FAQ for Melissa Ohnoutka
When’s the next book coming out?
Shooting for Fall 2016. Working with editor now. The story is a Romantic Suspense set in Houston, Texas, around the Christmas Holidays. Check my website or sign up for the newsletter to keep up to date.
Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
Betrayals of the Heart: Makayla Prichard thought she'd fallen in love with the man of her dreams. But after the honeymoon, a horrifying reality sets in. She is a prisoner, a slave, a pawn for a malicious man’s games. When her precious son is born, the need to escape intensifies. Little does she know that the man who helps her escape is working undercover with orders from the FBI to bring her in—a sure method to end not only her life, but her young son’s as well.
Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I feel like I paid my dues and did my time on the query-go-around. I entered contests for feedback, revised and polished until I couldn’t see straight, attended conferences, had requests for partial and full manuscripts but “the call” never came. The self-publishing route seemed like the next step. Having so much say over important decisions like covers, page count, release dates, promotion and the direction I want my writing career to take just made more sense and really sweetened the deal, not to mention helped me keep my sanity.
Would you ever go the traditional route in publishing?
Sure. With the publishing industry forever changing, as well as my life, I'll always keep my options open and weigh what's best.
Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I’ve belonged to several different critique groups over the years. Some great, some that really made me doubt my writing at times. But I feel like each one offered tons of great suggestions, advice and feedback that helped me grow and improve. A thick skin in this business is a must.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
The discovery is my favorite part of the writing. I’ve never been a plotter. Give me the suspense please! I start with an idea and then sit back and watch the story unfold. Just when I think I know what is going to happen or how a character is going to behave, I’m shocked to see how wrong I was. LOL
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
For my first release, I counted on friends, trusted critique partners and a few beta readers to help in the editing. Although they caught a lot, I felt it necessary to hire an editor for the second book and will continue to do so for future releases. I just feel that a fresh pair of eyes and unbiased opinion are priceless.
Are any of the characters based on real people in your life?
Hmm…Not sure I should answer this one. I do people watch, take notes in my head of funny or interesting behaviors. So these traits probably show up in the characters I write. But I’ve never based a character on anyone specific. Yet. ;)
Where do you get your ideas?
Tough one. Where don’t I get my ideas. LOL I can be just about anywhere and see or hear something that sparks an idea in my head. Sometimes I wish I could turn it off. It’s corny, I know. The toughest part is figuring out which ideas will hold my interest long enough to make a realistic story. One with a good plot and great characters. Turning an idea into a story readers will enjoy is where the hard work comes in.
What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
I’ve learned to be true to myself and my voice. No one can write my story like I can. Learning the craft and continuing to learn is essential to grow as an author. It’s important to put out the best product you can. Then get ready for a very bumpy ride. There will be good times and bad times, but I try to remind myself when the process stops being fun, to take a break and remember why I love writing. It helps me keep things in perspective and gets me back on track.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes. My full length novels are available in print as well as e-books through Barnes & Noble too. You can find all my books, short stories included, available as e-books through a wide-range of formats, including, Kindle, Nook, IBook, Kobo and Smashwords.
What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
Other places to find me online:
Facebook: Melissa Ohnoutka - Author
Do you read every email yourself?
Yes, I love hearing from readers. Unfortunately, I may not have the time to reply to each one.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
This was a huge wake up call for me. The marketing side of publishing is quite time consuming. It’s been a long learning journey, but I think I’ve found a balance that works for me. I love the writing side, so I tend to do a lot more of that.
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Do your research. Get your name out there before you publish if you can. Set up your website, blog, Twitter & Facebook accounts, follow others, start commenting and building an online presence ahead of time and it will save you a lot of time, energy and headaches afterward. But most importantly, don’t rush the process. Spend the time, and yes, even the money, to make your book the best it can be. There’s a lot of competition out there. And the critics can be brutal.