It’s time for a new interview series… like NOW. No really, actually it’s called NOW (Newly Omniscient Authors). This blog has been publishing since 2011, and some of the earlier posts feel too… dated. To honor the relaunch of the site, I thought I’d invite some of my past guests to read and ruminate on their answers to questions from oh-so-long-ago to see what’s changed between then and now.
Has how you think (and talk) about writing and publishing changed, further into your career?
I spent sooooo much time promoting and marketing my first book, and I’ve now learned that there is only so much you can control with book sales (which is VERY little). I put some time into marketing, but most of my focus on writing more books in hopes of ensuring the longevity of my writing career.
Let’s about the balance between the creative versus the business side of the industry. Do you think of yourself as an artiste or are you analyzing every aspect of your story for marketability? Has that changed from your early perspective?
I don’t analyze a book for marketability as I’m writing it, but you better believe that if a book sells, I think about how to market it. I always try to think of one fun or clever way to market a book that hopefully gets people talking about it.
I’m also more deliberate and specific about what I do to market a book. When I first started writing, I felt as if my marketing was hit or miss as I tried to figure out what worked. I spent a lot of time (and money) doing things that might not have been worth it. Now, I am more aware of how I spend my time.
The bloom is off the rose… what’s faded for you, this far out from debut?
I spent so much time marketing and talking about my first book. It was pretty much 24/7 long before it came out and long after it came out. And the truth was, it didn’t make a difference in terms of sales when compared to my other titles. After publishing six books, I’ve realized that the buzz around a new book only last for so long and then you need to move on to writing the next. I live by the Elsa philosophy and after a book comes out and a couple of months have passed, I “let it go.”
Likewise, is there anything you’ve grown to love (or at least accept) that you never thought you would?
I’ve always been an introverted person, and it takes me a long time to warm up or talk to people I don’t know. I was always a bit weary of social media, how easy it is for readers to contact authors, and speaking to groups. However, I have to say that I love hearing from readers, especially young readers. Because I write a lot of middle grade books, I handwritten letters from young readers. Although answering them is time consuming, I love writing back. There’s just something awesome about getting and sending snail mail.
And lastly, what did getting published mean for you and how was it changed (or not changed!) your life?
Before being published I did have the notion that it would change my life. The reality is that it hasn’t. Most of my release days now pass with small fanfare from my family and a few friends. Otherwise, once one book is out the focus is mostly on writing the next.
I now view writing and publishing as my way of doing something in this crazy world that we’re currently living in right. We are surrounded with so much hate right now and it’s impossible to not do try to make a difference. Words hold so much power, and it’s that power that I focus on in hopes that I’m contributing a small part of working toward the change that is so needed in our country today. I have a quote by Margaret Atwood hanging in my writing office, “A word after a word after a word is power.” It’s pretty much my writing mantra these days.