{Interview} Monica Leonelle


I had the pleasure to interview Monica Leonelle right before Christmas. I found it exciting that she chose to publish via Kindle.


Why did you decide to publish via Kindle?
I started out in independent publishing back in 2008. I created my own micro press and used a distribution company called Lightning Source to bring a business book to fruition and have it available for order at bookstores all over the US. The book was also picked up by a publisher in France and distributed throughout Europe (sold through foreign rights). I enjoyed LS’s print-on-demand services so much that when I wrote Silver Smoke, my goal was to publish it the same way.
Then, this huge ebook revolution happened around a year and half ago, back in 2010, with the height of the media buzz picking up around December 2010. I realized that my fiction sold much better on Kindle and Nook than in print. So you could say I sort of fell into it by accident–I started out by publishing primarily in print. A lot of indies publish with Kindle/Nook/Smashwords + Createspace, but I was lucky enough to have the micro press already.
How do you go about that process?
Publishing on Kindle is incredibly easy. You go to http://kdp.amazon.com and follow their three-step instructions there. Nook is at http://pubit.com. You can also publish on Google books for Android and the Apple bookstore using iConnect.
To create my files, I use a software program called Scrivener. Some people also use Callibre, but I’m not a huge fan. I sometimes use Pages also to create ePubs. All three of these are as simple as using Microsoft Word and put together, cost less than $75 total. It is easy and affordable to publish if you’re willing to learn the technology–the hard part is writing something that’s worth publishing!
Do you have to be approved?
There is probably an approval process but everyone gets approved, I think.
Would you go this route again?
I am a writer, a marketer, and a business woman by trade. Those are the three professional areas I feel I’m good enough at to make a living from. So for me, managing, distributing, and marketing my own products comes naturally. Many writers, though, are focused primarily on writing and feel the traditional publishing route is better–and it probably is for them. It’s cool that artists have both options now.
What else can you tell me about publishing via Kindle?
Well, I can say that you have to be dedicated to marketing your own products. It’s a day in and day out process, and sometimes it’s exhausting. I was watching a Guitar Sessions special on Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and Grace was giving advice to bands. Her advice was, you have to tour. You can’t just load your music to iTunes and hope people find it. People only get excited about your music because you’re so into it and you are going out there every day and trying to share something you care about with people.
That’s a terrible paraphrase, but I take it to heart with my books. I know that every time I write a blog post or do an interview, I’m basically on tour. It doesn’t matter whether there are 2 people reading or 200 or 2000–I have to go out and try to share what I’m doing with whoever is there. That is much harder that simply publishing your work. You can’t just put your work out there–you need to really put your heart and soul out there too.
What’s next?
I have new books coming out in January and February. They are in the final stages of drafting and editing. The next two books in the Seven Halos series are coming out, and a new cyberpunk series called Socialpunk will also be out soon. I’m planning to do another blog tour in February to promote them, so I’m looking forward to putting together another set of prizes!

An Exclusive Excerpt:

“This is the New Order we’re talking about.” Sirena had an urgency about her voice that Brie had never heard before. “Whose side are you on?”

“What’s the New Order?” Annie whispered. Annie set her bag down next to Brie’s bag, her eyes sharp.

Brie hushed her and peeked through the bushes. Thessa had papers in her hand, and Sirena looked… scared.

Thessa’s aggressive stance startled Brie. “You know what the blood results mean,” Thessa said, speaking very quickly. “You know the rules that Michael set out. If Brie is the first sign, we have a duty to put our differences with the New Order aside and work for the greater good of the Hallows.”

“They are expecting a Nephilim,” Sirena said. “Do you really think they will keep Brie alive?”

“It’s not my choice!” Thessa said. “If Brie’s death is what’s best for the Hallows, then so be it.”

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