I recently had the opportunity to sit down with up-and-coming NA author, Lyla Payne. Not only is she fun and fantastic, but she's incredibly honest about her experiences as a writer. Take a look at Lyla's interview to read her secrets and witness her awesome for yourself!
Hi Lyla! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your upcoming book so we can get to know you?
Sure! I'm trying something different with this novel, and with New Adult, but it's something I've been interested in for a long time. BROKEN AT LOVE emerged from a strange combination of my love for tennis and my rabid obsession with Gossip Girl. I think it works, though. The story is fun, lighthearted, and--I hope--sexy.
I understand you're writing under a pen name. Why did you decide to write anonymously?
I write YA that's pretty squeaky clean as far as language and sex, and I love writing that. BROKEN AT LOVE is the exact opposite in tone, expression, and graphic nature so I thought it would be best not to link the two types of stories under one name. Honestly, I love the idea that my YA attracts younger readers and that their parents don't have to worry about what they'll find between the covers. I would hate to think of them picking up BROKEN AT LOVE before they're ready to read this particular kind of story.
How did you decide you wanted to write NA? What about it is most appealing to you?
I *love* writing NA. It's been something that has interested me for a long time--for me, college was the time I grew and explored the most in my life, the years where freedom granted me the space to make all kinds of crazy and wonderful mistakes. I was a late bloomer, and I know I'm not the only one. Writing about the kinds of things that can really only take place in a college environment is SO MUCH FUN.
Can you tell us a little bit about your publishing journey up until now? How did you decide you wanted to self-publish your NA novels?
I had a literary agent for about a year, and when she and I parted ways I decided to self-publish the YA series we'd worked on together. It was a hard decision but I honestly don't regret it--I would have loved to have had a great agent experience but I didn't, and it's opened my eyes to a lot of things, including the idea that authors need to take responsibility for their own careers.
Self-publishing the NA seems like a no-brainer to me. The readers who adore these kinds of books are voriacious (I'm seeing more crossover from romance readers than YA), and they're hungry for more, always. The slow grind of traditional publishing doesn't work for them. In addition, the majority of major publishing house deals are for NA plucked from the self-published world--that's the way it's working right now. eBooks that prove themselves get print deals, not the other way around. It's an interesting time to study publishing, for sure. Things are changing.
What are some of the perks of self-pubbing?
Control is a big one. Of your content, cover, marketing, blurb...everything. It's overwhelming at times but also completely lovely not to make changes you don't believe in. Publishing on my timeline is also a huge plus, for authors and readers. I don't need a year to put out a quality book. Four to five months is great timing for me, and readers get more books.
What are the biggest downfalls?
On the flip side of what I said above, there's no one to blame if something goes wrong or people hate your story or cover. Yes, I hire editors and have critique partners and cover designers...but everything you see from cover to cover, I okayed it. It's a lot of pressure. And once you put out books every four to five months, there's a lot of pressure to continue doing so.
Other than that, even though the stigma that goes along with self-publishing (that we're quitters who weren't good enough/ready enough to get an agent and be traditionally published) is slowly fading, it's still there. I encounter it every day even while my YA series has decent, steady sales and more five star reviews than any other rating. It can be a lot to overcome, although like I mentioned, the stigma is much smaller to begin with in New Adult. Another reason to love it.
What do you have to do (marketing, finance, etc.) to make sure a book is a success if you self-publish?
Everything. The biggest thing I tell people just starting out in self-publishing is never say no. Say yes to guest blog posts and interviews (!), to contests and giveaways and reveals. Interact with readers on Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads. Support other authors. Give away copies to people who take the time to ask to review it. Use your money wisely, but you do have to spend it to make it.
If you had to tell people one thing they should know about self-publishing and authors who self-publish, what would it be?
I answered some of this above, but I would add this: don't skimp on editing. Don't publish a first draft. At the very, very least, hire a professional copy editor AND implement suggestions from reliable critique partners. Having people dismiss your book because of unprofessional content is the fastest way to lose readers.
Thanks, Lyla! She's pretty fantastic, right? So is her book. (Bonus: Hooottt cover.)
When a knee injury ends twenty-year-old Quinn Rowland’s pro tennis career, he’s not only dumped by his hot Russian girlfriend but ordered to attend college by his disinterested billionaire father. A rich kid who’s not used to being disappointed by life, Quinn and his sociopathic half-brother Sebastian create a frat house game intended to treat girls how they see them—as simple game pieces to be manipulated for their pleasure.
BROKEN IN LOVE comes out in March, but you can add it on Goodreads right now!
Broken at Love on Goodreads
And make sure to follow Lyla to keep up with her newest books:
Andrea Hannah is a YA writer represented by Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider. She writes stories about criminals, crazy people, and creatures that may or may not exist. When she's not writing, Andrea teaches special education, runs, spends time with her family, and tries to figure out a way to prevent her pug from opening the refrigerator (still unsuccessful). Oh, and she tweets a bajillion times a day, mostly about inappropriate things.
You can find her on Twitter @: http://twitter.com/andeehannah
Drop her an email @: firstname.lastname@example.org
And visit her website @: http://www.andreahannah.com/