Marie Force is the author of over twenty moving romances. She has mastered the art of touching readers’ hearts with sweet words and happy endings. We recently discussed her career, writing, and publishing.
IReaderReview: What are five questions that interviewers never seem to ask, but you wish that they would? What are your answers?
Marie Force: I can think of one question I get asked a lot–whether I’d ever again sign a traditional contract after having some decent success as a self-published author. The answer to that is YES. I just re-signed with Harlequin for two more Fatal Series books. I’m excited about Harlequin’s plans to bring the series out in mass market paperback beginning next fall, since I’ve never had a wide distribution print effort before. I’m also talking to other publishers about some intriguing opportunities that would help to expand my reach to the 50 percent of the reading population that doesn’t have e-readers. My motto is to never say never about anything. I’ve learned you end up eating your words with a fork and spoon when you use the word NEVER too freely.
IRR: Your stories are full of hardship and obstacles, but in the end, love always seems to triumph. Is that how you feel about life?
MF: Well, that’s the romance genre for you! The readers expect a happy ending and it’s our pleasure to give it to them. It’s a promise we make to our readers that no matter what hardships we put our couple through, they will end up happy in the end. That’s just one reason why the romance genre is so wildly popular with readers.
IRR: You’ve mentioned before that you’ve grown less shy with your characters in private scenarios. Has that helped you to get to know them better?
MF: I usually know them pretty well before they make it to the bedroom.
IRR: With two books in the Kindle Top 100 and many more in the top 500, what is your perspective on the Kindle store?
MF: I LOVE the Kindle store! Amazon has made so many things possible for authors by being the first to offer us the opportunity to publish direct to readers. Their marketing and recommendation features are second to none. They know how to sell books, and I’m delighted to be in business with Amazon.
IRR: What advice would you offer authors hoping to sell well in the Kindle store?
MF: Write more books. The only marketing strategy that has truly worked for me is writing more books. That’s the secret to success for all the authors I know who’ve done well as self-publishers and as traditionally published authors. I always say that quantity is job two–after quality, which of course is job ONE!
IRR: Your books are doing very well at the B&N Nook Store too. What do you think of the Nook Store?
MF: I’m also a big fan of the Nook store! My books don’t sell as well there as they do on Amazon, but I’ve seen a nice upswing this year on Nook, and I hope my numbers continue to grow there.
IRR: You’ve been writing since 2004. Tell us a bit about your self-publishing experiences.
MF: I’ve been traditionally published since 2008. The first book I sold was the seventh one I wrote, so I had others ready to go, readers asking for more and publishers reluctant to take on contemporary romance authors during the era of the vampire, as I refer to the decade of the 2000s. I self-published my first book in November of 2010 and my 13th in June of 2012, with much more to come. I’ve sold more than half a million books since November 2010, and found a legion of new readers as a result. The McCarthys of Gansett Island Series that has been so incredibly successful for me as a self-published author was rejected by every publisher in the romance business. With hindsight, those painful rejections turned out to be an astonishingly lucky break because the success of that series has allowed me to be self-employed much sooner than I expected to be and the McCarthys recently bought my dream home. I feel very lucky to have found my audience *finally* with my self-published books, and I’m thrilled to see my traditionally published books getting a nice bump thanks to what I’m doing on the self-pub side of the house.
IRR: How do you feel about self-publishing now and in the future?
MF: I’m all for it, and I believe it is going to grow tremendously as the avenue of choice for many authors whose books don’t fit neatly into publishers’ vision of what readers want.
IRR: What are your thoughts on the current state of the publishing industry?
MF: It’s in flux. Things are changing rapidly. No one really knows how it’s all going to shake out, but regardless of where the industry lands, it seems that authors will end up better off than they’ve been in the recent past with more choices and greater respect for what we bring to the equation. I’ve heard authors referred to in the past as “content providers.” I hope that after the dust settles, terms such as that one will be a thing of the past.
IRR: Where do you see yourself after one year? What state do you think the publishing industry will be in after one year?
MF: I hope to still be writing my McCarthy and Fatal Series as well as some other books that I think a lot about. I have an interesting idea for a series of follow-on stories to some of my earlier books that readers have told me repeatedly they’d like to see from me, and I’m all about giving the readers what they want! I’m very excited about the opportunities available for authors today. There’s something extremely satisfying about blazing my own path and calling my own shots. I refuse to make predictions about the industry as a whole except to say I expect it to continue to react to the changing environment.
IRR: Pick your five favorite novels that you’ve written.
MF: Ohhh, I can’t pick just five! I genuinely love all of my 22 books. My philosophy is that if I don’t love them, how can I expect anyone else to love them? However, if pressed, I will express a special affinity for my Treading Water series (Treading Water, Marking Time and Starting Over, with Coming Home out later this year), because they were my first three books, and I’m so very proud of them to this day. I’m also particularly fond of Fatal Affair, which launched the Fatal Series, and Maid for Love, which launched the McCarthys of Gansett Island Series. Incidentally, Maid for Love is currently free on all the major e-book sites.
A thank you to Marie for her time and efforts. Also to the readers, without whom none of this would be possible.