It’s Author Interview Thursday and I have to admit that I’ve been looking forward to today’s interview for quite a while. I was introduced to our special guest by Sherrill S. Cannon who was on the hot seat last month. In our correspondence leading up to today’s interview, I’ve been really impressed by her generosity and passion for her craft. I was fascinated to discover that she had published two children’s poetry books as I think that’s an art form that’s not as celebrated as it should be. She has also published several stories, novels and adult poetry books. She loves horses and comes from the Bay State. I know you’ll love what she has to share with us today, so please join me in welcoming Marta Moran Bishop.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complimented you on something you had written?
At first, I found writing to be a bit intimidating, as my grandmother and mother were both writers and although I wrote constantly I found it difficult to say I was a writer or even share what I had written at first. It wasn’t until I was in my first semester at college and had a professor tell me I had the makings of a brilliant writer that I found the courage to begin allowing others to see what I had written.
What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Marta Moran Bishop?
Whether it is a book of poetry, short story, or a novel, there will always be a glimmer of light and hope in it. A way to connect with oneself and all of life, and the joy in the day.
What are your thoughts on the Amazon KDP Select Program and why have you taken your books off it?
I am of two minds about the Amazon KDP Select Program: First I believe if one is doing a series it can produce interest in reading more books in the series. However, to give away books in the hope of gaining a few reviews or a new reader reminds me of a job I once held, where the restaurant was continually doing some kind of free benefit. They went out of business as people began waiting for the next freebie. So many devalued the restaurant as a viable place to spend an evening as they didn’t value themselves. I am aware that even the free books push the ranking up on Amazon, but after a while no one is buying your book.
The second reason is all about putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak. By agreeing to sell solely through Amazon, you are signing a (albeit short) contract excluding all other eBook marketers. I want my books available elsewhere. I actually don’t pick up free eBooks any longer, instead I will wait until the book is for sale and buy it, for I believe the writer should be paid. I’d be more interested in discounted price option (which they have, but only for books over $.99) or a package type of deal, such as buy one get one free. One where the writer gets paid something for their work.
What have you found to be a successful way to market your books?
I have found that the more visible you are, the better and that although social media gains you some visibility, you really need to get out into the public more. Radio shows, interviews, readings at the local hospital, bookstore, gallery, school, or anywhere else will boost your sales more than all the tweets and Facebook posts you and your friends can do. That market is saturated, and many don’t even look at those posts any longer, unless it is for a favourite author.
You’ve written two children’s books on poetry. Do you think poetry as an art is being under-valued and what can we do to inspire a new generation to read and write poetry?
Yes, I have written Wee Three: A Mother’s Love in Verse, which has gained critical acclaim and Innocence and Wonder. Both books are illustrated. Wee Three is illustrated by Hazel Mitchell and Innocence and Wonder by both Ms Mitchell and me.
I do agree poetry is under-valued and believe that to be true, because so many people have been led to believe poetry is difficult to understand. When I am speaking to a group of children I usually will in many cases ask them to write me a small poem about their life or something that matters to them. Reading to children gives them a love of the written word, whether it is poetry or a story. But, children love things that rhyme, so poetry is a wonderful way to teach.
What were some of your favourite books as a child?
As a child, I read anything I could get my hands on, but we grew up on A.A. Milne’s, Now We Are Six, and When We Were Very Young and Robert Lewis Stevenson, who wrote some wonderful children’s poetry. Both writers painted a picture of something that children could relate to in their poetry. More like very short stories than what many people today think of when and if they think of poetry.
What three things should writers avoid when writing dialogue?
As I end up listening to many books these days at work, I find the most irritating thing is when after the character speaks there are too many ‘he said, she said…” I believe a writer should find a way to write it as if in conversation in a way that the reader can understand who is speaking without adding ‘he answered, she said etc.’
To be honest I did not see Toy Story, I saw Monsters Inc. and Shrek, and found the conversations in Monsters Inc. to be quite humorous and honest. I believe it showed how children would see and speak to either imaginary friends or new friends. Shrek was good, but I found there were a few too many off-sides with characters discussing things with the audience or camera. It reminded me a bit of the ‘he said, she answered’ bit.
What three things should a first time visitor to Massachusetts do?
