Annmarie McQueen has been self-publishing for about 5 months now. A young author, she has already had significant success with her sales, so I wanted to find out more about her book and how she has gone about marketing and networking.
1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
Cold Water is a YA contemporary romance about a 16-year-old girl who runs away from home, only to faint and wake up in the house of a boy called Ash. She ends up staying with Ash and his mother for the summer, to escape her oppressive older sisters, and slowly ends up falling in love with him. However, it’s not all just puppy love; there are definitely some darker elements to the book, and the ending may not be quite what you’d expect. As strange as this sounds, I was inspired to write this book by a Pokemon fanfiction I read once when I was young. At the time I thought it’d be a good way to channel my teenage angst into something creative, so a few years later I started work on this book. Just to clarify, I’m nearly 18 right now and finished writing/polishing this book last year.
2. How have your sales been?
Incredible. Well, to me they are. I was honestly expecting to only sell 2 or 3 copies a week, but I’ve been selling on average 500 a month!
3. Have you sought an agent or any work with traditional publishers?
Yes, I tried querying agents for about a year in vain. I got a few full requests, but nothing more. Now that I think about, I should have gone back and edited more before querying.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
I’ve loved it! It’s been almost like a dream – I’ve had random people contact me on Twitter and through various other sites telling me that they really enjoyed my book, and every time I have to read through the message at least twice to make sure it’s real.
5. Describe the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your e-book. Which ones have been most successful?
I’ve mainly been promoting on writing forums, putting my book cover in my signature. I posted free samples on various websites such as Wattpad and Worthy of Publishing, with links to the Amazon copy. However, the most effective method of marketing for me was putting my book on sale for a week – in that week my sales increased tenfold, and when I put it back to original price they continued to increase.
6. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
Self-publishing isn’t just for amateurs who can’t get published the ‘traditional’ way. Since I’ve started reading works by other indie authors, I’ve realised that actually there are lots of amazing self-published books and that they shouldn’t be discriminated against because of it. Agents and publishers don’t always know what’s best, and just because you’ve been rejected it doesn’t mean you can’t be successfully self-published.
7. Independent authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie author just starting out?
Make sure you’re well aquainted with social networking sites. Get Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Myspace….. You need to build a fanbase before you release the book – start posting ads and tweeting and basically get noticed. If you want to be an indie author, remember the most important rule: social networking is your best friend, so use it wisely. Oh, and rule number 2: Edit the hell out of your book.
8. What projects are you currently working on?
I finished writing my second novel, a YA paranormal, last year. I’ve decided to release it the day after my 18th birthday (9th of March next year, send me presents guys!) to allow time for polishing, perfecting and dealing with my own University-related life issues. I think that this book is a lot darker and more mature than my first one – there’s actually a plot, and unlike many teen novels I’ve decided to focus on friendship rather than romance. The book revolves mostly around male characters, which was a struggle for me. I tried to make it different than my first book in every way possible, and honestly I’m quite happy with how it turned out.
9. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
Think sarcastic, cynical, occasionally apocalyptic teenage brat in written form.
10. How can readers learn more about your books?
For more information and samples of either book please visit my website at: www.annmariemcqueen.webs.com.
Or follow me on Twitter to keep up to date with any important news: http://twitter.com/#!/fanaticwriter1
Facebook fanpage for Cold Water: