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How I Do It: Melissa Foster Shares Her Top Tips for Self-Publishing Success

“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?

Melissa Foster, bestselling self-published authorI’m afraid there are no secrets, and there is no magic. Although, if there are and I’m missing them, I wish someone would clue me in.

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?

Cover of Have No Shame by Melissa FosterI 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.

What’s next?

GameofLoveIn 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.

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27 Responses to How I Do It: Melissa Foster Shares Her Top Tips for Self-Publishing Success

  1. Melissa Foster January 23, 2014 at 12:16 am #

    I am not a ghost writer, but perhaps speaking with agents who handle ghost writers? Or sit down and write — you might be surprised at what you can do. That would be my inclination.

  2. Linda L. Christianson January 16, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    I can’t wait to get your new release. I’ll go back and read the Bradens series. Then I’ll be ready for your new book. Can’t wait. How do you manage? WOW

    • Melissa Foster January 16, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

      Thank you, Linda. How do I manage? I don’t sleep much, and I have the most supportive husband on the planet. Literally. I am the luckiest woman around. I’m glad you’re going to read the Bradens. They’re such great guys! xox

  3. Geri January 15, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    Melissa-
    great article! I especially like –

    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…

    I agree- write what you would like to read and make sure you take the time to do it properly. Readers will take it from there. This is what we work so hard to do at indieBRAG- find books that readers actually like and try to shine a light on them! Our readers are book lovers- not necessarily “experts” but people who will buy a book worth their time and money-

  4. David Y.B. Kaufmann January 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Always a pleasure hearing from you. Your ebullient optimism and opulent energy (sorry, it’s early) are just fun. Thanks for the smiles and the thoughts!

    • Melissa Foster January 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

      Hi David, always a pleasure hearing from you, too, and thank you for your kind words. I’m glad I can add a bit of levity to this pretty serious world of publishing 🙂 xox

  5. Bookfly Design January 14, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Great advice about writing what you want to write and keeping the focus on quality.

    • Melissa Foster January 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      Thank you, and thanks for stopping by to read the interview.

  6. Melissa Foster January 13, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    Clare, I’m not sure how old you are, but I’m just a few yrs shy of 50. Gosh, never saw that one coming. I always think I’m pushing forty…darn it. Love your comment about kids/cats lol. I don’t suggest that writers take on 10K/day. I won’t keep that pace forever. We all write at different speeds, and need to do what’s comfortable for us.

    Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed your comments.

    • clare weiner January 13, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

      Older than I think/feel I am! My kids are in their 30’s and the first was born when I was 28.. go figure, there are 3 of them, but 2 are twins. Lucky you: wish I could see 50 again… trying to live like 40 is not a good plan for me, when my friends are all talking retirement, but it insidiously happens when one’s work is not too tedious.

      • Melissa Foster January 14, 2014 at 2:26 am #

        I believe we are as old as we feel, and I’m sticking to that belief 🙂 So hey, pick a number! xox

  7. clare weiner January 13, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    Super piece: especially how Melissa makes the point about not following fashions or trends, and her emphasis on keeping up the quality. I simply wish I had the energy (she’s obviously younger than me!) but yes, yes, yes I underline it all… given I am a wee tad too domestic about my house and made the mistake of keeping cats, who are even more demanding than the (now-adult) children, who moved out: should not have replaced them with cats!

  8. Michelle Weidenbenner January 13, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    Melissa is the whole package and my mentor. I love her work ethic and the way she leads. She inspires and empowers other authors like me. Even though writing is her number one priority, her heart to mentor others shows a strong loyalty to her followers. I love that.

    • Melissa Foster January 13, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Michelle, thank you for stopping by to read the article and for your kind words. I really do enjoy helping authors. There’s room for everyone to succeed.

  9. Geri Taylor January 12, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    Good job and congratulations Melissa!

  10. Anne Stormont January 12, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    Super interview. Melissa’s energy and enthusiasm are obvious. Thanks for letting us see it and be inspired and reassured.

  11. Jerri Lee George January 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    Melissa is everything everyone has previously commented and more. She is genuine, generous and brilliant! I don’t think we’ll ever know how she “does it” anymore than we know how birds fly. She is God’s gift to readers and writers alike.

    • Melissa Foster January 12, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

      Wow, Jerri Lee, that means the world to me. Thank you. I think birds are powered by chocolate!

  12. Patricia Sands January 12, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    Excellent interview! There is a quote that says “Melissa Foster is the real deal” and, IMHO, it couldn’t be said any better. She is a leader, an inspiration, and a friend to indie authors around the globe.

  13. Melissa Foster January 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    Thank you Paul. You are right, hard work is definitely necessary in this, and any, industry. Thanks for stopping by to read the interview.

  14. Paul Stawski January 12, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    Melissa is amazing, selfless and driven. She’s someone who leads by example. She says there is no formula for success, but actually there is – and she applies the formula every day. It’s called working hard. And nobody does it better.

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  2. Wise Bear Digital Digest: Vol. 2, Issue No. 19 - January 24, 2014

    […] HOW I DO IT: MELISSA FOSTER SHARES HER TOP TIPS FOR SELF-PUBLISHING SUCCESS “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… [read more] Source: The Alliance of Independent Authors […]

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