Author Interview: Melissa Foster
Q: What is your genre?
MF: I'm a genre hopper (and I like it that way); literary and contemporary fiction, and suspense.
Q: How many ebooks have you published?
Q: Do you sell copies of your novel directly from your website?
MF: No, I leave the sales and distribution up to the retailers.
Q: How much time do you spend on Twitter each week?
MF: Lol, this is not quantifiable. I am on Twitter throughout the day and night. I feel it is of utmost importance to be "me" on social networks, and I'm a chatty gal, so I try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me.
Q: Do you blog? How often? Strictly professional or a blend of all things?
MF: I wish I were a blogger, but I don't really have time to blog. Between preparing the WoMen's Literary Cafe, running The Women's Nest, teaching authors to market, social networking, and writing, I had to let something pass me by, and blogging is that thing. I do use my website blog to talk about important events when I have time, or to thank readers and people who I've worked with or have supported me, but I would not call it a real blog.
Q: Do you have a motto or favorite quote you turn to on tough writing days?
MF: Yes, it's my own: Enjoy each and every day, no one else will do it for you.
Q: Have you outsourced editing, cover design, formatting, web design, marketing, etc?
MF: I used to do my own covers, but have since found a wonderful cover artist that I will be working with forever more. I have outsourced editing since day one. I don't believe authors should edit their own work. We, as authors, see the story as it appears on our heads, not necessarily as it is written on paper—and my editing skills are very poor. I rely on my editors to make me look good, lol. As for formatting, this is the bane of my existence. I have outsourced formatting twice and both times have received very poor results. I have yet to find a reliable formatting expert, and am happy to receive referrals. I do my own website and marketing.
Q: Do you work with a writing group?
MF: I wish I did. I long to work with a strong writing group, but have yet to find the time or a local group. I'm thinking about forming a writing group online, but this takes time, and until I have 36 hours in each day, it may have to wait.
Q: Have you ever participated in #NaNoWriMo?
MF: I promised myself I would follow NaNoWriMo this year. I even joined! **hangs head in shame** I have not kept up with the website, so instead, I'm keeping in my mind that I should hit 50,000 words by the end of this month.
Q: Have you published any of your work for free? Why or why not?
MF: Yes, I made MEGAN'S WAY free for 30 days over the summer.MEGAN'S WAY is being adapted to film, and I wanted it to be available to as many readers as possible. After 100,000 downloads I reverted to pricing the book.
Q: What tips or advice would you offer to writers who are about to join the self-published community?
MF: Join the WoMen's Literary Cafe. Writing is a whole different ballgame than marketing, and unless you have a marketing background, chances are you will need and want to be part of our community. We are authors and literary professionals cross-promoting and supporting each other. I wish WLC had been around when I had published Megan's Way. I am delighted to be sharing all of my secrets with our members over time, and creating groups and pathways that should help every author succeed. There are two more pieces of advice that I have for you—ALWAYS have your work professionally edited. You owe it to the readers to produce as close to error-free work as possible (even traditionally published books have errors – we're all human — but we can strive to be error free), and understand that writing is not a competitive sport. There is room for us all to succeed. Always pay-it-forward.
Q: Is there another writer (or two) in the Twitterverse that you would recommend newbies follow?
MF: There are far too many to recommend. Are you trying to make enemies for me? If I recommend two, two more will be upset with me. I would say, find your favorite authors and follow them, then see who they are following.
Q: What is coming up for you in the next few months?
MF: I've got big things on my agenda and I'm very excited about them all! The WoMen's Literary Cafe is growing in leaps and bounds. We're going to have set ups for reviews and blog tours, cross-promoting, and much more. I'll be holding video seminars to talk about different areas of marketing your books, etc. On the writing front, I'm working on my fourth novel (wow, it feels GREAT to say that!), THIRTY-SIX HOURS, a psychological thriller. On the movie front, according to my director,MEGAN'S WAY should take about 18 months until it's ready for the theaters.
Q: Do you have (or are planning) any audio books?
MF: As a matter of fact, Jenny Bent, my literary agent, has just received offers of representation for audio rights to all three of my books. Another exciting step in authoring.
Q: Have you done a blog tour? Any advice or cautions?
MF: My life is a blog tour, lol. I do blog tours for each book, and I work with really lovely bloggers who I have become very good friends with. I'm always open to working with more bloggers. I find blog tours to be exciting and fun, and a great way to connect with readers. I'm currently on a 50 stop blog tour running through January 2012.
Advice — stay away from boring interviews where you answer the same questions over and over, and treat your bloggers well. I have great respect for bloggers and their enthusiasm. They give their time without asking for anything in return—another reason I work very hard to show my gratitude toward them. Remember, you are being given a gift when a blogger hosts your book or interview on their site. Treat it as such.
Q: Do you create an outline before beginning a new book?
MF: I am leaning more and more in that direction. I'm a total pantzer. I write what I feel, with a general idea before I start, however, I am trying to learn to outline in a more organized fashion than the fifty sticky notes I have all over my desk.
Q: Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
MF: Sometimes I do, yes, but at this moment, no. I'm working to finish my next book for Jenny before working on my women's fiction.
Q: Do you use specialty software?
MF: Nope. Good old Microsoft Word works for me.
Q: When and why did you decide self-publishing was right for you?
MF: When MEGAN'S WAY was ready for publication, we were in the midst of the recession—agents liked my work, but indicated they'd have a difficult time selling the story because it dealt with a heavy subject. At that point I decided to use MEGAN'S WAY as a testing of the waters. I published it to see what readers thought of my work. I'm so happy that I did, because it gave me the confidence I needed to continue writing.
Q: What is the best comment/compliment you have received about your work?
MF: I received an email at midnight with the subject line "OMG". The reader went on to say she was upset with me because she had to get to sleep and couldn't put the book down. She was readingCOME BACK TO ME, my latest release.
Q: Let's flip things around for a moment. As a reader, which of the following do you take into consideration when deciding whether or not to purchase a book?
MF: Reader reviews: Never
Number of books already sold: Never
Book cover: Always (I'm a total cover girl)
Book summary: Second most important thing, after the cover
Facebook ads: Never
Author's blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media: Nope
Book price: Never
I look at the cover — if it draws me in, then I read the summary. If that passes muster, then I read the first three pages. If I want to read page 4, I buy the book, regardless of who wrote it or the price. In fact, I don't look at author or price at all when I'm in bookstores, unless I'm seeking a particular author.
Q: Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your publishing experiences with us! We wish you continued success, and hope you'll come back and give us an update in the spring.
MF: I have really enjoyed chatting with you, and I appreciate the opportunity to be on your blog. Thank you! I'd be happy to come back anytime and chat with you and your readers.
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