Thursday, November 15, 2012

Interview with Vanessa Morgan


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
GPS WITH BENEFITS is a funny and light-hearted story in which a womanizer purchases a GPS device, not knowing it has a mind of ‘her’ own.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
No. These days it’s not necessary to have an agent or publisher in order to make a living from one’s writing.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I don’t belong to a critique group as such, but I have several professional authors and screenwriters in my entourage that are always willing to offer advice.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
Amazon’s the biggest seller and you earn high percentages on sales. I sell more books on Amazon than on any other outlet. It would be silly not to take advantage of it.

What is your writing process?
Whenever I’m brainstorming ideas for a new story, I first try to figure out how I can make it the most engaging, intelligent and original as possible. I think about the story all the time, take notes, watch movies, read books, talk to people and bring everything I see, hear and do in relation with the new book. Once I  have a clear vision of the story and the characters, I sit down and start outlining and filling in the blanks. Only when everything is in place, will I start the real writing process. When the book is finished, I edit and rewrite. Then I give it to as much people as possible to see if there are any recurring critiques or comments. Then I rewrite and edit some more.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
Both. Outlining is extremely important. I need to have a clear vision of what I want to accomplish with the story, who the characters are and what major plot points occur. It happens though that these elements are vague or unknown. If that happens, I use the free-writing technique and I just see what pops up. It always works to get me back on track. Once I have new ideas in place, I plan and outline some more until everything falls into place.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes. At a certain point, every writer becomes blind for his or her mistakes. Even the most famous of writers still need at least one editor, preferably more.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
That one should never stop learning when it comes to writing and marketing. If something doesn’t bring in the desired result, try something different. Be creative. Be bold. Be personal.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
DROWNED SORROW and UN HOMME BIEN are available with every only retailer. The other books are just sold on Amazon.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
The sites that work best for me in terms of marketing are my blog (http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com), Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/eeriestories) and StumbleUpon.  Other sites that I use regularly are Facebook, Twitter (@eeriestories), Google+, Reddit and LinkedIn.  I also use blog hops for the promotion of my blog and books.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
The best in my opinion is to focus on one thing at a time. When a new book comes out, you should concentrate on marketing that book, but you should also know when is the right time to stop.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Perfect your writing and your book as much as possible before the release and hire at least two editors to help you with this. You should also learn as much as you can about (book) marketing. And last but not least… network.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Going to film festivals, watching horror movies, learning languages and cuddling my cat.

What’s next for you?
My screenplay A GOOD MAN is currently being turned into a feature film. Apart from that, I’m writing a new supernatural thriller combining ghosts and cats. I’m open to surprises though, because the best things that ever happened to me are those that weren’t planned for.