Tiana Warner Interview: Author of Ice Massacre
Release Date: 05/25/2018
Bio: Tiana Warner is the author of the multi-award winning Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. She has a Computer Science degree and is a professional nerd working in the high-tech industry. She lives by the beach in Vancouver, Canada, and spends her free time riding her horse, Bailey.
- Do you have an ‘elevator pitch’ for Ice Massacre, to summarize it for our audience members who maybe haven’t read it before? The series is based on the legend that mermaids are supernatural creatures that lure men to their deaths. It’s set on an island in the Pacific NW.
- Did you ever consider going traditional? (Would you in the future?) Self-publishing is harder to get noticed. Hard to get into bookstores. Most of the books are e-books. It’s choosing to run your publishing like a business. A good plan is to be hybrid. She wants to try to publish the next one traditionally. It’s hard to get an agent and publishing deal. Shows that she has a following.
- You’re self-published: what pushed you to choose that route? There are pros and cons: self-publishing is great bc you have total control. Set her own price, makes it affordable for readers. You can price your book lower and still get more money from it. Can also run promos whenever you want. Timeline was appealing too: you can publish when you want.
- What advice might you have for other self-published authors out there: what’s the most effective marketing strategy you’ve used to date? (Or perhaps the top three?) Book marketing is very hard. The #1 way to sell books: word of mouth. But that’s outside of your control. Advice: get as many reviews as you possibly can. Ask readers to leave a review at the end of the book. If you reach out to book bloggers and offer them a free copy, that helps too. Run a lot of promos where you give your book away for free. Do KDP select or InstaFreebie. Donate to libraries. For Ice Massacre, she was on KDP select for the first 90 days and she got higher royalties. But for the next two in the series, she didn’t do it bc it meant she was kindle exclusive.
- Who are some of your favorite authors/books that you would consider to be your inspirations? JK Rowling is her favorite author forever. She’s a Ravenclaw. Also Maggie Stiefvater: Scorpio Races (water demon horses). In terms of general writing advice and inspiration: Save the Cat by Blake Snyder: great for plot structure and K.M. Weiland: Helping Writers Become Authors (https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/).
- Tell me a little about your journey writing “Ice Massacre.” I’ve never seen anybody do a mermaid story before where the mermaids are not the main characters—and in fact, they seem like the villains for about half the book (sort of anyway). Where did you get the idea from? She came up with the idea in Disneyland in 2012. She wanted to write about something supernatural but that hadn’t been done in awhile — especially the real legend where they are vicious sea demons who try to lure men to their deaths. When she got home, she wrote the first scene from the middle and then jumped around. Usually she starts with a scene that excites her the most.
- Along those lines: is there a long-standing mermaid obsession? :) Or was it just something that worked for the story? No long-standing mermaid obsession but she’s always loved fantasy creatures (especially unicorns!).
- Were your characters—especially Meela, Lysi, and Dani—modeled after anyone you know? Or were they all from your imagination? These were imagination. Dani’s character arc had a few sources of inspiration. When she pictures her, she pictures a purring, sneering personality. Her arc was inspired by Black Swan, the film. Someone obsessed to achieve her goal.
- What are you working on now? The series is finished. She’s now working on her next book: a sci fi about a woman who gets an internship at a space tech company and discovers that her boss is a supervillain. And Ice Massacre is being adapted into a graphic novel. Working with a comic artist who approached her about it. They’ll pitch that to publishers. She did promotional art.
- Anything I haven’t asked you that you want to make sure you communicate to our audience? On the topic of self-publishing: she has a blog post about this. Search for Tiana Warner Step by Step Guide. It outlines the steps involved, not as scary as it seems! https://tianawarner.com/2016/05/06/step-by-step-guide-to-self-publishing/