Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Author Spotlight: Allie Burke

I met Allie first on facebook and watched how well she markets herself so I knew I had to speak to her. And here she is!

I'm Allie Burke, author of The Enchanters Series, a fairy tale love story ish paranormal romance trilogy. The series consists of Violet Midnight, Emerald Destiny, and Amber Passion. My site, Sleepless Dreams, is where I like to publish my rants, and you can find me there.

Thanks for having me over!

Glad to have you here, Allie! So tell us when you started writing.
For me, writing just sort of happened. It was somewhere around two to three years ago. I was sitting on my couch reading and, looking up from my book suddenly, I said to myself, "I want to write". I'd always made up stories in my head, lived in these fantasy worlds created by my own imagination. It was always very vivid. I guess it took me a while to realize that writing was what I was supposed to do. These days, living without writing seems like an impossibility.

What are your feelings on genres?
I don't like genres. Never have. Don't think I ever will. I actually wrote an entire guest post and have written a post on my blog about how much I dislike them. Yes, my series is classified in the genre of paranormal romance, and no, I don't consider myself a paranormal romance author. I'm currently writing a novel that I consider contemporary fiction and I hope to write a mystery once my series concludes. I wrote a horror short story once. I'm a writer, and I don't discriminate. So answering the question of, which genre do I write in, is not really possible for me. I just, write.

I’m right there with you on genres as I don’t like to be pegged in one way either. What different routes did you try as far as publishing?
None, really. The truth is that I never planned to publish my stories. I wrote a book that I genuinely wanted to read. I remember lying back on that same couch, reading my own book from a stack of paper, smiling to myself. I cried a few times too. Not necessarily because my book was overly sad, it was more like this emotional feeling. I'd written something. A novel. I'd made a new world, and living in it, even today, months and months after publishing, is the most awesome feeling.

Eventually I shared it with a friend. My best friend. And then her mom. And then my mother-in-law. They all liked it. At the time, I was totally clueless about publishing, indie or otherwise. So I did some research, and found that indie was right for me. To date, I've never written a query letter or done any of that associated with traditional publishing. I found what was right for this writer, and I ran with it.

Tell us about your book collection.

I released my debut, Violet Midnight, this last February. Because I had it written prior to publishing Violet Midnight, Emerald Destiny was released in May. To date I have two books out there, and they are both available in print and multiple e-book formats.

What has your experience been like on the publishing side of things?
It's been fun, to say the least. I think the biggest challenge for me was the covers for my books, which I designed myself. I'm very particular when it comes to things like book covers (which I have a secret obsession about), so getting it just right was important to me. But then I think about editing and how much fun that was too. Writing a novel and publishing a novel is definitely not the same thing. I think of myself as the ultimate self-publisher, have written, designed, edited, and formatted my own book. So yeah, fun is definitely how I would classify it. It's been a blast.

Tell us a little about your marketing/promotion process?
I've got one word for you. Twitter. That was my marketing/promotion process. That, is, my marketing/promotion process. Twitter changed my life. I know those words are thrown around so freely these days, and it all sounds so very corny, but it is so true. My journey started with Twitter. It was there I met other writers who turned into friends. Book reviewers. Readers in general. From Twitter spanned my Facebook fan page, my Goodreads connections and ultimately, book sales. If you're not on Twitter, you should be. The reach is unbelievable.

Looking back, is there something you would have done different? Something you would warn someone starting out now to stay clear of?
I mentioned editing earlier. Violet Midnight, my debut, I edited upwards of twenty times. Ultimately, it got easier with Emerald Destiny, but I maintain the premise that editing must be done, and it must be done well. If you don't feel like you can do it, hire someone, because it is so important. Some people won't read a poorly edited book. Some won't give it the time of day. If there was anything I could do different, I probably would have edited more. Not to say that my book is poorly edited, because I don't think it is, but it can always get better. I think if self-publishers keep that in mind, it will make for an all around better novel.

Anything else you would like to share?
Have fun? I did. I think it's important, and I think sometimes it can get lost in the translation of things. If you've decided to self-publish, you're writing because it's what you want to do. It may be your lifeline as well-you may be writing for a living-but in essence it is what you want to do. Writing is fun, and I think writers can have fun with the publishing process as well. Editing-also known as making your book better, designing your own cover etc.-you don't get to do these things in the traditional publishing world. Make it your own. After all, it is.

Here is a link to an excerpt of my upcoming novel Existence.

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