Name: Mel Sherratt
Hometown: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Current Residence: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Education: High School and 3 A levels from evening classes.
Briefly: Author of Taunting the Dead – a standalone crime thriller – An Amazon UK Kindle Top 100 Bestseller of 2012The Estate – psychological suspense series: Somewhere to Hide (The Estate series, book 1), Behind a Closed Door (The Estate series, book 2), Fighting for Survival (The Estate series, book 3), Watching over You – out 14 January 2014
Favorite Read: Broken, Daniel Clay
Pet Peeves: people using social media but not being sociable.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…a florist – I’d need to do something creative.
What You Have Lined Up Next: I’m two-thirds through the first draft of the follow on from Taunting the Dead, plus planning out my next psychological thriller. I hope to publish them both next year.
What was the last book that made an impression on you? Precious Thing – Colette McBeth.
Are there some things you wish you had known before you self-published?
I’m not sure really. Although trying so long for a traditional deal without success made me harden to rejection and encouraged me to work harder, I don’t think those are necessarily bad things. I suppose one man’s meat is another man’s poison is a good lesson to learn – not everyone likes my style of writing. But those that do certainly seem to come back to read the rest of my books so I must be doing something right!
In a past interview, you stated that the crime fiction genre had drawn you. Will you be exploring other genres?
I started off writing women’s fiction – indeed, I have two books on Amazon KDP under a pen name. I then wrote The Estate series which were a mixture of women’s fiction and crime thriller. As they were turned down by publishers for that, I wrote a police procedural, which was turned down by publishers too, for being too generic. It seemed at the time that both women’s fiction and crime thrillers were doing well on Kindle so I took a chance and self-published The Estate series too. Watching over You is a mixture of everything I have learned – the fast pace and thrill of Taunting the Dead with the fear and emotion of The Estate series. I’ve really enjoyed writing a psychological thriller. I also like to explore love triangles.
You emphasize editing and copyediting a lot as a way new self-published authors can attract an audience?
I didn’t have a copy edit done straight away on Taunting the Dead, mainly because I hadn’t the confidence that it would sell, so looking back on that, I wished I’d done that sooner. I think that maybe self-publishing made me look at the craft of writing more than if I had worked with an editor at a publishing house straight away. Working with a copy-editor on my books inevitably taught me more with each draft but there is often so much criticism around self-published books that it taught me to use words accordingly, check words that can be spelt two ways, that kind of thing.
I also think it is imperative that books are formatted well. Lots of writers who have books out come and follow me on Twitter. Often I’ll take a peek in the ‘Look Inside’ of their ebooks on Amazon and some of the basic uploading errors are enough for me not to read on, regardless of whether the book has a fantastic story. It’s not a good sample if there are things like block paragraphs, extra lines between paragraphs, unjustified text and lots spelling mistakes and grammar issues. Getting the basics right is everything.
Since you’ve become a successfully published author, do you at times miss your privacy?
I don’t have any problems with privacy, to be honest. Being an online author, not a lot of people in my home town would know about me. All that might change when the new books come out with a traditional publisher but for now, I’m fine. The only downside, and upside, is I get a lot of emails to reply to from other writers asking for advice so I don’t get a lot of time to myself now. I try to deal with them as quickly as I can – I was once asking other writers for hints and tips so I know what an honor it is, but I do panic if I can’t answer quickly enough as I’m working towards a particular deadline.
How do you handle creative blocks?
My plots have many twists and turns, so I often get blocked when my mind hasn’t figured out the right way to write a certain scene. If I feel I can’t get into it, I’ll answer some emails or write an article such as this one. I’ll go for a walk or on my cross trainer. Most things sort themselves out overnight. There’s always a reason for it. I’ve never been blocked for more than a day or two though, luckily.
Have you ever had to abandon a book idea?
Do you think that blogging tours are an important part of a book’s promotion efforts?
I don’t do blogging tours but I do see other writers taking part in them and I think they are a great idea. It’s all about visibility and word of mouth. I am, however always being asked to do interviews and Q&A’s, which I always do, so I guess you could say I’m on a permanent blog tour!