Today I have a recent interview with Bestselling Author Tara Sivec. She is the author of the Chocolate Lovers series and the top ranking novel, A Beautiful Lie, the first book in the Playing with Fire series.
Author Genre: Romance/Suspense, Humor, Chick Lit
About the Author:
Tara Sivec is a wife, mom, chauffeur, soccer coach, babysitter, short-order cook, genius and the funniest person she’s ever met. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids. In her spare time she likes to write and make people spit Diet Coke out of their nose. Most of her material comes from real life experiences with family and friends. Lucky for them, the names have been changed to protect the innocent (aka, drunk).
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Let’s start with what’s next. Are we going to get to read another Playing with Fire novel soon? You know you still have Chocolate Lovers out there. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
Yes! I’m in the process of writing the next Playing with Fire book right now. It’s called “Because of You” and I hope to release it early April. Each book in the series will be about a different Navy SEAL from the first book. This will be Brady’s book. Brady has been to hell and back since the SEAL mission in the Dominican and he’s opened his own PI firm. He’s hired to investigate a stalker that’s been sending notes to one of the biggest pop stars in the world – Layla Carlysle. Layla has suffered through her own tragedies and behind closed doors, doesn’t live the glamorous, amazing life that everyone thinks she does. Brady and Layla are quick to judge one another but they’ll need to trust each other and put aside their differences before the letters being sent to Layla become a reality.
You have a good following on Twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?
I absolutely credit social media for my success. Without it, I doubt anyone would have ever read my books aside from family and friends, who kind of have to or I’ll disown them LOL! As an indie writer, you have to rely heavily on things like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and word-of-mouth to get your name out there. I have met so many amazing and supportive people throughout this process and I am so grateful they took a chance on a new author and continue to promote my work.
You do a lot of book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online? Are you scheduled to come to Phoenix and who are you signing with? (Orlando Wicked Girls Book Weekend/Book Signing: February 15 – 18, 2013)
I wish I could do book signings every single day! It is amazing to meet fans and my fans are the best – they are so much fun! My next book signing is in Orlando, Florida next weekend. You can keep up to date with all of my upcoming signings under the “Events” tab on my website: www.tarasivec.com or on Facebook.
There is actually a book signing in the works for Arizona, I have an organizer looking into locations right now so hopefully I’ll have news on that soon.
What kinds of support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
No real support groups, per say. I have a handful of absolutely wonderful indie authors and book bloggers who I’ve made friends with the past year that are always there for support or to lend an ear when I send them rambling emails or text messages! It’s amazing to have made friends with people in the indie world who know exactly what you’re going through and are willing to help you and answer questions for you.
Between your book writing, book signings, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?
I seriously have no idea who I do it! I just quit my job of 14 years back at Thanksgiving and I look back on the last year and I’m amazed I even wrote a sentence, let alone four books! I try to have a set schedule. I drop the kids off at school in the morning and then I have the house to myself all day to focus. But being the creative type, my brain doesn’t have a schedule to follow so when something hits, I can’t ignore it. I don’t go anywhere without my iPhone, the notepad app open and ready for some notes or an actual notepad and a pen. Having a smartphone means I never really stop working. You can find me answering emails or responding to Facebook posts at 2am most nights when I should be sleeping!
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
I didn’t go into this thinking I was going to become a millionaire. I started writing because I love it. I have a tattoo on my arm that reads “I write because there is a voice within me that will not be still.” I HAVE to write and I am happiest when people are reading the words I’ve written. If I have to give away free books to get my name out there more, that’s okay with me. One free book could bring in five new fans when the person tells them they loved the book, and that is totally worth the price. I do a lot of giveaways on my website and Facebook page. I love giving back to the fans who have been such amazing supporters. I’ve never really run into any obstacles aside from running out of books and having to order more. But that’s an obstacle I don’t mind!
How effective has your book tours been? Do you see an uptick in your sales and ranking after a tour?
I actually never knew what a book tour was until my third book in the Chocolate Lovers series! I’m so glad I did some research! They definitely help with the sales and getting the word passed around that I have a new book out just in case someone missed the information on my own personal social media pages. My last tour had over thirty blogs participating, it’s mind boggling! Each blog posted information about my latest release and the links where you could buy it, which is huge. They each have an amazing number of followers and it’s a great way to reach so many people at one time that I would never be able to do on my own.
Your latest release was a romance/suspense novel. Did changing hats create any problems? Which genre do you enjoy writing the most? Does moving from one to the other give you some breathing room or change of pace?
Romantic suspense is my absolute favorite genre to read so I knew writing a book in that category was going to be in the cards for me at some point. I think the only problem is that I am known for my comedy. A lot of people were nervous to read something completely different from me and they weren’t sure if I could pull off such a huge leap. I don’t know if I really enjoy one more than the other. It’s almost like asking me which child I love more! I love them both equally, but some days one is definitely easier than the other. Comedy is easier for me to write most days because I write my characters the way I talk and they interact with others the way I interact with others. Romantic suspense though is more challenging and sometimes more fun. It involves a lot of research and a lot of notes trying to remember the timeframes and the facts I’ve already made known so I don’t get confused. When I write romantic suspense, I have post-it notes littering my desk and my walls and a dry-erase board to keep track of time lines. When I write comedy, I have lots of bottles of wine handy.
It was definitely nice taking a break from comedy and doing something different. If I stuck with the same genre, I feel like I would get stale and everything would start sounding the same. I hope that bouncing between genres will keep me fresh.
I think your Merchandise Store is a unique approach. Do your readers/fans buy products from the store so they try to get as much of you as they can or is it the unique stuff their after?
I love my Cafepress store and I wish I had more time right now to add additional items to the inventory. I think they are definitely after unique things. Their favorite quotes from the books on a shirt is definitely a top seller.
Author’s Book List
A Beautiful Lie – Playing with Fire, #1
Troubles and Treats – Chocolate Lovers #3
Futures and Frosting – Chocolate Lovers #2
Seduction and Snacks – Chocolate Lovers #1
How much do building relationships and social media play in your marketing plans?
Do you do book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances?
How effective has your book tours been?
What has been your experience in giving your books away free?
Have you tried to setup a Merchandise Store to publicize your books?
Tara’s Contact Information
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest
Original Post: Tara Sivec – HBS Author’s Spotlight
Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.