1) Tell us how you became an author? Describe your journey.
Oh goodness, my journey? I waited ten years to write, and I finally claimed my writing list when our six children were all in school. The day my youngest went to Kindergarten, I put him on the bus and never looked back. I've been at my computer since that day, M-F from 9-2, September-June. No moments of regret — not a single one.
I emailed Jodi Picoult back in 2006 and asked her how many pages I needed to write to be considered by agents (I could have researched word count, etc., right? But I'm a pantzer — we don't think that far ahead). Jodi was gracious enough to respond and tell me to write 300 pages because 50% of it would be edited out anyway. No problem, right ? Wrong. I took that literally and wrote 300 single spaced pages. She meant 300 double spaced pages. I had written a 160,000 word novel that would never be published at such a high word count. Five years, one novel (Megan's Way), and several renditions later, Chasing Amanda was published. I'd like to send a thank you every day of my life to Jodi Picoult. Those directions enabled me to learn a lot about writing–believe it or not, those years of editing and revising really did help me grow as a writer. I wouldn't have changed a thing from my path.
2) Do you prefer any particular literary genre?
I am a genre hopper – I write women's fiction, contemporary fiction, and suspense/thriller. I love all of them, and I can't say that I have a favorite, because I can wrap my favorite type of writing–emotional–into any of them.
3) Where do you find your inspiration to write?
Life is one big beautiful inspiration in every way, shape, and form.
4) Please share some of your available titles. Where can they be purchased?
Megan's Way (literary fiction–optioned for film), Chasing Amanda (suspense/mystery), and Come Back to Me (contemporary fiction), can all be purchased from Amazon.com. Paperbacks can also be purchased from Barnes and Noble.
5) How do you balance your professional life with your family life?
I'm a big scheduler. I schedule every aspect of my day–and if something slips, as it usually does, we just go with the flow. We order many dinners in–I think we need a wife.
6) You are an award-winning, best-selling author. How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?
I worry less about promoting my work and more about building relationships. No one will read my book because I shout, "Read my book!" They will read my book when they take an interest in something about me, or are curious based on something they've heard. What works for me is building relationships instead of working toward sales. Sales are just an added bonus–I'm someone who genuinely enjoys people.
7) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?
Don't worry about word count, genres, or any other confines. Write what you feel and figure the rest out later. Don't skimp on quality – save money toward having your book professionally edited — your readers deserve it.
8) How did the World Literary Café get started? How can authors benefit from this community?
World Lit Cafe was formed because in November 2011 I brought 35 authors with me for an extraordinary ride. I taught them ways to cross promote and expand their audiences, and when we launched Come Back to Me, over 80% of the authors hit the Top 100 with my guidance. I realized how much authors could achieve if they were provided with guidance and offered the appropriate venues. I have great visions for where WLC is headed, and authors can benefit from a supportive community, training and expertise from best-selling authors, and connections with readers, reviewers, and bloggers. WLC is a site for all writers — aspiring, traditionally published, and independent, and a community for reviewers, bloggers, and all aspects of literary services.
I'm launching Fostering Success very soon and there we will focus on showing authors every step of the self-publishing path, from creating an online presence to using that presence for effective marketing. I hope to help millions of authors reach the height of their careers.
9) What is your definition of success as an author?
Easy – success is nothing if achieved alone. One can only achieve true success if they help others to do the same. For me, success as an author isn't the number of books you sell or how long you are on a bestseller list. It's defined by who you helped along the way and you help once you've reached your peak. Authors often say they want to follow my path. I tell them to please surpass me:-)
10) What is next for you in 2012?
This will be an exciting year. I have just wrapped up my fourth manuscript (a thriller). I'm excited to see where that takes us. Megan's Way is being adapted to film, so this year will probably hold a number of interesting achievements in that area, and with the launch of Fostering Success, the ability to help others will also increase. I'm also redesigning the World Literary Cafe, and hope to offer far more social avenues there as well. Mostly, though, I'm looking forward to my months at Cape Cod in 2012. Life is beautiful–I guess I just love it all.
"Melissa Foster is a wonderful connector of readers and books, a friend of authors, and a tireless advocate for women. She is the real deal."–Author Jennie Shortridge
“Melissa Foster is as kind as she is successful. With her experience, Melissa is the best advocate for writing, publishing and marketing. Hands down.” – Rebecca Berto, Editor
“Melissa Foster is a touchstone for the indie publishing community." –Ashley Barron, The Priyas
"Foster's latest novel is in the same league as books written by such authors as Nicholas Sparks, Jennifer Weiner, and Kristin Hannah."–Author Carrie Green
Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of three International bestselling novels, Megan's Way, Chasing Amanda, and Come Back to Me. She has also been published in Indie Chicks, an anthology. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, and the World Literary Cafe (previously WoMen's Literary Cafe), a cross-promotional site for authors, reviewers, bloggers, and readers. Melissa is currently collaborating in the film production ofMegan's Way.
Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authorscontest for children, she's written for Calgary'sChild Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.
Melissa supports Provincetown Cares.
2011 Beach Book Award Winner (Spirituality)
2011 Readers Favorite Awards, Winner (Fiction/Drama), Finalist (Women's Fiction)
2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award, Finalist (Spirituality)
2011 New England Book Festival, Honorable Mention (Spirituality)
2011 Readers Favorite Awards, Winner (Paranormal), Finalist, (Women's Fiction, Mystery)
2011 Dan Poynter's Global eBook Awards, Winner, (Paranormal)
Top 10 Books of 2011, Pixel of Ink
Amazon Top 100 75+ Days running
Indie Reader's Bestselling List That Counts (8 weeks)
Top Books of 2011, The Write Agenda
PUBLISHER'S MARKETPLACE: Melissa Foster
Member: Maryland Writers' Association
Member: League of Extraordinary Authors
Member: Independent Author Network
Chat w/me on The Women's Nest
The World Literary Cafe, Where readers and authors unite!