Marie Force is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of contemporary romance novels. Some of her bestsellers include I Want to Hold Your Hand, Gansett After Dark and Fool for Love. Marie’s rise to success is a true tale of hard work and determination. While working and raising a family she spent every spare minute beating on her craft and in just six short years, she’s released more than 30 books.
Here is her story:
Q: Many people aspire to write a book but make excuses why they don’t have enough time. How did you make time to pursue your passion given that you had a job, a husband and kids to take care of?
A: I think you’re either a writer or you aren’t. If you’re truly a writer, it’s almost a compulsion to tell stories and to get words on the page. You can’t not write, if that makes sense. I made time at night, after my day job was completed and my kids were in bed. I wrote on weekends, holidays, vacations, and I did that for years. I’ve only been a full-time author for two and a half years. My dream was the career I have now, and I pursued it relentlessly.
Q: Since publishing your first book in 2008 a lot has changed in the book publishing industry. What are some of the biggest changes you have seen and how have they impacted your career?
A: The publishing business is so vastly different from what it was when I first started out. Obviously the biggest change is the ability authors now have to self-publish their own books if they so desire. Having that opportunity was a total game-changer for me and continues to be an enormously profitable undertaking for me. My success as a self-published author has opened doors to me that were firmly closed before.
Q: You’ve self-published books and have published with traditional book publishers. What are the pros and cons you’ve found with each of these paths?
A: I like both paths for different reasons. I enjoy having full control over my self-published books, including the ability to decide everything from covers to release dates to pricing to marketing. With my traditionally published books, I like having a team of people behind them making moves to help grow my readership through print and other opportunities. Both paths have worked well for me and because I’m somewhat prolific, I can keep up with the writing demands of the “hybrid” career.
Q: The biggest obstacle for every writer is developing an audience that’s willing to read and buy their books. How did you develop your loyal base of readers and how do you continue to keep their attention?
A: As far as attracting an audience, I had great luck early on with Facebook and free books. But I give my books all the credit for bringing them back for more. The books are everything. If the readers didn’t like them they wouldn’t have come back for more. I try to stay laser-focused on the books and making them as good as they can be.
Q: Many writers struggle with the fear that their book may not live up to their standards or the standards of others. Did you ever face this fear? If so, how did you overcome it and push forward?
A: I don’t spend too much time worrying about meeting the standards of people I don’t even know. I’m concerned primarily with pleasing myself as well as my readers. If others like the books, too, then that’s a bonus.
Q: Self-publishing has allowed anybody and everybody to publish a book. Many people fear that this has tarnished the landscape of book publishing both for the industry and the consumer. How do you feel about the self-publishing revolution?
A: I’m all for the self-published revolution and have been an active participant from almost the beginning. I love that authors now have options if they’re unable to secure a traditional deal or if they’d rather not work with traditional publishers. As for the quality—sure, there’s a lot of books being published that aren’t professionally edited or packaged. I’d never deny that. However, cream rises to the top, and the readers are perfectly capable of determining what they want to read—and what they don’t want to read. I don’t feel “the crap factor” tarnishes the entire business. I think it tarnishes those authors and their names, not everyone else. In many ways, readers are the ones driving this bus with their purchasing decisions, which is how it should be.
Q: How has the Internet and the self-publishing platforms available impacted your career and how do you think your career would be impacted without it?
A: Frankly, I wouldn’t have a career without the Internet and the self-publishing platforms that made it possible for me to deliver my books directly to readers. Publishers were, for the most part, uninterested in my books until I made a name for myself via self-publishing.
Q: You have a massive social media following of over 175,000 followers across all of your social media profiles. How has social media and your email list impacted your career?
A: Social media has been a great help to me in growing my following—Facebook in particular. I spend a chunk of time every day talking to readers on Facebook, and I think that’s really helped me to grow a following for my books. I’m also extremely invested in my mailing list, which has more than 20,000 names on it now. I advise new authors to start their mailing lists right away and to never let a satisfied customer get away—meaning I invite people who write to me to join the list voluntarily. I never add anyone without their consent. All of these efforts have definitely helped me to stay engaged with my readers between books.
Q: With over 30 books published in your career to date, you’ve published more books in 6 years than most people publish in a lifetime. How do you develop the creative energy to write so many successful books?
A: I’m doing what I love and have a wonderful following of readers who are always waiting for more, which definitely keeps me motivated and focused on the books. I also have a great team of people working with me who make it possible for me to do nothing but write. That’s made a huge difference in helping me be more productive and keep up with writing three series at the same time.
Q: What have been some of the best decisions you’ve made as a writer?
A: I’ve always been open to trying new things, which has led to new opportunities and new readers. Getting into self-publishing at the beginning, when there were still a lot of unanswered questions, was the single best thing I’ve ever done for my career.