Author Interview: Amy Miles

1. How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published traditionally?

I chose to self-publish my new teen romance book, Defiance Rising, because I wanted control over my book.  I wanted to use my talented sister-in-law to create my book cover as well as be able to control the price at which my book could be downloaded.  I did contact a few agents throughout the previous year, and a couple showed some interest in my book, but it wasn’t the “in thing” at the moment.  So I decided to devote the time and effort into myself, instead of waiting around for someone else to tell me that I was good enough.

2. What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?

I went through Amazon Kindle and did all of the submissions myself.  For someone who isn’t the most computer savvy person in the world this was a two day process but I managed to figure it out in the end, thanks to Amazons amazing help pages.  I’m very pleased with how quickly Amazon published my book.  Within 24 hours of pushing submit my book was loaded and I’d already sold my first copy.

3. What avenues have you taken to market the book? Have you gotten reviews, interviews, TV, print media coverage?

I’ve definitely discovered that writing your book is the easy part.  Self-marketing is a whole lot harder!  I’ve used word of mouth through friends and family, as well as spent hours researching how to promote on line.  I’m submitting my book to various book blogs for reviews, requests to have author interviews and will be submitting my press release to several online sites, as well as local papers.  Using Facebook, blogs and LinkedIn have been great sources too.

4. What drove you to write this particular book?

Defiance Rising was born from a dream I had two years ago.  I have very vivid, entertaining dreams, and this one really stuck with me.  Since Defiance Rising came from a dream, I already had a mental picture of what the characters would look like, what some of the action scenes should feel like and had a clear picture of the emotions I wanted to portray.  To be honest, this book pretty much wrote itself.  I helped a little.

5. Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?

My genre was a bit difficult to peg actually.  Defiance Rising is a teen romance with fantasy/science fiction themes throughout.  It’s an alien invasion story with a fantasy twist.  This is the kind of book I would have loved ten years ago when I was in High School and still love today.  I’ve spent the past year scouring through my library’s teen section so I have a pretty good idea what’s the “in thing” right now.  Fantasy is huge, especially when you add in the romance thread so I’m hoping Defiance Rising goes over well with teens, as well as other age groups.

6. Who are your greatest writing influences?

I’ve been an avid reader since childhood.  Growing up as a military brat and taking cross country road trips to get to the next post created in me a need to tune out the real world and embrace my character’s lives.  I was an only child so this was easy to do.  It gave me a friend when I was lonely, which was quite a lot of the time when my parents were working.

So for me, it’d be hard to pick any one influence.  I think the influence came through years of reading many genres by countless authors that helped to instill in me the need to express myself through the written word.  There is one writer, who recently unknowingly taught me how to push my writing to the limits, and her name is Sophie Jordan, author of Firelight.  I devoured her book and then went on to read every historical romance book she’d ever written.  Her style of writing was flawless to me and I was drawn in.

7. What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?

As a stay-at-home mom my writing regimen isn’t really strict. Especially during the summer when my son is home from school.  I mostly write at night or early in the morning when the house is quiet and my family is asleep.  No matter what is going on in my life, I always make sure to write something every day. Whether it’s a note in my journal I keep in my purse at all times, a blog post or a few sentences in a book, I’m always writing.  Focus has never been my problem…it’s time alone.  You just have to be purposeful about setting aside time to write.

8. Would you self-publish again?

Definitely!  My experience has been wonderful and I’m just in the beginning stages.  I love being in control of what my book looks like, the price I set and how quickly I can release new work.  I think it’s a wonderful option for anyone who wants to follow their dream in being an author but haven’t had any luck getting any agent or publisher to look at them.  I’m in the process of adding Defiance Rising to Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and CreateSpace Print-on-Demand.

9. Any final words of advice for those looking to self-publish?

Buy a Kindle, Nook or use some form of e-reader app so you can have inside knowledge of how it all works.  My husband bought me a Kindle for our anniversary, and I have to admit I was reluctant because I love having a book in my hand, but I was shocked to find how much I loved it.  When people ask me how to download my book I can easily direct them.  If I had never bought a book myself on Kindle I would be clueless and that doesn’t look good for sales!

Also make sure you balance your time between writing and self-promotion.  If you can’t get your next book out in a timely manner then you’re just spinning your wheels.   Focus on why you love to write and make realistic goals.  No one becomes a star overnight.  It’s take a lot of time and hard work, but it’s the authors that push through the tough times that make it to the top.  Always believe in yourself and you can do anything.