And without further ado, I present recently published author Claire Contreras for Six Question Saturday. She is the author of the romantic thriller There is No Light in Darkness.
What authors have influenced you the most?
Everybody I read influences me in one way or another. I absolutely love Paullina Simmons, Colleen Hoover, and Katja Millay, to name a few.
When did you decide you wanted to have your writing published?
I think when I was about 80% done with TiNLiD I thought "maybe I should publish this one." I've written stories in the past, but nothing that hadn't been told before. When I wrote this one I knew it was a story worth sharing.
What is your editing process and have you hired a professional editor?
I usually write and unless I'm very concerned about something, I won't send it to anybody until it's completely done. I send it to a small group of betas, review it, rewrite, send it to a professional editor, edit it, send it to other betas/reviewers. I'm paranoid when it comes to my writing (I think we all are), so it's hard for me to hear "I love it" and be okay with it.
What are the most important things you've done to market your books?
I think teaming up with fellow indie authors has helped a lot. The blog tour helped get it to a wide audience (or an audience-period). It's hard for me to market because I didn't write for sales, I wrote because this is what I love. I've kind of taken it as "if people recommend my book because they loved it and others read it, I'll be happy."
How long should an author work on building a presence online before publishing?
Haha refer to question above. I've seen authors start building a presence as early as 6 months before publishing and I think that helps them. I created my social media things a little less than a month before publishing, so I'm a horrible example. I had an author publish a couple of weeks after me and she sky rocketed in the sales charts. I think the way she marketed and the hype she built for her book is amazing and it opened my eyes to what could have happened had I organized myself that way. I just think ultimately I'm not built to push my writing like that though. I'll talk non-stop about yours and about books that I've read, but I cannot brag about my own.
It's weird to me.
What lesson have you learned along the way that you would hope others could avoid?
Being too trusting with betas, whether they be your friends or not. I had my story shared before I published (without my consent) and that was not okay. So, be careful who you share your story with. You wouldn't let a complete stranger carry your newborn child, you should probably treat this similar.
On the same note, sometimes you do need people that are not your friends or ones that you know will be 100% honest with you to look at your work. There's a fine line there, I guess what I'm saying is be careful.
Thanks, Claire. Now I want to hear from you! How do YOU find beta readers for your work?