My Ode to Bose


The Importance of Sound Quality

I am a Bose girl. As in I’m a huge fan of their products, not as in I work for them. So don’t run screaming to the hills just yet; this isn’t a sales pitch.

The reason I’m such an adoring fan of anything Bose, (to the point that I bought my car pretty much for the sole fact that it came stock with a Bose sound system), is really quite simple– they have amazing sound quality. I’ve already written about my peculiar method of storytelling through music, so it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise that sound quality would be important to me. Whether it be writing, art, or demo team choreography, music is the base for all my creativity. And I take that gift very seriously. I guess you could call me a music snob, but only in regards to the quality. I’ll listen to and work with pretty much anything.

Just this past weekend, my husband got to see this side of me in action. He’s a fan of Rammstein; I’m not. But he’s determined to convince me of the merits of this hard-rock, foreign-language band. So he devised a game where he played a song of theirs and I had to guess what it was about. I don’t speak German. Not even a little bit. So I had nothing to go on but the music itself. Surprisingly, I did pretty well, accurately guessing the context of all but two of the songs. Obviously, I didn’t have the exact storyline since I didn’t understand the lyrics, but the emotional context I got right. How? By listening to the way the music made me feel.

There is a lot of info embedded in music that most people don’t pay attention to. On average, when you ask someone why they are drawn to a particular song, you’ll get one of the following responses:

“It has a kick-ass beat!”

“I love the lyrics.”

“I like their voice.”

“I dunno, I just do. It’s catchy.”

What you should notice is that all of these responses, even the non-committal one, focus on only one aspect, one layer. I focus on all of it. The beat, the instruments, the lyrics, it all works as a seamless team to convey the musician’s message. Yes, even those Dubstep songs that have like three lyrics repeated over and over and sound like a dying computer have hidden layers that can be translated into story. Trust me, I’ve done it. 😉

The idea of letting music manipulate your emotions isn’t some off-the-wall thing I’ve concocted to make me sound less crazy. It’s actually a well-known element of film. Every movie or TV show has a score that acts in support of the plot, heightening the tension during a suspenseful sequence, bolstering the drama of a fight, or intensifying the emotional pull of everything from love to loss. And when it’s done well, (not those horribly cheesy moments where the music is nothing but distracting– Leverage, I’m looking at you), you don’t even notice it. You just feel it. My storytelling process simply reverse-engineers this effect, drawing plot from the emotional context of the music, making it the starring role instead of the supporting actor.

Storytelling, in it’s essence, is about conveying emotion. By that definition, musicians are some of the most brilliant storytellers, cramming emotional punch into 3 1/2 minutes of multi-layered awesome. But first you have to be able to hear it. You can’t do that if the sound quality is poor. Muddy, scratchy, low-quality recordings force you to enjoy music on the surface level only. Think about the difference between hearing your favorite song on the radio vs. the privacy of your headphones. It’s a completely different experience. There’s a disconnect between you and the music on the radio that prevents you from really stepping into it, whereas with headphones, there’s nothing but you and your favorite tunes.

This is why I love Bose so much– their products never fail to provide a rich, full, clear sound. There isn’t one layer that dominates the others; they’re perfectly balanced to give you the entire package. That’s what you need to really be able to feel music. When you listen to songs with high sound quality, you can get lost in them. They envelope you and leave you feeling like you’re standing in the middle of an orchestra or next to the lead guitarist in your favorite band. They should give you “Goosies,” as J. Lo called it.

Some people are naturally more sensitive to audio than others, resonating with certain frequencies like dogs reacting to ultrasonic whistles, and will emotionally connect with music without even thinking about it. But, like everything chalked up to “talent,” it’s a skill everyone can learn. I believe it’s more about learning how to listen, to hear past the superficial and really let it reverberate deep in your soul.

Don’t believe me? Give it a try. Put on your favorite song, close your eyes and just listen– really listen. Pay attention to the way the music makes you feel, all the nuances of the different instruments, the cadences of the singer’s voice.  Do you feel the story waiting to be discovered? It’s there, if you learn how to listen for it. And if not, well, at least you now have a better appreciation for why you love that song so much. And maybe a reason to invest in some high end audio equipment. 😉


Marketing via Wattpad & Authonomy– Smart?

