Maria, give us a synopsis of your books.
Poison Study: Escaping the noose to become the new food taster, Yelena’s troubles have just begun. Poisoned and pursued by revenge, she develops wild magic as rebels plot. Her life’s at stake again and she must learn to trust others and herself or her next meal could be her last.
Magic Study: Continues Yelena’s adventures as she escapes to Sitia, the land of her birth. She must begin her magical apprenticeship and travels to the Magician’s Keep. But nothing in Sitia is familiar. Not the family to whom she is a stranger. Not the unsettling new facets of her magic. Not the brother who resents her return. As she struggles to understand where she belongs and how to control her rare powers, a rogue magician emerges, and Yelena catches his eye.
What is your target audience, and how do you believe the e-format works for that audience?
My target audience is anyone age 14 and older. I’ve had readers as young as 9 email me and as old as 92! However the majority of my readers are 16 to 40 and I think that age group is drawn to the new e-readers and are comfortable with the technology. Having all my books available as e-books is great for them.
I see your books were published in print format in 2005 and 2006. Was your initial path to publication traditional or independent?
It was traditional. I tried to find an agent for my first book, Poison Study, but when 40 of them rejected it, I queried publishers. After 17 rejections, LUNA Books, an imprint of Harlequin bought it and Magic Study. They published Poison Study as a hardcover in October 2005.
What were your initial thoughts about e-publishing? Have those initial thoughts changed now that you’ve done it?
I didn’t think e-books would become as popular as they are today. The new e-readers have come a long way and are the reason why e-books have become more popular. As a reader, I like my print books, but as an author, I’m glad my books are available as e-books. My publisher bought the rights to publish my books as e-books and audible books so they didn’t really ask me. The only thing I worry about with e-publishing is overwhelming readers with too many choices.
How are people finding out about your book? Tell us about your marketing and use of social media.
My readers are finding my books from word of mouth, blog reviews, booksellers who hand sell them, and the “if you like this, then you’ll like these” feature of online bookstores. Before a book’s release, I send out ARCs [advance reading copy] to a list of reviewers I know (the publisher sends to their own list). When the book is released, I send out an email to newsletter subscribers (about 10,000), I’ll post a notice on Facebook, blog about it on my own blog, do guest blogs and Q&As on a number of sites (sometimes I’ll do a full out blog tour), and update my website. I also send out bookmarks and signed book labels to about 20 bookstores in the US, UK and Canada.
Do you believe the e-format helps or hurts you as an author? How?
The e-format helps me because it makes my books available to more readers. I want people to read my book and by offering readers a choice in the format is a great way to gain more readers.