SFFMP 82: Time Travel Fiction and Keeping a Series Selling Year in and Year out with Monique Martin
This week, we’re chatting with time travel author Monique Martin. She’s been publishing about two novels a year since 2010 and has seen a lot of changes since the early days of self-publishing. We talked to her about what’s working now and what’s changed as far as marketing and selling ebooks goes since she got started. We also found out which tropes are popular in time travel science fiction and time travel romance!
Here’s the breakdown:
- After starting her career in television (with shows like Murder She Wrote), then a family business and even insurance marketing… She wrote at night to keep herself sane.
- After trying to get an agent she decided to self-publish her first novel a few months later in 2010.
- She started her book as a standalone but when she finished writing it she knew that it could be a series. You can still do a series with romance.
- She is straddling two different genres now. She said that it can sometimes alienate readers since not all of them like the same elements of both genres.
- She spends a lot of time researching for each book. She says that she sort of regrets not setting it in one time period because of the research.
- When it comes to other writers writing historical, you can get higher numbers rank-wise with less popular genres, but some genres has a bigger readership. Ultimately it should come down to writing what you love.
- When asked whether or not she thinks that time travel is most viable when it is used as different settings or creating phenomenally complex plots, Monique said that it will depend on what you accomplish. She likes to play with the aspect of changing history and the ripple effects as well as the characters having a commentary on the culture as an outsider (unlike a historical, where the character only knows that world).
- Monique says she’s a big plotter and makes sure that she plots out her books carefully so that she doesn’t have any issues with the time traveling aspect.
- She has had some pushback about her straddling genres on having a vampire in a time travel book and it threw a lot of people with that sort of paranormal being in the book.
- The minutiae of writing time travels/historicals has to do with the details from the historical time period.
- Monique says that series fatigue has happened to her. She started to have struggles around book five. She decided to have more entry points into the series so that she could do a side series as well.
- Monique fixes things that readers have pointed out as historical inconsistencies. She is very willing to make adjustments as necessary.
- Monique has seriously considered having someone create a series bible for her to make things easier in regards to consistency.
- If she could go back in time, she would have done sketches of the plots of the books in the series before writing them. She says that having an overarching plot planned is advice she’d want to give.
- Monique is publishing 2-3 books a year. Even though it has been going on for awhile, she is still doing well with her series. She says that the way that she works to keep fans is by engaging with them on Facebook, advertisements in BookBub and creating box sets for promotions–She could do individual BookBubs per book, and then per box set.
- She does a little advertising on Facebook, mainly pushing people towards book one. She cultivates readers on her Facebook page by doing things like a contest for someone to get a character named after them. Their enthusiasm is a great grassroots element.
- KindleUnlimited has effected her sales due to people subscribing in large numbers and passing up buying books by staying within the Kindle Unlimited.
- One way that she is thinking of bringing in new readers is selling books 1-3 in a box set since her series has gotten so long and she hopes it could invigorate her sales.
- Monique has been wide for most of her career. She has found something of a place on various avenues. She does not think that she could go to KU because she is doing a lot of business outside of Amazon.
- She suggests putting in at least 4-6 months to try to gain traction in non-Amazon sites. She also suggests trying to get a rep in order to get involved in more promotions.
- Her original cover was DIY but around book two she realized she needed a professional, branded cover. She chooses to use the same image with different washes.
- She keeps an eye out on new trends so that she can keep ahead in marketing, although she puts her effort into her writing and research.
- Monique has found that engaging with her readers on Facebook has been one of the most effective methods of marketing that she has had.
- She uses a mailing list and wishes she had started one earlier. While she’s not doing any reader enticements but she wants to add some to help add to her sign ups.
- Monique’s advice for new writers is to find writers, maybe an in-person writers group or online group. She says that KBoards is very valuable.
Other links mentioned: Hearts Through Time
The Facebook author group: Time Travel Romance Author Alliance