Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Interview with Mel Comley

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
My latest book Cruel Justice is part of the justice series, but, unfortunately it has been put on hold for the time being. It features the same protagonist Lorne Simpkins and centers around a serial killer in London. It’s actually the prequel to the successful Impeding Justice.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I sent Impeding Justice out to a few agents and got knocked back, so I decided to upload it as an ebook and to start making money.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I actually joined Authonomy about 18 months ago and after an eight-month journey ended up on the Ed’s desk. I walked away from the site knowing a lot more about the craft of writing and a glowing review from a Harper Collins editor, who said Impeding Justice was one of the best manuscripts they’d read on the site. If I’d been a celebrity with a biography, I’m sure they would have snapped my hand off to represent me. ;-) 

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
Everyone who read the book said that I should get it out there, so I couldn’t disappoint my fans. ;-)

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes, I did, unfortunately I was very niave and didn’t realize there were different forms of editing and my editor neglected to inform me that she was hopeless at punctuation! Both my books have been properly edited since, I hasten to add.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
Basically people love my writing and the stories I tell. I still think that the odd reviewer tends to look down on the manuscripts on sale from Indie writers though. Little do they realise that John Grisham started selling his books from the boot of his car.  

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My books are on sale through the Smashwords distribution system. This is the first month I’ve had any sales from Barnes and Noble etc, so I’m thrilled.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
All of the above, as an Indie writer it’s important to work hard at that side of things. Also, I like to get involved with the readers on various sites.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I haven’t written for about a month now and I’m desperate to get back to it. The marketing side of things can be very time-consuming indeed. Lately, I’ve been promoting for almost 16 hours a day. I’m kind of feeling burnt out right now, so something will have to give soon.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Don’t upload your book and expect to be an overnight success. If you’re not prepared to do some legwork to get your name out there, don’t expect people to stumble upon and choose your book to buy out of the 750,000 ebooks available.

What’s next for you?
Actually, this is the exciting part, because of the excellent feedback and sales I’ve had over the last few months, recently a couple of high profile agents came knocking on my virtual door. After a week of sleepless nights, I decided to sign a contract with top New York agent, Richard Curtis. This is why my third book has been put on hold for the moment. It’s timely too, as he’s currently at a huge publisher’s convention where he’ll be touting my books around.

Thanks for having me as your guest Deb, it’s been fun!