Sunday, August 11, 2013

Virtual Coffee Interview with Melissa Pearl

Melissa Pearl Blog
The author of 7 YA novels and situated in China, it's great to get Melissa Pearl's thoughts on writing and the industry. I wish her novels were around when I was a YA, with an exotic touch to these role models for young women.

Hi Melissa. You've actually lived in a number of different countries. When did you start writing and how has the travel influenced it?

I started seriously writing about 12 years ago. Before that, I had always had stories running through my head, but it wasn't until I was 23 that I wrote my first full-length novel. I fell in love with the craft immediately and set about learning how to improve. I guess the travel has influenced me in the sense that I have been able to experience many different cultures. I think it has helped me learn to understand people better and how to read them. I love getting inside the human psyche and figuring out why characters act the way they do. Seeing different cultures has broadened my perspective. We may all be human, but we are all raised very differently and this has a huge impact on how we react to the things life throws at us. 

I love the idea of the Taste Test, a free collaborative novella containing book extracts. Tell us about that, how has it been received? Also what has been your most effective marketing plan?

The Taste Test was not my idea originally, but I ended up taking the reins and pulling it all together in the end. It was a mission, but also a pleasure. I got to work with some fantastic authors. There are so many cool people in the writing world :) We made it FREE so that readers could sample the goods and hopefully discover an author or two they had never heard of. The download numbers have been really great and I think it has lead to sales for all of us. It's all about positive exposure, right?

My most successful marketing move has been to put Golden Blood (my first published book) online for FREE. I have since run some ads and this has lead to a huge spike in sales, which in turn has grown my fan base and led to many more sales. It has been an absolute thrill to see people enjoying my work.

Paid advertising is out of fashion these days, interesting to hear that you've found it so valuable. Given that the onus is on authors to do their own marketing, do you think first time authors should self-publish by default?

I have found self-publishing a great start to my career. I have learned SO much along the way, plus had the added bonus of earning a little money and entertaining readers at the same time. It's been a hard slog, but the right move for me. Doors have started opening a little wider in the last few months and after nearly two years, I feel like I'm starting to turn a corner and build some constant momentum.

How does writing a trilogy compare with writing individual books? Do you have a favourite amongst your work?

Writing a trilogy is much more in-depth and therefore harder, but it's no less fun than an individual book. Because I chose to release The Elements Trilogy in quick succession, it turned into a mammoth undertaking. I'm nearly there. Unleashed (Bk 3) is due out August 2013. It's been a big adventure and one I am very proud of completing...although I'm not in a hurry to repeat it just yet :D

I love all my stories for different reasons, but Betwixt is still my favourite. I love the characters so much. I love Nicole's voice and I'm really happy with how the story turned out in the end. I've actually just started writing a prequel novella (Before) and will be releasing that and a sequel novella (Beyond) later this year. It's really cool to hang out with the characters again.

I love the cover of Betwixt. In fact all the covers look great. How did you ensure that? Do you use the same agency each time?

I am lucky enough to have the world's best friend who knows graphic design and a husband who understands photography. Between the two of them, plus a few favours from a couple of other people, I have managed to pull together all my covers. However, my friend is getting a little busy with family life and her own sewing business (ZealousDesign) so for the first time, I have branched out and asked Eden Crane Design to do my next cover. She's done SUCH an amazing job. I can't wait to reveal the cover to everyone really soon :D 

That's exciting. Please do post a link in comments when the cover is revealed. What can we expect from you next? Would you write for a younger or older audience?
I have plans to write a few NA novels next year, but YA is still my main genre for now. Next year I have some exciting things planned. I have two new series starting (a YA leading into NA Paranormal Romance and a YA Contemporary Mystery/Romance? - still deciding on exact genre :D) I'll release the first books in both series, hopefully in the first half of 2014. I also have a couple of stand-alone novels I want to release. (a YA Contemp. Romance and an NA Contemp. Romance) And if I'm REALLY organised, I will release book two in each of the above series as well.

Read more interviews...

I'm so excited!! Bring on 2014 :D

Wow, that is a lot on your plate! Best of luck with all of it! It's been really interesting to get a peak at how you've developed as a writer and as a publisher. Thanks for the chat and do let us know about Unleashed...

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Found you on Book Blogs and followed via GFC and Google+
    Please check out my blog Once Upon a YA Book