Today I’m thankful for the ability to self publish, and the awesome author ready to clarify the different paths of self publishing and traditionally self publishing is none other than the awesome:
MICHELLE MADOW (Author of the Transcend Time Saga, the Secret Diamond Sisters Series and the Elementals Series)
When and why did you decide to self-publish?
I self-published my first series, The Transcend Time Saga, to get my foot into the door of the world of publishing. In 2011, when I self-published the first book in the series, Remembrance, self-publishing was just beginning to take off, and it seemed like a fantastic opportunity. Remembrance is about reincarnation and true love, and there were a few other books with a reincarnation theme being published at the time, so publishers were hesitant to take on another. However, I believed in the story, so I published it myself. Luckily, readers loved the story as well!
After self-publishing The Transcend Time Saga, I got a publishing deal from Harlequin Teen for my next series, The Secret Diamond Sisters. The final book in that series, Diamonds are Forever, released on October 27th. There are many pros and cons of both types of publishing (I blogged about these more in depth on my own blog), which is why I am now a hybrid author. (Hybrid meaning that I do both self and traditional publishing.) It gives me the best of both worlds!
How was writing the SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS series different from writing the TRANSCEND TIME saga?
The main differences about the two series is that The Transcend Time Saga is written from first person point of view, and stays in Lizzie’s point of view for the entire time. The Secret Diamond Sisters is written in third person point of view, and the story is told through four narrators in rotating chapters. This actually made The Secret Diamond Sisters much more challenging to write, because I had to master the internal voices of all four girls and make sure that they were different enough to not confuse the reader. Plotting was also much more difficult when switching point of views, especially because I was rigid in the order of alternating chapters. The chapters always alternated in this order: Savannah, Courtney, Peyton, Madison. Not only did their four voices need to be different, but the plot had to progress in a way that made sense to tell it from those four alternating points of view. It was a huge challenge for me as a writer!
What are you working on now?
I am currently drafting Book 2 of my Elementals series – a YA urban fantasy series. The Elementals series involves witches and Greek mythology, and it’s a series that fans of Percy Jackson will love! The first book, The Prophecy of Shadows, is coming out on January 26, 2016. You can CLICK HERE to add it as to-read on Goodreads. I hope to have the second book out in April 2016.
This past year I also wrote another book – a mind-bending, YA thriller involving time travel and a parallel universe. My agent currently has it out on submission to publishing houses, so I’m hoping to hear good news!
If you could be any of the Diamond sisters for a day, who would you be and what would you do?
I would definitely be Savannah – because she is a fantastic singer! I’ve always wanted to be an amazing singer, but I’ve always been mediocre. I think it would be fun to be able to sing and have it sound fantastic :)
Is self-publishing as hard as people make it out to be?
ALL publishing is extremely difficult! Whether it’s self or traditional publishing, in this day and age, the author is in charge of most of their own marketing and publicity. Self-publishing The Transcend Time Saga was a huge learning experience for me, and looking back on it, there was so much I wish I had done differently. Mainly – I did no pre-publicity for Remembrance, which was a huge mistake. I’m really excited to be able to apply what I learned from that first time around to the upcoming publication of Elementals, and I’m excited to see where it takes me!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
A writer I know once told me, “You have to write one million bad words before you write anything others want to read,” and that is so true. Writing is a skill, and like any other skill, it takes practice to improve. Know what time of day you get your best writing done, and force yourself to write during that time, even if you’re not feeling “inspired.” Writing is work, and it’s not going to be fun all the time. There will be parts you will struggle with, that will frustrate you to no end and make you want to hit your keyboard, but you need to keep your end goal in mind. Set a minimum goal of how many words you can comfortably write per day, and reach that minimum five days a week. Make sure your goal per day is attainable for you—if it’s too high, it will be frustrating and will make you want to quit. And remember that even if you’re having a rough writing day, force yourself to reach that minimum. First drafts don’t need to be perfect, since you will edit it afterward. Once your draft is completed, edit to the best of your ability. Show it to friends, family, and teachers to ask their advice on how to improve.
Next you need to research to figure out if you want to self-publish or try to get a traditional publisher. If you want to go traditional, visit www.agentquery.com and read everything you can on the site to learn how to query agents. If you want to self-publish, use Google to learn how to increase your chances of success. The Internet holds limitless amounts of information — use it to gain knowledge before jumping into anything.
Remember that if you believe in yourself and if you want it badly enough, you are giving yourself the best chance for success. Then be prepared for rejection, and don’t let rejection stop you from pushing forward and writing your next book. Remember: the people who make it are the ones who never gave up!
Michelle Madow is the author of The Secret Diamond Sisters series, The Transcend Time Saga, and the upcoming Elementals series. Michelle Madow grew up in Baltimore, graduated Rollins College in Orlando, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She wrote her first book in her junior year of college, and has been writing novels since. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle has toured across America to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.
Visit Michelle online: www.michellemadow.com