Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Possession vs. Surrender


Elana Johnson is here!  



You're now the author of two published books. I'd love you to compare/contrast your writing and promoting experiences between Possession and Surrender.  



           What do you wish you knew when you were a debut author that you know now?  



This is such a hard question. I learned a lot of things about publishing Possession. I learned that it helps to have other people talk about your book. I learned that there are some things out of your control. I learned that some of the marketing things I did weren’t as effective as the time/money I put into them. 

I wish I could go back to that pre-release stage. We spend so much time waiting for our books to come out, but it’s the most precious time. Once your book comes out… It’s all about how it performs after that. And that kills some of the excitement. So I wish I knew to keep things in perspective, do what I could, and then move on.


What was better about writing Possession?  

There’s much more joy in writing your first book. Less pressure. More time to get it right. I didn’t experience as much joy in writing SURRENDER, and there was way more pressure and way less time to get it perfect. So that’s hard. Looking back, writing POSSESSION was definitely more fun.

What was better about writing Surrender?

I no longer had to worry as much as world-building. The society was already set in POSSESSION, and while SURRENDER takes place in another city, and I needed to establish setting, the whole world didn’t have to be conceived. It already had been. So that made writing SURRENDER much easier.

How is promotion different between the two books?

The pressure! With POSSESSION, I didn’t really know what would work and what wouldn’t. I did things because I wanted to do them. With SURRENDER, I went through a period of time where I seriously contemplated doing nothing. Maybe mentioning the book on release day. Then things changed, and I decided I did need to do some promotion for the book. And the pressure that brought! So much pressure.

Because, remember, now everything is about sales. How many copies are selling? How close is that bringing me to earning out? What else can I do to reach readers? Will they buy it if they only see the book once?

And on and on. There is intense pressure to promote SURRENDER, to ensure that it sells well enough to warrant a continued writing career.

General questions:

Surrender is a companion novel.  Which characters reappear in this book?
Okay, so readers will see Vi and Zenn and Jag again. Thane Myers also plays a heavy role in SURRENDER, just as he did in POSSESSION. Let’s see, who else is there? I think that’s it.

Do you prefer butterflies or hummingbirds?  Explain. 
It depends! I have some beautiful jewelry for each, and butterflies are definitely more common in almost everything craft-wise. I definitely prefer the butterfly cover over the hummingbird one, so maybe butterflies? Yeah, let’s go with that.

What are you writing now?

I just started working on a YA contemporary novel. It’s going well, but it’s much harder than I expected it to be.

What else do you have in the works that you want to tell us about?

So many things! I’m hoping I’ll get to unleash my YA sci fi on the world one day. As well as my YA fantasy… Oh! And I wrote a whole novel in verse. I’d love for that to get published too. So we’ll see. Hopefully, there are many upcoming things for me!



About SURRENDER: 

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.
Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque…. 



39 comments:

  1. Thanks for being so honest Elana about the good and the pressure. It's sad there is so much pressure to have good sales and that this defines whether a new book comes out. But it's good to know as an aspiring author what we're getting into. It's not all roses.

    I'd love to know some day the marketing that you did for Possession that in retrospect you didn't feel helped or wish you hadn't spent your money on.

    Love, love, love Surrender. Even more than Possession if that's possible. Hope sales do well.

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    1. Thank you, Natalie. I think Surrender is a much better book, and I don't know how that happened, because I had way less time to work on it. Mysteries...

      And there were many things with Possession marketing-wise that I didn't repeat. The virtual party, for one. I spent a lot of money on books and shipping for that, and while it was *fun* I didn't think it was as successful as I would've liked.

      I also spent a lot of money on swag -- like jewelry and whatnot. I didn't do that this time. I have bookmarks and stickers, and that's it. It's fun, but everything else is so expensive, and I've found that it's sitting on my table and I'm going "What do I do with all this?" So yeah. Those are the two I can think of right now.

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  2. Elana, We really HAVE had some similar experiences! The sales thing is a really big deal, but in spite of worries about that, I can't stop writing ... can you? Nope. I didn't think so. :D

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    1. I hear you. I have slowed down a little bit. I've decided it can't always be about quantity, you know?

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  3. Great interview ladies! I can't even imagine the pressure of the sales for the 2nd book - terrifying. There's so much to fear in all of this journey - thankfully it's all kinds of fun too!

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    1. Yes, if the fun didn't outweigh the fear, we'd all quit, right??

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  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Elana. It helps to hear this type of experience. ;D

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    1. It's been an interesting ride, and I hope not discouraging!

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  5. E, your honesty is SO refreshing! I have you on my blog tomorrow so I will reserve my thoughts about your awesomeness then. :D

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  6. Fantastic, honest, interview. The pressure to promote and perform is intense.

