Author Interview, Gloria Herrmann, Loving Liam
A wake up call caused author Gloria Herrmann to go gangbusters and write, write, write. She wrote 12 books in less than two years. Her advice to aspiring authors? "If this is something you love doing- do it. Don’t expect overnight success or fame and fortune. Expect to work for it and to put in the time. But if it’s something you love doing, it’s not really work then, is it?"
Read her full author interview below!
1. List the titles of your published books (include publisher and year published) plus your author website/Facebook page links.
The Cloverleaf Series 2015-2016 (Limitless Publishing)
Book 1- Loving Liam
Book 2- Maggie's Marriage
Book 3- Patrick's Promise
Book 4- Dating Daniel
Single in Seattle 2017 (Totally Bound Publishing)
Book 1- Reeling in Love
Book 2- Puppy Love
Book 3- A Latte of Love
The Devil's Darlings 2016-2017 (Exclusive Indie E-Series)
Book 1- Falling for Grace
Book 2- Have A Little Faith
Book 3- Finding Hope (Coming Late 2017)
The Pass Through 2017 (Indie Release)
2. When did you start writing your first book? Where did the idea come from? Include the synopsis.
I began writing Loving Liam, the first book in The Cloverleaf Series in the spring of 2015 after my father had gotten diagnosed with kidney disease and had a stroke. It was a wakeup call that if I ever wanted to actually complete my dream of writing a book, I’d better get on it. I wasn’t getting any younger and seeing what my father went through at only the age of 55, I learned that things can change in an instant. The idea behind Loving Liam stems from my own life, coming from a close-knit family and living in a rural community in eastern Washington. It all set the scene of this very Hallmark movie style romance, which are my favorite types! I wanted to write a story that celebrated family, small towns, and sweet romance.
Rachel Montgomery’s family doesn’t think she can change—but she’s going to prove them wrong… What could be more out of character for overly-cautious Rachel than moving sight unseen to the small town of Birch Valley to become the principal of the town’s only elementary school? When she arrives late on her first day, she realizes no one was expecting her, leading to conflict with the staff—and particularly with one handsome, emerald-eyed fourth grade teacher. Liam O’Brien’s life is simple and easygoing, just the way he likes it—until he shows up for school following the holiday break… Not only is his new boss the rude woman who stole his parking spot, she’s highly motivated to switch things up in his very traditional school, and Liam is not a fan of change. His inexplicable attraction to the petite blonde complicates matters, as Rachel is adamant that she didn’t move all the way to Birch Valley to get involved in any kind of romance. But as conflicts are resolved, family ties might draw Liam and Rachel together… Rachel discovers Liam’s family is loving and supportive, particularly his mother Mary—unlike Rachel’s own mother. She bonds with his brothers and his sister Maggie, and it almost seems too good to be true. Can they work through their differences and compromise enough to build a lasting relationship? Or will Rachel be unable to let her guard down long enough to take a chance on… Loving Liam
3. What was the hardest part about writing your first book? What hurdles did you have to overcome?
The hardest part was second guessing myself. Was I actually able to do this? Why was I even doing this? Tons of doubt came into play as I wrote the first book. Luckily, my family was there to support me. If it wasn’t for their reassurance, I’m not so sure I would’ve finished this book or even submitted it.
4. Once your manuscript was finished, what did you do?
I knew next to nothing about the writing world or the options that were out there. I wrote the book in a few short months and then searched for publishers that accepted electronic submissions. I hit send and then came the hard part. Waiting. Actually, I was very lucky and received a few offers the following day. Ultimately, I signed with Limitless Publishing. They offered me a four-book deal and as a newbie, I was in shock. How was this even possible? I set to work right away on writing the next book and gave Maggie’s Marriage to my editor on the eve of the release of my debut novel. I then became somewhat of a writing machine, at least that is what my author buddies nicknamed me.
5. What did you expect from the editing process? How was the experience?
I’ll be dreadfully honest. My first editor was a complete nightmare. We just didn’t fit together and she wasn’t a fan of sweet romances, to begin with, and let her dislike of this genre be known from the get-go. I was terribly worried about saying anything in the beginning. I didn’t want to rock the boat and create waves with my new publisher. I certainly didn’t want to come off as some kind of author diva either. However, when book two was finished and it came time to edit, I begged my publisher to pair me with another editor. I absolutely adore this woman and have used her amazing editing skills for some of my indie projects. She taught me so much along the way and we’ve become amazing friends.
6. Describe what re-writing involves and how it makes you feel. How is it different than the initial writing?
I did a lot of re-writing with my first book. Good ol’ self-doubt was an enormous factor. I wanted to make sure it was just right and to this day, I’m not sure it’s still quite right. As I grew more confident in my abilities as an author, I found that I really didn’t need to re-write. I think that when you’re typing that first draft, all the magic and joy happens in that moment. The second re-write or re-read is when you start to second guess all those words. I figure it’s best just to stop while I’m ahead.
7. Did you have non-editors read your book for feedback (Alpha Readers)? What did you get out of that?
I was so new and literally had no clue that people would actually be willing to read my work. Now, I pretty much rely on close friends in the book community to tell me their thoughts on my work or I just wing it and send it out to publishers.
8. Who designed your cover? How much input did you have? How important is the cover design?
The covers for The Cloverleaf Series and Single in Seattle were all created by my publisher and their team of artists. I created the cover for The Pass Through and a very good author buddy and I created The Devil’s Darlings covers together. The old saying about not judging a book by its cover is complete bull. We do judge and it’s grossly important to create a cover that grabs the reader and at the same time represents the story behind it. Don't be afraid to be vocal about what you want to see on your cover if working with a publisher. You wrote the story after all.
