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Contact: Elena Hartwell - elenahartwell@gmail.com and visit me on the web at www.elenahartwell.com

The Interview - Part II

Scroll Down for Part I

How did you come to work with Booktrope?
I met Katherine Sears at the Whidbey Island Writers Conference in 2011. She was sitting next to me during a presentation on self-publishing. We talked some about her company Booktrope, and I gave her my synopsis and first five pages that I had left over from agent pitching.

She was the most enthusiastic about my book of anyone I had talked to up to that point. Not only that, when she did not receive my submission a week later (due to an email glitch) she followed up with me to request it again! I met her partner Ken Shear at a launch for another Booktrope author and hit it off with him right away. He was so knowledgeable about what was going on in publishing, but was also a devoted reader and we talked books for two hours!! He got me, and was genuinely excited about what I was doing. I talked to him not only about the Sex and Death but another one that was halfway complete—Lost Dolls. Since the heroine was a porn star, most of the people I pitched the book to said it was not believable. Ken said to send that one when it was done. How often do you find people that get you at that level!

What I have appreciated the most is that the integrity of my book remained intact. I only worked with editors I wanted to, and the cover designer as well. The book was much longer that any agent I have ever pitched would have gone for, and nobody told me to change anything to make the book more marketable. Anything I was ever concerned about were issues related to marketing and cover design, not the content of the book. I have talked to enough authors, both well published and not, and I feel very grateful for the amount of control I have had over this book.

Now that we are in full promotional mode, I am more grateful than ever that I chose this publisher because I have so much more marketing support that I would have had by myself or with a smaller press. I not only have my own Book Manager who tracks down promotional opportunities, and rallies for me when I need it, but Booktrope authors are all incredibly supportive of each other. We share and retweet information about our launches, interviews and any other relevant promotional activity. It is a fun community to be involved in. 


You are currently in the midst of launching your novel and working on promotion - what's that been like? Any surprises?
I am finding out things about myself that have come up at other times in my life, but that I had forgotten about. I worry quite a bit, over things that probably don’t matter or that I have no control over, like how people are going to judge me in interviews or when I speak in public.

One thing that came as a surprise was how many little details need to be tracked down and followed up on: both for the launch party or the opportunities I need to follow up on to get my name out there.

I am really grateful for the connections I have made at conferences, on facebook and in other writing and publishing related communities. All that socializing has begun to pay off!

What are you working on now?
I recently decided to get back to Lost Dolls, the novel I was working on before Sex and Death. Things happening in the news, plus just the fact that scenes are starting to pop into my head means it is time to get back to that one. I pulled out four folders crammed full of manuscript pages, research and miscellaneous notes and have begun to sort through these to see what I need to do to finish the book.

Final Words of Wisdom:
Read and read and read some more.

Study The Writer’s Portable Mentor by Priscilla Long. Never stop learning.

Imagine yourself if you were exactly where you want to be as an author and keep that image in your mind especially though the tough times.

Don’t listen too much to other people. Take advice when it is given in the spirit of helpfulness, but listen to your gut, especially in the beginning. There are SO many opinions, SO many rules for writers, and SO many ways to do this. I compared myself to other writers a lot in the beginning, I talked and read about process and found in the end that the way I work best is to do what feels natural and what keeps the energy going. For me that is drafting a lot, and sorting through what I have and refining from there. I have met other writers who are much more organized than I am early on and still write great stuff, so listen to your own internal voice and do what excites you, what obsesses you and do what you must to keep that going.

Go crazy and don’t stop writing.

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