I’m super excited about Pure Blood’s release. Having the trilogy complete is such a fantastic feeling. I really wanted to get them out close together so readers didn’t have to wait to find out what was going to happen.Thanks for letting me be first interview for 2012 too. How cool.
I am the mother of two young boys, the wife of a gorgeous school teacher and a passionate writer. I have grown up with stories dancing around in my brain, but I didn’t write my first one until I was 23. Ten years of learning and studying has flown by and I finally feel as though my work is good enough to be published. I am also a fully trained elementary teacher and particularly like teaching middle grade students. They are such a cool age. I think that’s one of the reasons I like writing YA.
My best friend was the one who inspired me to write my first book, but the actual stories come from all over the place. Songs, movies, concepts, poetry, nature. It only takes the smallest spark to ignite the imagination.
Watching movies. I love getting lost in a great story.
Hmmm – that’s a tough one. I’m quite an open and honest person, so I don’t tend to surprise people much.How about this? I used to take kick boxing classes. Loved them. I suck at sport, but I love beating up a punching bag 🙂
Had you tried the Big 6 route before deciding to go Indie?
It was a difficult decision and I took my time making it. I had been trying the Big 6 for a while, with no luck, but I really felt like my stuff was good enough to put out there. I also knew that traditional companies were sometimes hesitant to go for a trilogy. My brother suggested I check out self-publishing as he’s an avid reader and had enjoyed numerous indie authors. I decided to look into and realized that it was a very plausible option for me. I knew it would be really hard work and I wouldn’t have the backing of a publishing company or agent, but I liked the idea of being my own boss and I felt like I was up to the challenge. I figured my trilogy could spend the next 5 years sitting in my hard drive while I tried to win over a publishing company, or I could jump into the Indie river and see how far I got swept down stream.
I have learned sooooo many things on this journey and I am still learning all the time. I’m not a great marketer (so I’ve discovered) so I have found that aspect really challenging. Knowing who to target and how to target on a $0 budget has been really hard. If I could afford to hirer a marketing guru to work with me, I’m sure my sales would jump through the roof, but I can’t and so I will continue to take one step at a time. I am still gaining momentum, day-by-day, but it is a slow-moving vehicle 🙂There is so much support out there in the writing world though and that has been a salvation. I think if I was doing this all over again, I’d take more time to research marketing strategy and build up my social media presence before putting my book on-line.
Take your time. Edit until your eyes bleed. Get feedback from your critique partners, your beta readers and then keep working on the story until it’s brilliant. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to get your work properly line edited. No mistakes is always your ultimate goal.You also want to take time to get your cover right. A professional looking cover speaks volumes. I was lucky enough to have a friend who was a graphic designer who generously offered to do the work for me. I’ll pay her back when I make my millions ;o)Also read up on as much as you can. Make connections in the writing world. Get your book reviewed before it’s even released. Make yourself known throughout social media. You’ll get a following who are dying to support you. The writing world is a very warm and encouraging place to hang out.
Seeing your book on-line, watching it sell and then having people write to you and tell you they LOVED it, is the biggest buzz in the world.
I still have much to learn, but it’s been hard wrapping my head around the best way to target and reach my audience. Getting exposure can be really challenging.
I started by letting people know my intentions and getting some advice. I was led to Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing. These are both awesome places to publish your books. I decided to start with just e-book copies of my books, but have since realized that putting paperbacks out is also a really good idea. Hence the reason this trilogy will be re-released in paperback with new covers in March, April & May.I read every thing I possibly could on both sites until I felt comfortable that I knew what I was doing. Smashwords has fantastic information, outlining everything really clearly. It made formatting the book a breeze and I didn’t have any issues uploading my book as I had followed everything to the letter.Once Golden Blood was up, I then started looking at marketing (as I said earlier, this is possibly the wrong way around, but it has still worked for me). I e-mailed numerous sites to review my book and heard back from about 50% of them. I also got linked into sites that would support me and promote my books. YA Lit Chat has been awesome, as well as all the great groups on Facebook. Goodreads is another excellent site. It’s all about getting exposure for your book.I participated in a blog tour in December, which brought a ton of traffic through my blog and gained me a steady flow of new followers on Twitter. I also have a big blog tour coming up at the end of March. I have my fingers crossed for good things.
Getting in with people who have some influence and sway is a really good move. I am hoping for really good results from this blog tour in March. I guess I have to wait and see how that goes, but bringing traffic through your sites and getting exposure is a great way to go. I also think giveaways and sales are a really good move. I made Golden Blood available for free for two weeks leading up to the release of Black Blood. I had a whole bunch of people grab it, so that was worth doing.
Do you think there is a different strategy in releasing a trilogy compared to a stand-alone title and what is the difference, if any?
I was advised, that if I could, I should release the trilogy close together. The more books you have out there, the more potential for sales. I took that advice on board and released them quickly… maybe too quickly? It’s been really hard to build up much momentum for Black Blood (Bk 2) as Golden Blood is still getting off the ground. At this stage, I’m still spending quite a bit of time promoting the first book. I really hope it has a good flow on effect. If people love Golden Blood then they will hopefully be after Black Blood and it will be immediately available for them. However, I am going to spend some time shifting my focus to Black Blood and Pure Blood leading up to the paperback releases.I guess if you only have one title to promote, it would be a lot easier in that regard, because you’d only be pushing one book.
