What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
Our publisher organised these when our book came out but usually they were interviews where the interviewer had just skimmed over the pages to pick out certain questions rather than a full review Surprisingly, there was a really poor response from spiritual magazines who wanted a paid advertisement in order for them to publish a review. even then, a couple of them wanted us to send them a review!
- Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
Not at this stage. Our book was published a couple of years back now so it’s not an ongoing thing anymore. There were radio, television and newspaper interviews and reviews we tend to rely on people talking about it on social media now.
- What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
- What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you?
Facebook…works well when people speak up about your book. We try and encourage people to share if they liked it but you can’t always be at the public to do so.
- Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
Many aspiring authors think a book will make then rich. Not many writers actually get rich from writing so don’t give up your day job. Our advice is to not get too hung up on selling but rather focus on the quality of your writing. For us it’s about building an active community around our work and hoping people will pick up our book and read it as part of that. It’s very satisfying when they do. And don’t be afraid to re-write and use a good editor!
- Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
Yes…we managed to appear on Sunrise and in the Good weekend Magazine but these kinds of media outlets don’t like straight out book reviews. They want a story. for example, our Sunrise appearance was more about our work and a family we helped with a plug about the book at the end of the interview and story. the Good weekend was about us a Psychic couple which mentioned our book. It all helped with initial sales.
- Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
Our launch was really for friends and family. Its generally recognised that launches don’t work very well unless you are a big name. We did one because we wanted to celebrate the release of Postcards from the Other Side with people we cared about.
- Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
Sunrise was great, as were some radio interviews.
- Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
- What do you think of “trailers” for books?
Great idea…we made one…but they can’t be too long…short, sweet and to the point. Ours can be viewed on our YouTube channel through our website www.eziodeangelis.com.au
- Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
Yes and no. We have actually literally given away hundreds of copies. We usually give one away during our show as we talk about what it’s about. That often seems to encourage others to buy a copy. We did some give ways through That’s Life Magazine as part of the initial promotion but don’t really have any way of checking how that influenced sales.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
We think this has been covered in previous answers but just stick with it if you are good at it and enjoy writing.
- Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Downloadable for sure. Kindles, I pads…just too easy and inexpensive for publishers to resist. But we believe there will always be paper books because writers and readers want them.
- Thank you for your informative answers guys. I love your analogy about the panel beaters.
Now it is time to learn more About Your Current Book
- Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Its nonfiction. But our book is about life lessons learned from many of the spirits and clients we see. That’s special. learning from those who have lived and died…and come back to tell the tale!
- What are you working on at the minute?’
Just our magazine columns. We have some new book ideas brewing but our publisher isn’t doing anymore new age and spiritual books. That’s the down side of closure of so many bookshops in recent years. No outlet for sales so the publishers pull back on their output too.
- Did you format your own book? In what formats is your book available?
Yes for early books We used a professional typesetter and it’s in paperback only. No for Postcards from the Other Side. Its available in paperback and electronic formats.
- If formatted by someone else, how did you select them and what was your experience?
We don’t recall but it wasn’t overly expensive.
- Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. Who designed your book cover/s?
Our publisher thought it best to have a picture of us on the cover smiling at the audience. They loved a particular photo of us and used it.
- Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
- How can readers discover more about you and you work?www.ezioandmichelledeangelis.com.au
Please list all of your published books here.
Book Title: Postcards from the Other Side – True Stories of the Afterlife
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
AuthorS:Ezio and Michelle De Angelis
Paperback / Hardback: Paperback
Distributor/Seller: United Book distribution via Allen and Unwin Book Cover by: Allen and Unwin
Here is a Video from our YouTube Channel.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.