Howdy Readers! Great News! Today we get to hear from Andrea Pearson of the Key To Kilenya YA series but FIRST I want to tell you about a giveway from Andrea.
Here’s what you get: In honor of the 4th book in the series which came out FRIDAY Andrea is GIVING the lucky winners the first THREE books in an e-book boxed set!!
The contest will be available until March 11 and then we will post the winners! All you have to do is click on the giveaway box on the right side of this blog (right over there —>) for several opportunities to enter and WIN! Go ahead and do that now so you don’t forget (it’s okay..we will wait for you!).
Alright, you back? I hope you entered all SIX times. Also, don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list to receive updates and access to more giveaways. Just enter your email address in the box to the right and you will be signed up. (I don’t share your information so it stays private!)
Ok, now sit back and relax…here’s Andrea.
Andrea, thanks so much for participating in our Meet the Author tour!
First, could you tell us about you and how long you have been writing?
I’m a Utah native and a graduate from Brigham Young University. I love the arts and have been an artist my whole life and focused on that, rather than on writing. In 2008, I decided to switch focuses and found a love and passion in the written language. My grandpa was my inspiration – he published many, many books and was a writer for the LDS church.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? And what has that journey been like? Did you start out with short stories and then move to novels or have you always done novels?
While I was serving a mission for my church. Two of my only outlets for expressing emotions were my journal and writing home to my family. I discovered a love for words and their meanings, especially while studying the Spanish language. 🙂
The journey has been difficult but very rewarding. I’m totally hooked. 🙂
I wrote a few poems in high school (I think nearly everyone writes poems at that age :-)). But my true love has always been novels.
You have quite a series going with Kilenya! What is the best part of writing a series and the worst part?
The best part: Continuing a story I love. Finding out where things will go. Focusing on and staying in the world with the same characters for an extended period of time.
The worst part: how long it takes for the story to finish! I’m just as anxious as my readers to get the next book out. 🙂
Congratulations on recently becoming a mother! In what ways has being a parent impacted your writing life?
I have more focus and a better writing schedule. 🙂 I write while she’s napping or playing next to me, and it has made me be more concise with my time. Ask my family: I thrive on a schedule. 🙂
Tell us about the genres you write in? You have several different series going, all YA, but how are they different? The same?
I’m nearly finished with the Kilenya Series: MG/YA fantasy. And I’m working on the Katon University series. It’s YA fantasy/horror (not slasher or gore) and is a fun project where I’m rewriting old horror stories for a mainstream audience, focusing mainly on making them accessible to girls. So there’s romance and a guarantee that the main characters don’t die, etc. It’s been so much fun!
What is a challenge in writing different series?
The patience required! Half the time I’m wanting to be working on one when I should be focusing on the other. 🙂
How about advantages?
When I’ve needed a break from one series, I move to the other. 🙂
You have self-published all of your books, right? What has been the most rewarding part of that journey?
Having control over the whole aspect of publishing: what my covers will look like, the prices of the books, who to choose to act as a distributor, when to publish and when to make changes, etc. Also, I love seeing my sales in real time, and authors with publishers don’t get that.
Do you remember the first time you felt like a ‘real’ author?
It was a gradual process, but I remember a couple parts here and there that made it up. The first experience was in July of 2008. I went to the main copy place on campus at BYU and printed off my finished manuscript for the first time. They handed it to me and I held it, and for the longest time couldn’t move. I’d actually done it! I’d written a whole book!
One of the other experiences was after I released The Key of Kilenya as an eBook. We had over 1,000 downloads in a few short hours. It was so exciting! People were reading my story!
What model do you use to determine pricing on your e-books and do you find that running promotions increases your sales?
Promotions are fantastic! Depending on how much time and energy I have to put in them, they really, really help. For pricing: full-length novels are $3.99. Short stories or novellas are around $1.99. The first book in my series is free, and I’ve got anthologies here and there that are priced based on how many books are in them.
I noticed on your blog that you have partnered with other people to offer Author Services. What can you tell us about these services?
My cover designer, James Curwen, does covers for people and I format the eBooks. Then BJ Rowley, my print typesetter, offers proofreading services and typesetting. I highly recommend both of these men: they put out very high-quality things and are professional and easy to work with.
How important would you say attending writing conferences/seminars are for the aspiring author? How many would you say that you attend in a year?
I attend one or two a year, depending. LTUE is my favorite writers conference and I haven’t missed since discovering it several years ago. I’ve also attended LDStorymakers and Write Here in Ephraim: both worthy conferences.
Most everything you learn from a writer’s conference you can learn online. The main reason why I feel writers should attend them is for the networking. You meet so many people who are in the same boat as you and together you can row to success. It’s really fun!
Could you tell us about your experience with book signings and appearances? I know you were involved with doing signings at Costco before your baby came. How did that opportunity come about and would you recommend that for others? In other words, is it a good use of time/resources?
Signing at Costco is a full-time job, pretty much. They want you in their stores frequently and won’t carry your books unless you are there a lot or you’re a NYT bestselling author. 🙂 Regardless of where I’m doing a signing, I enjoy meeting people and getting to know readers. That part is a lot of fun. 🙂
I signed with a distributor to get in Costco. Costco won’t accept authors unless something like that has happened. I would recommend it, if the author has time to do signings. 🙂 My distributor is Brigham Distributing, and they represent a lot of independent authors.
I have really admired how well you seem to do at marketing? Could you give us some tips on some time-friendly ways to self-promote? There seem to be so many ways/mediums to get your brand out there and it can be overwhelming to decide where to focus your energies.
Marketing…. Ha ha ha. 🙂 I don’t usually do it. 🙂 What I do is what I would even if I weren’t an author: post frequent updates on Facebook. I believe the best way to market oneself is with the occasional promotion, but to get back to writing until there are a lot of books under your belt. Readers in this era forget authors unless the author has a lot out to represent themselves with.
That said, don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick one or two social networking sites and focus on them. I use Facebook and Twitter. Though I forget about Twitter a lot these days. 🙂
What are your professional goals for the future? Have you developed a business plan? Do you have a certain number of books/novellas that you plan on releasing each year?
Not really: I have to be flexible, especially with a baby. 🙂 My goal is to continue writing as much as I can, and for this year, to finish the Kilenya Series. I will always release at least one or two books a year, and hopefully more. But I don’t have strict goals. Being flexible is really important. But so is self-discipline. You have to find a balance.
If you had to give one piece of motivational advice and one piece of technical advice to aspiring authors, what would it be?
Motivational: Keep writing! The only person who doesn’t succeed is the person who gives up.
Technical: Learn to format your eBooks yourself. It saves lots of money. Though not necessarily time. 🙂
Thank you to Andrea for being part of our Meet the Author Tour.
Head over to Amazon and pick up the 4th book in the series, Rise of Keitus!