Author Molly Greene does more than just write books; although to date she’s written seven! When starting her career in writing, she began blogging about her experiences and sharing what she was learning about the mechanics of blogging and self-publishing with other up-and-coming writers. This has garnered a substantial following for her books and her blog, but it hasn’t been an easy road. Her generosity in sharing what she’s learned has helped others, but of course it’s the books in her mystery series that hold the key to her heart. Read on to learn more about this fascinating writer, her work, and what drives her.
Interviewed by Debbie A. McClure
Q How did your career in real estate prepare you for your writing life?
A I’m not sure it prepared me so much as it made me realize how badly I wanted to be done with having a boss! Seriously, though, my last twenty years of full-time real estate-related work was as a Marketing Manager for various wholesale mortgage companies. That meant cultivating diverse skills such as flyers created in InDesign and (limited) Photoshop, and lots and lots of copy writing and editing. I use all those skills now as an author, as well as the self-discipline I’ve honed over the years.
Q You’ve written six books in your Gen Delacourt mystery series. What do you find is a) the easiest and b) the most difficult part of writing a series?
A The easiest and most fabulous part is getting to know characters so well that you understand what they would do and say in almost any situation. The hardest part – eventually – will be coming up with plausible cases/situations for them to react to. So far I’ve had great good fortune in thinking up plots, but I fear by the time I get to Book 12, the well may run a little dry.
Q I discovered your blog via an internet search, but was immediately impressed with your “give-back” attitude toward indie writers. What inspired you to take this tactic with your blog?
A When I fired up my website in early 2011, I made an error common to new authors on social media: I began to share what I’d learned as I learned it, and as a result, I wrote blog posts almost exclusively for writers – not readers. I didn’t have a book out yet, I didn’t have readers or fans, so at the time it just made sense to share my self-publishing education with my peers.
Over time, my posts became popular among other authors who were also trying to navigate the learning curve. So my blog’s “give-back” philosophy was a natural offshoot to what I was doing. People helped me, so in turn I reached back to try and make the road easier for those coming behind.
Q What advice would you most like to give to new writers as they begin their journey?
A Great question! Here’s my advice:
* Read heavily in your chosen genre
* Watch what other successful self-published authors do to market themselves and their books
* Follow blogs of authors who share their experiences – it will cut the learning curve time in half
* Try on beta readers until you find two or three fabulous people who will give you good, credible, honest advice about your writing and your plots and characters
* Invest in (at the very least) a great cover and a proof reader
Q Who have been your greatest mentors, either in life or in writing, and why?
A My own poor decisions and errors have provided the greatest growth vehicle in my life, especially once I passed forty and really paid attention to the mistakes I was making, then tried to learn the lessons inherent in them.
In writing/craft, my most important learning vehicle has come from my favorite trad-published authors, Robert Crais, Janet Evanovich’s first few Stephanie Plum novels, and Susanna Kearsley (each at opposite ends of the spectrum with regard to writing style). They create fabulous characters and make me laugh and cry and never want to put their books down.
In the self-publishing industry, it’s been authors like Toby Neal, who I’ve watched closely as she’s worked her butt off and gained great success. That success helped me feel that if she could do it, I could too.
Q What has been the most difficult personal lesson for you to learn, and why?
A Not every person in the world is going to love or value me the way I want to be valued; not every reader is going to like my books and review them the way I’d hope to be reviewed; not every scenario, project, or life situation I develop and nurture will work out the way I plan. Why these have been difficult personal lessons is obvious.
Q If you could sit down at a roundtable of writers either living or dead, who would they be and why would you choose them?
A I’d love to sit at a roundtable of successful self-published authors and listen to a discussion about what they’ve done that’s worked as far as writing, collaboration, budget, diversification of sales platforms, print vs. ebooks, marketing, and promotion, including what has and has not worked, what they would do again, what they’ve heard and seen other successful authors do that they would like to try. THAT would be an interesting couple of hours!
Q What is it about mystery stories that draws you in and holds you?
A I read to be entertained and to learn, so I like mysteries because I can get the feel for characters as they grow through their experiences. I love the page-turning suspense of waiting to see what happens in a well-written plot.
Q What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about being an indie writer?
A 1) How generous most other self-pubbers are, and 2) how challenging the learning curve is when you first begin, how much there is to do: blogging, social media, writing, publishing, marketing, interviews, promotions … accck!
Q You’ve also written a nonfiction title aimed at self-publishing writers, Blog It. What is the underlying message you are hoping to convey with this book and your blog?
A Blog It evolved from the period of time I was setting up, figuring out, and achieving initial success with my blog. It was tough! There wasn’t a lot of info out there to use as a guide. So I compiled what I’d learned into a book in hopes it would help other authors navigate a little more easily. The message with my book and blog is simple, and exactly what I’ve learned from watching others: “if I can do it, so can you.”
Q Writers, like other artists, struggle with huge amounts of rejection, questioning from well-meaning friends and family, and their own doubts about their writing talent. What would you advise writers in dealing with these issues?
A I might question all the time and effort I put into something when it’s slow to pan out, but I don’t question myself, and no one has questioned me because I never shared my plans to become an author. I just did it. I had three books published before my mother found out!
I believe the greatest rejection-type challenge for authors comes from negative reviews. My advice would be to put it in perspective: Readers come in all types and expectations and desires. Just as I do not necessarily like certain authors’ writing styles and stories, some readers will not like mine. It’s the way it works.
I have the great good fortune – and the life experience – to not pay much attention to what people I don’t know think of me, and I don’t surround myself with people who feel compelled to hand out unsolicited advice. That would be another bit of guidance I’d pass on: take great care about who you hang out with and confide in.
Q I still encounter many writers who aren’t comfortable using social media to connect with other writers and/or readers. Why should they bother with these outlets?
A Connecting with readers is a blast, and one of the most fun elements of being an author, so I have trouble relating to discomfort with that! But if I were a new author starting today, I’d focus on writing a slew of really good books, maintaining accounts on two or three social media platforms that they enjoy using, and building an email subscriber list via a great website. These things, over time, do provide great exposure and will help authors connect and sell books.
When I started blogging and using Twitter in 2011, it was great fun and introduced me to a horde of fabulous writers who remain friends. Sharing and collaboration is valuable and important, just keep it simple. Don’t try to be everywhere at once. I question the value of authors spreading themselves too thin trying to be active on and managing a slew of social media accounts.
Q What’s next for you, Molly?
A The Gen Delacourt Mystery Series Books 7 – 12. That’s it in a nutshell!
Discover more about Molly and connect with her at the links below:
Twitter: @mollygreene https://twitter.com/mollygreene