If you wander around the online literary community, chances are you’ve heard whispers buzzing about names like Wattpad, Authonomy, Fictionpress and the like. But what are they? If you’re curious, and bored on a regular basis like I am, then you’ve probably already meandered your way over to these sites to investigate. But in case you haven’t, here’s the rundown:

All of these are Manuscript Display Sites, or in less glamorous terms, online slush piles.

The idea is that authors post their work online for free, gaining exposure to droves of readers, as well as peer feedback and critique, and the elusive possibility of being scouted by editors/agents prowling for new talent. Think Facebook for writing. And while there are accounts of authors finding success this way, they’re maybe a handful compared to the thousands of writers flooding these channels. Making the statistics for success about the same as they are via traditional routes.

So why would you want to use these sites when a) you’d be giving away your work for free, and b) you waste your first digital publication rights in the process, making the chances of finding a traditional publisher even less likely? That’s a surprisingly difficult question to find answers to. I was amazed at the lack of search results that really shed any light on the subject. After weeks of wading through pages and pages, I could only find 6 articles that had any real substance. (Links are below, if you’re interested.) So what follows is mostly conjecture– my own impressions of the situation. Feel free to correct me if I’m way off in my interpretation.

Typically, these sites are not recommended if you plan to pursue traditional methods of publication for the exact reason I mentioned above. Posting your work online counts as publication. And it’s difficult enough for a debut author to beat the slush pile without the added pressure of convincing publishers to republish their work. So, despite the attractive tag lines touting the possibility of being randomly selected by agents of the traditional publishing world, it’s really not worth the risk. Besides, there’s not much evidence to support the claims that agents/editors actually do use sites like these to find talent. Most publishing professionals are so inundated with manuscripts coming through traditional veins that I find it highly unlikely they would need to go scouting online for potential clients.

Where these sites do have potential is with self-published authors. Retaining publication rights in pristine condition is less of a concern in the self-publishing world. And in that regard, sites like these offer a tantalizing prospect– instantaneous access to potential readers. Success in publishing relies heavily on exposure, regardless of your mode of publication. And for indie authors, it’s absolutely crucial. You don’t have anyone backing you, helping you with promotion tips and steering you in the right direction. So how do you go about finding readers?

Enter sites like Wattpad and Authonomy. (I wasn’t impressed with Fictionpress, finding it’s layout rather clunky and visually uninteresting, so I’m going to focus on these two instead.)

Things to Know About Wattpad:

  • Better known than Authonomy, claiming to be the largest online reading/writing community complete with mobile app
  • Attracts about 8 million viewers monthly (according to them)
  • Users seem to be primarily teenaged girls, but this is changing as the site’s popularity grows
  • Most popular genres are those targeted at younger audiences
  • No minimum word count to start posting

Things to Know About Authonomy:

  • Founded by HarperCollins Publishing with the supposed premise of finding new authors to publish
  • Has a built-in system for potentially gaining feedback from a HarperCollins editor
  • Generally higher quality work than Wattpad
  • Typically users are slightly older than Wattpad’s with a serious approach to writing as a career
  • Must post at least 10,000 words initially

Both of these sites offer writers that coveted opportunity to get their work before the public, with the best part being that it doesn’t even have to be finished yet. Both sites display work in a serialized fashion where novels are broken into bite-sized chunks, making them more appealing to digital/mobile readers. And because you can upload your work chapter by chapter, you have the unparalleled ability to generate a reader base before your novel is even published. How cool would it be to already have an established fan base by the time your book is finally available for purchase?

True, you are giving your work away for free, which does have potential to cut into your profits, but it’s not like this is a new concept. Offering books for free has been a long-standing tradition in literature, whether it be through libraries, or sharing circles where members pass titles back and forth, or even just within your family. How many times have you borrowed a book from someone? It’s the same idea. Just because you read a book for free doesn’t mean you won’t go on to purchase it if you really liked it, or that you won’t buy the author’s future titles now that you know you’re a fan. This core philosophy is what prompted me to consider the marketing strategy I’m about to explain, which inherently goes against every normal thought process about earning a profit.

