I’m so happy to have Marie Force here with us today as a featured author on my JaneBlog. Marie is literally a force of nature. I’ve followed her career, impressed, dazzled, and then–pencil out, taking notes.
I love Marie’s commitment to her readers, who are her #1 priority, and yet she’s also managed to scoop up the indie published authors and make them a community, too. Can you tell I’m a fan?
We’re lucky to have Marie with us today, on her big release day for FATAL JEOPARDY, out right now, so without further delay, help me welcome Marie!
Marie, what do you love most about being an author?
I love everything about being an author, but mostly I love the readers. They are so incredibly loyal and supportive of me and my books. A distant second to that is the opportunity to do exactly what I love every day and to work with some of my favorite women who support me in a number of important ways. Plus I get to live in my own little fantasy worlds where everyone is happy and things usually work out. What’s not to love about that?
Is there anything that has surprised you about self-publishing your books?
To be entirely honest, I’ve been astounded by how profitable self-publishing has been. For years I was stuck in the low four figures when it came to my books, and I honestly never expected to ever make any real money as a writer. Self-publishing changed my life in every conceivable way, and it has changed the lives of several of my friends who are now working with me. That never would’ve happened without my self-published books and the ability to manage my career proactively.
What’s your version of success for an indie author?
Speaking for myself, I would say first and foremost was the ability to leave my day job. I’d worked for the same company for sixteen years and I loved the job and the company. I wasn’t sitting there hoping to be rid of it until my books took off to the point where I simply couldn’t manage to do both. Being able to write full time happened about ten years sooner than I had expected with the first of my two kids heading for college a year after I left my job. It’s been an incredibly amazing and wild three years, to but it mildly.
What’s the best thing you ever did for yourself in your career?
I took chances that not many people were taking yet in late 2010. When I self-published my first book, I had two publisher books coming soon after, so I self-published the first two and kept quiet about them until I got past those publisher releases. At that time, no one really knew if you could get sued for self-publishing while under contract, so it was a bit of a crap shoot—and one I’ve never regretted. The other really great thing I was able to do was releasing the first three books in the McCarthys of Gansett Island Series three months in a row in 2011, which gave that series an amazing start and propelled the momentum that continues today as I write book 11 while the readers clamor for more.
How do you stay creative?
I don’t have any special tricks to staying creative. Writing is my one creative outlet, so my attention is always focused on my books. I joke that I have more ideas for books than I have years left to live. 🙂 That’s why I spend very little time fretting about books that might remain outside of my control for many years to come. Shrug. Who cares? I’ll write new books.
What’s your typical day like when you’re between writing projects?
I’m never between writing projects. With three series going straight out right now, I’m always writing the next book. I go from one to the other and often have two going at the same time.
How do you prioritize every day to stay on track with your writing goals?
I write just about every morning, seven days a week. Morning is my most productive time of day, which took a while to happen. I had written at night for years when I was working for someone else and raising little kids. Recalibrating my brain to write during the day took about six months after I left my job. I don’t set actual word count or page count goals. The no-goals philosophy goes back to when I was still working full time and didn’t want to set myself up for failure by setting goals I could never achieve. To this day, I keep deadlines in mind and power through to The End without spending too much time obsessing about each day’s output. Some days my brain just isn’t interested in writing. So I spend those days doing other things that need to get done. I’ve learned not to fight the days when it just isn’t happening. It always comes back the next day. 🙂
Was there anyone or anything that helped inspire you to be a writer?
I have been a writer since I was a kid, but when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003, that got me motivated to stop talking about writing a book “someday.” She got to read part of my first book, Treading Water, before she died in 2004. I like to think she is up there actively working on my behalf to drive sales and send me fantastic ideas. My dad is very engaged in my career and likes to know all the latest developments. I’m very glad he’s been able to share in the excitement with me. Everywhere we go, people want to talk about my books, and he loves that.
Please tell us about your current release.
