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An Interview with Best-Selling Paranormal Romance Novelist HP Mallory

After finishing her first paranormal romance, “Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble,” HP Mallory landed the agent of her dreams who bought her manuscript in New York.

However, after 2-3 months of rejections from publishers, his literary agent, like many these days, mysteriously disappeared.

Deflated, HP gave up. For two years she did nothing from an editorial point of view and even considered giving up her dream of being a published novelist.

Then, after someone told him about other novelists who were having great success publishing their novels independently as e-books, HP figured he had nothing to lose.

It posted its first title in July 2010 and saw immediate sales. Then, in December 2010, it sold almost 23,000 copies of its titles, impressive sales by any measure, especially over a period of one month.

HP is not only a remarkable publisher success, she is also an incredible novelist and a very personable, down-to-earth lady. It was a real pleasure conducting this interview with her.

Here’s the interview:

DESCRIBE HOW YOUR FIRST BOOK, “FUEGO Y BUBUJA DE CALDÓN,” BROUGHT TO THE MARKET.

Well, after deciding that I wanted to go the desktop publishing route, I simply uploaded Fire Burn to Amazon (this was July 2010) and then after realizing that not much was happening, I set Google Alerts on keywords that described my book, like “paranormal romance” and “urban fantasy”.

Every time I got an alert that someone mentioned these words, I would check the emails and if they were book reviewers, I would send them an email and ask if they would like to review my books.

I must have reached out to hundreds of book bloggers and that’s how I started to spread the word about my books and get really good reviews that the reviewers posted on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (which also helped me climb the ranks in both).

I also participated in forums where I spoke with readers and presented my books.

HOW LONG, AFTER MAKING IT AVAILABLE, DID IT TAKE TO GENERATE YOUR FIRST SALE? SO, DOES IT MEAN SALES?

My first sale was immediate. That’s because I was quick to spread the word. My first month with two books, I sold just 400 copies.

WHAT DAILIES HAVE BEEN YOUR MOST EFFECTIVE PROMOTIONAL TOOLS? YOU LESS?

I think that the most effective tool of any are social networks: Facebook, Twitter and blogs. The most important thing to remember is to build relationships with your readers. This is how word of mouth starts.

I can’t tell you how many readers have emailed me saying that they told their friends / relatives / coworkers about my books not only because they enjoyed my books, but that they loved the fact that I am so approachable.

I haven’t really done anything that hasn’t contributed to my success so far, at least I can see that. I think some tools have been better than others, but nothing has really been a waste of time. So far, I think Facebook has been the best tool.

DO YOU SEE ANY ADVANTAGES OF BEING AN INDIE AUTHOR VERSUS OF WORKING IN A MAJOR PUBLISHER?

They both have pros and cons, so I finally decided to go indie and traditional (I have three books coming out with Random House next year).

With a large publisher, you have the benefit of a marketing department, a public relations department, an Internet department, and you can rely on their immense knowledge when it comes to getting a book to market.

However, being an indie is great too, because you have a lot more control over your books. It’s easy to test content, pricing, and the like. Yes, it is a lot more work because you have to do everything yourself, but you also have a lot more control.

CONGRATULATIONS ON SIGNING WITH RANDOM HOUSE! WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO ACHIEVE WITH HR THAT YOU COULDN’T DO YOURSELF WITH SELF-PUBLICATION?

Thanks! I think Random House was an incredible opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. Due to the fact that e-books only account for 30% of total book sales, I wanted to expand in hopes of becoming a well-known name in paranormal romance. This way, I have one foot in both fields and they should feed on each other. I will always be a freelance author for one of my self-released series and the other will be available through Bantam (Random House label).

Also, I think it’s very exciting to go through the publishing process and see it from another perspective.

IS THERE ANYTHING OF WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO PUBLISH INDEPENDENTLY? ANY MISTAKES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?

I do not regret at all. Desktop publishing literally changed my life. I quit my job and never looked back. And I really haven’t made any mistakes … so far …

DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY. ALSO, WHEN WRITING YOUR NOVELS, DO YOU HAVE A GOAL WORD? OBJECTIVES PAGE? TIME GOAL?

Yes, I do give myself a goal of 5000 words each day if I am approaching a deadline, which means that I am usually stuck writing 5000 words per day. LOL.

Otherwise I try to aim for 2,500 each day. I don’t really have time or page goals. As long as I count my word, I’m fine.

And a typical day involves taking my son to his babysitter in the morning, working out for an hour or so at the gym, coming home to write, and then picking up my son again.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE IN GENERAL TO FINISH A FIRST DRAFT?

I can finish a book in 3-4 months. That includes edits and rewrites.

HOW MANY DRAFTS DO YOU WRITE BEFORE FINISHING A MANUSCRIPT?

I don’t really work on drafts. I write a chapter, massage it, send it to my editor, send it to my fellow critics, read it one more time, and it’s finished.

WHAT IS YOUR WRITING ENVIRONMENT LIKE?

My office: desk, sofa, two computer monitors, shelf with tons of computer supplies, my USC and UCLA certificates, and right now some trucks and a water squiggle in the corner of the room. LOL

HOW DID YOU APPROACH THE EDITIONS FOR YOUR INDIE BOOKS?

I have a great publisher that has just started to focus on expanding her publishing business and is acquiring more clients. You can learn more about her at http://www.editingfairy.com.

HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIENCED THE WRITER BLOCK?

No never. I experience the writer syndrome “I’d rather be doing something other than writing right now,” but that’s it. I don’t have writer’s block because I outline everything on the floor. LOL.

ALL YOUR NOVELS RECEIVE EXCELLENT REVIEWS, INCLUDING YOUR LATEST TITLE, “A TALE OF TWO GOBLINS.” TELL US ABOUT IT.

Thanks! “A Tale of Two Goblins” is the second book in my Dulcie O’Neil series about a fairy in law enforcement. In “A Tale of Two Goblins,” Dulcie must team up with her handsome partner, Knight Vander, to prevent a Dreamstalker from killing people in their sleep.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?

In fact, I’m two chapters away from finishing the third book in my Jolie Wilkins series, about a witch who becomes the queen of the underworld. This book, entitled “Be Witched”, is the first book I have written for Random House.

ANY WORD YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEAVE FOR ASPIRING NOVELISTS?

Never give up. I know it sounds trite, but it’s so true. I am a perfect example of how your dreams can come true. Stay with them!

FINALLY … DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE?

“Perfer et obdura, pain hic tibi proderit olim”. – Latin of Ovid.

It means: Be patient and firm. Someday this pain will be useful to you.

Thank you HP for this excellent interview! As I mentioned before, you are an inspiration.

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