Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Melissa Foster stops by Penny's Tales

I am honored to have Melissa Foster on Penny’s Tales.  I have done a little bit of homework on you Melissa and I know you have three best sellers out.  Megan’s Way, Chasing Amanda, and Come Back to Me.

Thank you! I’ve actually just released TRACES OF KARA and it has already hit the bestsellers list in the UK for Mystery (pretty exciting!).

Wow, Melissa - that is fabulous!  Not only are you a best selling author but you have a multitude of success behind your name.  World Literary Café, Fostering Success, and the social and support network for women, The Women’s Nest.

The questions I would like to throw at you today are mainly about marketing.  Let me set a scenario first.  We have Mary Jo Blow who has written a perfectly edited, best seller.  It is seriously the next Great American Novel.  The thing is – who the heck is Mary Jo Blow? 

Sooooo, you and Mary Jo are having a burger and fries. Chances are you will have to pay for the lunch because she is making no money on her wonderful book, and at this point can’t afford to pay for marketing help.  She does have a website, a blog and has joined Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.  She’s had guests on her blog and has been invited to present her book on other author’s blogs.

While author blogs are great for spreading the word, she should be spending more time on blogs that cater to her audience, and not necessarily on book related blogs, but on blogs, for example, that deal with the themes in her books. 

 My first question is…drum roll…. What is she doing wrong?  What is the number one thing she should be doing to get her name and her story out there?

Well, let’s see. First, you mentioned that she’s written a bestseller. Do you mean that she thinks she’s written one? Assuming she does, and that she’s not selling many books, I can’t really critique anyone’s efforts without knowing what they’ve done in detail, but I can give you an idea of what it takes to launch a bestseller.

·        Start with a breakout novel. The best damned novel you can write, as you mentioned, professionally edited, covered, etc.
·        Determine your audience (age, likes, dislikes, where they hangout online and offline)
·        Determine your advertising budget in terms of time and money
·        Create a marketing plan that includes targeting your niche audience. That means, if you are marketing to young adults, target all marketing efforts toward that group and where they spend their time.

What would be numbers two and three.  Please feel free to throw in four, five, and six also! LOL

Do you think it makes a difference (success-wise) if an author writes short stories, novellas, or novels?

I think authors can succeed no matter what they write. Finding your audience is what makes all the difference.

Can you give us a quick rundown on your trip down publishing lane with your very first book?  Did you sell it to a publisher?  Did you ever get discouraged over rejections?

I could wallpaper my house with rejection letters. I began publishing in 2009, when we were in the throws of the recession, and I had just completed Megan’s Way, which is not an easy read. Megan’s Way deal with a very heavy topic; a single mother’s recurring cancer. Agents provided great feedback and interest, but followed it up with either that they couldn’t sell sad stories in that market or that they’d tried to sell a similar piece. After a few months I decided to get it out to readers and see if it found a market on its own. I’m glad I did. Megan’s Way is doing very well.

My second book received an offer from a small press 24 hours after submitting, and since then I have had rights for audiobooks for all three of my released, and foreign rights sold, and my agent is currently submitting one of my manuscripts to traditional publishers.

Now that you have this enormous following, will you always go the self-pub route?

I will always self-publish, but I am testing the traditional waters now, as mentioned above. I would love to experience both sides of the fence.

What does a day in your life look like?  With all the irons you have in the fire, how much time do you actually spend writing?

To many people, my days would seem incredibly boring, but to me, they’re glorious. After getting my kids off to school, I write from 9-2:15. I take breaks to chat on social media and handle work-related issues and correspondence for the World Literary Café and Fostering Success. I also run several private writer’s groups where I answer questions on an ongoing basis.

I typically work after the kids are settled at home until about 5:30, and then pick up again with email and computer work while we’re hanging out as a family in the evenings.

Writing and marketing is not for wimps and Melissa you have obviously figured out how to master both.  I want to thank you so much for stopping by.  Your advice and expertise is a tremendous help to so many others and myself.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Now, please give us the low down on your books and where you and they can be found!

Thanks, Penny. Marketing is not for wimps. It’s a very difficult part of being an author, but for me, a chatterbox who loves a challenge, it adds a fun dimension to my days.

"What sets Melissa Foster apart are her compelling characters who you care about... desperately. This  is psychological suspense at its most chilling. I dare you to read the first chapter and not be hooked."    International bestseller, M.J. Rose

Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of three International bestselling novels. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.

My books can be found on Amazon.



  1. Great interview. If only we could work out how to target our audience. It's not as easy as some people would have you believe. hehe.

  2. Very nice interview. What a busy lady you must be, Melissa. I'm sure you are very proud of your accomplishment.


  3. Hi Francene and YaVonne. Thanks for stopping by.

    To target your audience, start with the themes of your book. Then translate that to who would be interested. Move onto where they hang out...then think about marketing strategies. You might benefit from the CORE courses at www.fostering-success.com -

  4. Very nice to meet you Melissa. Congratulations on your success.
    I'm also having trouble finding websites that cater to a target audience. Since most hang out on sites, how do you go about finding them? Especially with E-books.

    1. Hi Lorrie, you need to figure out your theme first. What is your genre? How old are your readers? Shoot me an email and I'll try to help. thinkhappygirl (at) yahoo (dot) com
      It can be tough, it takes research, but it's doable.

  5. Thanks so much for being with me today, Melissa. I've been to a few school libraries to talk to 4-6 graders. If I'm writing for MG/tween, hopefully this is one of the things I should be doing - right?????

    1. Hi Penny, thank you for inviting and hosting me on your blog. I really enjoyed it, and yes you are doing all the right things for sure! I love talking at schools and libraries - what fun!!