Monday, July 7, 2014

Interview with Anne Tibbets


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
CARRIER is Book One of The Line Series. It takes place approximately one hundred years from now, when the world governments have fallen and corrupt corporations purchase territories of land. Inside the walled city of Auberge, they have legalized human trafficking, and Naya, a girl who was sold into slavery as a child, and now working as a sex slave, is released because she is pregnant with twins. But there are terms to her release she finds difficult to comply with, and for that, there are dire consequences.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
There’s a character named Shirel that served a small part in the first quarter of the book in the earlier drafts. And then she just sort of disappeared. During the editing process, and I can’t remember who gave me the note – it was either my agent or my editor – sorry ladies! – one of them suggested Shirel re-appear later on. So I wracked my brain and came up with a way to weave her back into the story (sorry - no spoilers!) and I was so pleased with the way it turned out I wasn’t sure why I hadn’t thought of that myself. It really added so much depth.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes. CARRIER is considered a traditionally published book because it was represented by my agent and sold to Carina Press, an imprint of Harlequin. This was the book I queried my agent with, so it was extremely satisfying to have to sell in this way. Plus, Carina and my editor have been great to work with, so I’m pleased with how everything has turned out.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
This was not my first novel. CARRIER was my fourth, actually. I queried it to over 70 agents and in the end received three offers of representation. YAY! I was ecstatic because my previous three novels I had queried and never gotten past a request for a partial. I went with my agent, Bree Ogden at D4EO Literary, because she’s editorial, and I wanted that in an agent, and we had similar ideas of what we wanted CARRIER to be. Plus, we got along very well. That’s important. Presumably, you and your agent are going to work together for a very long time, so it’s imperative that not only is your agent a good agent, but someone you can communicate with easily and like on a personal level. Although, some people might disagree with me on that – it’s important to me. We shopped CARRIER for a year as an Upper Young Adult, but the sex slavery theme was simply too graphic for Young Adult editors (and understandably so!), so we decided to have me re-write the book as a New Adult and re-shopped it again. It sold within a few months after that. In my mind, everything happens for a reason. I believe CARRIER found exactly the right editor and publisher. It was worth the wait.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
I am under contract with Carina Press to write the sequel to CARRIER. WALLED is currently scheduled to be published in December of this year. I am in the middle of edits for that now. Previously, I worked with an ePublishing company to self-publish three other books, but I found that although I was a good writer, I wasn’t necessarily equipped to handle the rigors of self-publishing. I LIKE having an editor telling me what to fix, I LIKE having professional graphic artists wow me with their cover art design and I LIKE seeing my name associated with a publishing house. Mind you, I could have done all those things myself, hired an editor and formatter and graphic artist, etc. etc. etc. But the business aspect of publishing, for me, is better left to the experts. I like concentrating my efforts on writing and connecting with my readers. That said, I will not rule out self-publishing as a whole. I may change my mind in a few years. But, for now, I’m not interested. We’ll see.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Every publisher is different, but Carina Press sent me a two-page questionnaire, asking me to list themes, mood, important images and to give samples of covers which I liked. What they came back with blew me away! I love the haunted look of the CARRIER cover. I think they did a fabulous job.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I must confess I have never been a part of a formal critique group. I have a couple writerly friends who sometimes reads my work and offers notes – but we don’t meet regularly and we don’t always have time to read each other’s work which is why we’ve kept the arrangement so informal. It’s also the reason why I wanted an editorial agent. Honestly, my schedule is so crazy I’m not sure I could be in a critique group. Sometimes I barely have time to handle my own stuff, much less offer a critique of value on someone else’s baby.  It deserves respect and time. I have ample respect, but lack time at the moment. But as I always say, never say never.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I’m an outliner, through and through. I wrote the first fifty or so pages of CARRIER without an outline, just kind of flying by the seat of my pants. But after that I was afraid the story would lag or wander away from me, so I wrote an outline for the rest. It’s like a security blanket for me.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I’m all over the place, for better or worse. I Twitter: @WriteforCoffee, probably too much. I have a professional Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AnneTibbetsAuthor, but I could probably spend more time there. I have a blog that serves as a kind of newsletter: http://writeforcoffee.blogspot.com, a Tumblr: www.annetibbets.tumblr.com and I’ve just started a formal newsletter as well – which I haven’t quite figured out yet. Plus I belong to a New Adult Authors group on Facebook. Social media I’ve got covered! But I try not to pester too much in those areas with marketing. I must admit if I follow an author on Twitter, I don’t want to get bombarded with links: “Buy my book! Buy my book!” It gets old really quickly, especially when most of the people I follow are authors and they are ALL doing that. So I try and keep it more social (it is SOCIAL media after all, not MARKETING media) and market through networking, writer conferences, the book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0WkEt3VLOs , cover reveals, and blog tours.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Cats. Chocolate. Coffee. Text. Night.

Giveaway:
Tour wide giveaway
Open INTL - Ends July 22nd
--20 $ Amazon gift card
--3x eBook copies of Carrier
--20x Carrier t-shirts with Auberge pens.