Please help me welcome lovely debut author Tricia Zoeller to Finding Bliss.
How many drafts do you typically go through before you consider a book done?
As many as it takes. No, seriously, First Born went through so many drafts because I didn’t have my process down. Initially, I tried writing it in first person, but it didn’t work well with the number of points of view I needed to tell the whole story. I worked with a critique group and that involved some rewriting. Once finished, I realized I wanted it to be a series so I wrote the second book and had to go back to make sure I laid out my groundwork accurately for the world I created. Then, it went to the editor—you guessed it, major rewrite again. I anticipate that my next books won’t entail quite as much, but I know many writers never feel like their book is ready.
What authors have influenced you the most?
I would say J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Nalini Singh, Charlaine Harris, Dean Koontz, Robin Hobb.
Did you query agents or publishers before you first self-published?
I pitched First Born at Killer Nashville. People were intrigued by the story, but not by the fact that I was an unknown and had no platform. I’d worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist, not a writer. I realized I needed to build my own platform to be marketable. I created a website and began writing shorts and making sure that I had several books in the hopper so to speak.
I did submit to the few publishers of this genre who take unsolicited manuscripts. It took 4-6 months to get a response. I tried a handful of agents but they wanted someone with a track record. Again, I felt like time was flying by and I had already written the second book in this series, a YA piece, and a series of shorts. Waiting to be “discovered” felt way too passive for me.
How do you feel about exclusivity programs like KDP Select?
At this juncture, I don’t want to do anything that makes me feel like I’m waiting at a red light. I’m not experienced enough in the industry to really understand exclusivity programs. I just know I followed my gut. I wanted to put my book out there in as many places I could to reach a diverse audience.
What would you do differently if you could start all over again?
Wow, so many things. Although, I feel like I’ve learned so much through the mistakes I’ve made. I would make sure I had product in hand and queued in the various stores before scheduling hard dates for launches and tours. I hit a few speed bumps and the fact I put a deadline on myself really stressed me out.
What marketing tools have been the most effective for you?
I’ve gotten the best response through Facebook and giveaways so far. Check back with me in six months and I may have a different answer. I haven’t had much time really to focus on the marketing because I was in an intense learning curve regarding the process of self-pub and developing an eBook. Again, one of those things I’d do differently. I’d allow myself more time to learn about all the facets.