Discovering New Ways to Reach Readers: An Interview with Emma Chase

To celebrate our awesome community of NOOK authors, as well as the recent launch of the NOOK Press print platform, we’re talking each month with authors whose books are making a splash with NOOK readers.

Emma Chase is an author who “writes sexy swagger on every page,” and whose journey from mainstream publishing success to self-publishing…well, success, has resulted in steamy bestsellers and a massive fanbase. We talked to Chase about her favorite books, her self-pub adventures, and new release (in a brand-new series) Royally Screwed.

Tell us a bit about your writing background.

I’ve written stories my whole life, as a hobby. I loved taking creative writing classes in high school and college. When my children were in school full time, I started sending out manuscripts to publishers. In 2013, my romantic comedy, Tangled, was published by a small press and it hit the New York Times bestseller list the week it was released. Tangled and the subsequent books in the series (Twisted, Tamed, Tied) were acquired and published by Simon & Schuster. S&S also published my second series, The Legal Briefs, last year.

What made you decide to go the self-publishing route?

While I love the collaborative approach of traditional publishing, I’ve always been curious and enticed by self-publishing because it allows more room for editorial and promotional experimentation. It’s a fast-paced, innovative, still-emerging market that I’m excited to be a part of.

Did you work with other professionals—editors, cover designers, etc.—on your path to publication?

Yes, I’m very lucky to work with professional editors and designers who have helped me create beautiful and high-quality books for my readers.

How did it feel to hit publish on that first book (if your first self-published book was your debut)?

The first story I self-published was Sidebarred, a novella in the Legal Briefs series. Because it was shorter than a full-length book, it felt like a great segue from traditional to self-publishing. I was proud and thrilled the first time I hit that publish button–and also a little bit terrified. I hoped that nothing would go wrong, because if something does go wrong, it’s pretty much all on you to fix it. Happily, Sidebarred’s release went off without a hitch and the experience prepared me to release my first full-length self-published series, the Royally Series, this year. Book #1 in that series, Royally Screwed, comes out October 18.

Can you describe how it felt when you saw your first self-published book finding a readership?

I was elated and grateful to see readers who read my traditionally published books follow me over into self-publishing—to see that they loved those stories every bit as much as the previous ones. I appreciate every one of my readers and my goal is to always give them entertaining, cleanly edited books with fantastic covers they’ll want to read again and again.

What does it mean to you to have achieved success and connected with an audience outside of the usual publishing avenues?

It’s very exciting! Publishing is such a fast-changing field these days and it feels like the readership is constantly expanding. It’s fun and invigorating to discover new ways to reach new readers—to interact with them, hear their thoughts, and share the joy of great books with them.

How do you determine when your books are ready for publication?

After I’ve completed a first draft, the manuscript goes through revisions—beta reading, developmental edits, copyedits, and multiple rounds of proofreading. I like working with different editors for each step in the process because it brings different perspectives to the story and helps catch as many typos as possible. Once the story is 100% solid and the manuscript is clean of errors, I know my book is ready to be shared with readers.

How do you handle publicity around your work?

I work with an awesome publicist, Danielle Sanchez of InkslingerPR, and my agent, Amy Tannenbaum of the Jane Rotrosen Agency, to schedule promotional opportunities where my books can get maximum visibility. We also distribute advanced reader copies and schedule book tours with some truly amazing bloggers. I also utilize Facebook, Bookbub, and Goodreads advertising to get the word out about upcoming releases.

How do you interact with your readers?
I interact with them on Twitter and Facebook every day. It’s fun as an author, and as a reader myself, to chat and share their passion for characters and stories.

How has being a self-published author changed your life?

The biggest change is having a bit more flexibility in my schedule. There’s a lot of pressure when you’re under deadline—not wanting to keep your publisher waiting or to disappoint them. While I still have deadlines, they’re ones I set for myself and can adjust without disrupting anyone else’s schedule if the muse isn’t playing nicely.

Tell us a little bit about your next book.

Royally Screwed, coming October 18, is the first book in a new, standalone series. It’s a fun, sexy, romantic story and I couldn’t be more excited to share it!

Tell us a bit about the books and authors that have inspired you.

So many books have inspired me—even the ones that are different from the kind I actually write. I’ve loved the drama and passion of Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, since I first read it at 16. I’ve enjoyed historical romances—particularly ones with clever dialogue and fun, witty characters, like Gentle Rogue, by Johanna Lindsey, and The Bride, by Julie Garwood. Reading stories that make me laugh, that make my heart pound and my stomach drop, are the most inspiring, because they make me love what I do all the more and make me say to myself, “I want to write something like that.”

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