Using Wattpad and Authonomy, I’m going to start posting my work-in-progress online in the hopes of generating some interest, getting my name out there and accumulating a fan base. Because Unmoving is the first in a series I have no intention of publishing traditionally, it’s likely I would offer it for free on Amazon anyway, for the same reasons– to generate a reader base and potential sales for the subsequent titles. By using these sites as well, I’ll hopefully be able to reach more readers; readers I wouldn’t have been able to find otherwise.

Still need more convincing that I’m not completely insane?

Well, how about this: self-publishing is all about word-of-mouth. Without support from readers, your book will get lost in the digital ether that is Amazon. And indie authors, like indie musicians before them, are realizing that the best way to create this effect is through personal interaction with fans. Accessibility is one of the advantages of sites like Wattpad and Authonomy. They give fans the ability to communicate directly with their favorite authors, giving them a personal stake in the success of the book. Which translates into the exact type of grass-roots recommendations that spread like wildfire– networking at its finest.

Then there’s the potential feedback that could help me grow as a writer. I’ve been lucky to have an invaluable group of fellow writers for critique partners, (and I will continue to give them first run at chapters-in-progress), but that could be magnified tenfold by the sheer number of people that could now offer me their input and become part of my story’s journey. (Notice I’m optimistically ignoring the fact that the majority of feedback I’d receive, if any, would be entirely useless. I said I was crazy, not stupid. But it’s my fantasy. I can picture it however I want to.) It’s a pretty well-known fact that, despite all their claims otherwise, these sites are primarily filled with writers. But writers are also readers, are they not? With the added bonus of understanding the intricacies of writing.

So yes, you probably won’t get the casual readers, the people who only buy whatever’s hot on the shelves at the grocery store, or looking for something to bide their time with in the airport, but chances are good those people would never know about you anyway. And what’s wrong with targeting the hardcore readers? The ones who were labeled bookworms as children because they found reading a better pastime on a summer day than sports? The people who probably also have an inherent wealth of insight into the craft of writing because of that avid appetite for reading? The people who might one day become the very editors you’re looking for? Or at the very least, fellow writers? I don’t plan to discount them lightly. Those are the people who can catapult your success to the point you might actually register on a casual reader’s radar. A reader is a reader, right? Who cares how they found you?

Speaking of discounting, don’t discount the motivational potential that posting online can provide. One of the articles below talks specifically about the idea of “little wins.” And I wholeheartedly agree. Self-motivation is actually a weakness of mine, which is surprising given my background in home-schooling and martial arts. But the truth is, I need a deadline, a purpose, to keep my lazy side from winning over and plunking me squarely in front of the TV with promises that we’ll be productive later. Knowing that people are waiting on me is better than caffeine for my productivity. So the thought that I would have potential readers, even if it’s only my four friends and my mom, waiting for me to post the next bit would be a massive kick-in-the-pants for my inspiration. And is probably one of the main things I find attractive about my reckless experiment in marketing, if I’m being truly honest.

So there you have it, my maybe brilliant, maybe ridiculously stupid plan. Is it wrong to use a project I’ve spent two years of my life on as the sacrificial lamb on the altar of self-publishing? Maybe. Will it backfire? Probably. Am I gonna do it anyway? You bet! Just as soon as I get the cover art done. 😉

Writing itself is about experimentation, so why not take that philosophy to the publishing side as well? If I pick up even one more reader out of the process, it will have been worth it. And maybe, I’ll finally manage to finish my aptly titled novel that seems more than content to languish in its incomplete state. Heck, if that happens, it will definitely have been worth it!

What do you think? Is marketing through Wattpad and Authonomy smart or have I completely lost my marbles?

The 6 Helpful Articles:

So You Think You Want a Demo Team

After listening to me extoll the merits of demo teams in previous weeks, you’ve decided you’d like to create one of your own. Great! Fantastic. Nothing to it, right? Wrong. See that aptly worded title up there? Yes, it’s a pun on the name of my favorite show– So You Think You Can Dance– but it’s also alluding to the fact that a demo team is a lot more work than most people expect. It takes a significant investment of time, dedication on the part of everyone involved, and no small amount of talent. And not every school wants to go through the hassle of maintaining one. So before you decide whether or not you’re ready to form a team, let me walk you through the process.