My latest book—out on Monday, March 24, is Fatal Jeopardy, Book 7 in the Fatal Series, which debuted back in 2010 with Fatal Affair. Carina Press and HQN are bringing the series out in paperback this year, beginning with Fatal Affair and Fatal Justice, both of which are available now in stores, with three more print releases coming this year and several more next year until the print and ebook releases are synched. I’m so excited to see the Fatal Series out in bookstores and getting so much love from readers. Sam and Nick have become extremely popular, and it’s been a very exciting ride for me with this series that I’ve now been writing for five years!
What’s coming up next for you?
I hope to release the eleventh McCarthy book, Gansett After Dark, in May and then I Want to Hold Your Hand, Book 2 in the new Green Mountain Series, is out on June 3, followed by Book 3, I Saw Her Standing There, on November 4. I hope to have McCarthy Book 12 out this year, too. So I’m staying very busy!
What would be your two most important tips for other indie authors?
First would be to remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t look at authors like me or others who have done well and think it happened overnight. I love to say I was a ten-year overnight success story. I worked for YEARS on this “project” before I made a dime from my efforts or saw a moment of success. I wrote seven books before I sold one back before self-publishing was an option. I think all the time about what I would’ve missed if I had given up when the first six books didn’t sell. It took twenty-five books to make the New York Times bestseller list, and I’m proud of the fact that I stayed with it long enough to get there. Since that first time on the NYT list last March, five other books have hit the list, which is incredible. So remember, nothing happens overnight. Second would be to expect to work harder than you ever have in your life. You are a “one-man-band” in a lot of ways, with your attention divided between a lot of competing demands. We hear all the time that it’s not enough to “only” write great books, and that is SOOOO true. Writing great books has to be the top priority. But you also need to be adept at marketing in the digital age and savvy about running a business. It’s a lot to juggle, so be prepared for an insane workload if you chose the indie path.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
To run my business the way a man would. I know that might seem sexist, but it was excellent advice—that came from another woman. As women, we tend to be pleasers and we come at things (often) from an emotional standpoint. Again, speaking in sweeping generalities here, men tend to be more pragmatic and less emotional. There’s a time and a place for emotional responses, but they don’t belong in business, even a creative business like ours. You have to be tough and look out for yourself and your career because NO ONE will ever care about it as much as you do. So as the very wise woman who gave me this advice said, “Grow a set and man up.” I liked that. It resonated with me, and I have never forgotten it.
Three things you know now that you wish you’d known before publishing your first book?
1. That I was about to embark upon a journey unlike anything I could ever have imagined.
2. That it’s all about the journey—the destination is almost secondary.
3. Patience and perseverance are the most important qualities to anyone pursuing a creative endeavor.
Name 5 words that fit your personality according to you. And 5 words that fit your personality according to your best friend.
With more than 2.5 million books sold, Marie Force is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author of more than 30 contemporary romances. Her New York Times bestselling self-published McCarthys of Gansett Island Series has sold more than 1 million e-books since Maid for Love was released in 2011. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Fatal Series from Harlequin’s Carina Press, as well as the Treading Water Series and numerous stand-alone books. All You Need is Love, book 1 in her new Green Mountain Series from Berkley Sensation, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller in February. The second book, I Want to Hold Your Hand, will be out in June, and the third book, I Saw Her Standing There, is coming in November. In 2014, Marie will have eight mass-market print releases—the first five Fatal Series books from Harlequin and the first three Green Mountain Series books from Berkley. While her husband was in the Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and she is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of two teenagers and two feisty dogs, Brandy and Louie.
Have you read Marie before? What are you reading now, or what’s on your TBR pile? Fill me in and you’ll be entered to win a Marie Force extravaganza gift with 3 Marie Force ebooks of your choice, a $10 Amazon gift certificate and tons of Spring sweets and treats! Contest ends Thursday night with winner announced Friday morning so enter today!