Image Credit: Book covers and author pics were kindly supplied by Maressa Mortimer. Other images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.
It is lovely to welcome back Maressa Mortimer to Chandler’s Ford Today. This week, Maressa shares her thoughts on marketing (every writer has views on that!), and how she feels her writing has developed. She also discusses book tours and why she has used Facebook Live for her book launches. So with no further ado, over to Maressa.
12. Do you enjoy marketing or dread it? What have you found works best for you? Which are your social media preferences and why? How do you balance writing and marketing time?
I enjoy marketing as far as making cool graphics go. (Allison: Maressa and I are both fans of Book Brush). As I’m new to the writing world, it’s hard to know where to start. Recently, my publisher organised an interview with UCB Radio, and I enjoyed that. Hopefully this will lead to more opportunities.
I like using Instagram as it’s so colourful. I enjoy seeing other people’s pictures as most of my followers are lovely and seem to lead interesting lives. Marketing can take up a lot of time, so I sometimes schedule posts to come out, so I won’t have to do it when I’m busy.
Allison: I swear by scheduling. I do it for CFT all the time!
13. I know you’ve used Facebook Live for online book launches in 2019/2020? Why choose this option? How did these go? What events have you missed being able to do/go to during the pandemic? I’ve missed in person events especially.
I chose to do Facebook Live launches as we couldn’t meet anybody when my books came out. I like the Live option, as comments will appear in the chat, so I can react. Zoom would be harder to do for me, as it’s harder to read the comments. I had a wonderful time at my launches, and the people who came were fantastic, asking questions and joining in. I miss real live events though, and it will be wonderful to have a proper book sale event or even another in person launch!
14. How do you think your writing has developed over the last five years? Where would you like it to develop further in the next five years?
My writing has come a long way, I think, although it’s hard to tell some days! I enjoy it even more now, as I am more aware of the kind of stories I enjoy. The best thing is, I have acquired a few fans, so I’m starting to wonder whether they will like this chapter, or will they laugh at this sentence? I’m plotting a Viking series, which hopefully won’t take me five years. I would like to meet more people, really, or a better way into bookshops or events would be great.
15. Pretend you’re on a desert island, necessities supplied etc. You can take three books with you. Which would you choose and why? (I will throw in Shakespeare, Dickens, and P.G.Wodehouse, because someone has to lighten the mood a bit, for you). NO Kindles!
I would take Agatha Christie for some excitement that feels familiar, The Chalet School for nap replacements (I never nap in the day, it leaves me groggy. If I could do with a nap, I read a book that doesn’t need me to think but is simply enjoyable with lovely sentences.), and my Bible, for so much child-free time is ideal for plotting and planning!
Allison: And, of course, for reading!
16. You like book tours. Can you explain to CFT readers what these are and what you think the advantages of them are?
When a new book comes out, an author likes to see their book on tour, which means there will be a string of blogs coming out by various bloggers. I love being part of a book tour, as it brings people together around a book. It’s a great way to announce your book, as different people will share aspects of the same story.
17. Do you outline your characters before you write your stories up? What do you need to know before you plunge into the novel?
I outline my characters up to a certain extent, although that is growing with each book. I need to know some of the things they like, what they look like and how they talk. I also know the theme of my book and the what if questions that will come up, although they can be added to over time.
18. Is there any aspect of writing you would like to try at some point in the future and, if so, why this aspect? What is its appeal?
I would like to do a short story collection, as some ideas and thoughts don’t lend themselves for long books, but are still wonderful stories. Maybe a non-fiction book at some stage as well, and I’m working on a children’s book about adoption/attachment issues.
19. Both of us, Maressa, have started an author newsletter this year. Firstly, please share your sign-up link. Secondly, why go for a newsletter? I needed a way to engage with potential readers and having your own email list is a great way to do that but how do you find coming up with ideas for your newsletter?
I started a newsletter to share with readers what I’m up to, let them know about new books and what is going on writing-wise. My sign-up link is my website, www.vicarioushome.com, and although I share a lot on Instagram, not all my readers want to use that platform. Also, the algorithm means that not everybody sees your posts.
It’s easy to fill a letter, although I held off for a long time, as not much happens in my life that feels worthy of a letter! It’s a lovely way to stay in touch though and I have had some wonderful replies which makes it feel more of an engaging medium than I thought it would be.
20. We also both write now for Mom’s Favorite Reads. Especially since you are a novelist, how have you found writing to a much shorter word count than you usually would? (I’d have the opposite problem to you – writing to a longer length than I’m used to!).
It’s been such a great opportunity and I have shamelessly used it to try out other ways of writing. I have enjoyed doing short stories although anything under 3,000 words feels like flash fiction to me! (Allison: Trust me, it isn’t!). I even did some poetry as well as articles, so it’s given me the opening I needed to try my hand at different writings with a lot of kind support from the magazine.
Many thanks, Maressa, for a wonderful interview and inspiring insights. I hope your thoughts about self-publishing will be of particular use to CFT readers considering going the same route (and may I add again it always pays to check services and firms out first. Never be afraid to ask around and don’t forget to check things out with the Alliance of Independent Authors. If in doubt, always ask. Double checking has been known to save much heartache and a fair bit of money).
Maressa Mortimer is Dutch but lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, England with her husband and four (adopted) children. Maressa is a homeschool mum as well as a pastor’s wife, so her writing has to be done in the evening when peace and quiet descend on the house once more. She loves writing Christian fiction, as it’s a great way to explore faith in daily life.
Her debut novel, Sapphire Beach, was published in December 2019, and her first self published novel, Walled City, came out in December 2020, followed by Viking Ferry, a novella. Beyond the Hills is the second book in the Elabi Chronicles, and was released on June 18th 2021. Maressa has two chapters in an anthology coming out in September, called Creativity Matters: Find Your Passion For Writing.
When not writing, Maressa likes to bake as a way to avoid necessary fitness classes.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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