There are three main ingredients you’ll need:

  1. A Captain
  2. Talented Students
  3. A Contract & Detailed Rehearsal/Performance Schedule

You’ll notice that creativity isn’t listed. That’s because at this stage, a demo team is more administrative than creative. Creativity comes after you’ve formed your curriculum, found your student-elite, and roped everyone into developing your vision. It’s good to have an idea or two in mind, but you have a lot to decide on before you ever reach that first practice.

The Captain:

This is the corner-stone ingredient. A demo team shouldn’t be a democracy. Let me rephrase that– a successful demo team is NOT a democracy. When you allow too many people to have creative input, you end up with a disjointed demo suffering from the too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen problem. Without a single leader, it will fall apart. Trust me. I tried the democratic approach a couple times to disastrous effect.

The captain is the person who holds the whole thing together– they’re the creative mastermind, as it were. They’re in charge of choreography, music selection, brainstorming demo concepts, costuming & props, all of it! So make sure you choose them wisely. They should be talented at musicality, storytelling, and theatrical principles as well as above average in the technique department. And above all, they should be dedicated to the team’s success. Whether it’s yourself, or a high-ranking student you trust with the hefty responsibility, you’ll need that sole person at the helm of the ship. Otherwise, expect to never graduate from amateur-hour style demos, where no one knows what they’re supposed to do, the music has absolutely nothing to do with the action, and the whole thing feels like a bad martial arts film.

Talented Students:

Obviously, a demo team is nothing without the students performing on it. There are many different approaches to choosing them, and I highly encourage you to discover your own strategy.

I held auditions once a year. The culmination of our performance season was the Regional Tournament at the end of May, so it always made sense to hold auditions in June. That gave the veterans a month off, as the regularly scheduled practices were taken up with potential recruits trying out. It may seem intense to require an audition. But remember when I said they should be the elite of your student body? Well, how else to make something seem elite than to make it an exclusive privilege you have to earn? If just anyone could join, then it wouldn’t be much different than the blah, uninspired teams I mentioned in earlier posts.

Besides, I had strict guidelines for what I would accept in terms of age, rank, physical ability, etc. Cruel, maybe, but effective.

I don’t work well with young children, so I set the age cap at 13. Occasionally I would accept an exceptionally strong individual below that age, but not often. And they were never given any special treatment. If they wanted to be on the team, they had to rise to the level of the adults, not the other way around. I’ve found, through experience, that ideally you want your team to be predominantly adults. A team of children sounds like it would dripping in cute-factor, right? But it’s actually a nightmare to pull off. A team of this caliber requires more focus than most kids have, as well as massive amounts of endurance and ability. So I always advise against stacking the deck with those in the single-digit age range. Listen to my advice, and you’ll thank me later. Ignore it, and well, let’s just say I’ll get to shout, “Told you so!” at the end of the most painful year of your life, when you’ve got about three strands of hair left and no desire to ever touch a demo team ever again.

I  also don’t find white through green belts, (students with under a year’s worth of training), especially impressive, so I preferred to take people ranked brown and up. That way they had at least a little experience and range of technique to work with. And I had a contract every student had to sign detailing exactly what was expected of them. By signing the contract, they agreed to commit to the entire “season,” as I called it– basically, a year.

Sound brutal? It was. But it also worked.

The Contract & Other Paperwork:

This is everyone’s least favorite section. (Unless you’re like me and have a sick love of paperwork.) But it is crucial to establish clear expectations and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It doesn’t have to be fancy; I created mine with a simple Word .doc. It just needs to communicate your requirements for being on the team, what’s expected of the members, and what the repercussions are for breaking the rules.

Why all the seriousness?  Because although people are enthusiastic when they first try out, they often flake out on you halfway through. Or fail to make the performances. Or spend the whole practice goofing off. All of which is detrimental to your demo’s success. If someone misses the practices, they miss the choreography, compromising the ability to create seamless synchronization. If they bail on a performance, their teammates are left compensating for the hole and your storyline suffers. And if they goof off the whole time, they’ll disrupt the cohesive sense of team, damaging everyone’s focus.

