Author Interview: Marla A. Madison
The interview series with authors in my Twitter community continues with Marla A. Madison. Happy reading!
Q: What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
MAM: Suspense is about the only genre I read these days. I find that kind of book to be an exciting get-away from everyday life. Favorite authors are Brian Freeman, Jonathan Kellerman, Tami Hoag, Jeffrey Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, to name a few.
Q: How many books have you published? Legacy published, self-published, or a combination?
MAM: I have self-published She’s Not There, a novel of suspense. It is available now as an ebook and will soon be out as a print book also. I hope to have a second suspense novel ready to publish by 2012. I’m about 2/3 of the way through it.
Q: Do you sell copies of your novel directly from your website?
MAM: No, I haven’t yet.
Q: How much time do you spend on Twitter each week?
MAM: Too much! I’m going to guesstimate about an hour a day.
Q: Do you blog? How often? Strictly professional or a blend of all things?
MAM: I’m now committed to a weekly blog that laments the problem of weight gain over the holidays, The Ten Pounds of Christmas. It’s both humorous and, hopefully, full of good advice.
My blogs so far have been a blend, as I’m attempting to find a niche that will appeal to followers that read and write.
Q: Do you have a motto or favorite quote you turn to on tough writing days?
MAM: A favorite, which applies to almost anything is, “Don’t Should on Yourself.” Stay positive and move on.
Q: Have you outsourced editing, cover design, formatting, web design, marketing, etc?
MAM: I formatted the ebook myself and will never do it again. I’d recommend it only for those who have a lot of patience. I paid a service to format for the print copy for the same reason and am very satisfied with it. Jera Publishing.
The original cover was done by an artist I contacted through Smashwords. It’s just been revised by my son, who is a graphic artist.
Q: Do you work with a writing group?
MAM: Yes! For me, being in a critique group of local writers was the answer to getting motivated to write an entire novel. I highly recommend it for any new author, although I’m aware that there are other opinions on this.
A group keeps you going and forces you to continue working during times you get lazy or distracted. My work has improved exponentially by being in a critique group. The other perk is, you make wonderful friends.
Q: Have you ever participated in #NaNoWriMo?
MAM: I haven’t. I’d love to, but haven’t got the time.
Q: Have you published any of your work for free? Why or why not?
MAM: I haven’t put my novel on for free because writers who’ve tried it haven’t benefitted very well. Their book does well while it’s free, then sales go back to normal after the free period.
I have posted short stories on various blogs with no fees.
Q: What tips or advice would you offer to writers who are about to join the self-published community?
MAM: Have an excellent product, well proofed, edited and formatted. Most importantly, expect to work hard at marketing and don’t expect too much too soon.
Q: Is there another writer (or two) in the Twitterverse that you would recommend newbies follow?
MAM: Konrath and John Locke come to mind, and are well worth following for new authors that want to epublish. They’ve both done it super-successfully and have a wealth of helpful information for the new author.
There are many others that give great advice on Twitter and LinkedIn, which are my favorite networking sites.
Q: What is coming up for you in the next few months?
MAM: My print copy (finally) of She’s Not There, and hoping to have my second suspense novel ready for the editing and proofing process.
Q: Do you have (or are planning) any audio books?
MAM: I think unless money is no object, audio books done well are pretty cost-prohibitive for a new author. When I hit it big, I’ll do one!
Q: Have you done a blog tour? Any advice or cautions?
MAM: Haven’t got around to that yet. I’ve heard pros and cons on their value.
Q: Do you create an outline before beginning a new book?
MAM: I don’t. And that is one of my big “shoulds.” The only outline I have is in my head.
I read that James Patterson does fifty-page outlines! Wish I had the perseverance for that. I believe an outline is a wonderful thing to use, but my mind seems to be resistant to it.
Q: Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
MAM: Only in the sense that I might be editing or proofing one while working on another. Right now I’m writing the second novel and have an idea for a third that runs through my imagination now and then.
Q: Do you use specialty software?
MAM: I haven’t, but I know some authors like them.
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?
MAM: None. And I’m still learning. Here again, my critique group was invaluable as one of the members self-published first and really helped me in many ways.
I think the biggest hurdle is making the first step; you have to start somewhere.
Q: What is the best comment/compliment you have received about your work?
MAM: The best one I have gotten was second-handed. My author friend, Donna White-Glaser, met with an area book club to give a talk and met someone who’d read my book. She told Donna, “It was so scary, that it kept me awake all night!”
It’s a real rush for an author to hear she has moved a reader emotionally.
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?
MAM: Reader reviews: Sometimes
Number of books already sold: No, not a factor.
Book cover: Sure. I expect the cover to tip me off to the genre I like.
Book summary: Always
Facebook ads: Not yet
Author's blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media: Occasionally.
Book price: I’m a library user and rarely pay for a book, but now and
then I do buy one to read on my Kindle. I have many favorite authors
and always follow them, but do read new authors if they write suspense
and the summary sounds intriguing.
Thank you, Marla, for sharing your publishing experiences with us! We wish you continued success, and hope you'll come back and give us an update in the spring.
Marla Madison is a retired Federal Mediator, now working as an Arbitrator for the state of Iowa and the Federal Mediation Service. She’s Not There is her debut suspense novel. Marla is working on a second in her home on Prairie Lake in Northwestern Wisconsin where she lives with her significant other, Terry, a beloved shelter-dog, Skygge, and Poncho, an opinionated feline from the same shelter.