Brand Interview: Maria Murnane, Bestselling Author and Speaker
When did you first start writing and what’s the story behind the stories?
I’ve loved to write since I was a teenager (I was an English major in college) and I always thought writing a romantic comedy would be fun, but I guess you could say about eight years of working and being single in San Francisco was what really motivated me to do it. It got to the point where I had so many hilarious stories running around in my head that I needed to do something more with them than just making my friends laugh. But I was working full-time and didn’t have the mental energy to put into something as daunting as writing an entire novel, so I never put serious thought into it.
Then one day I quit my job and had no idea what I wanted to do next, so I bought a ticket to go to Argentina by myself for a couple weeks. Turns out that I loved it down there so much that I decided to stay for a year to play semi-pro soccer (random, but fun!). After a couple months I realized that if I was ever going to write a book, that was that time. So I just started writing and writing and writing, and eventually I had the first draft of what would eventually become Perfect on Paper, the first book in the Waverly Bryson series.
Getting a publishing contract, however, was NOT EASY. It took five years and a lot of perseverance, but I’m now the proud author of four best-selling novels, and I have a new book coming out in early 2014. More information about all my books is available at www.mariamurnane.com/books.
Tell us about the design and development of your book(s)?
The interior design and covers of all my books is done in-house by my publisher. Not sure what you mean by development? A developmental editor helps with the revision process of each manuscript if that’s what you mean. She’s excellent, and I greatly respect her feedback.
Did you self-publish or did you find a publisher? Talk about the pros and cons and what you advise others.
I originally self-published Perfect on Paper, but after I spent a year of tireless grassroots marketing to promote it, it got picked up by Amazon Publishing. Now all my books are traditionally published, and Perfect on Paper has been translated into seven languages. From my experience with both publishing routes I think there are clear pros and cons to each—and a lot of pitfalls to watch out for on the self-publishing side. I explain my opinions in detail in this webinar.
What type of marketing campaign did you do to get the word out.
If I were to answer this question in detail, it would be another book, no kidding! If anyone reading this is interested in learning exactly what I did to get Perfect on Paper noticed by Amazon Publishing, I suggest checking out my webinar on book marketing.
Which came first? The book or the website? Who helped with the website and were you involved in choosing the color palette and layout?
The book came first! Rochelle Weiner of Andiamo Creative (www.andiamocreative.com) did my website (www.mariamurnane.com), which I absolutely love. I chose the colors, and she took it from there. I can’t recommend her enough.
What other products do you have?
In addition to my webinars on how to get published and how to market a book, I created a small line of products based on my four Waverly Bryson novels. It includes greeting cards (Honey Notes), shirts (Honey Tees) and tote bags (Honey Totes.) All of them also appear in my novels and feature sayings from the main character, Waverly Bryson. A fan favorite is “Is it worse to be fake or bitchy? Honey, just face it. If you’re asking, you’re probably both.” See them all at www.mariamurnane.com/honey-notes.
Do you use “green” technology in printing your books and products?
I can’t answer for the books because I don’t print them, but I believe the Honey Notes are printed on regular paper.
How do you use social media, email marketing and the web in general to talk to your fans?
I have a Facebook author page, Twitter account, newsletter, blog, etc. to keep fans posted on my activities. One of my favorite ways to interact with readers is via the Facebook profile I set up for Waverly Bryson, the protagonist of my books. If you add her as a friend, I’m pretty sure she will accept… J
Tell us about your speaking engagements and what types of events they are and the topic of choice. Also your webinars.
I’ve done a ton of speaking on finding and pursuing your passion — and on never giving up! My webinars are on how to get published (either traditionally or on your own), and how to market books.
Is it hard for a novelist to blog? It’s quite a different format.
Yes, which is why you have to be creative about it. I like to blog about grammar, writing, marketing, and news and events related to my books. I never blog about my personal life.
What’s coming up next? A movie perhaps?
I hope so! I have a film rights agent in Los Angeles who is working on it, so we’ll see what happens. My dream is for the Waverly Bryson books to be made into a movie or TV series.
Is there anything you haven’t yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
I’m working on my first novel that isn’t related to the Waverly Bryson books and isn’t told in first person, so I guess you’d say I’m in the middle of that tackle.
To learn more about Maria Murnane and her bestselling books:
Website (and newsletter sign-up): www.mariamurnane.com
Author consulting services: www.mariamurnane.com/work-with-maria
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