9. How did you go forward with publishing? Why? How was that experience?
As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t know what options were really out there. I was old school and figured that submitting my manuscript was the only option. There are some advantages to being traditionally published. However, there’s a freedom with going indie and self-publishing. My experience with having a publisher was a good one overall. I gained a lot of respect, even as a new author because I did have the backing of a traditional press. I think it helped my career a great deal. There was one problem I encountered (Okay, maybe more than one.). I wrote too fast for the publisher. I wrote all four books in less than six months and had been given five years to do so. They normally only like to release one to two titles a year. They released the first book in October of 2015 and the remaining three the following year. I encountered the same issue with my new publisher for Single in Seattle. They are releasing all three titles in 2017 and have said they also like to keep it to one to two books per author a year. This is partially why I decided to self-publish The Devil’s Darlings and The Pass Through. I’m a tad impatient and wanted to get these stories out to my readers.
10. How have you marketed your first book?
It was a whole new experience for me and I tried a little bit of everything. I did just about everything from blog tours to paid promotion with some small PR companies. My publisher offered some marketing support as well. I found that social media worked best for me. My followers and new friends were eager to help share. What might work for one author may not work for another. It’s a lot of trial and error and seeing what sticks.
11. How was the initial feedback from readers?
I was surprised at the positive feedback I received. The four and five-star reviews blew my mind. I was beyond happy to read what people thought about this little book of mine. It’s a little scary to know that your words are out there and that people may not like them. A lot of authors say they write for themselves. I’ll be honest, I don’t. I do write stories I think I’d like to read. My stories are for the readers who crave these romances with happily-ever-afters.
12. How have sales been on your first book? Did they go as expected? What helps you the most to sell books?
There are ups and downs. In the beginning, my books received a decent amount of attention but I think as different genres became more popular, I saw a decrease in activity for sure. A lot of my stories are set during different seasons of the year and that can also affect sales.
13. Talk about print vs ebook. Do you get more sales with one than the other?
My ebooks do pretty well and my publisher warned me that I would probably hit 95% of my sales through ebook purchases. However, whenever I go to a signing I sell out of my paperbacks. When I offer a signed paperback giveaway, it’s always a success. Ebook giveaways don’t do as well. I think there is still something very special about paperbacks and that was important to me when I decided which publishers to sign with. I wanted my stories available in print and it’s really neat to see them on my bookshelf.
14. Did you set the prices of your print and ebooks? How do you decide how to price them?
My publishers handled all the pricing. I did price my indie releases at a competitively low price for my readers. I also participate in Kindle Unlimited so readers can read for free if they are signed up with that program.
15. What made you decide to write more books? How were those experiences (writing/editing) compared with your first book? Did you do anything differently?
I didn’t have much choice. Actually, I had the entire series in mind when I had sent Loving Liam out into the publishing world. I knew the other three books would be written, I didn’t even consider the other series or the many others I have in mind now. Writing became smoother and somewhat easier as each book was created. You gain a certain amount of self-confidence after you one book under your belt.
16. Anything different in the publishing process for your other books?
I remember the day my first book was released. I looked at Amazon all day and watched in wonder as my ranking climbed to numbers I never thought possible for me. All day and night I was filled with wonder. I was nervous to find out what people thought of my work and waited for those reviews. Then as each book I’d written was released, I found I wasn’t the least bit nervous. Friends would be more excited and surprised that I wasn’t on the edge of my seat biting my nails down to nothing. I won’t lie, on release day I do check my rankings, but I also check my rankings regularly (It’s like self-imposed torture.). I think with each publishing process I become more comfortable. I understand what to expect and learn a little more.
17. When did you consider yourself a "writer"?
I’ve been writing for a long time. I started writing competitively while in school. I think it was in the third grade when I was entered into my first contest and won third place. I won many first-place ribbons over the next several years and then took my writing to a different level. I began to write for my high school newspaper and eventually my college campus paper. I even landed my first writing gig while in college. It was this funky little online column about the struggles of young adulthood and college life. I put writing aside when I got married and became a mom. I filled that void with my other passion- reading. I always had ideas and wanted to write a book. I think most writers want to write the next great American novel and I was no different. I love books and to actually have created not one but several is truly a dream come true. Recently, I’ve been tinkering with the idea of screen play writing since one of my books is currently being read by an Emmy awarded director and a few actors. I see the stories I write play out in my mind like movies- soundtrack included. How friggin awesome would it be to have one or more become a motion picture!
18. When do you write? What motivates you to write?
I used to write every single day. The motivation was simple- if I was going to be successful, I needed to hammer out books like crazy. I’ve written twelve books in less than two years. What’s changed? A lot. I write about the importance of family and for a little while there I was locking myself away in my office. I was working so much on writing that my family was beginning to take a back seat. Not cool. I’m all about practicing what you preach and that definitely wasn’t it. So, I decided to step back and write when it doesn’t interfere with family stuff. My children are growing up way too fast and I want them to look back fondly at their childhood. I don’t want them to remember me ushering them out of my office so I could write. There will always be time to write. But there will be a time when my children are no longer children and I don’t want to miss out on that special time.
19. What do aspiring authors ask you?
I often get asked how did I get so many followers or the kind of online presence I have established. Well, being genuine is a start. I found that by being myself, I wasn’t having to put on some kind of an act. When readers meet me at signings, it’s the same me they get online or anywhere. I like to connect with people and am probably a little too social to be a writer.
It also doesn’t hurt to bribe readers with packages containing my famous #magicbeans aka chocolate covered espresso beans.
20. What advice can you offer for aspiring authors about writing, editing, publishing, and marketing?
The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to keep writing. There will be highs and lows but just remember that if this is something you love doing- do it. Don’t expect overnight success or fame and fortune. Expect to work for it and to put in the time. But if it’s something you love doing, it’s not really work then, is it?