Demi: When was the first time you introduced yourself (or were introduced by someone else) as an author?
Maria: I think it was when I attended BookExpo America for the first time in NYC. It was about five months before my first book, Poison Study, was released and I was talking to my publisher’s sales reps, publicity people, editors, etc … and I introduced myself as the author – so cool!
Demi: With a dozen best-sellers on the market now, I’m curious about when you made the decision to leap from the J-O-B to full-time writing. How did you plan? (Or was it a “pantsing” thing?)
Maria: Definitely a pantsing thing! I stopped working as an environmental meteorologist when my second child was born. By then I was working on a novel, but it was more to keep my sanity and exercise my creativity than a career change. When I finished the novel, I thought it was pretty good and maybe I should try to find a publisher. Also my youngest was going to be in kindergarten and once she went to first grade, I’d have to find a job! When I sold Poison Study, the publisher (Harlequin) gave me a two-book contract so that’s when I decided to change careers.
Demi: When you’re under contract to write a certain book, how do you deal with the urge to write other stories?
Maria: I have a notebook filled with ideas and newspaper articles and various things (like a bar napkin 😉 that I’ve collected that have sparked story ideas. When I get the urge, I write the idea down in that notebook with a few details and then return to my work-in-progress. I can’t work on two stories at the same time!
Demi: Any hints about leveraging book sales in non-U.S. countries?
Maria: In my case, my publisher bought world rights for my novels. Harlequin has offices all over the world that decide what books from the U.S., they’d want to translate (which was one of the reasons HarperCollins bought Harlequin – to get into those markets). For those who still own their foreign rights (a good idea if you can), your agent can sell the rights to other countries through a foreign agent or through their own contacts. The Frankfurt Book Fair is a good place to make contacts with foreign publishers if you don’t have an agent. Also there is the London Book Fair and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which includes YA titles.
Demi: And how does getting your books in translation work? I love seeing the new covers in French, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and now Japanese (did I miss any?)!
Maria: For my books, Harlequin’s foreign offices decided to pick my books to translate. They hired a translator and use their own cover artists (some do decide to keep the same cover art and then tweak it). In the case of the Japanese editions, a reader who loved my books and who just happened to be a Japanese translator championed the book to the office in Japan! Then she was hired to translate Poison Study – that was so fun! And my favorite covers are the Japanese editions, they’re just super cool. You did miss a “few.” My books have been translated into 16 languages: Chinese, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. You can see all my foreign covers on my Cover Art Gallery Page on my website here: http://www.mariavsnyder.com