The contract prevents that. Think of it as a way to weed out those who are serious from those who aren’t. Anyone unwilling to agree to the terms is not someone you want on the team. It’s a strategy specifically designed to instill fear. Commitment is scary for a lot of people. So play into that; scare the crap out of them. List as specifically as possible every detail you expect from them and what happens if they don’t live up to those expectations. Go over it point by point with the potential candidates to make sure they understand everything before signing. (Most people will sign without even reading if given the opportunity!) And most of all, take a page from college professors and be serious about it. It’s a lot scarier that way, even if you have no intention of upholding any of the rules. Professionalism breeds professionalism, and you’re creating the equivalent of a professional dance troupe or theater company. What happens when a member of those communities misbehaves? They get fired. The same should be true for your demo team. And yes, that threat works.

Along with the contract, you should supply a list of all the practices and performances scheduled for the season. Word and Excel offer handy calendar templates you can download for free. Obviously things can change over the course of a year, but having the expected list ready at the time of recruitment will also help you weed out any potential weak links. You’d be surprised how many times just seeing the schedule deterred someone from signing up, keeping me from the ever-irritating task of rearranging the entire performance when they suddenly drop out halfway through the season. A situation that’s stressful for everyone involved and should be avoided like the plague if you can.

Have I scared you off yet? No? Good.

All of this, from designating a captain, to recruiting only the elite of your school, to the commitment imparted by a contract is meant to serve one purpose– scare anyone out of ever wanting to form a team so I can be the top dog forever!

Just kidding.

It’s about creating a professional grade, performance-worthy team that will leave fellow martial artists and non-martial artists alike in awe. Not quite as simple as you first thought, is it? But once you get through all this you get to the fun part– the creativity. With the nitty-gritty out of the way, we can move on to the more enjoyable elements that make every performance a masterpiece. I must warn you that the secrets to the creativity side are just as intense, if not more so, than what we’ve covered today. But they are extremely rewarding when you see them all come together in the final result.

Coming up next in the Demo Team Series: All About Staging, tips and tricks for getting your viewers to see what you want them to see without stopping the action.

An Inside Look at Publishing

Morningside by Ashley Madau

Interview with Author Ashley Madau

Continuing with our topic for the past few weeks, author Ashley Madau has graciously agreed to share her journey from self-published indie author to traditionally published and on the brink of success. Ashley’s debut title, Morningside, is set to be released this November by Charles River Press. A Paranormal/Horror/Fantasy, Morningside features a fresh twist on the original vampire legends. Gone are the sparkly, vegetarian vampires popularized by the likes of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga, and in their place is a return to the roots of vampire mythology.  With a uniquely positioned heroine who straddles the line between mortal and immortal, vampire and human, Morningside is poised to breathe life back into a mythology that is starting to get a little stale.

Much like the story’s protagonist, Morningside’s journey through publication has been rather unique, spending time as a self-published title before being picked up by a traditional publisher. Which gives us a rare chance to learn more about both sides of the process from someone who’s actually been there.  But rather than listen to me paraphrase, I’ll let Ashley tell you more about it herself.


First, Thank you very much for joining us today and congratulations on the upcoming release of your debut novel, Morningside. Tell us a little about it; what kind of experience should readers expect?

Thank you for having me!

Expect blood, and a lot of it.

My main goal in writing from the protagonist’s first-person perspective started and ended with trying everything in my power to allow the reader to “fill in her shoes” as you learn more and interact with secondary characters. Since the Morningside protagonist is a woman, I imagine it’ll be more popular with the female reading population; of course there are strong male characters, and I hope it appeals to the guy who’s interested in a good adventure as well.  And first and foremost it is just that: an adventure. I often stress how the romantic “dilemma” (as I like to call it) should fall into the background, as the main story– the one about adventure and a struggle with self-discovery– takes center stage. All-in-all readers should expect a good, suspenseful tale with the vampires of old.


“Vampires were myths, childhood stories, as were werewolves, mermaids and dragons. I believed none of it.” –Morningside, 2012


Coming from a Romanian background, how important was it to you to move away from the glamorized variations of the vampire seen in current popular literature and return to the roots of the mythology? What would you say to people who might instantly shy away from your work as yet another Twilight copy-cat?

