Interview: Chris Mariano, author of Cover (Story) Girl
|Cover designed by Miguel Calvan|
Is this your first published book ever? What took you so long?
I’ve been included in a few anthologies before but this is my first solo book — and my first romance! I’ve actually been writing speculative fiction. Romance is new publishing territory for me (unless you count those old Sweet Dreams-type stories I scribbled down in high school).
What made you decide to finally write something and publish it?
#romanceclass made me do it! I’ve no qualms writing and publishing for speculative fiction, though I haven’t really stumbled on an idea that I’d want to expand into a full-length genre novel. Romance is a different story. I’ve been writing and finishing romance short stories and novellas but haven’t really felt the need to publish them. I’ve always thought that hey needed more spit and shine before I took the plunge.
But then #romanceclass happened. I’ve had Gio and Min Hee’s story in my head for a while now and on some level I didn’t think I was ever going to write it. I figured it was a good topic for the #romanceclass experiment. The class gave me the motivation and the dedication to finish something that I wasn’t keen on writing.
(Also, I’m saving up for a long trip. I have realistic expectations, of course, but sales could mean extra pocket money. Opa!)
Did/do you have any fears about going indie?
My fears had more to do about publishing something in general rather than publishing independently. Was my story good enough? Did I get all the typos out? Did I establish things early? Was my story good enough? But by then, a friend was already doing the cover. People have already beta-read and edited it. It just seemed like such a shame to not push through at that point. But I think whether it was published traditionally or independently, I would still have most of the same doubts.
What was the most surprisingly pleasant part of the process of writing and publishing your book?
Formatting the manuscript! Goodness, I can write an ode to formatting the manuscript for Smashwords and Kindle. Reading and following it was such a breeze. It was a nice break from the pressure of writing well.
Another part I enjoyed was watching the cover get made. My former advertising Creative Director Mike volunteered to do the cover. We were both on the same page when it came to the look and feel we wanted. We’ve worked with each other before so we already had a system. He showed me pegs before starting, updated me every step of the way, sent me WIPs — it was a really exciting part of the process.
What’s the part that you’d prefer someone else do for you?
I wish I could get someone to do the online marketing with me! I already work in marketing but I just didn’t feel comfortable marketing myself. I wish I could have someone take care of the small but important stuff (making author pages on Amazon, Goodreads, maybe even Facebook). I feel like I need to sit down and devote a proper day to fixing these pages, fixing SEO, etc.
What has been the most awesome response to your book (by a stranger) so far?
My friend and beta-reader Chachic of Chachic’s Book Nook posted about my novella on her site. Surprise, surprise, YA fantasy author Rachel Neumeier picked it up, read it, and then blogged about it. She had very kind words to say, which you can read here.
What’s the next book going to be about?
It’s a contemporary cozy mystery about an amateur sleuth/wedding planner, which was what I was writing when Cover (Story) Girl happened. I’m already at 30k words in, though at this point I still don’t know if I should turn this into a trilogy (amateur detectives need more mysteries to solve, right?) or stick to a one-off. One thing’s for sure — it’ll still be set in Aklan!