I published ‘Kiss of Fashion’ in March. Because I write as four pen names, I try to get books out for each of the names as soon as I can. In Kiss of Fashion, a woman who thinks she’s always dying of something is a secretary in ‘the pool,’ a secretarial pool in a fashion company. Her boss is fired in the first scene, so she has to break in the new guy…but he has a few plans of his own to break her in as well.
Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I did…but fired my agent and went indie. I prefer controlling my own destiny, instead of just being lucky in being in the right place at the right time for a NY publisher. I enjoy being given the freedom to write the book like I want to, instead of being told how to plot and describe my characters. I also have three children, so running off to book signings and conferences wasn’t logistically possible, with my husband’s job. So I stay home and love my job now.
How are your story ideas born?
Many of my ideas are formed right before I go to sleep. I let my mind go wild, no one’s yelling at anyone else (did I mention two of my kids are teenagers and one just turned 20?) and I can actually think. I think in scenes, so I try to remember the scenes when I get up the next day. I also have an amazing friend who can turn just a teeny incident into a full-blown plot and usually gives them to me because she has too many plot bunnies running around in her head. For example, I told her about one little incident with a guy coming to my front door to sell me something…within a minute, she had an entire plot based around that guy at my front door. (That book is by my pen name, Andie Alexander, and is called ‘Dead Men Don’t Dust’). That friend just cracks me up. So if I’m ever hunting for a plot, I just email her and tell her my day.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
Believe it or not, I love to write. I’m a pantzer, and don’t plot out much of the book in advance, so it’s a surprise to me, as well as the reader, as to what happens next. I don’t enjoy editing, but it’s a necessary evil. Marketing and I just don’t get along, so that’s my worst. But writing is just fun.
What is your writing process?
I write whenever I can (sometimes 16 hours a day if I get lucky), edit whenever I have to, and market when I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do, including washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen floor, etc. I personally just love Mondays during the school year. That’s my day to write and it’s quiet in my house.
How long did it take to write your latest release?
I can write a book in about two weeks, including editing, if I really want to (I swear, I have no other life). For Kiss of Fashion, I think it took about a month to write and edit, and then it sat on my computer, along with about forty other books, for a few years. I was waiting for my big break with NY publishers and agents. When I got my agent, she didn’t want my contemporary romances, because they were sweet. Instead, she wanted me to write a line of Christian romances and then young adult paranormals. So Kiss of Fashion was pushed even farther down in the queue, until I dismissed the agent and went indie. Then many of my books were indie published, and I still have quite a few to go.
Do you have a favorite line or scene from your latest release?
This book was just hilarious to write. Meg (the heroine) has a NY attitude problem, while Brendan (the new boss) is a little arrogant. Here’s a scene from the beginning, when Meg has to be in a meeting with Brendan and a client who loves Meg. She has to be nice, but at the same time, can slam him when she wants to:
Meg got up from her seat, took her pad of paper and pen, and headed to the other side of the table so she could see the office doors. She didn’t like this new boss one bit. He might be eye candy, but good-looking men were usually the worst kind of boss. As soon as she had a break, she was calling the temp agency to see if another job had come available.
She sat down beside Brendan, shook back her hair, and faced him. “Is this better, or would you like me moving an inch to the right, or maybe a tad to the left?”
Brendan raised his eyebrows. “Insubordination gets you nowhere.”
She narrowed her eyes, opened her pad of paper, and clicked her pen more than once, checking the tip.
“Problem?” Brendan asked.
“No, but this company pen’s been giving me problems…” She shot him a dirty look and raked her eyes over him, timed perfectly so he’d get the message. “…and doesn’t measure up.”
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I used to have a peer edit and even paid a few people, but with all the books I’m putting out, it’s been too tough on them. So I do a lot of it myself, reviewing a book over and over and over again.
What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
If you have a book inside you just waiting to be shared, write it. Don’t wait for any agent or publisher to fit you into their schedule, but do it yourself. It’s not hard and costs almost nothing (I pay for cover pictures and that’s it), so why not? No one’s holding you back but yourself.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes. I put my books for sale on Barnes and Noble, All Romance e-Books, and Smashwords. I just started putting them on Kobo by myself, too.
What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I’m on Facebook, Twitter, I blog, and I’m trying out a few more marketing ideas in the near future. Marketing is really tough.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Not really. I write and edit and fit marketing in when I can think of something that might work. There are so many indie authors out there, to stick out in the crowd means I have to get creative in marketing. That’s not easy.
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Keep working at it. You won’t be a huge success overnight, and many times, one book on the market won’t be enough. The more books you publish, the more books you’ll sell for each of your titles. Also, it takes six months to a year to really get a book ramped up for sales, and even then, it’s not a guarantee. But if you love to write, just keep writing. You never know when the next book you publish will skyrocket you to the top.
What’s next for you?
I’m editing a few books, writing a few books (three, to be exact), and trying my hand at a few marketing ideas that I hope will work. It’s a full-time job for me, and with kids home during the summer, it’s really tough to multitask. Come on, September…I need some time to write. LOL!