- Blog posts - Doesn't matter if the post will go live on your blog or you're contributing to someone else's. The point is, these posts are meant to showcase your writing and your personality.
- Reviews - You need readers to realize you want the SAME THINGS they do from a book, and from there it only stands to reason they can expect MORE of those things from YOUR book.
- Articles - You don't always have to write with READERS in mind. You can also write to share tips with your colleagues, and if they like what they see then you won't have to ask for their help. They'll promote your books to their readers.
I can teach you how to write for an online audience. As a professional or even aspiring author - regardless of whether you're aiming for traditional publishing or self-publishing - there will be days when you need to reach out to your online audience through your writing.
Thanks for granting me a chance to interview you! Congratulations by the way for the success of your Rock Me books --- you have no idea how much I love those books and I can't wait to read the next titles in the series!
I'm putting on my reader's hat for my first few questions. Firstly, I've read both books (Naughty and Wicked) and in the two Tyler just comes across as really obnoxious. I'm pretty sure he'll be redeemed in his own book but right now I can't see it. Can you share anything about the woman who's going to capture his heart? It could help me and other readers understand more about him.
Yeah, Tyler is quite obnoxious! He's the sexy front man for the group, he's got an enormous ego and he loves the attention. He's a rock star. He's all about having fun and getting laid every night. Why would he settle for just one woman?
We'll learn more about Tyler in book 4. One way I like to shape some characters is to start off by having the readers not really like them. But by the end of Tyler's story, if I do my job correctly, I want the readers to love him and adore the couple he becomes part of.
It will become easier to understand Tyler when we start seeing things from his perspective. So who will be the woman that catches his heart? It will be fun to watch because Tyler will have it bad and it will be so unexpected for him.
And so she's still teasing me - I mean, us. It just means we have to wait until Tyler's story is out! Okay, next question - Alex and Lena...OMG I love the scenes when they were still both in college. Will we see more of that in Book 2? Any teaser about the sequel you can share with us?
Rock Me: Wicked
Alex and Lena's story is about 'the one that got away'. They were great friends in college and although we see through flashbacks that they both loved each other, they were never a romantic couple. When they find a second chance at love, the biggest obstacle is Alex's constant touring keeping them apart. So book 2 will focus on the challenges they face when Alex goes back on tour and they are separated again. They will be tested! And, I'd definitely like to incorporate the flashbacks in book 2. I think it shows an interesting contrast between their current relationship and their old one.
Yay for more Alex & Lena!
Next up - Nick and Allie. Love their story - so much that I have to confess to reading it before Wicked. Their romance was just so hot and sweet! I'd love to read more about them. Any chance of a sequel for these two?
Rock Me: Naughty
Nick and Allie's story is all about 'forbidden love'. I wanted to explore a forbidden relationship in a contemporary setting, but modern, western society no longer bats an eye at romances that used to be considered so taboo. Nick and Allie's love straddles the edge of what is considered acceptable today.
So now that they have been 'outed', so to speak, I think it would be fun to explore how they deal with it. What is it like in the media spotlight, how does society react, what do their friends and family think? Can their relationship hold up to the intense scrutiny?
There's no immediate plan for a sequel, but I've got ideas…
Ah, more teasers. :( I wanna cry! I need more Nick and Allie. But....I have to be patient. And fortunately, there's still The Billionaire's Son for me to check out, which I'm also excited to read. I've read the teaser actually and it totally got me hooked - so much so I have to set it aside or else I won't get to do any writing. =/
Anyway, can you tell us more about this book?
The Billionaire's Son is an erotic romance series packed with intrigue, danger, secrets, powerful billionaires, clandestine sex clubs and sizzling sex scenes. The heroine, Julia, has nothing but disdain for the impossibly sexy, Derek, when they first meet. He's an arrogant, spoiled playboy who seems to catch Julia at every turn in humiliating and compromising situations. As the mystery unfolds, Julia and Derek are thrown together and sparks fly. Ultimately, they not only find the answers they are searching for, but much more than they ever expected.
Currently, Part 1 is free on Amazon, i-tunes and Kobo!
Ah, that magic word - FREE. Readers: if you haven't downloaded any of her books yet, here's a chance for you to discover just how amazing her stories are! I kid you not. :) Okay, one last question for readers --- any other plans for new books aside from these two series?
Well, of course, I'm busy working on current series like 'Rock Me' and 'Dangerous Curves Ahead'. I'm also considering a spin-off to 'The Billionaire's Son'. I get a lot of interest in my inbox looking for more of that series even though the conclusion was quite definitive.
