Continuing with my author interview series, next up is Monique Martin. Welcome Monique!
Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.
I'd been stuck in a "real job" for a few years. It was the family business, so I was bound to it through thick and thin. Unfortunately, there was a lot of thin and not much thick. It was ridiculously stressful and, yet, I couldn't quit. I was disappearing.
I knew I needed something to nourish my soul again. I'd gone to USC Film School and had experience writing screenplays, but I'd gone down that path and it seemed like a lifetime ago. So, I took a class on writing fiction.
It was an amazing experience. I felt alive again. The writer in me was alive again. So, I started on a book. With the help of some other real life refugees from my writing class, we organized a writer's group. The book came easily. It took a lot of late nights, but all that after hours work paid off and I finally finished the darned thing. I don't think I've ever been prouder of something than I was sitting at my kitchen table looking at a huge (to me anyway) stack of paper - my book.
Did you query agents or traditional publishers before publishing on Amazon?
Yes, I did. And, like so many others, I came close a few times. Close enough to make not getting there hurt that much more. So, I put the book away on its virtual shelf for a long time before I discovered self-publishing.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?
It really was a "what the heck, why not?" decision. The book was sitting on my hard drive. No one but my family and friends had read it, but I wanted to give it life. I wanted to give it a chance to be a "real book". Once I realized how easy it was, I just dove in and published it before I could realize how truly terrifying what I was doing actually was.
I'm blessed to have very supportive family and friends. They all encouraged me to do it. I knew that if I told them I was thinking about it, they'd be the kick in the pants (and stroke to the ego) that I needed to see it through.
Will you try to garner a traditional publishing contract for any future books?
I would love to, but I think my perspective on what that means has changed. Now, it would be a business decision and not nearly as emotional. Before, it would have been a validation of me and my writing, but I don't need that in the same way I did. I'm not the same person I was. I'm not an aspiring author anymore. I am an author.
Did you design your cover art? If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information?
I did design the cover myself. I really had no idea what I wanted on the cover at first. Even though it's a romance novel, I was pretty sure that a shirtless hunk wasn't going to be right for me, and, honestly, I had no idea where to find one! None of the friends who volunteered quite had the abs for the job.
I've always been fascinated by the inner workings of clocks and watches. And, an antique pocket watch plays an important role in my book. So, it felt like a good fit for both the book and me.
Will you design the cover for your next book yourself too?
Probably not. I'm pleased with the cover for Out of Time, but I've since found some amazing artists whose work I really love. I'm hoping I can convince them to work on the art for my next books.
How did you feel when you got your first sale? Are you pleased with sales so far?
It was my Mom. I just know it was her. But, it was still a great feeling. Once I knew my friends and family chips had been exhausted and strangers were buying it… Oh, it's an amazing feeling. I don't think it will ever get old.
At first, I didn't promote the book. I was just happy to have done it. Then, I started to wonder. One or two strangers bought it and didn't return it or leave me horrible reviews. Maybe more people would buy it.
I wasn't sure how to promote it at first. And, I'm still learning. I'm pleased with what I've accomplished so far, but I know I can do so much more. I'm a believer in my book and myself again.
What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
Discovering KindleBoards was a revelation. It's so wonderful to be surrounded by people who love books. It's an incredibly supportive community and has helped me tremendously, both as a writer and a promoter. I'm branching out to a few more discussion boards like MobileReads.
I think I'll have to take the blog or website plunge soon. I don't have either, but I think it's time I did. I tweet occasionally and post to my wall, but I still need to get over this fear of bothering people with my promotional efforts.
I've begun to do interviews like this one. Thank you! And, I've submitted my book to quite a few review sites, but there's a huge backlog at most of them so I haven't garnered any off-Amazon reviews yet.
I know all of these things are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to self-promotion. Each day I learn about something else I should be doing. So, I swallow down my insecurity and go for it!
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes, Out of Time is also available at Smashwords, Diesel eBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Apple's iBookstore.
What’s next for you?
I'm working on several projects. Too many, if I'm honest with myself. I'm working on the sequel to Out of Time, a coming of age novella and my father's memoirs of his time in the Air Force. Phew! It's exhausting just thinking about it. But, honestly, I love having a few projects going at once. I don't ever want to go back to the way it was - without writing in my life.
In the UK:
Out of Time is also available at Smashwords: