“I get to choose when to colour outside the lines” has to be one of the best reasons we've heard for loving life as an indie author. The energetic New York Times best-selling author Melissa Foster has not only won many awards but also made time to help other writers work towards their own success. Today's interview reveals that she is also reassuringly grounded in the real world. Read on for certain inspiration for indie authors everywhere.
What's the secret of your success?
I write fast, and I'm careful about the quality of work that I produce. Quality is the most important aspect of publishing (IMHO), so I don't skimp on the editorial process. I work with a highly skilled developmental editor, a professional copy editor, and three proofreaders.
I spend a lot of time marketing and I reach out to readers on a continual basis, on top of running three businesses and spending time with my family, so I guess I wish there was a secret which might clarify how to make every book breakout as a bestseller. It might save me lots of time in the future. The truth is, I'm not sure all the books and formulas on how to write a breakout novel aren't setting up false expectations and driving aspiring authors to write in a formulaic fashion. I run from formulas like a rebellious child.
If I had to come up with a secret it would be to write what you are passionate about and produce the cleanest work you can. Your passion will resonate in your writing and hopefully readers will relate and enjoy the stories. In the end, the readers choose what books break out, and we writers just keep our fingers crossed. So maybe the readers hold all the secrets…
What was the single best thing you ever did?
The single best thing I ever did was to finish writing my first novel. It gave me the courage to continue writing.
How do you get/stay in creative mode?
I love writing more than anything else on the planet besides my family, friends, and maybe chocolate. I wake up ready to write, dream about writing, and when I'm doing anything else, I'm thinking about writing. I think I live in creative mode. That being said, I have experienced writers block (thankfully, it was very short lived). It drove me insane. The way I got around it was to spend a few days doing everything I could besides writing. I spent time outside, taking walks, running, going to the movies, reading. I called my friends, who pampered me through my pouting, then gave me a swift kick in the butt and told me to go write something worth reading. Tough love. It worked.
How do you prioritise?
I've learned to be practical. I start with items which, if not completed that day, will have immediate, negative ramifications on some aspect of my life, my publishing schedule, or my family's lives. For example, if the kids will have to go to school naked if I don't tend to laundry, it gets done. Nothing comes between me and my writing time unless it's critical. My friends and family know that I only leave my keyboard under duress.
In February Game of Love, the first book in The Remington series will be released. The Remingtons follow The Bradens in the Love in Bloom series. After The Remingtons I will be writing Blazing Summer, a New Adult Romance trilogy.
What's the highlight of being an author-publisher for you?
I work for a slave-driver and love to argue with her about my publishing deadlines and story lines 🙂 Okay, so beyond arguing with myself, I guess the highlight would be control. I decide my publishing dates, my topics, and I get to decide when to color outside the lines.
What's your top tip for other indie authors?
Write what you want to write instead of writing for a trend or a current market, because the industry changes as quickly as the wind. And don't be in a hurry to fail. Readers remember quality, so write well, hire professional editors, and make your books memorable.