One of the first books I ever read from Musa Publishing was First Frost by Liz DeJesus. I was thrilled to discover her unique twist on fairy tales and even more thrilled to interview her back in 2013.
Musa has now closed its doors, but the careers it started will continue for many years. Liz is one of many Musa authors who not only already had books published elsewhere, but has also found a home for the series she formerly published with Musa.
Today Liz has returned to share her accomplishments in the last two years and the lessons she’s learned as her writing career grew.
1. We last spoke in January 2013. Can you talk a little bit about where you were in your writing career at the time?
It’s hard for me to remember exactly where I was two years ago. But I believe I was working on the edits for Glass Frost and I remember being extremely excited for the sequel to be released. People were just starting to discover First Frost, it was getting positive reviews and people were enjoying the story.
2. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about writing since then?
Definitely write for yourself. I have to be sure I’m happy with the story and not focus so much on what everyone will think. I think that stops a lot of authors from moving forward with their work. Worrying about what other people will think, if it’s good enough or what people will say, all of that fear, anxiety and worry is a killer of creativity. So I ignore my inner critic and focus on what my heart is telling me. As long as I’m having fun writing the story that’s all that really matters to me. When I send it to my editor that’s when I worry, but by that point I’ve already worked on the story for a couple of years so it’s a matter of making sure everything makes sense.
3. How do you balance your schedule between writing/editing/marketing?
I have kids and a hectic family life so there really is no ‘schedule’ per se. I steal little pockets of time here and there and that’s how I get everything done. I write the old fashioned way, notebook and pen. That’s easier for me because all I have to do is throw my notebook in my purse and I can write anywhere which is especially helpful if you’re in the car waiting in the parking lot or at the doctor’s office. So I’ll transfer those notes when my kids are napping or I’ll wake up a little early in the morning and get some work done.
As far as marketing goes, I’m always promoting my books. When I pay my bills (I still write checks) I’ll stick one of my business cards in the envelope, I’ll post on facebook, twitter, Instagram and tumblr. I schedule book signings, go to comic conventions, book festivals and hand out bookmarks. There is a lot that goes into promoting a book.
I’m extremely lucky in the fact that I have a supportive family that understands that being a working author is my dream and they go out of their way to ensure I have the time to do what I need to do. It’s not always easy but knowing I have their support means the world to me.
4. What’s your favourite social media network and why?
Definitely Facebook. I’m on 24/7. I love interacting with my friends, family and fans. A close second is twitter.
5. Of the marketing techniques you’ve tried, which have been most successful?
Purchasing ads at websites like bookbub.com and websites and blogs that are in the same theme as my books. I purchased an ad in Faerie Magazine’s website and that definitely boosted things for my books (specifically The Frost Series).
6. Where would you like to see your writing career in 5 years?
I would like to be signed with a traditional publishing company, but so far I’m happy with independent publishers and I’m happy with where my career is at the moment.
7. If this was your last interview ever, what would you really want to say?
That I’m thankful to Musa Publishing, Indie Gypsy, Arte Publico Press and every editor that has taken a chance on me and my work. I’m grateful to my fans for taking a chance on my books. To the bookstores that have accepted me with open arms and allowed me to have book signings in their stores. I’m thankful, and blessed to have the love and support of my family and I’m humbled by the fact that I get to write for a living.
I’m blessed in more ways that I can imagine.
Bonus Question: Would you like to share any last thoughts on Musa’s closure?
Musa Publishing has closed their doors. I am eternally grateful for everything they have done for me over the past 3 1/2 years. I am the author I am today because these incredible people believed in me and my work. I cannot forget to thank Kathy Calore Teel who was the Euterpe (YA) head editor at the time I submitted First Frost to Musa Publishing. So from the bottom of my heart thank you for seeing the magic and whimsy that so many others didn’t see at the time. And of course thank you to Celina Summers, Jeanne De Vita, Kerry Mand, Kelly Shorten, and Dominique Eastwick for all of their hard work and sacrifice in order to make Musa Publishing a success (because even though they are closing their doors they are doing it with grace and with their heads held high). So thank you so much for everything.
While I am heartbroken about Musa Publishing, I can’t help but be excited about the next chapter that’s opened up right now. My dear friends at Indie Gypsy have graciously accepted the Frost Series. So worry not, Bianca Frost fans, you will get to see what trouble she gets into next. They will release First Frost, Glass Frost and (the long awaited) Shattered Frost. Release dates, covers and other exciting news will be coming soon.
As one door closes another door opens…here’s to the next chapter for everyone. Looking forward to what the future will bring.
Liz DeJesus was born on the tiny island of Puerto Rico. She is a novelist and a poet. She has been writing for as long as she was capable of holding a pen. She is the author of the novel Nina (Blu Phi’er Publishing, October 2007), The Jackets (Arte Publico Press, March 2011) First Frost (Musa Publishing, June 2012), Glass Frost (Musa Publishing, July 2013), Morgan (Indie Gypsy, July 2014) and The Laurel (Musa Publishing, November 2014). Her work has also appeared in Night Gypsy: Journey Into Darkness (Indie Gypsy, October 2012) and Someone Wicked (Smart Rhino Publications, Winter 2013).
Liz is currently working on a new novel and a comic book series titled Zombie Ever After (Emerald Star Comics, Fall 2014).