I love to write about politics, but my latest book is actually part of a series on video games. Known as Game Freaks 365’s Review Guide, it is a collection of reviews from my video game website of the same name. GameFreaks365 has been around since 2003, going on its seventh year April 19. Currently, I have three versions: one for the PS3, Wii and Xbox 360. I’ve found that people can never get enough outside advice when it comes to their purchasing decisions. Getting expert advice on a topic is important when you are dealing with a limited budget for recreational purposes. That’s what these guides are for. I want to help people make wise choices and buy games that they know that they will like.
Tell us something about yourself.
I’m a Political Science major at Indiana University South Bend. I am still in the process of earning my degree – a junior now – at the tender age of 21. I live in South Bend, Indiana and have spent most of my life in “The Bend”. I’ve been writing consistently for the better part of seven years. Most of the time I am either posting a news article, review or opinion piece. Keeping frequent updates is an important part of running a website.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
Writing has been something that I have enjoyed since I was a little kid. I used to have my aunt dictate stories before I even started school or could put pen to paper. Having the opportunity to write several books has been a real privilege for me. It’s something that I wouldn’t mind doing for a long time to come. Most of my experience has come from learning on my own – writing reviews for Game Freaks 365 or putting the rambling thoughts in my head about politics on a blog post. It seems like an odd marriage. But they are two topics that interest me the most. Hopefully my readers feel that I contribute something to the dialogue.
How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?
I’ve been lucky to come across an awesome publisher. Smashwords, which publishes e-books for first-time authors like myself, has been a great experience. They offer a generous commission, tons of support (promotion, free ISBNs, distribution to big-name online retailers, etc.), and are extremely friendly. It feels like you are part of a team. To get your work out there is tough, but Smashwords does a great job of making it a lot easier. All of my works are currently in e-book form only, but hopefully someday a print publisher will be interested in my work. Any takers?
What inspired you to write this book?
There really are not a whole lot of books out there on video games. I feel like I am filling a bit of a void by publishing these works. 50 years ago you could say that movies, bowling alleys and comics were the entertainment choice of youth. Video games are quickly becoming the entertainment choice of this generation. It’s hard to imagine that a piece of hardware like the PS3, which launched for $600, has sold nearly 40 million units worldwide. The Wii has roughly double that since its launch in 2006. There is a huge demand out there for information on these products.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
The most difficult part of writing that I have is organizing my thoughts. It’s great to have your main points down, quotable lines and compelling material, but piecing it all together can be quite the task. Since all of my books deal in non-fiction, I often find myself writing the middle before I even start a beginning or end. With this book, almost all of the material has been previously written, so there really was no problem with that.
How do you do research for your books?
While my works on video games require little research (it’s my opinion of the game that people are looking for), my books on politics require a significant amount of research. The political books are often based off of papers that I did for school. Since I am still a student, I have virtually limitless access to academic journals, archived newspaper articles and anything else that I may need. I have a keen interest in studying urban politics. Detroit: A City on the Brink takes a historical look at redevelopment in the Motor City. Let me just say this: Lexis-Nexis and I are good friends.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I have several books/ideas in the pipeline. In the next couple months I would like to finish my book on the United States Congress. In the fall semester of 2009 I took a class where we simulated what it was like to be a member in the House of Representatives. Those experiences will be documented in my writing. It was a good deal of fun and made for some exciting political theater. Other political works that I should have finished before the end of summer include one on sports stadium development. Specifically my research is dealing with South Bend’s attempts at economic development downtown by building a minor league baseball stadium and attracting the College Football Hall of Fame. I will also be releasing Game Freaks 365’s Nintendo DS Review Guide and one for PSP in the near future. Stay tuned!
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Keep at it. Don’t give up. The worst thing that you can do is get thirty or forty pages into a book (which I have done twice now) and stop writing. It’s incredibly frustrating and will only make your life more difficult if you ever decide to go back to it. Write things down when they are fresh in your head. Oddly enough, I find that some of the best thoughts I have come when I am laying in bed trying to sleep. Keep a notepad next to your bed and jot down what you are thinking. You will probably forget about it the next morning if you don’t!
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
I have been doing a series of interviews. I actually was invited to participate in a radio discussion on socialism in America a couple weeks ago. It was the first time that I ever was part of a roundtable discussion on politics. It was exciting! I try to promote my books through social networking sites (Facebook, Myspace and Twitter), as well as on my blog. You can say that I am a bit addicted to the Internet. If you want to get your message out there, though, the Internet is a wonderful and free tool to do it.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
You can purchase and sample my works at Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kylebell