Monday, August 27, 2012

EASY Review & interview with Tammara Webber

Awesome writer-friend Jolene Perry (link) told me about Tammara Webber (link)'s mature YA/New Adult novel EASY back in July, and I ran and got it at once. I knew Jolene and I share a similar taste in books and a crazy-love of contemporary YA.

Get it!
What I didn't know is that EASY is an indie book, and since July it has become a New York Times bestseller! Rock On, Tammara!

It's well-deserved. Not even a pending beach trip could tear me away from this book. JRM arrived ready to load up the car, and I looked like the cat who'd eaten the canary. I'd spent the entire morning clicking at lightening speed and hadn't packed a thing. I couldn't stop reading!

EASY is exciting, romantic, H-O-T!, heartbreaking, it has a great message... It's so good, I sent a silly, fan-girl email to Tammara, and she's just as cool as you'd expect.

Here's the Brief Summary: Jacqueline follows her high school boyfriend to the college of his choice, and then he dumps her, basically so he'll be free to bang coeds. (Loved that line!) Then leaving a frat party one night, she's attacked and almost raped until a mystery guy shows up and beats up her attacker. (Nice.) She's pretty shook up, then she realizes her "hero" Lucas is in one of her classes. Ultimately, they start talking, then they run into each other out, then they swap telephone numbers...

But Lucas has a few secrets of his own that could seriously throw a wrench in their budding romance.

I'll say no more. Except here are the links where you can buy it for $3.99 (a steal!):

And I'm so excited to have Tammara here today. Now for our Interview!

1-So I discovered EASY via word of mouth, but this is not your first book! Tell us a little bit about how long you've been writing and your other books.

I've been writing forever, but I didn't attempt a novel until age 19. I wrote three "shelf novels" (including that first, not-quite-finished novel) before I wrote Between the Lines (link). I went the typical querying/pitching at conferences route with that manuscript, and was unsuccessful.

In the meantime, I wrote a second book in the series. At that point, I decided I didn't have anything to lose by self-pubbing through Amazon, which I was urged (read: nagged endlessly) to do by my best friend, who isn't a writer. Eventually, I added Barnes & Noble, then iBookstore, and most recently, Kobo. There are three books in the Between the Lines series, and I'm writing a fourth (final) book that should be out in spring 2013.

2-EASY deals with a tough topic--rape, or in this case, attempted rape--and the story incorporates teaching girls to protect themselves through the main character's search for ways to protect herself. What made you decide to tackle this subject?

I've spent most of my adult life on a college campus, so I'm more aware than the general public seems to be about how prevalent this type of rape is. It is seldom reported, and when it is reported, it seldom makes it to prosecution. Of the instances I know of, not a single person reported. In every case, this was because the victim believed that she was at fault, when really, at most, there was faulty judgment.

There is no excuse, ever. I want girls and women to stop blaming themselves (and worse, each other) for something that is the fault of the perpetrator alone.

3-With EASY, you've become a New York Times bestselling indie author. And I say Super-congrats to you! I know you have an agent now to handle your foreign and subsidiary rights, but tell us about going independent. Would you recommend it? Any big tip(s) for those considering it? 

The reasons for indie publishing vary from author to author. What works for one might not work for another. I used Amanda Hocking's experience as a sort of guide, but the landscape of indie publishing has changed a lot in the 2.5 years since she began publishing her books online. I had to tailor what had worked for her to the different landscape I encountered a little over a year after she'd done it, and authors now can use what I did loosely, but it has changed since then, and is constantly changing.

There's luck and timing involved, too, and those are difficult or impossible to nail, even with careful planning. I would say be prepared to work hard, to change what doesn't work for your book/books, and to invest what you can to produce a professional product. Don't assume that because you don't have the same resources as traditionally published authors or because you charge less, you can get away with a lesser product. Readers don't care. They just want good books.

4-There's been heaps of debate recently over the changing face of publishing. Commentators like to note how bestselling indies like Amanda Hocking end up signing traditional contracts once they "make it." What are your thoughts on all this and that? Do you see yourself going traditional now or in the future?

As for traditional v. indie, I seriously doubt that Amanda Hocking was the first to accept a traditional contract after self-pubbing. She's just the first to get a major publishing contract. I've never, ever been on one side of this debate or the other. The point is to create a career for yourself as an author however you see fit and in whatever way is comfortable for you. For me, that means any and all combinations as I see fit. Standing staunchly on one side or the other is shooting yourself in the foot, in my opinion. The key is that there are now options -- and how cool is that?

Yes, Amanda Hocking got a seven-figure advance (and her agent got a cut of that). Everyone seems to forget that at the beginning of her career, she obviously wanted to see her books on a bookstore shelf. She queried like crazy, and like most writers, she couldn't get a taker. But she was smart enough to compromise when it looked like it was self-publish or nothing. The first "compromise" she made WAS self-publishing. The best part is that before she got that big contract with St. Martin's, she'd already made an amount of money equal to that contract all by herself! THAT is her biggest success. It's awesome that she was able to say to a Big Six publisher, "Oh, now you want to pay me seven figures to give me what I wanted a couple of years ago? Okay."

Publishers haven't survived as long as they have without gaining enough market savvy to figure out the value of a writer who is capable of finding a willing, paying market without the backing of a publisher. What they do after finding and retaining that someone is the do-or-die point. Successful indie authors play with all sorts of factors. We change covers, descriptions, price. We know that what sells books is word of mouth. We use those factors, along with good writing and good presentation, to our best selling advantage, hopefully.

