This month I'm pleased to bring you an interview with self-published romance author Zoey Derrick. Her first novel, Finding Love's Wings, was released in both ebook and paperback formats in May 2013. She is one of my editing clients and is also the person who has taught me the most about DIY book publicity. I'm thrilled that she agreed to do this interview and share her experiences with us.
I encourage you to connect with her on Twitter and Facebook and to check out her website, www.zoeyderrick.com
And with that, I'm pleased to bring you the interview.
ZOEY: I want to start off by saying thank you for having me on your blog today. Over the last 7 months you and I have worked very closely together on Finding Love’s Wings and we are coming back together again for Give Me Reason (Book 1 of The Reason Series) and I’m honored to be a part of your blog. I was so excited when you asked me for an interview and it means the world to me that we get to keep working together. <KISSES>
[Sione's note: Yes, she really is that sweet. Seriously, you should connect with her. She's awesome.]
What are your goals as a writer?
I want to create enjoyable, engaging stories that readers love. I want them to be able to relate to my characters, my settings, and my style and love every minute of what they’re reading. Of course, eventually, I would love to be a part of a publishing house and who knows, maybe even have an NYT or USA Today bestseller. For now though, I’d love to be an Amazon bestseller.
Tell us a little bit about your work(s) in progress.
Have I ever told you how much I love this question? <grin> <deep breath>
Currently I am working on Draft 3 of a brand new paranormal romance that you’ve been fortunate enough to read. This is the story of Vivienne and Mikah and it is coming along great. More to come on this soon.
I’m also working on the continuation of Link and Nyssa from "Devilish Desire" that was originally posted to www.deadlyeverafter.com in December then in February. This is a little slower going, but it’s coming along nicely. Ironically enough, the PNR [paranormal romance] Give Me Reason is an angel romance and "Devilish Desire" is a devil romance.<grin>
I’ve been clicking away here and there on the sequel to Finding Love’s Wings. I’m really excited about this because of all the fabulous reviews Finding Love’s Wings is receiving.
How do you make time to write in addition to having your day job?
I spend a lot of late nights at the computer. If not at my computer, it’s on my phone during breaks at work (usually only for writing, not editing). Most days I drag my Mac to the office with me so that during lunch I can spend a good hour working on either writing or editing.
What do you do when you get stuck in your writing? (Assuming this even happens to you.)
It’s not that common for me to get stuck in my writing, but I’ve found that some of my “writer's block” comes from having a more pressing story going on in my head. For example, I have about 8 different stories on my computer that I’ve started, just enough to get it out of my head. Most of those will never go anywhere beyond where they are right now.
How have you built a supportive community as a writer?
I’m not entirely sure how I managed to build a wonderful support group within the community. I think just by talking openly and honestly about my own book and sharing books that I love to read. One example is MarataEros, who is an amazing paranormal writer who gets you so engrossed in the stories that you forget your actually reading. But through Marata I was fortunate to meet the beautiful Crystal Rants and the inspirational Angie Batty (Aussie Girl Book Lover’s Blog) and from there it has snowballed into the wonderful people (such as yourself) that I’m now surrounded by.
How has connecting with other writers via social media been helpful to you?
Being active on Twitter and Facebook I’ve met some wonderful authors, bloggers, editors (present company included), and cover artists. Authors have helped with advice on how to go about the publishing and sometimes even the writing process. Bloggers are HUGE because I don’t think that Finding Love’s Wings would have anywhere near as many downloads as it does today without their posts or tweets. Editors, I think this one is obvious, but you and I connected through Twitter and now Finding Love’s Wings is available to all. And without Twitter, I would have never met the fabulous Olivia Rivers who is responsible for FLW’s Cover. :)
Tell us about your process for promoting Finding Love’s Wings. What steps did you take to build interest and get the word out?
I started early. I started writing Finding Love’s Wings at the very end of July 2012, and by mid August I had posted my first blog post, and started my Twitter account. I sought out the authors that I love to read and began following them. Originally my blog contained several (still does) reviews of some of my favorite stories.
Doing all this I met other authors, told them I was writing my first book and they helped me with retweets, when I got stuck, you name it. From there I found followers, following along in my journey, enjoying my reviews, my blog posts, so on and so forth. It helped spread the word and those connections were excited to share with the world what it was that I was up to.
In what ways did you use your relationships with people in the writing community to help you produce/promote Finding Love’s Wings?
Well, I learned about the writing program I use – Scrivener – From Kelly Harper, and a lot of my other contacts were met through the writing community I found in the world of Twitter and Facebook. Also, a lot of those relationships are turning into review and blog post opportunities.
I’m still waiting on my first author quote to add to my book jackets. :)
How did you learn about self-publishing and self-promoting?
It’s a LOT of hard work. Self-publishing was stressful because it’s my first book. Self-promoting is a never-ending battle. For example, I spent 90% of today looking up review blogs, submitting review requests, requesting information from websites about ads and ad placements and discussing an upcoming review. It’s time consuming but it is OH SO MUCH FUN! One thing I learned early on is that I need to stop being afraid of “selling” myself.
What advice do you have for first-time novelists who are thinking about self-publishing their books? Would you recommend it?
Hire an editor, don’t be scared, and jump in and do it. Plan for long nights, stressful days, and frustrations when things don’t go your way. Marketing is HUGE! You need to build up relationships with bloggers, reviewers, beta readers, cover artists (unless you’re fabulous with Photoshop). Having those connections will make it easier when the time comes to have all of these things come together.
I would absolutely recommend self-publishing because it allows you freedoms that working with a publisher wouldn’t normally allow. However, each person is different and I recommend weighing all your options before you proceed.
Anything else you want to share about your writing process?
I’m a linear writer. I can’t bounce around from one scene to another scene and then bring them back together again. I found that the scenes I wrote out of order were later tossed because they no longer fit the arc of the story or they ended up moved several times because the timing was off. But, just because this is how I write, and a lot of writers write, it doesn’t mean that you have to write this way.