For my next 'new' book, I'd like to write a gothic erotic romance. Something really old-school (the kind I loved reading as a teen, before vampires and werewolves were huge). I'm thinking of the romances where the heroine ends up in some dark, creepy castle in some old eastern European country. The story would be filled with mysterious occurrences, dark and intriguing secretive men (ones who are super sexy, but are they good or bad guys? who can she trust?), secret passages - all that fun stuff. And of course, I'd modernize it so that there were plenty of sexy and erotic scenes with a healthy dose of romance added!
Ooooh...you had me at Gothic. Then creepy castles and erotic combined? When is this coming out? I mean, seriously! Please come and drop by to answer this haha. Buuut I digress. Sorry my reader's side got the better of me. Writers or would-be writers, never fear: I haven't forgotten you. Our next questions are for you.
First up: how did your writing career start? Did you try to be traditionally published first?
I started writing purely for fun, mostly short stories. I got an idea for a novel that I spent months obsessively writing 'in my head' before I ever set pen to paper. Finally, I challenged myself to sit down and see if I could actually produce it. I loved every minute of it!
I haphazardly sent query letters to about 10 literary agents before realizing that the chase wasn't for me. So, the novel sat in a drawer for a year. At the time, I equated self-publishing with vanity publishing, so I never even considered that avenue. Finally, a friend was self-pubbing her back catalog of romance novels and convinced me to try it. It was a terrific experience, and I've never considered traditional publishing since.
What is your writing routine like? How much of your time do you spend marketing, blogging, networking, and writing books?
I keep a flexible schedule (I'm more of a binge writer), but I don't recommend it. I write a lot in the evening when my kids are sleeping. I really recommend writing everyday, because it's so easy to get out of the groove. When things are hectic during the day, I keep a writing journal nearby where I can brainstorm ideas, flesh out characters, outline scenes, write dialogue - I've even diagramed sex positions! haha. Hint: never lose this book (especially at your child's soccer practice).
I spend the vast majority of my time writing or outlining. At first, I hardly did any marketing. I think it's more important to get your work out there and let your audience find you. When you get rolling, it's time to pay more attention to networking, blogging and social media. Still, I only spend about 10% of my time on that - I should probably spend more time than that! Maybe when my youngest starts school…
Mmmm...diagrammed sex positions?! Now, why didn't I think of that? haha.
Anyway, a lot of aspiring writers are worried about the income they'd earn if they self-publish. Anything you want to say about this?
Income is tricky to talk about. I had no idea what the potential was when I started. You hear a lot about the self-publishing super-stars: EL James, Amanda Hocking, Hugh Howey, etc. But, I was surprised to discover that there are legions of mid-list self-pubbed authors that earn full-time salaries doing this.
I can't give you exact numbers, but I consider myself a mid-list author (based on my author rank in the Kindle e-books store). So I know there are a lot of people making similar sales to mine and thousands making much more than me!
If writing is a passion, don't give up. I made only $43 my first month. I've come a long way! Just keep writing, even if it's in your spare time. This is probably the best time in history to be an author. The prospects are amazing.
Lastly, any writing advice you can give to those who want to be as successful as you are?
My advice would be:
Read! It's so hard to remember this when you are writing every spare second you can. Read the titles at the top of the best-selling lists in the genre you are writing in. Read the top 100 authors (amazon) in the genre - they are the ones who are producing material that is selling.
Know your audience. What do they want? Understand what makes the best-selling titles so appealing. Read book reviews (on amazon or goodreads, etc) to find out what fans like or don't like about those titles.
Write! (duh, I know.) The most important thing to be a successful self-published author is to release often. Releasing ~1 new title per month is going to lead to visibility and greater success. It doesn't have to be a full-length novel each time, shorts or serials work well in several different genres. Releasing one novel per year just doesn't give you any traction in this self-pubbing model.
Thanks for this Arabella - this was a really fun interview and I'm pretty sure those who have just discovered your books through this interview will be eager to buy them on Amazon. We look forward to reading more of your books in the future and hope you come back for a cover reveal or teaser for your new titles! Thank you again!
You can learn more about the latest releases of Arabella Quinn at her site. You can also sign up for her newsletter here.
I worried A LOT about this before - when I was just querying agents in fact. But when I got The Call - or in my case The Email since I'm from the Philippines - my then-agent told me that where I live doesn't really matter these days. It's all about the book!
