Sunday, August 25, 2013

Author Interview - Maria Hoagland

Today we are excited to chat with Maria Hoagland, the Membership Director for Indie Author Hub. You can learn more about her here.

Q. Maria, many of the Indie authors in this group published traditionally first and then began to self-publish. Tell us a little bit about why you decided to self-publish first, or the circumstances that led to that.

A. I published indie from the start. I didn't start my publishing journey with that in mind, of course, because when starting out, all I knew was traditionally published, so that's what was in my mind. So I did the write, edit, submit, reject, lock-in-a-drawer-and-forget-it-for-a-year-or-two, repeat cycle twice, before I really got serious about publishing. That was about the same time I started attending a certain writers' conference and learned more about the industry. Because my novel was written for an LDS audience, I started pitching to publishers in that market who liked the idea, but told me that women's fiction doesn't sell well. I submitted to a few more smaller presses and got some helpful feedback, but at the same time, I was getting frustrated at the time it took to hear back from publishers (because I thought I had to do them one at a time). The best part about having to wait while the manuscript was being assessed was that I took the time to research all my options and decided I liked the independent publishing route. By the time I finished my second novel, I didn't even submit it to publishers because I was satisfied that indie pubbing was the path I wanted for my career. I might find I make that decision each time I'm finishing a new book, or I might just stick with indie. I love that we're looking at ways to help each other and that, I think, will only bring success.

Q. How many words do you typically write in a week?

A. Like my running, that varies way too much to have a "typical." I love having occasional challenges like Camp NaNoWriMo to get me motivated and bump up the word count, but I do find it easy to put writing off until after my "day job" (I work part-time as an ESL tutor) and my family duties. My goal this month is to set a better schedule and "Just Do It!"

Q. Are you an outliner or do you fly by the seat of your pants.?

A. I am definitely an outliner. I bless the day I heard about Scrivener because before that, I literally carried around index cards with scene ideas on them. Now I jot them on Post-It Notes, arrange them on my wall (as learned in Elana Johnson's "Cat" class), then transfer them all into Scrivener. I don't always follow the outline, but it sure makes it easier to just jump in wherever I am and write a scene.

Q. What television show would you consider your guilty pleasure (if you have one)?

A. Through the years, Northern Exposure and LOST have been my favorite TV series. If I had to choose one now, it would probably be Once Upon a Time or Elementary, but I'm looking for something more like the first two I mentioned, if anyone has any good suggestions for me... 

Q. How do you choose names for your characters?

A. You hit a nerve with that question. For my first book, even two, it was easy. I picked names I liked, checked to make sure the name fit the age (on social security records or baby name websites) and all was good. Until I realized I used some of the same names for both books without realizing it!! Big oops! My advice: keep track of the little names--the side characters you don't think matter. That's where I messed up! This time around, I'm having a lot more trouble choosing names with my WIP because I've been told I "can't" use the name for my MC that I really, really want. I'm told that name didn't exist circa 1970 but more like 1990. Which is true, but ... I don't want to stick with the top 100 names of that birth year if I don't have to. I want this character to be unique. What about the rest of you? What would you do in my situation?

Didn't mean to hit a nerve, but maybe we can help Maria out. What advice would you give her, readers?

Thank you for joining us, Maria, and thanks for all you do for our group!

No comments: