Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Leti Del Mar. Leti is an indie author. She just released a new novel: Land of the Unaltered. She blogs about the craft of writing and indie books.
Words With Leti Del Mar
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Leti Del Mar lives in sunny Southern California with her husband, daughter and abnormally large cat. When she isn’t writing, reading or blogging, she is teaching Biology and Algebra to teenagers. Leti is also a classic film buff, passionate about Art History and loves to travel.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your new release: Land of the Unaltered. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
My next book will be the sequel to Land of the Unaltered, called Secret of the Unaltered. It will be out in the summer of 2014. The sequel will follow Rose and Flynn back to the capital of the Confederation of Cities with a plan to work as spies in order to take it down. While there, they will discover secrets about the capital, the people inside and Rose's role in its future. Their discoveries will test their newly forged relationship and the future of their people.
How important have your social media relationships been? Do you concentrate on Facebook or Twitter the most?
As an Indie, social media is vital. I try to spend equal time on Facebook and Twitter to make connections, but nothing beats actual emails and blog post comments to further relationships and builds up a solid network of connections. Those connections have been invaluable when it came to getting the word out about my work.
Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I have yet to do any personal signings or appearances, but have instead focused my efforts online. The overwhelming majority of my sales are e-books, so I feel like my audience is online and not in bookstores. I've done several interviews on blogs and always post these appearances on facebook, twitter and google+. My blog is a reader's best bet on finding out what I'm up to and I have connected with many readers and fellow authors through my blog. Check it out for information on the upcoming blog tour for the launch of my new book starting July 1st.
You have great covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
Thanks so much. My cover for The Inadvertent Thief was 100% all me. I started with a great picture I found on Flikr and the photographer was nice enough to let me use it. For my cover for Land of the Unaltered, I had a very clear idea and since I realized it was too complicated for me to do it justice, I worked with a wonderful and affordable cover designer called
who took my idea and made it a reality. I am too much of a control freak to hand over the reins to my readers, but who knows, maybe one day I will?
What kinds of writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
I like to use the forums and groups on Goodreads and World Literary Cafe. On these sites, I have found some great advice on marketing and writing and have met lots of supportive and helpful people. Through these groups I have learned that Indies help each other out whenever they can.
Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family, teaching and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?
I am nearly obsessive compulsive when it comes to organizing and managing my time. The key is to make the most of my free time. As a teacher, I get lots of days off, so I make a point to use them well. I'm also a big believer in calendars and to-do lists.
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
I tried it out when I did a blog tour for The Inadvertent Thief in December of 2012. I gave away lots of copies, but I didn't see any real increase in sales afterwards. Also I think the market is over-saturated with free books. So I am a little wary of the "free book" strategy. I am more willing to do sales where I reduce the price of my books. I have however had good results with free review copies and am always willing to give away a book in exchange for a review.
How do you manage your plots, characters and timelines to keep your stories going? Do you use any software to keep track of your books?
I love to make charts! I use charts to flesh out my characters and keep my plot organized. Remember I said I'm an organizational freak? Well, I fill out these charts before I start writing and then I use them to guide my first draft. When I finish my first draft, I go back and study these charts to make sure everything fits and I fill in anything that might be missing. I love to share my process on my blog and have copies of these charts available for anyone to use. Here are the links to check them out.
You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?
Thanks. My blog has evolved over time. I have discovered that Indies really and truly support each other. We are not each other's competition as much as each other’s support group. So I want my blog to be a resource for other writers and of course, raise awareness about my books. Because I want to make sure I present quality content and I also have a life outside of writing (including having a precocious toddler!), I only post content once a week on Mondays, and do an interview once a week, on Thursdays. I do much of it way in advance and work on it when I have time and when my toddler is napping.
Being a self-publisher myself, I have to ask this question. How does doing everything yourself work out? Do you outsource much of the process?
I am very much hands on and do not like to outsource. I use and find beta readers and editors on Goodreads and World Literary Cafe forums and this time around I got help with my cover, but otherwise, I do everything myself. I like the control. I have heard the complaints of other fellow authors about their publishers and not being happy with how their book is being handled. I love that I am in charge of my books and answer only to myself.
Is your new novel’s target audience the age-group you teach? Did your students get involved with the process? Did they influence the selection of the genre of your new novel?
It is! Although my students didn't get involved in my writing, they very much have helped shape what Young Adult books I read. I teach math and science, but I like to promote reading whenever I can. So when I see them reading something that looks interesting, I read it too and talk to them about it. It has given me a real feel for what kind of books teens like to read and their input has shaped the genre I write.
Author's Book List
Land of the Unaltered
- A Dystopian Romance (Book One of The Confederation Chronicles)
Rose comes from the capital of the Confederation of Cities where its citizens live in luxury and the greatest fashion statement of all is being Altered. People change everything about the way they look as often as they do their hairstyle but Rose is different. Her position of privilege has made her an outcast and led her to suspect that something sinister is happening to the citizens and flees the capital along with a past that imprisons her in search of a fresh start in the Land of the Unaltered.
Flynn lives in the Land of the Unaltered and hates the capitol and everything it stands for. So when a spoiled capital girl is assigned to work with him, he wants nothing to do with her and is prepared to make her life miserable. But Flynn was not prepared for someone like Rose. She doesn’t fit the mold he expected and finds himself strongly attracted to her. As she continues to surprise and outwit him, they begin to forge a bond that is tested when they discover a secret that could change everything they know about Land of the Unaltered.
Land of the Unaltered is a Dystopian Romance and is the first installment of the The Confederation Chronicles.
Order the Book From: Amazon
The Inadvertent Thief
- The Thief Series
As a security specialist, Vivien Flowers is a perfectionist. So when two very important paintings she had been hired to protect are stolen, her highly structured world is turned upside down and she must get them back. It's too bad art theft is not very high on the Los Angeles Police Department's list of priorities. So when Vivien is joined by a handsome insurance agent eager to prevent the multi-million dollar claim from being paid, they use any means necessary to track down the location of the stolen paintings. But is Vivien willing to become a thief herself to get the paintings back? The answer leads her on a journey of intrigue, deceit, crime and even love as she travels from Los Angeles to Paris and discovers the true brilliance she is capable of.
This Romantic Suspense if the first installment of The Thief Series.
Order the Book From: Amazon
- Barnes and Noble
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