The interview series with members of my Twitter community continues with author Emma Meade. Enjoy!
Q: What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
EM: Paranormal. I grew up devouring/reading Point Horror back in the 90s. As a young teenager I moved onto Stephen King’s The Stand and that was it for me. Super
natural, paranormal and horror is what I focus on now.
Q: How many books have you published? Legacy published, self-published, or a combination?
EM: In November I self-published my first ebook called Night Sighs. It’s an adult short story collection (approx 16,000 words) following the relationship and adventures of Tristan and Alex (I call them star-crossed lovers of the supernatural variety ).
Q: Tell us more about NIGHT SIGHS! How did this story come about?
EM: Night Sighs started off as a lone short story called The Dead Beats. It came about directly from me watching a Bruce Springsteen video on youtube. It was a live performance of Because the Night in Paris in 1985. The opening notes of the piano were so haunting that I got chills down my spine. Tristan,the rockstar vampire in the story was born from me watching that 5 minute video and I wrote The Dead Beats over a couple of nights. I put myself in Alex's shoes as a young woman falling in love with the music and artistic talent of a musician who also happens to be a vampire. I later decided that I’d like to find out what Alex and Tristan had been up to since then, and ended up with another 4 short stories about them that together became Night Sighs.
Q: Do you sell copies of your novel, or other works, directly from your website?
Q: How much time do you spend on Twitter each week? Do you have a Facebook Fan Page?
Q: Do you blog? How often? Strictly professional or a blend of all things?
EM: Yes I have a blog emmameade.com I started this blog, Emma’s Ramblings on supernatural fiction in March 2011 as a review site for books, films and tv shows. I post twice a week.
Q: Do you have a motto or favorite quote you turn to on tough writing days?
EM: I really should have a quote but no, I just turn to music if I’m having a bad day, and that can change whatever mood I’m in instantly.
Q: Have you outsourced editing, cover design, formatting, web design, marketing, etc?
EM: I had Night Sighs edited and proof-read by a professional before I self-published, and my cover design was done by Kit Foster. He does excellent covers and you can find him online at www.kitfosterdesign.com/. My blog is a simple wordpress.com site that I work on myself. My marketing consists mainly of interacting with readers and writers on social networking sites and sending free copies to book bloggers for review.
Q: Do you work with a writing group?
EM: Not yet but I am looking into joining a local group in the new year.
Q: When did you first decide to self-publish? How much time did it take to get from an idea to an ebook on Amazon?
EM: I spent 2011 going back and forth between the pros and cons of self-publishing. I had been down the road of sending a young adult novel (my baby) off to literary agents with very little feedback. I wasn’t ready to send that particular story out into the self-published world yet so I worked on editing and revising the short stories in Night Sighs instead. I received a positive critique back from a publishing house on this but they were honest in saying that it didn’t meet their romance guidelines. A few weeks later I went ahead and uploaded it to Smashwords and Amazon Kindle myself for $0.99.
Q: Have you published any of your work for free? Why or why not?
EM: A couple of short stories are available from my blog. That’s it so far but I hope to post a few more in the coming months. Posting a free short story online allows people to view your writing style before they commit to buying your work.
Q: What tips or advice would you offer to writers who are about to join the self-published community?
EM: Do your homework first. Self-publishing shouldn’t be a spur of the moment decision. If your dream is to see your work taken on by a traditional publisher than think carefully before releasing it out into the world as you are unlikely to have it published by a traditional house in the future.
Q: Is there another writer (or two) in the Twitterverse that you would recommend newbies follow?
Q: What is coming up for you in the next few months?
EM: Lots and lots of reading; my to-read list never seems to get any shorter. Depending on the future success and interest in Night Sighs, I may release a second short story collection again featuring the characters Alex and Tristan called Night Whispers. Preparing my young adult novels for publishing is a big priority for me in 2012.
Q: Do you have (or are planning) any audio books?
EM: > I’ve never given audio books much thought but who knows? Maybe I can convince Bruce Springsteen to be the narrator of Night Sighs! I'm going to see him in Dublin next summer so I could try to get on stage during the concert...
Q: Have you done a blog tour? Any advice or cautions?
EM: No blog tours yet. I think I got a tad lazy towards the end of the year but this is something I wish to explore in 2012.
Q: Do you create an outline before beginning a new book?
EM: My books usually begin with a character and they influence the plot and the direction the story takes. I can’t recall ever sticking completely to an outline.
Q: Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
EM: Yes. I dive between different projects all the time.
Q: Do you use specialty software?
Q: Tell us about some of the hurdles you've cleared on the path to becoming an author. Did you have any idea at the start what the process really entailed?
EM: I’m not sure I’ve cleared many hurdles yet. Though I’ve been writing for fun since I was a kid it’s only in the past year that I’ve put serious effort into getting my work out there for others to see. Starting a blog and getting to know other writers was the first challenge/hurdle and I’m still working on these skills today. Finding an audience who are familiar with me and what I write is only starting to happen now and it’s not coming easily, something I’m guessing the vast majority of self-published writers can relate to.
My dream is to be picked up by a traditional publisher and I’m not giving up on this. I had no delusions about becoming the next self-publishing success story. For every Amanda Hocking and John Locke (not the guy from Lost) there are 100,000 others lucky to sell a handful of their books a month. I spent hours online researching self-publishing and bought Catherine Ryan Howard's book Self-Printed: The Sane Person's Guide to Self-Publishing which was a big help.
Q: What is the best comment/compliment you have received about your work?
EM: When someone finishes the last page and asks “when is the next one out?”
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?
EM: Book cover: 1
Book summary: 2
Author's Facebook, Twitter, and other social media: 3
The first thing I notice is the cover. If the cover or title doesn’t grab my interest then I tend to move on. Since joining Twitter I’ve found myself buying what other people are discussing. For an ebook I wouldn’t pay more than 5 dollars unless it’s an exceptional piece of work receiving genuine praise. I can go into a second-hand book store and pick up a print book for this much so I don’t understand the idea behind charging more than that for an ebook. I would like to offer Night Sighs in print but at approx 16,000 words it’s too short. If I ever self-publish a novel I’ll also release it in print.
So the cover, word-of-mouth reviews (including social media), and the blurb are what will convince me to buy.
Q: Thanks for being with us today, Emma. We wish you continued success and hope you'll come back and give us an update in the spring!