Eva Marquez is the author of the newly released Mature Young Adult novel Sweetest Taboo.
I've seen her book mentioned a lot during the past few months, so I knew I wanted to interview her so that I could delve into her marketing strategy.
1. When did you decide you would try to have your writing published?
As I began to write my debut novel, Sweetest Taboo, several years ago I knew that the end product would be ‘publishable’. What I mean by that is that my intention was not just to see if I could write a high quality story, but also to write with the full intention of having Sweetest Taboo published someday. So, as I began to develop an outline for my very first full-length novel, I dedicated a great deal of time and care, researching plot ideas, characters, backgrounds, and writing styles and concepts. From the first day, I knew I wanted to share Sweetest Taboo with the world!
2. What is your editing process and have you hired a professional editor?
Because I knew from early on that Sweetest Taboo would be for popular consumption, I took great care with the editing process. I was not in a hurry to bring my debut novel to the market, mainly because I wanted to offer readers a very high quality novel with ‘page-turner’ qualities. I spent two years sharing drafts of Sweetest Taboo with friends I trusted, friends with writing experience, friends with creativity, friends who could be brutally honest and through that iterative editing process, I was able to incorporate comprehensive feedback from all points of views (i.e. males, females, young, older, conservative, religious, open-minded, etc.). Once I felt completely satisfied with the substantive content, I hired a series of professional editors. Again, this was an iterative process and went through three series of professional editing until I felt the novel was ‘just right.’ The process was time-consuming and expensive, BUT, I am 100% confident that Sweetest Taboo can compare with it’s published counterparts in the *mature* Young Adult fiction genre.
3. How do you feel about using Amazon KDP Select?
Early on, I decided not to enroll my debut novel, Sweetest Taboo, in Amazon’s KDP Select program only because readership feedback was that the eBook should be made available through a wide variety of eBook distributors, such as iBooks, B&N, etc. Although KDP Select appears to be a great service for debut authors, I decided to make my eBook version of Sweetest Taboo available to a wide variety of eBook readers, who often use a variety of eReader devices. However, with the sequel to Sweetest Taboo, Tainted Love, due to be released in March 2013 I will plan to first enroll the eBook version in the Amazon KDP Select program and after the 90 day selectivity period, distribute the eBook through all eBook distributors. This strategy will allow me to compare the sales/interest trend between the distribution methods.
4. What author has influenced you the most in your writing?
There are dozens of authors I admire, but two that have captivated me with their work are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Julia Alvarez. Ms. Adichie is Nigerian-born and now living in London and I think I had an instant connection with her work because I lived/worked in Nigeria for two years and was able to really get to know the southern Nigerian culture and context because of my work in the communities. Her first book, Purple Hibiscus, resonated with me because of my experiences in Nigeria and her second book, Half of a Yellow Sun, was so expertly written and wove four amazing human and social stories that I fell absolutely in love with her prose and skill for telling complex stories. Julia Alvarez is a Dominican-American who writes primarily adult fiction, although she has also written young YA fiction as well, which are characterized by fantasy-type series. My favorite all-time book from Ms. Alvarez is In the Time of the Butterflies, which is a uniquely narrated book written in the perspective of four sisters growing up in the Dominican Republic under the dictator ship of President Trujillo. It’s superbly narrated and the story just tells itself effortlessly, it seems.
5. What has been the most important thing you've done to build a platform before you published?
The first thing I did to build a platform was to hire a good web designing team to put a top-notch and graphically appealing website together for the book, which included key content such as: 1) book trailer, 2) free content (first two chapters of the book), 3) reviews, and 4) a blog. As a relatively new author in the fiction genre (in my professional work I write publications on scientific elements of HIV prevention and HIV risk behaviors), I knew that a catchy and fully loaded website was absolutely necessary to show off what I believe to be a very high quality product…Sweetest Taboo!
6. Self-published authors are making huge strides in the publishing industry, what made you decide to give self-publishing a try?
At this point, Sweetest Taboo is a self-published title and I do not have any plans to sell the rights of the book/story to a publisher. It was not an easy decision to make, but after a whole lot of research, I found that self-publishing suited my ‘go getter’ and ‘controlling’ personality much better. Also, because I have a hectic and demanding day job I need the flexibility that self-publishing allows. For example, rather than having a publisher set my writing agenda, I get to set my own.
Sweetest Taboo is a novel about a student/teacher relationship. How much of a part do you think the forbidden romance will play in the success of sales?