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Interview with Marlene M. Bell

Interview with Marlene M. Bell, author of Stolen Obsession @ewephoric  @iReadBookTours

Interview with Marlene M. Bell, author of Stolen Obsession


What advice do you have for other writers?
The process is arduous. Long hours filled with frustration. Stick with it and get good help along the way for the best book possible. Your editors are a lifeline to writing that best book. Whatever you do, don’t ignore your editor’s suggestions. Beta readers and friends who read your manuscript can be helpful but ignore your editor’s comments at your own risk. Friends know you and may not give you the critical advice that you need for fear of hurting your feelings. Your editor wants your work as good as it can be and they have seen lots of nasty manuscripts. Good editors know how to fix what ails yours, but do your homework when choosing an editor. There are a few who don’t write novels themselves. A novelist needs an editor who also writes, with success. Developmental editors look at the big picture like plot, plot holes and pacing. Line and copy editors do the finer work on your prose. 
Interview with Marlene M. Bell, author of Stolen Obsession @ewephoric  @iReadBookTours
Amazon
What formats is the book available in?
Stolen Obsession is available in paperback as well as eBook. In October, 2018 Stolen Obsession will be available in audio book! I’m happy to have one of the most talented voice over artists in New York narrate Stolen Obsession. Her name is Katina Kalin. She is an actress and teaches others the craft of voice. Katina also narrates for commercials, A&E, and The Discovery Channel among others.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I started my own business in 1985 as an artist selling products with my artwork and photography that featured our sheep flock. My husband had sheep when I met him in the late 1970’s and they quickly became the focal point for my work. My original website is located at www.texassheep.com. To find out more about my books, go to www.marlenembell.com. Facebook: fb.me/marlenembell and follow me on Twitter at @ewephoric. Ewephoric is my company name and I publish through Ewephoric Publishing.
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?

My favorite would have to be Generosa Zavos, Alec’s mother. She is of Italian descent, like myself. I had fun dropping character traits into her from my own family. We all use our hands when we speak and Generosa does the same. I pictured cousins speaking to each other in groups, hands flying in and out while I wrote. I know a bit about the Italian customs due to my own grandfather. He was born in Bari, Italy in the late 1800’s. Back then, Bari was more of a poor fishing village. I recall some of what he told me as a young girl—his home before he left to come to America and fight in WWI. Using his words and what I researched in Italy online made Stolen Obsession come to life on the page for me. Hopefully I’ve done the same for the reader.

Who designed the cover?

The cover of Stolen Obsession was designed by a husband and wife team from Australia. Steam Power Studios designed an award winning cover back in 2015 when I was researching cover artists. I fell in love with their work because it was so original and I believe in marketing myself with a fresh, exciting cover. Covers do sell books. Great covers sell more books. Stock covers give the appearance that the writer doesn’t care about his or her work. I recommend finding the best cover artist you can afford. A cheap, fifty dollar stock cover should be avoided at all costs. Vlad and Erica Zivanovic of Steam Power Studios make an interesting, creative duo. Vlad works in the entertainment industry and composes music, while his wife does most of the graphic design. In addition to the cover of Stolen Obsession, they are working on the cover of my next book, Spent Identity. I love the next cover for the series! To be revealed at a later date.  Stolen Obsession has won 2 prestigious cover awards in 2018.

Where can a reader purchase your book?

Stolen Obsession is available through most retailers, including some bookstores and on Amazon.

Other sellers include, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords and Draft 2 Digital in eBook.

Interview with Marlene M. Bell, author of Stolen Obsession @ewephoric  @iReadBookTours
What are you doing to market the book?

Months ahead of the release, I contacted a book marketing agency and signed up with them. Looking back, I wouldn’t advise their services to anyone (since most of what they did, I ended up doing again for myself.) I received no feedback from their contacts and no contact names for future use. For me, I won’t go down that road again. The process is very expensive so expect to drop $7,000.00 to $10,000.00 if you go this route. Just because an agency didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean you will have the same result. Not everyone has the luxury for an expenditure like this, but when an author is an indie-publisher and debut author, it’s an option. PR companies work best for known celebrities.

Next on my agenda was the press release. This was done originally by the agency to announce the release, but I followed up with different press releases once the book officially went up on Amazon. I took advantage of their Kindle Countdown deals in the first 90 days of Stolen Obsession’s release. Goodreads also has an option for a Giveaway, which I also took advantage of prior to the book’s release. Book/Blog Tours are the best for getting reviews. I highly recommend tours! Expect to hand out plenty of paperback copies in the form of Advance Reader Copies. Some recipients will read and leave a review, but you will find that most who are not affiliated with a blog tour will not leave a review.

One method I added once the book hit the market was entering book contests. Cover contests as well as content. Stolen Obsession has won 2 prestigious cover awards and more recently, the FAPA chose Stolen Obsession as the President’s Award Gold Medal winner for Best Mystery. Expect to pay $85.00 to $150.00 per contest, but the effort is well worth it if you have worked hard and have a good, clean, commercially viable book.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.

My second book in the Annalisse Series is called, Spent Identity. The story takes place in upstate New York in a country setting. Annalisse and Alec are having difficulties in their relationship which worsens when a dead man with a questionable identity is found in Annalisse’s aunt’s barn. Soon after, the aunt vanishes. Are the two events related—or unrelated as the authorities believe? Annalisse and Alec are drawn again to each other as they work out the mysteries that continue to pile up surrounding Aunt Kate’s disappearance. Annalisse has to deal with childhood fears and a villain who knows how to take advantage of her fears. A big twist and a cataclysmic secret reveal that will have Annalisse reeling in the end!

What are your thoughts on Self-Publishing verses traditional publishing?

When Stolen Obsession was final-edited and proofed, I set out to go the traditional route and look for agent representation. The process stretched 9 long months. Rejection letters came one after the other. Short, sweet and sometimes in form letter. Frustrated, I found a copy editor to check my work again. She made the prose shine and recommended Self-Publishing because she had more authors going that route than those who weren’t, due to bad contacts and little in payouts from publishers. Stolen Obsession took years to write. I didn’t have it in me to wait any longer, so I took the editor’s advice and went indie. If you are a self-starter like I am, and can market yourself well, this is the route for you. Best thing I ever did!

What are you currently reading?

One of my favorite authors is Karen Rose. She writes complicated romantic suspense. Many characters with diverse backgrounds. I’m halfway finished with her novel, Edge of Darkness, having read most of her books. I’ve also gone back and reread the old series, Outlander when I need a plug of romance to help spice up my own writing. This author helps to trigger my own work. Diana Gabaldon writes extremely detailed, refreshing first-person narrative. A nice break from writing and reading in the third. Stolen Obsession is written in third person. Lately, I’ve picked up books from local authors in East Texas. There is a stack waiting to be read once I finish Karen Rose.

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