But of course in the end there will be paperwork done.
If you're thinking about being traditionally published, this will definitely serve as a great guide! She's a Filipino author, repped by Nicole & Rebecca (Helen Rees Agency) and has an upcoming YA horror from SourcebookS.
If however you're wondering about self-publishing in Amazon and how to get your money "out", you will find this FAQ page from Amazon helpful. Basically, you'll need a US TIN and sign up several forms.
Also, keep in mind you are a self-employed individual in the eyes of the law. As for those who are worried that Amazon will somehow take away your money, no - that's not going to happen (glitches don't count since they get fixed sooner or later). Mina V. Esguerra - another Filipino author - says so in her video interview.
Hopefully, these links will help you get started. I'll try to make this post more comprehensive to serve as a complete guide next time.
Mahirap maging maganda.
1We have a lot of international readers who might get to read your interview and would love to know more about Diary ng Panget (roughly translates to Diary of an Ugly Girl). Could you give us a blurb for it?
Hello! Thanks for the interview! Diary ng Panget is a light rom-com novel about a girl who thinks she's ugly, it's one of those cliché stories about an ugly girl meeting a hot and rich boy. It's really a very simple story but I think what really caught a lot of people's attention is its "humour" and it's a book that's very relatable to teens having confidence issues.
Ooh! Just that one line has me hooked. No wonder your book's super popular! Now, I love how your writing career skyrocketed from Wattpad, but it's best I leave the honor of talking about your path to publication to you. Could you let us know when / how you started writing and how you eventually found yourself published?
I started writing when I was 13 on a used school notebook then when I was in 3rd yr high school, a friend of mine introduced me to online writing. I wrote in various forums and sites, using different usernames and then I somehow landed in a website called Wattpad, I registered there and posted Diary ng Panget and other stories of mine. I received an email from PSICOM publishing last 2012 inviting me to publish Diary ng Panget and that's it!
So I've just started reading Diary ng Panget - one thing I can say for sure - you write in Filipino amazingly well for someone who's living and studying in Italy! Why did you choose to write in Filipino and not English?
Thank you for reading! Well yeah, a lot of people are asking me how I can still write in straight Tagalog when I'm already living in Italy and I'm just like "Why? Just because I went abroad, I should already forget my own language? Dr. Jose Rizal will not approve that!" Even though I'm already having problems with Filipino grammar and using Google translator just to remember a few Filipino words I still try my best to write in Filipino, I feel comfortable with it. I don't really like writing in English, my grammar in English is bad and I don't know how to express myself in English, I rarely speak and write in English. It's either Filipino or Italian.
Any chances of Diary ng Panget being translated to English so that non-Filipino readers could enjoy it as well?
I don't know because Diary ng Panget has the Pinoy humour in it so I don't really have any idea how it will turn out in English version. I will bet on my other stories like Voiceless and She Died to be translated in English.
Now, about the sequel...personally, I hate writing sequels because readers' expectations can be so tremendously high. But maybe that's just me. How was it writing the sequel? When will it be out? And maybe you can share with us even the shortest teaser from Book 2?
Well, book 2 is just really the continuation of book 1, it's the whole story cut into series because if the whole online story is published in only 1 book, it will be thick and very expensive. We thought that maybe we can cut it into series and release a book per month so it'll be less expensive and my teen readers (who are only hoping to buy the book from their school allowance) will have a month to save up for the next book. Diary ng Panget book 2 will be out by late June or 1st week of July, same price with book 1 (150php) and it'll also be available in bookstores nationwide.
Last question - what are your future goals? Any new books coming out after the sequel?
Future goals? Ahh, I don't know, I only know that I have to finish school and find myself a good job after. :P
Yes, my online story She Died will be having a manga adaptation. I am collaborating with Filipina mangaka Enjelicious (who has already published other Filipino manga). Our target date of release is September, our target book price is 150php (not really sure, but hoping) It'll also be available in bookstores nationwide. :)
Denny is a 19-year-old Filipino author currently studying in Italy. Diary ng Panget, her debut novel, started as a story on Wattpad. You can learn more about her at her site.
Other ways to keep in touch with Denny: Author Page and Book Page on Facebook, Wattpad, Twitter, and email at email@example.com
The Dreaded Release Date
So you announced the release date and a) you got sick b) you broke up with your cat c) a meteor crashed in your backyard ---- bottom line: you can't meet your release date!!! What then???
* Starting February 1, 2014, this blog will be dedicated to providing publishing tips for aspiring Filipino writers.