If I were only to recommend three things someone should absolutely see in Massachusetts; they would be to walk the Freedom Trail, or at least as much of it as possible, make sure to see the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s House. Take a trip to Salem and visit Hallows Hill, and take a walk through the sites that are open to the public. Last, but not least take the time to visit Old Sturbridge Village, many of the old buildings from hundreds of years ago have been moved there.
As you own three horses, I wanted to know if you could tell us three things most people don’t know about horses.
Horses have a vocabulary of their own.
If bored, they will find something to spook themselves with to get an adrenaline rush.
They have a sense of humour and enjoy finding ways to play jokes on humans and other horses.
What can we expect from Marta Moran Bishop in the next 12 months?
I hope to have my book, Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal, expanded to include a set of books for ages 3 – 8 that will tell Dinky’s story. I still need a name for it (I don’t want it confused with the novel) so if anyone has a suggestion, please feel free to jump in.
Where can readers and fans connect with you?
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MartaMoranBishopAuthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/moranbishop
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3953690.Marta_Moran_Bishop
Redroom – http://redroom.com/member/marta-moran-bishop
Website – http://martamoranbishop.com
Blog – http://email@example.com
Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?
Don’t let anyone else define you. The more you read, the better writer you will become. Always do at least one rewrite of your book. Hire an editor or at least several beta readers who will pick up grammar and other issues that might make a difference in the way your story flows. Read your story/book aloud, by doing this many mistakes are found.
Wow! That was such a brilliant note to end our interview on. There are just so many nuggets of wisdom you’ve shared with us today that if applied could be the turning point for any writing career. I loved what you said about reading your book aloud as there’s just so much you discover when you’re reading aloud and hearing yourself reading. Also, it’s a way to detect what will work and not work when you’re reading to an audience. Please click one of Marta’s links above and connect with her. She’s active on the various social networks and will be happy to know you discovered her after reading this interview. Marta and I would love to know you dropped by so you can either share this interview using the social media buttons below or leave a comment.
Click this link to discover and grab a copy of one of Marta’s books ====> Marta Moran Bishop on Amazon
It is such an honor to be included in your Author Interview Thursday. Your questions, were/are brilliant and really made me think. I am also so pleased to make you acquaintance and will be checking out your books. Thank you.
The pleasure was all mine. Another thing I liked that you said was how an over-reliance on social media for book marketing was a very bad strategy. I totally agree. I hope you’d have watched Toy Story before we have you again interview on Author Interview Thursday. 🙂
David, Thank you for an interesting interview. I especially liked Marta’s advice about not relying on the free book promotions. Authors truly DO deserve to be paid. It might be fun to write but they (we) still need to eat. Kathryn
Exactly Kathryn! Baby need a pair of shoes and the phone got disconnect. 🙂
Show me the money!
Thank you Kathryn, it is something I have done a lot of thinking about. I have friends who read constantly, yet seldom buy a book now. Always looking through the free books now. It made me begin to really wonder who was actually profiting from free books.
Thank you for the interview, Marta and David.
I agree with your explanation of the KDP feature, and I have removed my series too.
Tweeted this interview (zeppiplanet) and liked your FB page. I love horses 🙂
All the best!
Thanks for stopping by Charlotte and sharing this interview on your social circles.
Thanks for featuring, Marta, David. Your questions elicited some interesting responses from Marta. She is forever giving me food for thought! I really like the idea of doing a Dinky book for children. It is one of my favorite stories!
Thank you Dody, David’s questions really made me think.
Thanks Dody. When I read Marta’s blog and all she’s done, I knew I had to ‘bring it!’…and I’m so glad Marta stepped up to the plate and did a fantastic job bringing us into her world and sharing what’s working for her at the moment.
What an awesome interview with Marta. I love horses and poetry. 🙂 Wishing her the best of luck. It was great to read her advice for other authors and I was reminded that I need to make it to Salem! I have been to Sturbridge Village and walked The Freedom Trail. 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
Jess it is a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for your kind wishes.
I’m so glad you liked my interview with Marta. I have to thank Marta for not holding back and expressing truths that many authors refuse to come to terms with.
I hope you’ll be back next week for another engaging interview with another author.