    I enjoyed Possession and recently downloaded Surrender. I'm stoked about Elana writing contemporary YA. That's my favorite genre to read.

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  7. This was very interesting to read, and I will be adding these novels to my "to read" list. As a middle school English teacher, I would love to also read your novel in verse someday~

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  8. Great interview! It's interesting the difference between a first novel and a second novel in the writing and promotion experience. Its good stuff to know as I get ready for my second to publish. I am excited to read these books!

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  9. This makes where I am so much more enjoyable: pre-querying. I'm going to enjoy it while I can. :D

    Thanks, E, for the great and truthful post.

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  10. Great interview Theresa and Elana. It's great to get a peek into the process from someone as accomplished as Elana.

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  11. Bravo to Elana on her two YA books. And Bravo to Theresa for interviewing Elana here on her blog.

    Elana, your answers to the questions about publishing demonstrate how much we are still learning. Thank you both for the info.

    Victoria Marie Lees

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  12. Great interview! I feel like I can sort of understand some of these things. I'm already feeling the pressure of #2 and I just sent #1 back to my editor. Intense.

    Thanks for sharing, Elana! Hi, Theresa! *waves* :o) <3

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  13. Wonderful interview, ladies! I appreciate Elana's insight and encouragement. It is inspiring to read about her journey. :)

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  14. These were really great questions, Theresa - and tough to answer I'm sure so thanks for doing it Elena. Congratulations on the second book and good luck with that pressure. I'm sure what you learned the first time around will help tremendously.

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  15. Elana, I doubt your writing career will ever be over! Thanks for sharing your heart once again. :)

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  16. How interesting! Thank you, Elana and Theresa. Elana, it's always refreshing to read your honesty about your publishing journey. I enjoyed Possession and look forward to reading Surrender!

    Theresa, I hope you're doing well and having a wonderful summer!

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  17. Hi lovely Theresa! Thanks for hosting amazing Elana! It's so interesting to know that Elana felt a different type of emotion and euphoria with writing her first book! And then for it all to be such a success! Yay!! All the best with Surrender too! Take care
    x

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  18. Thanks Theresa for hosting Elana. It's often obvious that an author spent so much more time and love on their debut novel than the second or third. And Elana has been honest explaining this. You might spend years getting the debut right, but then the contract comes and you're expected to churn out a novel a year or some such. Ah, the downside to success! D.

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  19. Interesting to learn about the different phases of publishing. All success to Elana. Waving at Theresa.

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  20. Great interview!

    Interesting contrast between the first and second books. Writing under all that pressure must be stressful.

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  21. Great interview! I just got Possession and I am looking forward to reading it soon

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  22. Wonderful interview. I loved Possession and downloaded Surrender, but haven't read it yet. I think Elana is not alone on how published book two felt differently than book one.

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  23. Congratulations on the 2nd book. Interesting interview.

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  24. I'm just beginning the promotion thing. I never know what will work and what won't. And what works one day may not work the next. I need a promotion wizard. Maybe Harry Promo?

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  25. I really enjoyed reading this, Elana... it's good to take off the rose-colored glasses and hear about what really goes on for new authors. I get all caught up in wanting my dream to come true and all starry-eyed about the thought of having my name on a bookshelf, but there are so many other things to consider. It really is a case of being careful what we wish for, isn't it? And knowing whether we really want everything that comes along with our wish?

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  26. This post was timed perfectly for me. As I revise and perfect the query, which I doubt will ever be perfect, I find myself soul searching more and more. What do I really want out of all of this. Thanks for sharing your journey through your blog, and thanks for continuing to share. It puts a lot of things into perspective. Gives us all a bit of reality. BTW: I lost sleep reading Possession. I was up til about 4am. I'm so not bitter. It was worth it. Me loved it!

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  27. It's nice to have two books behind you now. I'm sure you'll continue learning new things. There are few if any guarantees when it comes to promotion, but it would be nice to have a good promotional machine backing you.

    Good interview with useful questions.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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  28. I hear a lot about the pressure when it comes to a second novel. Less time, more pressure to make it as good as or better than the first. It's kinda scary when it comes to having to ensure that it sells well enough to warrant a continued writing career. Wishing you the best, Elana.
    Great interview, Theresa.

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  29. Interesting story description, and I really like the book cover too! I admire anyone who is able to promote their books, because it does sound like a difficult process.
    I like the idea of companion novels, because I often want to know what happens next for the characters and it's fun to see how they evolve.

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  30. Elana's honesty has always been refreshing. Thanks so much for the cool interview!

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  31. I am seeing Elana all over blogosphere - I will definitely grab her books. Thanks for the review, Theresa. BTW - Can I have her hair ^_^

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  32. Great interview, Theresa and Elana!
    And thanks for the reminder, Elana - that sometimes it's good to be in the pre-agent pre-published phase, while we can still explore our ideas and tweak them.

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