WordsRU had the privilege of interviewing romantic suspense author, Brittney Sahin after she published her third book on Amazon this week. Below is a transcript of the interview. Enjoy!
Romance Author Brittney Sahin Reveals Her Personal Approach to Writing
Brittney Sahin is a self-published romantic suspense author who has published three novels on Amazon, the latest novel released on June 13, 2016. WordsRU has chosen Brittney to appear in an Author Spotlight on the WordsRU blog. This feature helps other authors understand a published author’s personal insight into the world of writing and publishing. Sit back and enjoy this brief interview with Brittney, as she reveals her personal approach to writing.
WordsRU: What prompted you to choose the romance and suspense genre when you decided to write your first book?
Brittney: I love all subgenres of romance, but I am also passionate about suspense/thriller novels. So, I figured I would blend my two favorite genres and write a romantic suspense novel.
WordsRU: Have you had any formal training or education in writing a romantic suspense novel?
Brittney: Aside from a few writing courses back in college (ten plus years ago)—no, I have not had any training. I believe I learned the most in regards to writing during my process with working with Sarah, my editor at WordsRU. She has taught me a great deal throughout the last year I have been working with her!
WordsRU: What books in the romantic suspense genre have you read, and which ones, if you can recall, were your favorites?
Brittney: Surprisingly, I tend to read mostly contemporary romance novels. I have trouble finding too many authors who write a romance suspense novel the way I prefer, which is a happy medium between the two genres. The books either heavily lack on the suspense, or they are way too action packed, and I crave more romance. I kind of wrote what I wanted to read! A few authors who inspired me in this genre, though, are: Julie Garwood, Samantha Young, and Marliss Melton.
WordsRU: Can you provide a few helpful tips that new authors could use on their journey to becoming a self-published author?
Brittney: Wow. I could probably take a day on this topic. 1) Edit. Edit. And then edit some more. And then…have a professional editor edit. Edit again. Then—have another editor edit/proof! 2) Submit the manuscript to Beta readers after the editing is complete. 3) Proof in paperback and ebook when you think the book is perfect (because it is not). You can have it edited a million times, but suddenly new mistakes pop up when you read the book in a different format. A lot of times I just find myself saying: Nope, that just doesn’t sound right (and it is perhaps my tenth run through when I just realized this!). 4) Self-publishing provides an amazing opportunity for improvement. You can always go back and change things later. I learned so much more on my second book, as well as I took advice from some of the reviews. Then, I made changes to the original manuscript and released a second edition of my first novel. I am also constantly updating the back matter of my novels to include the latest books (exclusive excerpts with preorder links)! 5) Consider editing and design as an investment in your book career (like paying for a college class). You may not make the return on your investment right away, but it will set you apart from the crowd! Plus, as I mentioned earlier, you LEARN so much in the process.
WordsRU: Do you have a daily writing routine you can share with our readers? Would you also reveal if your writing routines have changed, since you’ve written and published three books?
Brittney: I would LOVE to have a routine, but I have a baby and toddler at home with me during the day, which means I work around their schedule. I usually write at night after they go to bed. I try to write two to four thousand words a day as a self-imposed deadline. I do set goals though. I have word counts I decide I must reach (week X) in order to achieve my release date. When I am about three-quarters of the way through my novel, I release the book for preorder and set the date. Nothing ensures I write more than knowing I put an official date out there, and I must stick to it! I have always wrapped up everything three to four weeks before the release, though. At my current pace, I plan on releasing a book every three to four months now.
WordsRU: Have you ever experienced writer’s block, and if so, can you tell our readers how you managed to overcome this challenge?
Brittney: For me, writer’s block only occurs if I don’t have a roadmap (plot outline). I have never sat down to write and have been unable to, because I always had some idea (pre-visualized, etc.) of what would happen in the scene before I started to write. The way to overcome the obstacle is to have an outline, in my opinion. I know many people are ‘pantsters,’ and yes, I do go off the beaten path every once in a while (but I had a path to begin with—and my characters just chose to go somewhere else). One of the hardest parts about writing, for me, is the plot outline. It can take me a while to create an eight-to-ten-page outline of a book—so, I figure, once I get that down, the hardest part is over, and now I get to enjoy the fun part—writing!
WordsRU: Do you create an outline or a storyboard of your novel before you begin the writing process?
Brittney: Yes. I actually took things one step further with my last two novels. I had my editor ‘edit’ my plot outlines. She offered suggestions in regards to the characters and plot, and I bounced ideas off of her. After having to go through so many rewrites, because of plot issues with my first book, I decided I wanted to avoid the same fate with the next books. So, I decided if I got feedback from my editor beforehand, I could save myself a lot of time, money, and trouble.
