If you have a story that intrigues you and the desire to tell it – take the leap. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Despite having a successful media career at a young age, for Mel Greenberg writing a book involved facing her biggest fear. Now having confronted and triumphed over self-doubt with the release of her debut novel, we catch up with Mel to talk about her grass-roots approach to book marketing and unexpected reader responses.
Please give us a brief overview of yourself and your work.
I’m a SoCal native, who found herself on the east coast at the University of Maryland. I love a good challenge and that cultural and geographical shift was no exception! After college and a young professional career in radio and television, I moved to Tucson, married and became a mom. I chose to stay home with my two sons. When my youngest left for college I really struggled to define myself as a woman. I knew I wanted to make a difference in the next years of my life, I just wasn’t clear on how that would evolve. Finally, I made my way back to writing, a lifelong passion.
What made you want to be a writer? How did you begin writing?
For as long as I can remember, writing has been a vital part of my life. I found, early on, that I was able to articulate my message and ideas much more clearly through writing.
It became a profession after college when I was a copywriter and producer in television and radio. Writing this novel just happened recently and was really my biggest fear! I knew I could write – but create layered, interesting, relatable characters? I wasn’t so sure I could do it. But, as has been the case over much of my life, I just jumped in and I’m so – so glad I did.
What inspires you to write?
The fragility of our human condition. I love that we are all trying to figure this life out, and the vastly different ways we all go about it. To be able to create characters and situations that speak to this journey is my greatest inspiration.
Is there any particular incident that has happened along your writing journey that you’d like to share?
Some unexpected twists in the road along this journey have been the responses from readers. While absolutely a niche market, the net reach has widened. Young readers are reaching out to me because they see their parent’s in a very different light through my characters and now understand, quite differently, the familial progression. But the most fun response is from spouses! There are a number of “steamy” scenes to which husbands are responding in overwhelming numbers! Spiced up home lives on the horizon – who knew!?!?!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
DO IT!!! If you have a story that intrigues you and the desire to tell it – take the leap. This has honestly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
What do you think is the biggest marketing challenge for new authors?
As a new author myself, I think the biggest challenge is getting it out there. The market is full of so much great material, seemingly coming out daily. The challenge is to rise above that, get noticed and do so in a cost-effective manner.
What methods of book marketing do you find the most effective?
My approach has been a complete grassroots effort. Social media has been a strong and positive component. We are working with independent bookstores, retailers and private entities in areas that compliment the messaging in my novel. It’s only been three weeks and I could not be happier with the initial results.
What struggles did you face in the writing and publishing process?
Writing was the easy part! Publishing not so much. The amount of conflicting information was overwhelming, so many options and decisions to be made. There’s been a huge learning curve, which has actually been beneficial. The marketing plan for Running With Our Eyes Closed was something I felt very strongly about and I was determined to see my vision through on that front. I’m really pleased so far.
How do you handle rejection as a writer?
When it is a project I believe in, I accept the rejection as part of the process and don’t take it personally. I actually do try to remain open to suggestions and ideas that come my way. But there are times when it hurts; I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that.
How do you deal with isolation, in writing?
I spread it around! There are times I need complete isolation, with the exception of my English bulldog, Bruno and German Shepherd, Grazia. Other times – well, I like to work in a busy area – I love people watching and the varied energy that comes with that territory.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with aspiring writers?
Decide why you’re writing and what your end game is. It is a business that has required me to step out of a solely creative role. Publishing decisions, pricing, marketing and each goal along the way has been different based on that distinction.