When publishers take over the product, they must be careful of messing too much with what is working. If they change the cover, revise the story, and increase the price too much, all the product recognition the author has worked for -- successfully -- is tossed out the window.

Very awesome information, and great advice. Thanks so much for stopping by, Tammara! And best to you in your continued writing career!

Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends~ <3


Laura Pauling said...

Great interview! Between the Lines and Easy are on my tbr list! Congrats on all your success!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview Tammara and Leigh. This book sounds really interesting. Glad it tackles the hard subject of rape. Having a teenage girl who will go off to college in a few years, it's definitely a worry. Congrats on all your success!

Old Kitty said...

Hi lovely LTM! Thanks for a most enlightening interview with amazing Tammara! Love the continuing debate about indie publishing and traditional publishing - it keeps the industry alive and relevant!

Take care

Stina said...

Thanks for the great interview. This is my kind of book. I'll add it to my list. :D

Carolyn Abiad said...

LTM is a fan girl? No way!

Great interview. I can see why this book got you all excited. Sounds like I should add it to the fall TBR. :)

StratPlayerCJF said...

Stellar interview!

And congratulations and much more success to Tammara!

Sometimes, people (neophyte writers) miss the important piece in success stories like Tammara's -- regardless of the publishing pathway (trad or indie), the writing must be exemplary and it must connect with readers. And that usually takes a lot of hard work to get there. 'Overnight successes' are extremely rare, and usually just bring to light a writer who has already worked long and hard at paying their dues, often with several early works that never saw the light of day, just like Tammara.

But, damn -- even to a guy who's not normally too interested with books in the genre -- "Easy" sounds engrossing and compelling. Great work!

Janet Johnson said...

What a great interview! Huge congrats to Tammara for hitting the NYT Bestseller list! I find her comments on indie v. traditional publishing really informative. She's obviously worked really hard to get to where she is.

Unknown said...

I just finished EASY last night. Congrats to Tammara on writing such an important book.

It is Mature reading though--and I appreciate that Tammara gives the 17+ guideline on her selling page.

My daughter is starting university in a few days and I told her to read this book first.

Tracy Jo said...

Such great information and review. Congrats, Tammara and looking forward to reading your book! Thank you, LTM...I always love your reviews - they are so real and your personality shines through them. :-)

Come At Me Bro said...

This is great!

RaShelle Workman said...

EASY is an amazing book. I loved it!!!

I agree with Tammara on her traditional vs indie comments. Every author has to choose her own path. What works for one may not work for another.

Believing in yourself, in your product, and your dreams are the biggest factors of success.

Hope you're doing well, Leigh! =)

Summer Ross said...

Awesome Interview LTM. I enjoyed reading a more in depth look at self pub and what happens after an author 'makes it.'

Pat Hatt said...

Great interview as said and enjoyed the insight, the take on the publishing is so true too.

Unknown said...

Really interesting topic for young adults but I think one that should be discussed. I'm glad the book is doing well.

Jolene Perry said...

I totally did a bit of fangirling over this book.

Seriously. The guy. Holee...

I have three places in that book marked, and have read them an embarrassing amount of times...

"Tell me to stop" gets me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Great interview.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great interview. I'm so glad you've tackled such a tough subject. Women need to know they're not alone.

I love Tamarra's attitude towards publishing - I totally agree that there's no right road for everyone. And each author may have multiple roads working at all the same time! Love it :)

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Leigh, Hi Tamara
Excellent advice and congratulations on making the NY Times Best Seller list. I wondered what you did and was grateful you mentioned several things. I am also Indie, however a long illness has slowed down my writing. But I'm back now and ready to go to work.

Arlee Bird said...

Love hearing success stories about indie authors who hit best seller lists. I say whatever works to get you where you're going.

Wrote By Rote

Theresa Milstein said...

Good to know someone is tackling the subject of protecting from rape in a positive way.

Ciara said...

Blogging is such a crazy world. So many of my blogging friends are commenting, or you have their books in your right sidebar, yet I wasn't following you yet. Well, I am now. Great interview!

LTM said...

LOL @Carolyn--are you being sarcastic? I'm trying to tell. ;p Regardless, this book is awesome. You will love it. :D <3

@Chris--You totally nailed it. Tammara shined the light on the three most important ingredients, yes? And hey! Give it a read! You just might like it! :D <3

@Come@Me--girl! You know it~ <3

@Clarissa--I agree, and I'm glad Elle noted that this is "mature" YA/New Adult, which is more 17+. But it's seriously very good. <3

@Ciara--I know! But we've fixed that! And this book is awesome. See what you think~ <3

KM Nalle said...

Oh man, EASY is on my TBR. It has been for a while. I need to charge up the Kindle and get reading.

Thanks for doing a great interview!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Fab interview. It's great we have so many options now--writers AND readers.

Lydia Kang said...

The book sounds so good and what a cool journey that Tammara has had! I hope she has more NYT bestsellers!

Anonymous said...

I read EASY this summer and enjoyed it very much.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

From self-published to New York Times bestseller? That's impressive!

Talli Roland said...

Wonderful interview, ladies, and many congrats to Tammara! I've heard wonderful things about this book. It's on my list to reafd!

M Pax said...

Awesome, Tammara!

I agree, it's all about making a career and deciding how best to pursue that for ourselves.

LTM said...

@Kari--Yes! You have to read it. It's rilly good. :D

@Liz--Oh, man. I really liked it, too. :o) <3

Unknown said...

This is a beautiful story, so if you haven't before, buy it now. You will be glad you did so. And please get Breakable too, you won't be sorry because it too is a beautiful story, made even more beautiful by Ms. Webber's writing.

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