WordsRU: What would you say are the top three challenges you faced as a self-published author that might help other authors overcome these same challenges?
Brittney: I really only think there is one big one for me—Marketing/Name Brand Recognition. How to get your name/books out there, and I am still working on this! Book blog tours, Facebook ads, book promos through ENewsReaderToday and others, such as social media (Twitter).
WordsRU: Did you have any help during the editing and book formatting processes before submitting your titles to Amazon? If yes, then can you reveal a few tips that might help other authors after they’ve written their books and are ready to consider publication?
Brittney: I have worked with WordsRU for editing all my novels, thus far. I formatted my novels myself. There are many resources online to help you do so, and it is almost like an art form to master, but if you’re willing to learn, it is worth it! Tips for the process of editing? 1) Submit a sample of your book and have it edited before you start. This step will help you make sure you and the editor are on the same page. I submitted a few chapters of my first book to more than ten companies, and I chose WordsRU, because they took the time to talk with me on the phone, discuss my vision, and so forth. Plus, my editor and I just clicked. I think that is really important.
You don’t want someone butchering your book to the point it no longer looks like your own. But you also don’t want someone taking it too easy on you—and your book could have been so much better had you had some tough love. Sarah, my WordsRU editor, has had to ‘kill my darlings’ on many occasions!
WordsRU: Do you believe it’s possible to get rid of fear and doubt when those issues confront you during the writing process? Any tips you would like to share with our readers?
Brittney: So my heart still catapults right into my throat whenever I see a new review online, especially Goodreads (they are the toughest critics). And to be honest, I don’t think that will ever change for me. When you put your creative self out there for the world to see, you are bound to get people who love and hate you. You just have to believe in yourself, and if you believe this is what you were really meant to do, then you must go for it! You can’t let self-doubt and worry stop you. You also need to remember that people are different, which is what makes life interesting. You’ll find your target audience and loyal fans, and they’ll stick with you!
WordsRU: Where do you get your ideas for writing your romantic suspense novels?
Brittney: Wow. I have no idea! They spring into my head (a tiny whisper of an idea), and then it takes me about a week or so to work through the plot from start to finish. I visualize the scenes bleeding into the next one. What would happen if X did this? I visualize multiple outcomes and move the plot forward. It is stressful, but also fun to invent a world.
WordsRU: It appears you have a lot of followers and fans, since you’ve written your novels. Can you share just one insider secret for how to grow your fan base?
Brittney: It’s building relationships with readers and book reviewers who love my genre. I have met so many awesome readers and fellow authors in the last year, and slowly, the support system has grown. A lot of people say blog tours are a waste of time, and I do not think they are great with sales, but they do help connect you with book reviewers who normally wouldn’t send a return email to an author. But if your book is on tour with a company they work with, they might review your book. I have met some awesome reviewers this way, who have read and reviewed all my books now, and I know when I have a new release out, I can send them an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) ahead of time.
WordsRU: Where do you see new authors making mistakes or having trouble when writing their first book, and can you offer any strategies to help them achieve success?
Brittney: The first mistake I see is when authors say they edited their book, but they are referring to themselves (as editor). It is almost impossible to look at your book objectively. Even with Beta readers, you really need a professional helping you in this process. But, keep in mind, traditional publishing houses have several sets of eyes on a manuscript, which means you should have that, too, in some form or another. I also see writers not using social media effectively. They blast tweets and messages about only their books. I have established the relationships I have, particularly on Twitter, because I have built a strong network with bloggers/book reviewers and fellow authors. We promote each other. I’d rather someone else share my work, to be honest. People like referrals/word of mouth. Another mistake I see is book covers that look like the book was self-published. Some advice to help sales—have sales! My books get in the top 100 for my genre on Amazon when I run a promo and use such companies as: ENewsReaderToday, BookSends, MyRomanceReads, and BookGorilla. BookBub is super hard to get into and also expensive, so my favorite is ENewsReaderToday (one day of sales from them did what four other companies combined did for a fraction of the cost)!
WordsRU: How can our readers find out more about you and when you’ll release your next book?
Brittney: My WordPress blog is predominantly all about publishing, supporting, and promoting other self-published authors. So, for authors, I recommend finding me at:
Brittney’s personal website
Brittney on Facebook
To see my list of published books, use this link.
Here is a list of Brittney’s novels. When you click or tap on the book cover, you can read more about the book on Amazon.
Thank you for reading this Author Spotlight post about Brittney Sahin. We hope you’ve learned a few new tips and strategies for writing and publishing a book as a self-published author.
As always, we welcome your comments. Feel free to share your feedback, responses, and questions with WordsRU. Here’s the link where you can correspond with us.