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?
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!