Tell us something about your book. The basics: what’s it about?
It’s about a woman named Monica Waters whose just recovered from an injury and tries to get her life back on track. She’s in a marriage that has had a difficult road to a man she’s known since high school, Alex. Just as she’s trying to literally get on her feet again, a new neighbor settles in next door and catches her eye. Quinn Matthews is an artist from New York that she’s instantly attracted to. He has an easy-going personality and insight into all the things she feels she’s given up. The more time she spends with Quinn, the harder it is to resist him. A dangerous affair begins right under Alex’s nose and she has to choose which man she wants to continue sharing life with.
How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published traditionally?
I was kind of fascinated by the idea of doing everything myself. I think it’s amazing that publishing has become so accessible to everyone. Of course, there are many down sides to this as a result. The market is flooded with books in the romance genre which is intimidating to say the least. The biggest challenge for me is the time involved. I have another career and had hoped that writing would be a hobby to fill the slow months. It has become a second full-time job to market and still find time to write year round. I do think in the future, I may try to submit to literary agents and publishing houses to try and get picked-up.
What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?
I’ve used BookBaby and have not been thrilled. There are a lot of restrictions on revising content after publishing that did not service me well as an inexperienced author. I had to fight to get a revised version uploaded to ebookstores for months after submitting my revised copy. There are also restrictions on changing the price of the book or offering discounts to people. Those features became more important to me as I learned the marketing process.
What avenues have you taken to market the book? Have you gotten reviews, interviews, TV, print media coverage?
I created a website, a book trailer, Twitter account, and a Facebook Fan page. I blog on my website about sexy topics related to life, men, travel, and even restaurants. So far I haven’t acquired enough of a following to warrant media attention, but maybe someday.
What drove you to write this particular book?
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t much of a reader in any genre until a few years ago when a friend told me to read Fifty Shades of Grey. I already knew about the buzz surrounding it, but had no idea that I would like that kind of book. I always thought of romances in terms of cheesy descriptions, illustrated covers of super muscular men, and content aimed at an older woman. Once I discovered how wrong I was, I snatched up other books in the genre. I was hooked but found most stories still dealt with unrealistic characters who had huge wealth and were impossibly beautiful all the time. I wanted to see if I could write a story that dealt with real people. My characters have real jobs, aren’t rich, and struggle with problems most people can relate to.
I’m not a big fan of first person POV in books either and I found that was very common. It actually throws me out of a story often when thoughts feel forced or unnatural. I also think it creates distance to other characters, which isn’t ideal in romance. I wanted to experiment with a different style. So far, most readers seem to like the way you can hear, see, and feel all three major characters in the book at different times. I know most women my age or younger are used to films that jump around in non-linear storytelling, so I figured they wouldn’t get lost. I wanted to weave scenes back and forth the way a film would. I think it helps pull the emotional state of each character together more.
What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?
When I’m not working at my “day job” (other career) I keep the same hours for my writing career. I get up with my husband, usually around 5am, walk dogs, hit the gym, then I settle in to write for most of the day. I take breaks to do housework or fix dinner, but when I’m home, I try to work. I use Scrivener and try to write 800-1,500 words a day on the rough drafts. I love the way it keeps track of the word count for each session.
Once I had the first book, August Fog done, I found that on days I don’t feel like writing, I devote the day to marketing. I try to stock up blog topics, post updates or links to articles that are interesting, and engage with people. I also make sure that I’m reading something. I joined a book club as well as an author’s review group, so I have deadlines for posting reviews and discussions. These commitments keep me on my toes, but I do debate their merits at times when I’m busy with… life. It can be overwhelming but easy to over commit when juggling another career and family. Stress is a huge writer’s block… I don’t recommend it.
There are just times when I don’t feel like writing anything, or I can’t get in the mood… I try not to force it. If listening to music doesn’t get the juices flowing I may try watching a movie or going to a cafe to people watch. Finding inspiration out in the world is usually the best fix for writer’s block. Even if it sparks a whole new story, it’s keeping the quill wet.
Would you self-publish again?
I have been debating that a lot lately. I believe I’ll self-publish the entire August Fog three-book series, but I have a very different stand alone romance novel called Chasing Swells that I’d like to submit to agents and publishers. I think that book would benefit greatly by having a skilled team behind it. It’s a story I’m very excited about because it’s very unique in subject, POV, and it doesn’t dive into the erotic elements as deep so it could be marketed to a wider audience. I’d say it’s more rated R than NC-17.
Any final words of advice for those looking to self-publish?
Commit fully and don’t get discouraged by the massive competition out there. You have to be you and let your work speak. Be ready to put a lot of hours into connecting with people. Oh, and if you are lucky enough to sell books, be prepared to not know it for months. I’ve found that publishing may move fast, but finding out sales reports from various large companies like Amazon, iBooks, or Barnes & Noble can take a while. It’s not instant profit or even delayed profit in the beginning.