At the beginning of summer a publishing website contacted me to ask if I'd do a Q&A for their blog. I said yes, the guy sent the questions, I answered and emailed my responses, and that was it. Literally, that was it. I never heard back.
It slipped my mind until recently, when I woke up from a sound sleep in panic mode. What if he never got my email and thought that I hadn't followed-up? I pride myself on being reliable, if nothing else. So to ease my mind, I emailed to double check and the guy assured me he had indeed gotten my interview, and that in fact, he'd already posted it on the site.
Ummm.... Call me confused because I looked and it wasn't there. I'm not sure which one of us is mixed-up here, but I didn't want to belabor the point. And since I hate to waste anything, I'm posting it here. ツ
Q&A with Karen McQuestion
What is your latest book about?
I’m currently working on an adult novel, but the book that will be released next, in November, is titled Secrets of the Magic Ring. It’s a follow-up to my middle grade novel, Celia and the Fairies. This time around the main character is Celia’s friend Paul.
What inspired you to write it?
At the end of Celia and the Fairies, Paul and Celia watched as a work crew dug an enormous hole in his backyard in preparation for an inground pool. I hadn’t planned on writing a sequel, but one night when I was nearly asleep the thought hit me—Paul was going to find something really cool in the hole! The story went from there.
How is ebook technology changing things for you as an author?
Without ebook technology, I wouldn’t have a career. Two years ago I was a wannabe novelist with a backlog of adult and kid’s books languishing on my hard drive. In July 2009, I uploaded my books to be available on Amazon’s Kindle. This was before the Nook and iPad. I’d never seen an ebook device except as an image on my computer, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was shocked when the books sold and delighted when word-of-mouth on the Amazon message boards boosted my books to bestsellers.
As a result of these sales, and good reviews, one of my books, A Scattered Life, was optioned for film and I was offered a publishing contract with AmazonEncore. on August 23rd, two of my books, Easily Amused and A Scattered Life, will be released in trade paperback by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
In short, because of ebook technology, I can now make a living writing fiction. And believe me, it’s so much more fun writing when you know other people will be reading your books.
What advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
The usual advice applies: perfect your craft and write compelling stories. If you decide to self-publish, take the time to do it right. It’s important to have the manuscript well edited. Your description, formatting, and cover image should be on par with those done professionally (or as close as possible). Use a low price to entice readers.
But most of all: don’t give up. Everyone gets discouraged on occasion. When times are tough, remember why you were drawn to this in the first place. Words have power. As writers we have the capacity to entertain or touch people through our work. And writing is fun! It doesn’t get much better than a good day at the keyboard when you’re in the flow and the words come almost effortlessly.
When you’re trying to get published (or are frustrated because your ebook sales are sluggish), it’s easy to forget the joy of writing. Do what you need to do to get that joy back. Write the weird book that doesn’t fit neatly into a category, or the quiet, touching novel that lacks a great marketing hook. Trust me; if it’s a good story that’s well written, there are readers out there who will love it. Keep the faith.