I often cringe at the thought of mentioning Morningside is about vampires because of the Twilight phenomenon. Of course I have taken creative liberties in writing about a vampire’s lifestyle (being fictional creatures, it’s safe to assume authors should use their imagination), but there were also key elements of the mythology I made sure to follow close– one of those key elements being their blood lust. It never seemed realistic (and I use that term loosely) for vampires to deny themselves their one craving, the very thing that keeps them alive: human blood. I touch on this idea in one of the later chapters of Morningside, and think vampire fans should appreciate the comparisons I make. I like the thrill of the hunt, and I think future Morningside readers will, too.

I also talk a lot about the idea of the sun, and how it affects vampires. There’s no sparkling involved, of course, but if you look back at Bram Stoker’s Dracula, he’s able to walk in the sunlight without bursting into flames. There are always repercussions, and Morningside vampires have those as well, but no sparkles.

Definitely no sparkles.


“Death no longer frightened me, though I wasn’t sure it ever did. If anything, there was always a part of me which looked forward to the morning I wouldn’t rise with the sun; trapped forever in my dreams of nothing.” –Morningside, 2012


Morningside was originally self-published in 2010, correct? Please tell us about your experiences with self-publishing– what led you to that decision?

You are correct. Self-publishing was a great experience, and taught me a lot about the publishing industry. I went into it thinking that as a designer I could make my story as appealing as the big name novels, you know, the ones on the New York Best Seller list. I didn’t take much else into consideration, other than wanting to see my words in print, and entertain people with the story. I used Amazon’s service, Createspace to publish, since I knew it’d be available at least on Amazon, and then hopefully syndicated to all the other online venues.

The tricky thing about any self-publishing POD service is how you end up being paid. Many times you have to reach a certain benchmark to get a paycheck, with the lowest amount allowed being $25. Keep in mind, when a book sells for $12, you don’t make 100% of the $12 in any situation. So it takes quite a few sales to make that mark, and if you don’t, the printer keeps all your profit. You’re really in a catch-22 situation at that point. It can be discouraging at times, but it’s an experience I will never regret, and has given me a new appreciation of a publisher’s role in producing a novel.

As an advertising professional, you had a slight advantage over most indie authors. How difficult was it to market a self-published title? Do you have any advice for other self-published/indie authors on the best way to gain exposure?

From working in advertising I’m able to realize how many different elements and disciplines go into successfully marketing a product, and then quickly realize after that that one person can’t do it alone. I had the advantage of a design background, which allowed me to brand myself fairly well, but I’m absolutely clueless when it comes to press releases, media buying, etc… So while everything I did looked “pretty,” pretty wasn’t enough.

Going the self-publish route, you have to put in a lot of work, and a lot of time (and at the moment, time I didn’t have). Expect to have to search for and recruit each and every one of your readers/followers/fans, and know just because you have their attention, doesn’t mean you have the sale. People, especially nowadays, are more likely to save their dollar than spend it on an unknown work. That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful; we’ve seen our fair share of self-published novels making it big, but those people didn’t gain that success by sitting back.

One additional point, as an avid reader, I do tend to judge books by their covers (I know, we’re not supposed to), but I don’t think I’m alone in this thought. My suggestion if you’re self-publishing and wondering what or what not to invest in, do hire a design professional to make you a publishing-house quality book cover. Pulling images into Paint, or incorrectly using Photoshop to do it yourself is a disadvantage to your story. A poor book cover instantly makes people think: self-published, and they may soon overlook everything you’ve worked so hard on.

I noticed that you don’t have excerpts from Morningside on your Deviantart profile. How do you feel about sharing literary work for free on sites like Wattpad, Deviantart, Fictionpress, etc? Do you think that’s a wise move for self-published authors; an excellent way to grow your reader-base, or is it a detriment to potential sales?

I think writing communities online are a fantastic way to grow as an author, learn about the industry, and progress towards publication. In fact, in 2009 I had Morningside on the popular website Authonomy, and my story found its way to the front page, #3 in the “Weekly Book Chart.” Then, later on in 2010 when the young adult version of Authonomy– otherwise known as Inkpop debuted, Morningside reached #2 on their “Editor Desk” ranking, and the first few chapters were read by Harper-Collins Publishers Limited. Both stints on those website proved a huge asset in honing in on my story, fixing inconsistencies, and growing a fan-base. I would encourage any new or old authors to join one of these many communities; I promise your writing will improve exponentially.

