12/7/13

Six Questions with Amy Harmon



It's Saturday! You know what that means? SIX QUESTIONS, WOOT!

Today I have my favorite new-to-me author of 2013 Amy Harmon. I'm thrilled she has agreed to answer some questions, since she has written some amazing pieces this year and landed on multiple best-seller lists. You'll find her answers as amazing as her books GUARANTEED.

Stick with us through the end because Amy is giving away one ebook of each of her novels, Making Faces, A Different Blue, and Running Barefoot.


1. What was your inspiration to become a writer?

I have always been a writer, and have used that medium to express myself for as long as I can remember. I've written poetry, song lyrics, short stories, essays. I wrote my first novel just as a challenge to myself. It was before ebooks were available. It was just something I wanted to do and that I believed I COULD do. I don't know if I was inspired to become a writer. I just WAS a writer. Does that make sense?

2. What are your top 3 favorite books and why?

I read a book many years ago by Dean Koontz called From The Corner of His Eye. I thought it was wonderful, brilliant, and exciting. Everything a novel should be. The writing was phenomenal, the characters lovable, the premise very different. But honestly, I have so many favorites that I can't limit it to three. I still love Beverley Cleary, Judy Blume, Lucy Maud Montgomery, the writers I loved as a child. Those authors have it permanent place in my heart. As an adult, I tend to be ultra picky, simply because I like a well-thought out book, something smart and painfully and carefully crafted, and so many books today are carbon copies of each other. But I’m always looking.

3. What made you decide to have your writing published? 

 A few years ago, my oldest son got sick, we were drowning in medical bills, I had a brand new baby and wasn't working so I could stay at home with my four kids, and I knew something had to change. I decided to just go for it. I already had one novel, Running Barefoot, just sitting in my computer. I had an idea for another book, and I pushed myself and got it done in about three months. Then I published both of them at the same time, hoping that having two titles out there would help my credibility as a writer. I knew so little about the business of publishing. I just stuck them out there on kindle and prayed.

4. What is your editing process and have you hired a professional editor?

I do now. In the beginning it was just me, myself and I. I cringe a little when I think about it, but that's what I did. I didn't have two dimes to rub together and I felt such an urgency to get my books out there that I just went for it. But putting them out there without having someone copy edit them was not the smartest idea I've ever had. I hire someone to go through and clean up the manuscript when I'm done. I still don't have an editing process for content. I edit as I go, constantly refining, moving, puzzling things out. Nobody reads my work in progress. In fact, nobody reads anything until I'm done with the book. Then I send it to my mom and she tells me whether or not it's crap. So far, so good.

5. What are the most important things you do to market your books?

This is absolutely hilarious, because I don't do anything. The best advice I ever got and that I in turn give to authors that are just publishing their first book is this: Write more books. If the book is good, and you can get even a few readers, those readers will tell someone else, and so on. My job is to write good books. The books will sell themselves if they are good and if your readers can quickly read more of your work. I think that's the one thing I did right. I published two books at the same time and followed those two up with another within four months. I didn't spend any time building a blog (still don't have a blog) or a twitter following. I didn't even use facebook until I published my first two books. These things are great AND EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, and they can really help an author if she has the books to back it up. I do think more authors should focus on the craft and less on the marketing. But that's just my opinion.

6. What lesson have you learned along the way that you would hope others could avoid? 

Here are four big ones:

Lesson #1: Find someone to edit your book. I had no money. I mean NO money. So I didn't hire a copy editor. Big mistake. If you want to be taken seriously you have to have a professional product.

Lesson 2: Never respond to negative reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or any where else, even if you do so politely and graciously. Amazon has the absolute most scary underworld of trolls and discussion boards you've ever seen. These people live on Amazon and literally make authors' lives miserable if they so much as make a single misstep out of ignorance, enthusiasm, or stupidity, which I did in the beginning because I was truly ignorant, enthusiastic and a little stupid. I learned quickly, to say the least.

Lesson #3: Don't write what everyone else is writing because you think that is the way to success. Write what you feel good about, what turns you on, what you find fascinating, because in the end, you will put out a better book because of it. Be original. Be original. Be original.

Lesson #4: Conduct yourself like a lady (or gentleman). Think before you speak (or post). Be gracious with other authors as well as with readers. Don't degrade or insult in an effort to buoy yourself up. It never works. Bite your tongue, turn the other cheek, be positive. Always.


      


a Rafflecopter giveaway

13 comments:

  1. Amy,

    What are you writing next? I am eager to see what masterpiece you create next. :)

    Amber

    (signed up as Amber M)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amber, I am just starting something new...it's in its infancy. I'm looking at a spring release.

      Delete
  2. Congrats on your success and thanks for the giveaway.

    Janet B

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for such wonderfully refreshing answers to these questions. It's so nice to hear about an author who believes in originality, carefully crafting a story, and not simply following the pack. I've started reading Making Faces recently and I'm loving it. Looking forward to reading more of your books. Thanks for the giveaway, and thanks for the interview Laura! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sophie! I hope you enjoy it all the way through.

      Delete
  4. great answers and advice Amy! Love your books and can't wait to read more! Thanks Laura for this post. <3 you both

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't wait for you to read more, Jen!

      Delete
  5. Any new books in the works? Loved Making Faces!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a fantastic post—I really enjoyed reading this & hearing the author's insights about craft (and especially originality!).

    ReplyDelete
  7. What would some of Fern's romances been titled?

    ReplyDelete
  8. This would make my christmas to win! you are my favorite author and I would love to win this giveaway! thanks for the chance <3 If you could meet any one of your characters, who would it be?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for sharing you really do have to watch out for bullies on all review sites sadly.

    Wow. I understand the medical bills as well. When our 6 year old almost died at 9 months I had to go back to waitressing and give up being at home.

    I'm definitely heading to Amazon and wishlisting your books! Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete