Indie Author Magazine: Hey, Jonathan Yanez, could you tell us how you started your career and what you’re up to now?

Jonathan Yanez: Sure thing! After college, where I studied English without a clear career path, I worked in sales for five years but wasn’t satisfied. I took a leap of faith, quitting my job to pursue writing. My wife supported my decision, and I became a full-time author while doing part-time personal training for income. After numerous query letters, I landed a small publishing deal but later ventured into self-publishing, which was quite a learning curve. Fast forward 11 years, and we’re into films and more. My wife manages the business, and I focus on writing. Most of my success has come in the last six years.

Indie Author Magazine: Your dedication is impressive, Jonathan. It’s a testament to your disciplined and determined approach.

Jonathan Yanez: Thank you.

Indie Author Magazine: You mentioned “building the plane while learning to fly it.” As they say, you can’t learn to drive a car while it’s parked.

Jonathan Yanez: That’s true. Progress comes when you’re in motion, constantly improving with each turn or adjustment.

Indie Author Magazine: What genres do you write in? Have you stuck to one or explored different ones over time?

Jonathan Yanez: I’ve ventured into various genres, from supernatural to science fiction and paranormal. Initially, I received advice to stick to one genre, but I’ve been all over the map from the start. Starting with one genre to establish an audience is often a smart move, but I love telling different stories.

Indie Author Magazine: It’s important to follow your creative passion. Yet, success often comes from nurturing an audience in a single genre for a while.

Jonathan Yanez: That’s right. It’s about balance.

Indie Author Magazine: Where can readers find your books? Do you sell directly from your website, or are they available through retailers?

Jonathan Yanez: Readers can find my books on Amazon under my name or directly on our website, Selling directly from our website has been a game-changer since last year. Our paperbacks have gained traction, too.

Indie Author Magazine: How do you handle book distribution through your website?

Jonathan Yanez: Our website is connected to Shopify, so it takes care of everything. When an order is placed, Shopify handles printing shipping labels, calculating shipping costs, and more. We maintain an inventory and package the books ourselves.

Indie Author Magazine: So, it’s an in-house operation.

Jonathan Yanez: Yes, everything is managed from our home office. It’s a family endeavor, and even my kids assist with packaging.

Indie Author Magazine: That’s unique and family-oriented. I’ve done something similar with my kids, and they run their businesses now.

Jonathan Yanez: It’s a great way to teach them about entrepreneurship and teamwork.

Indie Author Magazine: Have you explored non-traditional distribution methods like Patreon or Kickstarter?

Jonathan Yanez: Absolutely! We used Kickstarter to fund our film project, and it worked wonderfully. Now we’re using Kickstarter to fund our new project, Forsaken Mercenary.

Indie Author Magazine: Are you planning to take your projects to streaming services or traditional television?

Jonathan Yanez: We’ve considered pitching to streaming platforms like Netflix or Peacock. The plan was always to make a TV show from the start. We’re producing short episodes to prove the concept and build interest. We’re also making a 15-minute short for Forsaken Mercenary, which is a proof of concept for a full-length film.

Indie Author Magazine: It’s a fascinating approach. How did you assemble your film team?

Jonathan Yanez: We posted casting calls on Backstage, allowing actors to submit reels based on scripts we provided. It was quite a process with around 1,400 actors for some roles.

Indie Author Magazine: That’s an impressive response. How was it working with the actors on set?

Jonathan Yanez: It was an incredible team effort. I had to let go of my own expectations and allow the actors to bring their interpretations to life. They did a fantastic job.

Indie Author Magazine: It’s common for creators to be self-critical, but that’s what drives improvement.

Jonathan Yanez: You’re right, it’s the passion and commitment to constant improvement that drives us to create better content.

Indie Author Magazine: Balancing art and commerce, you’ve really mastered it.

Jonathan Yanez: Thanks, it’s been a journey. I always seek ways to improve, whether it’s refining my writing skills or enhancing our films.

Indie Author Magazine: Your humility shines through. You’re relentless about self-improvement.

Jonathan Yanez: I don’t chase humility; I chase getting better. Always striving for improvement, no matter where you are.

Indie Author Magazine: Tell us about your merchandise. It’s more than just the films, right?

Jonathan Yanez: Absolutely, we’ve got an array of merchandise featuring our logo – hats, mugs, stickers, and more. It’s part of our brand.

Indie Author Magazine: Any plans to expand the merchandise line?

Jonathan Yanez: Definitely. We’re looking to diversify our product range and offer more to our fans. We’ll keep growing.

Indie Author Magazine: I hear your kids are on summer break. How about getting them involved in designing merch?

Jonathan Yanez: That’s a fun idea. Joe and Manny’s Merchandise Services might become a reality!

Indie Author Magazine: What’s your take on AI in the industry’s future?

Jonathan Yanez: Adaptation is key. I use AI for keywords and email subject lines, but I won’t let it replace the human touch in my storytelling. Quality still matters.

Indie Author Magazine: Readers are discerning. They’ll spot AI-generated content.

Jonathan Yanez: Exactly, readers are the best judges. AI might have its place, but it won’t replace genuine creativity.

Indie Author Magazine: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Jonathan Yanez: Dreaming bigger. I want to dominate not just books but TV and movies too. It’s the Indie version of an EGOT.

Indie Author Magazine: It’s a fantastic goal, always striving for more.

Jonathan Yanez: Absolutely, I believe in making the most of this life and giving it your all.

Indie Author Magazine: How do you prevent burnout?

Jonathan Yanez: It’s different for everyone. I find balance in family time and working out. Burnout isn’t in the picture for me.

Indie Author Magazine: You’re passionate about your work and make it a part of your life.

Jonathan Yanez: My work is my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s about merging both aspects.

Indie Author Magazine: It’s incredible how you manage that balance.

Jonathan Yanez: We’ve got a saying, every day feels like Saturday, except Sunday when we take a break. Family is essential.

Indie Author Magazine: It sounds like you’re both excited and content with where you are.

Jonathan Yanez: Absolutely, I love what I do, and I’m excited about the journey ahead.

Indie Author Magazine: It’s been great talking with you, Jonathan. Thank you!

**Responses have been edited for space and clarity** 

Cathryn Yarbrough

Cathryn Yarbrough

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