Welcome to our Authors Forward series, where our innovative and talented Books Forward authors interview other great, forward-thinking voices in the industry.
July Authors Forward interview with L.S. Case and Jeannie Moon
Jeannie Moon is a USA Today bestselling romance author known for her Compass Cove and Forever Love Stories series. Married to her high school sweetheart, Jeannie has three kids, three lovable dogs, and resides on Long Island, NY.
1. Your Forever Love Stories and Compass Cove series have engaged readers in beautiful romances. How do you make your novels stand out from others in the genre?
One of the most important things I’ve done is to create compelling characters that readers can connect with and root for. Whether a billionaire or a librarian, my goal is always to create characters who are relatable, flawed and easy to connect with. My other strength is creating a strong setting that keeps readers engaged in the story. Even in the Forever Love Stories when the super-rich take center stage, there’s a grounded feeling to the places they live and work. (Okay, maybe the mega-yacht in the first Forever Love Story was over the top, but it was fun.)
2. How has your approach to book promotion evolved since your debut novel? What’s your advice for young writers trying to build an author platform?
In the beginning, I tried to do it all. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… Don’t do that. It’s exhausting and a time suck. Find where your readers are, and use social media to connect with them on a personal level. Look for small reader events to attend, connect through local libraries. Last, I wish I’d paid more attention to my newsletter in the beginning. The popularity of social media platforms ebb and flow, but if you build your mailing list and send a message once a month, not just when you’re selling something, you’ll grow your fan base.
3. What is the best investment you ever made in your writing?
The best investment is the time I’ve spent with other writers as part of a local writing group or at small conferences and workshops. I learn from every class I take, but the time with other writers is priceless. Writing can be very isolating and building a community is the best thing I did for myself.
4. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Too much information can be a problem. Everyone has a theory about how you should write, about how to be more productive, about how to sell books, and I’m not saying advice is a bad thing, but too much can weigh you down. Find a process that works for you and let it evolve naturally. If you have reams of information, pick and choose what makes sense to you. If you attend a workshop and you come away with two or three tips that help your process, that’s fantastic. No “system” works for everyone. Trust yourself and your process.
5. Have you ever resuscitated a shelved project? What made it more successful the second time around?
My very first book was 120,000 words long and was like a soap opera. At its core was a lovely romance, but it was buried in superfluous details and melodrama. It was rewritten several times, words were culled, and it did have interest, but it didn’t sell. In 2014, I went back to it, stripped it down, and re-envisioned the story. The Playing Field went from 120K to 45K words and became the novella, This Christmas. The reimagined version was character driven and emotional, and that’s why readers loved it. It was a reunion story, and focusing on the couple and their love story–not extra characters, jobs, or extraneous drama–made the book special.
6. How can readers contact you and learn more about your upcoming projects?
The best place to find me is on my website, jeanniemoon.com. Readers can sign up for my newsletter, find my social media accounts, and see where they can meet me. It’s where I’ll announce new projects and book news.
Ellen Whitfield is senior publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.