Monday, August 20, 2012

Interview with Melissa Ohnoutka


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
Target of Betrayal: Kathleen Landon thought her life would finally get back to normal after the bizarre death of her husband. But a "chance" meeting with an old boyfriend throws her and her family on a dangerous and emotional journey full of secrets and betrayal. Her husband's death wasn't an accident, but an attempt to cover up a horrendous crime spree being operated by a traitor inside the FBI. Now she and her children are running from a cold-blooded killer. Can she trust the U.S. Marshal sworn to protect them? Or is he using her as bait to capture her husband's killer?

David Thomas worked for the FBI for over ten years before storming out of the office of his superior and telling him where to stick his accusations. Now David has joined the U.S. Marshal's Special Operations Division. He is working to expose an informant hiding in the FBI ranks. David is the perfect man for the job. A man riddled with guilt. His decision cost a friend his life and David is determined to protect the family left behind. What he doesn't count on— is falling in love.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I feel like I paid my dues and did my time on the query-go-around.  I entered contests for feedback, revised and polished until I couldn’t see straight, attended conferences, had requests for partial and full manuscripts but “the call” never came. The self-publishing route seemed like the next step. Having so much say over important decisions like covers, page count, release dates, promotion and the direction I want my writing career to take just made more sense and really sweetened the deal, not to mention helped me keep my sanity.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I’ve belonged to several different critique groups over the past five years.  Some great, some that really made me doubt my writing at times. But I feel like each one offered tons of great suggestions, advice and feedback that helped me grow and improve. A thick skin in this business is a must.

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
The discovery is my favorite part of the writing. I’ve never been a plotter. Give me the suspense please! I start with an idea and then sit back and watch the story unfold. Just when I think I know what is going to happen or how a character is going to behave, I’m shocked to see how wrong I was. LOL

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
For my first release, I counted on friends, trusted critique partners and a few beta readers to help in the editing. Although they caught a lot, I felt it necessary to hire an editor for the second book and will continue to do so for future releases. I just feel that a fresh pair of eyes and unbiased opinion are priceless.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
I’ve learned to be true to myself and my voice. No one can write my story like I can. Learning the craft and continuing to learn is essential to grow as an author. It’s important to put out the best product you can. Then get ready for a very bumpy ride. There will be good times and bad times, but I try to remind myself when the process stops being fun, to take a break and remember why I love writing. It helps me keep things in perspective and gets me back on track.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes. My full length novels are available in print as well as e-books through Barnes & Noble too. You can find all my books, short stories included, available as e-books through Barnes & Noble, All Romance E-books, Kobo, Sony and my website.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
Other places to find me online:

               www.everybodyneedsalittleromance.com

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
This was a huge wake up call for me. The marketing side of publishing is quite time consuming. It’s been a long learning journey, but I think I’ve found a balance that works for me.  I love the writing side, so I tend to do a lot more of that.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Do your research. Get your name out there before you publish if you can. Set up your website, blog, Twitter & Facebook accounts, follow others, start commenting and building an online presence ahead of time and it will save you a lot of time, energy and headaches afterward. But most importantly, don’t rush the process. Spend the time, and yes, even the money, to make your book the best it can be. There’s a lot of competition out there. And the critics can be brutal.