We are so excited for Book Country member Rebecca Hamilton and all the great stuff that is happening with her Top Rated Book Country book THE FOREVER GIRL. Published in the US by Immortal Ink Publishing, Rebecca recently shared with us the happy news that her book has been translated into both German and Hungarian, and is now for sale in both of those countries. (In Germany you can find DAS EWIGE MÄDCHEN from Mira-Taschenbuch/Harlequin-Darkiss; and in Hungary, AZ ÖRÖKLÉTŰ is published by IPC Mirror Könyvek. and sold on Könyvtündér.) We caught up with Rebecca to find out more about how she’s finding an international audience for her books.
Congrats on publishing FOREVER GIRL in both Germany and Hungary. What a milestone for you as an author! Will you shed some light on the intricacies of foreign publishing: What was the most exciting part of the publishing journey, and what surprised you the most about how things work abroad? .
Thank you! There’s so much involved and, at the same time, my agent made it very easy. He found me the deals, sent them to me, we discussed, I signed, they paid me, and we moved on! The publishers there are very hands on, too, and move FAST. It feels like my Hungarian release happened in the blink of an eye! I talk to the my publishers sometimes, and they give me support in marketing overseas. DARKISS (Harlequin) in Germany has even arranged for me to have an article published in a major magazine over there, and they have had huge two-page advertisements out in the book fairs. They are very kind to their authors.
Amazing thing, how I met Rossano! He wrote to me after I self-published, asking if I was seeking representation. I could hardly believe it! But, I’d been down this road before, and I was nervous! Was this going to be just another close call? In the end, I had finally found my match, and it made me glad for how things had worked out in the past. Rossano is my “super agent” and we have become friends over the last year. He really motivates me.
You have many devoted fans on Twitter. Will you tell us about how go about engaging readers on Twitter and other social media sites?
Oh gosh, I feel I’ve been slacking in this area lately. I just had a baby after a rough pregnancy so I’ve been busy and majorly behind on my writing and pretty much everything else, too. Thankfully, my readers are really understanding, and we catch up when I can. Mostly, I’m myself. I’m like any other person, and talk to my fans about all kinds of things—books, movies, my kids, my ambitions, my dreams. If I see them tweeting about something I can relate to, I respond. And I always respond to my @messages on Twitter. I always respond to my emails, too. Sometimes it takes a while for me to respond, but I get there…
Let’s switch gears. We’ve been talking a lot about urban fantasy and paranormal books on Book Country of late, so I wanted to get your take: What were your strategies in crafting the dark fantasy setting and atmosphere in FOREVER GIRL?
Sensory! I’m a very sensory-driver reader and writer. Details bring a story to life. They are those truths that ground your fiction into reality. This could be done through characters or setting or even ideals. But when it comes to atmosphere, you want to bring to life all the senses—that’s the gift a book gives you that you can’t get from film. It’s not just what you see or hear, but what you smell, taste, feel, experience. The ambience of light and the mood it creates. Your balance. Your physical conditional. The senses go beyond what you learn in grade school, and bringing those senses into play can really lend your novel the perfect atmosphere. Also one has to consider mood. A bright sunny day isn’t very dark in atmosphere on its own. That said, there are ways to make it so. As the cliché goes, the devil’s in the details.
You workshopped THE FOREVER GIRL on Book Country. What are some of the suggestions and feedback that helped you whip the book into its current shape? And how did you know it was ready to be published?
Wow, it’s hard to pinpoint any one thing. I received a lot of feedback. I think the key is in understanding what it means to have “tough skin.” Tough skin doesn’t mean a willingness to make every last suggestion made to you. It means being strong enough in your decisions and aware enough of your apprehensions to know which suggestions you should take, and to take them even if it’s hard to do so. You’ll never make everyone happy, but look out for those recurring complaints, and take them seriously. While the suggested solution might not always feel right to you, that doesn’t mean the problem’s not there. It may just mean you have to find the right solution on your own, now that you are aware there is a problem.
I never knew for sure my book was ready to be published, but I had hundreds of readers waiting for the book to be released. Several publishers and agents contacted me after seeing my work online, but they ultimately passed. I figured, I must be onto SOMETHING if multiple agents and publishers are reaching out to ME, instead of the other way around. But I wasn’t *quite* there yet. I utilized the feedback they gave me and, with some encouragement from my readers, I had the book professionally edited and then I published. It was the best decision I have ever made, and no, I haven’t found it to be “career suicide,” as some said I might.
What advice do you have for the Book Country writers who’re planning on an indie release?
Hire a good editor and book cover designer, market endlessly, ignore the naysayers, and never give up!
Finally, what’s next for you—writing and publishing-wise?
I’m working on Book 2 of the FOREVER GIRL series, a small literary project, and a YA witch series. I’m also one of the acquisitions editors at Immortal Ink Publishing, and enjoying watching the success of our authors. A few of us over at Immortal Ink have some pretty big news pending, and I’m eager to see how it all plays out.
Thanks for having me here today!
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