The interview series with authors in my Twitter community continues with LJ DeLeon. Happy reading!
Q: What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
LJ: I combine three genres—action adventure, paranormal and urban fantasy romance. Given the blending of genres these days, I’m not sure what is paranormal versus urban fantasy anymore. Publishers rename genres to fit what’s selling or is hot now, so I’d say I write both with a heavy dose of action adventure.
Q: How many books have you published? Legacy published, self-published, or a combination?
LJ: I’m a combination and write under three names. I write as LJ DeLeon under my real name (Linda Jo DeLeon—maiden name) and have published as an indie four books. The first three books of the Warriors for Light urban fantasy series: WARRIOR’S RISE, DRAGON CHILD, & ABSOLUTION. I’ve also published the first book of the Turner Chronicles, a futuristic romance—THE ULTIMATE GAME.
I also co-write with different partners under the pseudonyms Alyssa Lyons (mystery romance) and Terry Campbell (romantic comedy). Between these two names, I have 18 additional books and anthologies out with small press and self-publish. Three of these books are legacy titles.
Q: Do you sell copies of your novel directly from your website?
LJ: No. I prefer to have my indie books in legitimate e-bookstores. Both the reader and I are protected. I also find it more professional and a better use of my time resources.
Q: How much time do you spend on Twitter each week?
LJ: I’m a Twitter novice. I spend an hour a day, but not all at once. I write personal thank you notes/DMs to people who follow me.
Q: Do you blog? How often? Strictly professional or a blend of all things?
LJ: Yes, but not often enough. I write about my series, interviews with other writers, special events—Did I Notice Your Book—and my characters write about their lives prior to the start of the series.
Q: Do you have a motto or favorite quote you turn to on tough writing days?
LJ: My books are all inspired by my favorite motto: Honor, the ultimate seduction.
Q: Have you outsourced editing, cover design, formatting, web design, marketing, etc?
LJ: Two freelance editors edit all my indie work. Besides the two editors, I have several beta readers. A brilliant graphic artist designs and creates my covers. I created and formatted my current websites, but I plan to have a professional redesign my Warriors for Light site to make it interactive.
Q: Do you work with a writing group?
LJ: I used to, but between deadlines and distance, there simply isn’t time. I do have a couple of wonderful critique partners. I can’t imagine writing without them or their invaluable input.
Q: Have you ever participated in #NaNoWriMo?
LJ: Yes. It forces me to produce a book and not slack off.
Q: Have you published any of your work for free? Why or why not?
LJ: I have short stories/flash fiction free on my website. Once I redo my website, they will remain free but be in a Members Only section.
Q: What tips or advice would you offer to writers who are about to join the self-published community?
LJ: Oh, gee, I have a lot of advice. Aside from writing the best book you can, research what is involved before tackling it—editing, formatting, pricing, cover art, promotion. You are an artist, a creator of magic when you write the story. But as an indie, you must also be an entrepreneur and able to run a business.
Be honest with yourself about the work involved. If you can’t handle this side of writing or don’t want to be bothered with it, I recommend submitting to NY or small press. It is worth giving up a portion of your royalties to have the business portion handled by a professional. I have work that is indie and others small press. This was based upon bottom-line business decisions.
Q: What is coming up for you in the next few months?
LJ: I have a big push on Warrior’s Rise and am working on Sophie’s Challenge & Kate’s Army, Warriors for Light Books 4 and 5. I hope to have them out before May 2012. I’m also writing books 4 & 5 of the Jordan Davis Mysteries series.
Q: Have you done a blog tour? Any advice or cautions?
LJ: I’m planning one for January 2012. My advice is don’t commit to more than you can handle. Know your limits.
Q: Do you create an outline before beginning a new book?
LJ: Yes, absolutely. My books have multiple characters, the series plot line, the book’s main plot, and usually several subplots, which can carry over for several books within the series. This means I need detailed plot lines and character development. I have a “Bible” for each series, which includes all the details of the characters and main plot points. Also, in my urban fantasy and futuristic romances there are rules for each world, types of magic, and the beings that populate these worlds.
Q: Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
LJ: I’ve tried, oh, how I’ve tried. But I can’t. I write in a linear fashion, scene to scene, chapter to chapter. The characters take me over. It’s almost impossible for me to switch from one book to another. I envy those who can.
Q: Do you use specialty software?
LJ: No. I use MS Word for word processing and Excel to plot my stories and track the characters and their traits, especially types of magic and demons.
Q: What is the best comment/compliment you have received about your work?
LJ: LOL! There have been several, but the one that sent me over the moon was from a reader. She said in a letter, “Hi, I just finished all reading two of your book and now am on the third Warriors. They are great! Thanks for the wonderful books.”
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?
LJ: Reader reviews: Some, I’ll check out the ratio of 4 & 5 stars to
1 & 2 stars. I ignore the 3 stars.
Number of books already sold: No. Sometimes I find authors or books before anyone else.
Book cover: Only so far as it draws or holds my attention.
Word-of-mouth: Absolutely. If friends who read what I do tell me I have to read a specific book, I will buy and read it.
Book summary: Somewhat. Because I own a Kindle, I’ll download the sample.
Author's blog: Unfortunately, no. I say this because I have a blog.
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media: I pay attention to author interviews and blog reviews.
Book price: Oh, yes. I don’t spend more than $7.99/Kindle book. There are so many indie authors who have great books that I’ve found I usually spend less than $5/book. I’m a Kindle junkie. Be warned, the Kindle is meth to a reader. To stay out of bankruptcy, I buy myself an Amazon gift card on the first of each month to stay on budget and off my husband’s “Bad Linda” list. The best part of owning an ebook reader is he doesn’t trip over stacks of books so he has no proof how many I am buying.
Thank you, LJ, for sharing your self-publishing experiences with us! We wish you continued success, and hope you'll come back and give us an update in the spring.