Today I have a special treat for you. Especially if you are a budding author, you’re going to love today’s interview. Author Jennifer Loren joins us to not only share her writing process and juicy answers to all my inquiring questions but she’s here to share something special with you. Her newest project, Author Force – A new resource for authors!
Carol: Jennifer please share with my readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to begin writing.
Jennifer: I have always wanted to write, but I never seemed to have time. I was a senior designer for an Architecture firm and in charge of a lot of projects which took up most of my time. When the economy turned and banks started going under, my firm started to go under and I was laid off. I tried to find another job, but there wasn’t anything to be had and then my eye disease took a bad turn and I lost my eyesight. To entertain myself while unable to see I created stories in my head. I was going through treatments to regain vision again and by the time I was able to see in my right eye I had quite a few stories I wanted to write down, and one in particular, so I started writing it. It took me some time to get it perfected, but eventually I had a novel and was encouraged by friends and then agents to pursue the career. I was nervous I would never be able to go back to my design career because of my eyes so I decided I needed to find a new career and I have been determined ever since.
Carol: Have you ever submitted your work to a publisher or did you just jump straight into self-publishing?
Jennifer: I actually talked to quite a few agents at first that said they liked what they read, but were afraid to take a chance and they told me to go build an audience and return. They were talking about me doing a blog, but I changed that to posting an online story and that took me to self-publishing. I have never talked to publishers, I have been approached, but I feel I make more money as an Indie.
Carol: For someone who has thought about writing a book but doesn’t know where to begin what steps do you recommend they take to get started?
Jennifer: This is why I created my website, Author Force to help people find all they need to get started. It is very overwhelming and as helpful as people are on LinkedIn you rarely get good advice or know for sure if it is good advice. I hit a lot of walls and there is no one way to write or to become a successful author. Rules are always made to be broken and I broke quite a few when I started and heard a lot of the people on LinkedIn tell me I was doing it wrong. The biggest thing to remember is to build an audience, find your fanbase and go there and make yourself known without selling them on your books. Stop going to websites that are all authors, authors don’t have time to read your books. Goodreads is a great place start reviewing books and get involved in groups and build friends that respect your opinion and once you have done that then start sending your book out to people you trust get their honest opinion. Honest, truly honest and dependable beta readers are a must have for every author. Take their advice and make changes as you can to your book and then publish. If your presence is built up enough in the book world you will have no problem getting started.
Carol: Do you block out writing time or do you just write when you feel inspired?
I used to block out time, I always write better at night when things are quiet and it’s too dark to be distracted. I like to write every day or as much as I can. I get depressed now if I don’t get to write every day.
Carol” How do you create your book trailers?
Jennifer: I do my own book trailers, using corel video studio and purchased stock images. I have a friend in London who writes music special for my books and finds singers that fit the sound we are looking for. I don’t pay for the music, instead we help promote each other, so far that has been a great relationship that actually started from a fan that recommended him to me.
Carol: You have quite a large following on Facebook. How did you grow your fan base so large?
Jennifer: I actually am posting an article on this later this week. There is a lot of different things I did. The books success obviously helps, but I run special giveaways on Facebook to keep my fans on there and bring them in. There is a trick with Facebook ads that has worked well for me too. There are a lot of other things as far as posts made and how they are made and how often they are made. It took me awhile to figure out the right routine to get people in and keep people from leaving.
Carol: What is Author Force?
Jennifer: It is basically the “Angie’s List” for authors. When I first started I had no idea where to start or where to go to market my book. This site helps you not only get started but also helps you find a new cover artist, editors and anyone else that is involved in the book world especially bloggers sites which are crucial to book marketing. New blog sites pop up every day and they are all important and authors should know where their genre blog site is. My partner Sarah and I also provide our stories of how we got started and what we recommend for different situations. We provide areas for friending each other, socializing, discussion groups and forums to discuss any issues or possible businesses that may be great or are a place to stay away from. Unlike LinkedIn this site is specific to authors, it is setup in order of the writing process. We also provide a Book Brag Board so people can post their covers and trailers for everyone to see on our site and on our Pinterest site. Bloggers have started following our board so they can be aware of anyone new or any new books coming out. One of the biggest and most important things we have is the list of book events around the world. We are constantly adding to this list and hoping this helps authors find some events they may be able to attend and socialize or possibly connect to the event planners and get invited to buy a table and be a featured author. We also do Spotlights, I have already had two great authors come in and give their stories about how they started and we also do spotlights on businesses. We have a cover artist and a very successful model so far and have many more planned. My partner and I think it is important to hear from all authors and not just our opinions so it is my goal to seek out as many successful authors and professionals as possible to come in and give their advice too.
Carol: How do you go about designing your book covers?
Jennifer: I originally did them myself, now I have the money to hire someone and I have a cover artist that I have grown to love but I always keep an eye out for others just in case she is busy when I need her. Always have more than one you can go to, because great ones get very busy.
Carol: How beneficial do you feel Goodreads has been in helping you grow your audience?
Jennifer: Goodreads has really alienated a lot of authors with the way they allow people to attack authors personally, it has happened to a lot of my author friends and at times ruthlessly. It has happened to me, but I credit Goodreads for helping me become known. A few people from one group saw my book, started reading it and fell in love and they started a fan page to discuss the series. My fans recommend my books to their friends and in groups and have voted my series as top mafia romance and many other lists. Goodreads is really the reason why I am so successful, so as much I dislike some of the hateful reviews I get, I have gotten a lot of great ones that have pushed my numbers up. Dealing with bad reviews is something you learn how to do or you will go crazy, because it happens to even the best of them.
Carol: What is your most recent book about? Is another book already brewing in your mind?
Jennifer: My last one is a suspenseful love story, The Long Road – The third book of the Finding Ava series – Dillon and Dani’s story.
To save his family’s business, Dillon has to become the man and leader he never thought he could be and lead them all to success. Dani is determined to show Dillon that she is on his side against her own father. Young lovers Dillon and Dani try to cope when attacks on their business threaten their livelihood and very lives of their friends and loved ones. With so much depending on them, can they learn to work together? Can they repair what has been broken between the two of them before all is lost?
Yes, I am working on a new series called The Laws of Kings, my new mafia romance series. I also have two new books I am planning out for my popular series The Devil’s Eyes. I was trying to be done with the series, but the fans won’t let go and honestly I miss the characters too. 😉
Jennifer Loren graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a Fine Arts Degree, specializing in Architecture and Design, and also obtained a second degree in Computer Design. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her German shepherd, Riley. In addition to the vastly popular, top mafia romance and bestselling series, The Devil’s Eyes, Ms Loren has successfully published bestselling romantic suspense novel Finding Ava and its sequel Reckless and the bestselling short story, The Hand That Holds Mine. Her writing genre is considered dark, romantic suspense and her style is best described as Dark, Twisted and Dangerously Sexy.
Connect with Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferLorenDE