Marlayna Glynn Brown: The First Interview
Marlayna Glynn Brown graciously agreed to be the first author interviewed for my new “Independent Writing” category. Marlayna is the author of three books, and is working on her fourth. While my great love is fiction, I am very happy to have come across Overlay while browsing the Kindle store. Overlay is the first installment of Marlayna’s memoirs and tells the story of her life from the time she was about three or four years old until she was 17.
The story of Marlayna’s childhood is disturbing and inspiring all at the same time. She has overcome difficulties that most of us never even imagine. I will certainly be buying City of Angeles soon, and the third installment, whenever it is published.
If you are an aspiring author contemplating self-publication, you may want to take a gander at Marlayna’s second book, Promoting, Marketing, and Publishing Your Book: Publicist’s Secrets. She compiled the lessons she
learned through running a successful business and later self publishing Overlay into one, easy-to-use volume that serves as a “treasure map” to success.
Many thanks, Marlayna, for serving as the Smiling Tree Writing guinea pig. Learning more about your work, and the process of writing and publishing that you went through has been most enjoyable!
Since you were running your own business before self-publishing, you are in a good position to talk about how those things are similar/dissimilar. You hear a lot about how people who are successful as independent writers need to be good businesspeople, but it seems like there would be some big differences in the two endeavors. What do you think?
Dava, I find that absent the funds to hire a marketer/promoter in the self-publishing world, one simply must be a tireless marketing advocate in addition to being a talented writer. While my years of writing taught me how to create products, it was my ten years of experience in the marketing industry that taught me how to gain exposure for those products. As a self-published author, those two talents – while dissimilar – do indeed go hand in hand for the author who lacks a marketing budget. One needs both a good product and a solid marketing campaign in order to achieve continued success. Once I completed the editing and design process of my first memoir, Overlay – A Tale of One Girl’s Life in 1970s Las Vegas, I began the real work – which was to let the public know my product was available and tell them why they should read it.
Did you work with any other independent professionals on your books? Like an independent editor or graphic design artist or someone who specializes in getting books properly formatted? In other words, did you build yourself a team to get your book completed and published?
As an author on a budget, I was not in a position to pay other professionals to design, create or edit any of my materials. Fortunately, my prior career in the marketing industry enabled me to learn how to do everything I needed to do to take my books from screen to print. With the variety of assistance available on Amazon and CreateSpace, I found the design process to be quite easy and painless.
How much of a learning curve was there in getting your first book written, then published? It seems like those would be two very different activities.
There are a variety of important steps in between writing and publishing that focus on editing. For example, I found the editing process of Overlay to be much more labor intensive than the writing portion. There is content editing, grammatical editing, spelling editing, story flow editing, and finally line by line editing. Since I am my own (albeit imperfect) editor, I find I have to go over my material many times. Each time I review my material for errors, I make additional changes to the manuscript. So while it may take me three weeks to ‘write’ a book, it will take substantially longer to perfect the material for publication. My learning curve was much less painful when writing City of Angeles, the sequel to Overlay, for I knew what to expect and the process was thankfully much quicker.
Absolutely! When I began advertising Overlay, I had no idea how much time and work and know-how one needed to get the product to the public. Just uploading the book to Amazon isn’t enough, as readers need to know the product is there and why they should read it. The learning process I underwent to discover websites, book lists, bloggers, reviewers, etc. was fairly intense. Once I’d completed my list of sites where I wanted to advertise and promote, I realized I had enough material for a short handbook to help other authors short-circuit the promotional process.
Do you plan to write any fiction, or perhaps the third installment of your memoirs? (Confession: I haven’t read City of Angeles, yet. It is definitely on my list.)
I think it is an intelligent author who recognizes where his/her talent lies and where it doesn’t…and my talent certainly does not lie in writing fiction! I am currently crafting the third and final installment in the trilogy Memoirs of Marlayna Glynn Brown which will be a painstaking biopic on surviving the devastation of divorce while single parenting four beloved children. Simultaneously, I am also writing a non-fiction account of my solo travels as a responsibly hedonistic single woman in her forties with one goal in mind: to say yes to everything. I’m currently enjoying the research for my travel book very much.