Which authors have influenced your writing the most?
Before I got into writing, my biggest influences were Nora Roberts and J.K. Rowling. I own more of Nora’s books than I care to count, and I have always been a big fan of Harry Potter. Both of these authors instilled in me a love of the written word, and it was through their amazing stories that I modeled my own style of writing. However, now that I’m neck-deep in the Indie author and self-publishing world, I’ve discovered so many great authors who have also become great friends of mine. They are now my biggest influences as well as supporters! I don’t know what I would do without them by my side.
What has your road to publication been like?
A roller-coaster! I am constantly striving to reach this ever illusive plateau of consistency with my books in regards to exposure and sales, and I have to say it has been the most challenging thing I have ever done. First off, I did many things backwards. My debut novel, Breath of Air, was uploaded to Amazon as a self-published book in April 2012. At that point, I didn’t have a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account, a website, a blog, or any sort of online presence. I was a complete nobody, and I sat there hoping someone would discover my book. Then I began to research and, being eager to learn as I am, discovered I had made a grave mistake by not establishing myself before publishing *doh!*. So I quickly got on all the right websites and began creating my “author brand,” and finally, seven months later, I am forging my own spot in this mountain of indie authors.
I have five self-published books in total, with a sixth in the works. The first four books are all part of a YA Fantasy series known as The Dryad Quartet, which I wrote and completed in 2010 and 2011, long before publishing them. My fifth and sixth books are part of a contemporary fiction, family saga series known as The Vasser Legacy. You could say I didn’t take the easy route and have instead stuck to writing what I want to write and not what I probably should be writing (i.e., sticking with YA Fantasy instead of branching out). But that’s the beauty of self-publishing, you have complete freedom to pursue your own goals at your own pace, and no one can tell you what to write or how to write. I can’t imagine any more perfect way to turn my hobby into a passion, and my passion into a second career!
What is your editing process and have you hired a professional editor?
I have two editors that I work with, and I read over my own work several times before, in-between, and after edits. Even with all of that, however, there is still always room for improvement. Writing is a skill and a craft to be honed and perfected, and as I have only been writing novels for a few years, I know I still have room to grow.
How did you come up with the cover designs for your books?
For The Dryad Quartet, I knew I needed to have people on the cover because each book in the four part series is about a specific character. I also knew that I didn’t want to necessarily show the faces of these people in the hopes that readers would, in a way, place themselves in each character’s shoes as they read. The only exception is the cover of book four, which shows the male character’s face, but my target audience for these books is females so I didn’t see the harm in having a cute guy on the cover.
For When Empires Fall and Rise of the Notorious (both books in The Vasser Legacy), I tossed out my earlier convention of hiding faces and went bold and dramatic with it. I wanted readers to spot these covers from a mile away and take immediate notice, and so I emphasized the elegance, the drama, and the sophistication that these books embody. This series is an intense look at a prestigious hotel family suffering under the weight of a deadly scandal, and therefore it seemed appropriate to make these covers as over-the-top as the books are.
What would you have done differently since you first became a published author?
A lot! For starters though, as I mentioned before, I should have established myself online before ever publishing my books. I did really go into this thing backwards. However, the self-publishing world is forgiving and allows for re-dos and second chances, so I was able to slowly build up my author brand as the months went by. I am still learning and taking it day by day, but I have no major regrets. I fundamentally believe that success only comes to those who have learned how to fail and keep trying, and I can proudly say I’ve had my fair share of failures. But overcoming failure makes you a stronger and wiser person in the end.
How do you stay in touch with your readers?
Mostly through Facebook, which is my go-to platform for pretty much everything. I market on there, make new friends, interact in author groups…it’s a fabulous way to build a strong network of both fellow authors and fans. I dabble in Twitter but haven’t really mastered it, and Linked-in is still foreign to me. Goodreads is a fun site, though I don’t use it very much. So it really boils down to Facebook!
Okay Bliss Finders-- I want to know-- how much weight do you give a book cover?