When you posted your work to Authonomy and Inkpop, was it the entire manuscript, or just a few chapters/excerpts? There’s a lot of debate about how much is too much to post online. But when building a reader/fan base is so important, if you had a piece you could “sacrifice,” would you post the entire thing for free in the hopes of generating more exposure and possible sales for your other titles? 

On both websites I put my whole manuscript for the public to read. I felt it would be a good platform to advertise my story, especially for those agents/publishers who actively search for authors. The incentive with both those sites, too, was for more and more people to read, then push your story up to the editor’s desk to be reviewed by Harper-Collins. After publishing, I don’t think it’s fair to my publisher to post more than a couple chapters online for potential readers to have access to. There is such a thing as too much, and especially if you’re selling your novel, giving too much may deter people from spending the money.

Most potential writers fear that once they’ve self-published their work, they won’t be able to be published traditionally, but you’ve done exactly that. Tell me, how did you manage to snag a traditional publishing deal after already self-publishing Morningside? Were you able to leverage its success in the indie scene to gain the attention of a publisher, or did you continue to submit your manuscript via the traditional channels even after publishing Morningside yourself?

Great question! It’s scary to take the step towards self-publishing, when all you’ve ever been told is once you do, your chances at traditional publication go out the window. Not just scary, it’s terrifying! I went the self-published route after receiving a couple offers from small publishing houses, and being unhappy with their process and contracts. I did start with the traditional route, querying anyone who would listen, and after that long year, I hired an editor with every intention of making it big on my own. That’s great ambition to have, and even if you have a contract with a publishing house you should maintain that drive, but as I said, it’s damn hard work. I didn’t go into self-publishing expecting to be picked up by a traditional publisher, though I did continue the querying process until I found my home at Charles River Press. They said they were drawn to my characters, and the interesting twist I incorporated through the vampire mythology.

How has it differed working with a traditional publisher? What made you decide to go that route instead of staying self-published?

I made the switch after realizing I was at a point in my life where I couldn’t devote the time and effort necessary to make a self-published novel work. I had just transferred universities, and in my third year of studies I knew where my priorities had to be. It was a bittersweet moment when I pulled my book off the proverbial “shelves” and signed the contract with Charles River Press. Looking back, it became the best decision I ever made. My experience with a traditional publisher has been an adventure in and of itself. I’m able to give input where I have the experience to, and at other points sit back and watch as those areas where I’m less experienced are taken care of. And I realized it takes a small village to bring a story to publication, something I don’t think I had the knowledge or energy to pull off on my own; I’m determined, but sometimes you have to admit defeat and work with a team of professionals looking out for the greater good of your story.

After having experienced both methods of publication, what advice or recommendations do you have for aspiring authors confused about which path to take?

Self-publishing is a great option for aspiring authors to have… keep it in your back pocket. It’s true that publishers tend to shy away from novels that have been previously self-published, which is why I’d recommend start with querying, querying and more querying, to both publishing houses and agents. If, after some time, you’re not finding any traditional luck, you have the fall back of self-publishing without the doubt of asking yourself, “what if?”

The self-published version of Morningside is obviously no longer available, so when can we expect to see it released, and from where?

Right now the release date is November of this year, and you’ll be able to find it at all the popular online outlets, Barnes and Noble and Amazon are the two big ones. And of course it’ll be available for purchase off my publisher’s website, Morningside will be available for wholesale order, so it has the potential to be shelved at a bookstore near you– be sure to stop in your local store and request a copy!

There will also be pre-release digital copy giveaways on the official Morningside Facebook page for fans, as well as post-release hard-copy giveaways.


“When he whispered my name, that’s when I knew– this was how death felt.” –Morningside, 2012


After the whirlwind of releasing Morningside has subsided, what’s next? Can you tell us anything about your next project(s)?

I’ve been working on the sequel to Morningside for quite some time now, but took a break to pursue my design career a little bit more (especially since Morningside was still in the pre-production phase with my publishing company). The story continues with many of the same characters, but a new foe– one who is actually referenced in Morningside, but isn’t displayed as being a threat.
Along with that story, I’ve also been dabbling with the post-apocalyptic world in a different novel; definitely a change from my comfort-zone of vampires!


If you would like to find out more about Morningside, please visit the official website or the Morningside Facebook Page. I, for one, can’t wait to read it!