I read a blog post by Patti Larsen about the Dos and Don’ts of Indie writing. It was SUCH a good post and I found it so encouraging. The thing that really stuck out for me was – don’t worry about constantly checking your stats and fussing, just write another book 🙂 She had lots of great advice, but her main point was to write another book.
Write because you love it. Write a story that will capture people’s hearts and minds. As awesome as this industry is, being a writer is really hard work. If you find yourself slogging along and hating it, then you should probably stop. Whichever path you choose to take in the publishing world it’s going to be really challenging and there will be days you feel like a totally crap writer or that no one will ever accept your manuscript or buy your book.I have been riding a roller coaster ever since taking the plunge. I can go from a low to a high to a low, all in one day, but not once have I wanted to quit. You have to take all the hard stuff on the chin and just keep writing.
I have always loved high school movies and books. There’s something about teenagers that I just adore. They are so passionate about life. They think they are invincible yet can be totally insecure as well. I love the way they fall in love with everything they have. They are complex, awesome, fascinating beings. That’s why I like to write about them 🙂
I really like Simone Elkeles – she writes excellent stories with lots of emotion and tension. I find her books really hard to put down. I quite like Ally Carter as well. She has a fantastic sense of humour. I also have a long list of indie YA authors on my “to read” list so keep an eye out for my reviews. I’m bound to discover more brilliance as I work my way through these books.
Tell us who would be on the guest list and tell us what food would be served?
What a great question 🙂 I love it.Okay…My two favourite characters from the Time Spirit Trilogy are Harrison and Gabe.Along with them, I’d invite Kat and Gabrielle from the Heist Society Series (Ally Carter), because they are just fantastic, funny & very entertaining.I’d also love to be joined by Mark & his best friend, Brian from Screwing Up Time (C. M. Keller)So that would give us two gorgeous, sassy girls, three very likeable teenage guys and one relaxed father figure.Food wise, we’d have to go for pizza 🙂
I want to provide them with an entertaining story that they struggle to put down. I want them to be thinking about the characters when they’re not reading. I want them to step out of reality for a little while and get lost in someone else’s emotional and physical adventures.
The overall message for the Time Spirit Trilogy is about breaking free. As Gemma walks this journey throughout the books she is learning to fight for what she wants and ultimately gain her freedom.Each book has a main theme that drove me through the stories…Golden Blood – hopeBlack Blood – betrayalPure Blood – sacrifice
i) Have you always been fascinated with time travel.
Yes – I love history. The idea of being able to travel back and see it with my own eyes is tantalizing.
To be honest, I haven’t read many time travel stories. I quite like that I haven’t, because it means all my ideas were fresh to me. In saying that, I have seen a few time travel movies I enjoyed like, Timeline and of course the Back To the Future series (how old am I?)
Black Blood is my favourite. I’m not even sure why. I just really love Gemma’s journey through that book. I feel like she really starts to come into her own and discover the strength she has buried deep down inside her.
I love Gabe. I don’t want to say too much, because of spoilers, but Gabe is the coolest guy. He’s calm, relaxed… a brilliant contrast to all of Gemma’s turmoil.
For readers: Does your trilogy need to be read in the order it was written to be best appreciated?
Yes – very much so. I actually wrote all three books in one go. There is a big story arc that spans the three books and then three smaller arcs inside that (one for each book). To understand all the links and subplots, you really need to read them in order.
Are you working on anything new? Can you give us a sneak peek/blurb?
I have a few things in the pipeline.
The next book to be released (hopefully July this year) is co-authored with a friend of mine, Brenda Howson. It is the first book in the Mica & Lexy series. These books will stand on their own and not need to be read in any particular order. We are hoping to release one a year. They follow the adventures of two kiwi girls who have been best friends forever. As they reach their senior years in high school, their friendship is put under different pressures as the girls acquire boyfriends and have to deal with the new dynamics. On top of this, they have the uncanny ability to get themselves in the worst situations, so each book will be filled with plenty of tension and nail biting. I’m really excited about this series. I love these two girls so much and we have so many cool adventures planned for them.
I am also in the early planning stages of a stand alone paranormal romance called Betwixt… about a girl who is hit by a car. She is lying in the forest, lost and dying, stuck between two worlds. In her ghost like form, the only person who can hear her is a boy who just happens to hate her guts. With the clock ticking, she must convince him to help her and then do whatever she can to find out where she is so that he can save her life.
I am published on Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/melissapearland Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/melissapearl
I have two blogs:http://yalicious.blogspot.co.nz/ (co-authored with Brenda Howson)
I love connecting with people, so please leave a comment anywhere and I will always do my best to respond.
I have had some fantastic feedback on these books and it warms my heart everytime. My goal was to write stories that entertained and were really hard to put down. To read the reviews and realize I am doing just that, totally makes my day. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to review or rate my books or leave a comment on any of my pages. It means so much to me.For those of you who haven’t read my stuff yet, I really hope you enjoy it 🙂
- The first 2 tweets will be the lucky winners but make sure you comment on this post with the URL of your tweet.
The Time Spirit Trilogy
by Melissa Pearl
Book 1 ~ GOLDEN BLOOD
Purchase here on Amazon
Purchase here on Smashwords
St. Augustine, Florida – 2011 AD
Book 2 ~ BLACK BLOOD
- Golden Blood’s Gemma Dishes Her Teen Time Travel Guide, with Author Melissa Pearl (laurasmagicday.wordpress.com)