Melissa Foster, author of Megan's Way, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Megan's Way?
MELISSA FOSTER: Megan's Way is a very personal story. It was born from an event with my mother, and grew into the world of a mother and daughter who were embraced so tightly in the arms of their friends that they were each able to make it to, and through, the devastation of Megan's illness. I've been surprised at the response from readers, many of whom want to see it made into a film. Luckily, I've just connected with a director and we're working on creating a screenplay for the film festival venue.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
MELISSA FOSTER: It sounds very cliche, but my characters come to me almost fully formed, with backgrounds, personalities, styles, and the like. Differentiating is easy, because just like people you meet in your everyday life, no two are ever the same. We all have our own insecurities and personalities, and I transfer those differences through the keyboard.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
MELISSA FOSTER: Anyone who loves a good read. Megan's Way has been well accepted by women of all ages and to my surprise, men as well.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
MELISSA FOSTER: I think you mean what is my journey, because I'm not sure it ever ends. Writing is a learning process, and I believe I'll be learning and growing for many years to come.
My husband and I have six children and I had to wait for them all to be in school full-time before being able to concentrate enough to write (and have the time to do so). I spent 15 years yearning to write, taking notes, scribbling parts of stories on notepads and scraps of paper, and eventually, our youngest went to school and I found my home—in front of the keyboard.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
MELISSA FOSTER: I love to write, but I need several hours in order to climb into the heads of my characters and really create scenes. I typically spend from 9-2 writing Monday through Friday, and I don't write during the summer months, late June through the end of August.
As for the process of writing, I rarely use anything that resembles an outline. I find that it's too structured and confining for my mind. However, when I have ideas about where the manuscript should go, I do keep notes on scenes and plots and such.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
MELISSA FOSTER: I gain so much from so many different authors. Every pubished author is an inspiration to me. Their work is proof that the written word is valuable. I find value in and learn from most novels that I read.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
MELISSA FOSTER: That is such a difficult question! I wish I could write as beautifully as Snow Flower and The Secret Fan is written. The characters and the world created by Lisa See drives me to work diligently to create just as vivid of a world for my readers.
DAVID WISEHART: How was your experience with Outskirts Press?
MELISSA FOSTER: My experience with Outskirts Press was pretty uneventful. They were very professional and helpful, however, I did find that their "hook" of personalized service changed once I signed on as a client. After signing, services are then handled through email, with no personal contact, which is a bit off-putting. I needed an avenue to distribution, and Outskirts provided that. I've since been contacted by two indie publishers who are interested in re-publishing Megan's Way. I'm not sure which direction I'll go.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
MELISSA FOSTER: I market Megan's Way in many ways. I attend book festivals and events, hold discussions with book clubs, book signings, word of mouth, and of course, blog tours, social media (Facebook, Twitter, the Women's Nest), and advertising on those sites as well. Marketing is an ongoing process for writers, no matter who their publisher is. Luckily, I have a marketing background, so it was an easy transition from writer to marketer, but I believe for many authors it's a difficult and daunting task. By the way, I'm happy to share any of my experiences about writing, publishing, and marketing with other authors and people who hope to become published authors.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
MELISSA FOSTER: More and more readers are moving toward ebooks. For that reason, I believe any publishing efforts have to include that venue or you're immediately behind in the marketplace.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
MELISSA FOSTER: First and foremost, know that self-publishing isn't enough on its own. You must be able to market and promote your book for readers to know that it exists. For this reason, I always recommend that authors try the conventional route of traditional publishing first, but if that fails, or if they are a one-time author who just wants to get their book out to readers, or if they're not willing to give up control of the cover, title, and sometimes more, then self-publishing might be the way to go. I would recommend thoroughly researching self-publishing firms and the distribution that is offered, and working with Amazon to offer their book on Kindle.
Regarding self-publishing on the Kindle alone—GO FOR IT and then market the heck out of it! In my opinion, based on the difficulties in the publishing industry right now, although I believe (and hope) that paper books will be around forever, I also believe that ebooks will quickly become the more traveled path by readers.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melissa Foster is an author and the Founder of the Women's Nest, an online social and support community for women. She writes an on-going column in Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Prior to writing, Melissa owned and operated a consulting firm specializing in human resources. Melissa and her husband have six children and live in Maryland.
Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.
Melissa's Motto: "Enjoy each and every day. No one else will do it for you."
Visit her websites:
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