Saltillo native Colleen Hoover has hit the big time. Her first book, the self-published “Slammed,” has been on the New York Times bestsellers list almost since its release early last year.
Her second book, “Point of No Retreat” also made the list. The young author was picked up by Simon & Schuster, a major publishing house.
She was the subject of a recent ABC Nightline segment which is set to air this month’ and this week, The Associated Press is coming to her house for an interview.
She will also be a featured guest at an Amazon.com-sponsored panel at Austin’s famous SXSW Festival.
Hoover, the mother of three young boys took a few minutes from her hectic schedule to answer some questions about her whirlwind life.
News-Telegram: You've been riding a wave of popularity for some time. How has it changed your daily life? Your writing life?
Colleen Hoover: It's been overwhelming for sure.
I released my third book, “Hopeless,” in December and after it hit #1 on The New York Times, things have really picked up.
I've been doing a lot of interviews and traveling, so it's left little time for writing.
I hired someone to help me on a full-time basis last week and it's already made a huge difference, so I'm hoping to be able to block off writing time in the next few months.
N-T: It must really be exciting to get to meet people who have made the trip specifically to meet you/get a book signed.
CH: I had a book signing in Fairview two weeks ago. After being contacted by ABC's Nightline for an interview, their production team decided to come to the signing. That experience was incredible. There were so many people who showed up. One person flew in all the way from Canada.
N-T: Have you been on a full blown book tour? If so, how did it go? How long were you out? Did you enjoy the travel? Was there much difference in audiences as you moved from city to city?
CH: My situation is a little different since I have both traditionally and self-published books.
I schedule a few on my own and then also attend signings set up through Simon & Schuster.
I've never had the opportunity to travel much, so the past few months have been a lot of fun. I've been to New York City, Denver, Minnesota, Florida and Connecticut – all between October and September.
I'm usually only gone weekends when I do have a signing, so I have plenty of time to recoup between events.
This year I'm hoping to take my boys with me to a few so we can make vacations out of them. They've never been on an airplane before.
N-T: You have a publisher and a movie deal, right? How does that make you feel?
CH: I didn't publish my first book until January of last year, so it's only been a year. I'm still wrapping my mind around all that's happened. It's been a surreal experience and I'm trying to enjoy every moment of it while it lasts.
N-T: What’s it like working with Simon & Schuster? Do they give you a lot of editorial advice?
CH: I signed my first two books with Simon & Schuster, but decided to self-publish my recent release, “Hopeless.” I enjoy aspects of both traditional publishing and self-publishing and feel I may make different decisions based on each novel.
I recently submitted a manuscript that ties into one of the books they've already bought rights to, so that one I will publish through S&S again.
I love working with them and my editor is amazing.
I was lucky in that I didn't have to go through re-writes with the books, since they had been released before they were picked up by the publisher.
I have a feeling the manuscript I just submitted will be a different story since it hasn't been in the hands of readers yet.
N-T: How did you "get the word out" about your books when you first started? You used a lot of social media, right?
CH: I used Facebook and Twitter, like most other self-published authors.
I can't say what helped my books garner as much of a following as they've had . . . maybe it's a combination of word of mouth and luck?
Whatever it is, I couldn't be more grateful to the readers who have supported me.
N-T: What advice would you give to a fledgling writer who wants to self-publish, as you did?
CH: Google was my best friend. I knew nothing about the publishing industry a little over a year ago. I researched every single aspect of it that I could find. The answers to every question an author has ever had can be found in writer's forums, etc. It takes a lot of work and time, but if you really want to make this a career the effort will pay off.
N-T: Is life better with or without a literary agent?
CH: I guess it depends on the author. I have a wonderful agent, Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management out of NYC.
I know for a fact that I couldn't have negotiated the deals she was able to negotiate. She knows the business and has been doing this for years, so to me the agent fee is minimal compared to what they can do for you.
N-T: Did you retain any creative control over the Hollywood process?
CH: I don't have any control. When an author signs over their rights to a producer, it's standard to sign over the creative rights for the screenplay. Unless you are someone huge like EL James or Stephanie Meyer, you don't really have say-so when it comes to movie details.
N-T: What's next for you?
CH: Next week The Associated Press is coming to my house for an interview.
After that I'll be doing a panel for Amazon at SXSW in Austin.
In between, I have signings scheduled every month through the end of the year, so I'll be doing my best to sneak in time to write.
As soon as Hoover finished the interview, she was out the door to take her son to the orthodontist in Tyler. That’s life on the go for the busy wife, mom and up and coming author.
For more information on Hoover’s books and her tour schedule, visit www.colleenhoover.com
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