First Monday of the month! Author interview time. My favorite day of the month. I have a really kick-butt author of contemporary literary women’s fiction, coming of age author. I love her stories because they are full of a healthy dose of real life. E.D. Martin is a wonderful writer and an amazing person. I met her on a writing site. She is rather shy and quiet, but always has great advice about the writing and publishing industry.
She doesn’t talk a lot, but when she does, you might want to listen.
Come and meet, E.D. Martin.
Hey, girl! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m eager to get into the interview, let’s get started.
What drew you to write in the lit fiction genre?
E.D.: As a teacher and social worker, I’ve always been drawn to the stories of the people around me. It’s not so much what they do, but how they react to events, how they events shape them, how they interact with people. Lit fiction gives me room to explore these interactions.
Tell us about your writing process, and the way you brainstorm literary fiction story ideas.
E.D.: Basically, I steal the stories my clients and students are living, with a few details from one and a few details from another. Then I add my perception of their motivation, let it ruminate for a couple years, and finally put it down on paper.
How interesting! That’s why your stories are so good. It’s the letting them marinate. What are you currently working on and what is it about?
E.D.: More like, what am I NOT currently working on? I have dozens of stories that I’ve started and haven’t gotten around to finishing yet. However, I have three main projects I’m currently working on. The first is a novel about a group of down-on-their-luck people taking on their neighborhood drug dealer. The second is a novella series of retold fairy tales without the magic. And the third is a short story collection about women who’ve decided to live on their own terms, despite what society expects of them.
I feel ya. I have two manuscripts I need to finish and a series. Instead, I’m having fun with you. Your projects sound cool! How often do you write, and do you have a special time during the day to write?
E.D.: I’m don’t write nearly as much as I’d like. I’m in grad school and work part-time, and unfortunately, writing takes a back burner to everything else. This year I’ve set myself the goal of writing 500 words per day, which is not happening so far. I’m most creative from about 10 pm to 2 am, so that’s generally when I write when I have the time.
It’s hard to find the time like we want. How are you publishing your writing and why?
E.D.: Currently, I have three means of publishing. My lit fiction novel and a collection of lit fiction stories are through a traditional publisher, since I knew it was a hard genre to promote and I figured I could use all the help I could get. I’ve also self-published some short stories on Amazon, and I’m currently publishing a bunch of stuff on Medium. I think readers generally trust buying from Amazon, plus it’s so easy to just click a button and have a book, while Medium gives some good visibility while paying me for short stories. It all comes down to a careful consideration of visibility, potential revenue, and whether I can effectively promote a work by myself. Therefore, it varies from story to story.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
E.D.: I like the validation I get from good reviews, but I think bad reviews can add legitimacy to a work. For example, if I see that every review someone has is 5 stars, I’m going to question how many of those reviews came from the author’s family and friends since not everyone likes everything. Overall, I hope for a 4 average – a 2 or 3 means that generally there’s something wrong either with your book or with the audience you’re marketing it to.
I’m a little suspicious of all 5-star reviews as well. No one can make everyone happy. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
E.D.: Set a budget you can afford, and then stick to it. Realize that marketing strategies and promos that work for one genre don’t necessarily work for yours, so always investigate a marketing strategy or promo for yourself rather than taking someone’s word for it. And finally, track your marketing attempts – source, length it ran, ROI, etc – so you don’t inadvertently find yourself losing money to the same strategies again and again.
What do you think of “trailers” for books, and will you create one for your work?
E.D.: I think trailers can be effective if done well and marketed to the right audience for your book. I would love to create them for my stuff, but since I have no visual arts skills, I’ll have to wait until I can work it into my budget.
I like them. Whether they work or not, I’ve already got my song picked out for each story. Don’t have them written yet, but they have a song. I’d like to ask a couple of personal questions. Where was your favorite reading spot as a child? Where is it now?
E.D.: When I was a kid, I loved to ride my bike to the nearby library, get a bookbag full of books, and then head over to the park across the street to read half of them. Now that I’m an adult, I’m still a fan of reading in parks. I’ll occasionally go to the park I went to as a kid and read in my car, but my favorite spots are several secluded spots by the Mississippi River that not many people seem to know about or go to.
One last question. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
E.D.: I want to visit the Kerguelen Islands, which is a tiny big island and lots of little islands 2000 miles from anywhere in the southern Indian Ocean. It’s beautiful and desolate and populated by feral cats. I would hike and kayak and play with the cats and avoid people – what’s not to love?
Thanks so much for dropping in and giving us a peek into your world. I had a blast!
E.D. Martin is a writer with a knack for finding new jobs in new places. Born and raised in Illinois, her past incarnations have included bookstore barista in Indiana, college student in southern France, statistician in North Carolina, economic development analyst in North Dakota, and high school teacher in Iowa. She draws on her experiences to tell the stories of those around her, with a generous heaping of “what if” thrown in. She currently lives in Illinois where she job hops while attending grad school and working on her novels.
To find out more about E. D. Martin, follower her website. Be sure to drop by her social media and friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and read some of her awesome short stories on Medium for free.