You have been invited to share you experience with our readers.
Name: Melissa Alvarez
1. Tell us about yourself – where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)
Melissa Alvarez, is an award winning author, graphic artist and website designer who obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Tech. She has always been an entrepauneur and owned several successful businesses with her husband. Melissa became involved in the publishing industry in 2000. She formed New Age Dimensions to self-publish her first book, The Phoenix’s Guide To Self-Renewal, which was released in January 2001. It quickly landed in Amazon.com’s Top 1000 where it stayed until it went out of print. At the time, Melissa was manufacturing the 416-page book in her home and eventually couldn’t keep up with the demand. Melissa says, “The learning process that went with the publication of this book was phenomenal. I jumped into the industry in an unconventional way but it was fun and worthwhile.”
Between March of 2004 and February of 2006, Melissa, founder and CEO, operated New Age Dimensions as a small press. The company had 40 authors and over 70 titles released. During this time Melissa designed the book covers, created the print book layouts and ebook files, designed and maintained websites for the company as well as some of the authors. Melissa had the final decision on contracted books. The company won awards for website design and the books published received numerous five star reviews and won many awards including EPPIE’S, the Oscars of ePublishing.
Because of the industry contacts made when Melissa worked as The Guide To Romance Fiction at About.com, she decided to release her first paranormal romantic suspense novel, Night Visions, under the pen name Ariana Dupré. She wanted the book to stand on its own, to receive good or bad reviews because of the writing, not because she knew a lot of people in the romance industry or because she owned the publishing company. Melissa didn't want her jobs, past or present, to affect the reviews in any way (good or bad). So she kept Ariana's real identity a secret until enough reviews came in that she knew the book had indeed earned success on its own. Night Visions became a multiple award winning title that is currently published by Cerridwen Press.
In the past, Melissa has been a regular columnist for Suite Magazine, a writing correspondent for The American Kennel Club, a contest judge, a free lance editor, and she is considered a publishing expert and is listed on a Writer’s Digest Top 100 website as such and has appeared on radio shows in the same capacity. As an internationally renowned clairvoyant advisor, with experience in many different areas of metaphysics and as a paranormal romantic suspense author, Melissa wrote an article about the emergence of the psychic fiction genre for Romantic Times BOOKclub Magazine. She has also been published in The Writer's Net Anthology of Prose, Paranormal Experiences Volume One, New Age Dimensions Holiday Extravaganza, and was quoted Book Marketing A-Z by Francine Silverman, How To Operate A Successful Pizza & Sub Restaurant by Shri Henkel and Successful Meetings by Shri Henkel.
Melissa is the founder of International Paranormal Fiction Month, a member of Romance Writer’s of America including the following chapters: PASIC, RWA Online, Kiss Of Death, Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal, and From The Heart. She is also a member of the National Association Of Women Writer’s, a Publishing Expert at Moonspinners Ask the Experts (Writer's Digest Top 100 Website), a Spirituality & Publishing Expert at BookPromotionNewsletter.com. She also operates two paranormal groups at Yahoo.com, and is listed in the top ten psychics on toppsychics.com and bestpsychics.com.
Melissa can speak or write about the following topics:
* The publishing industry – how to get started, self publishing, owning a small press, critiquing, manuscript formatting, romance fiction, the submission process, looking at both sides of the industry as a publisher and author, ebooks, psychic fiction, and many other topics.
* Metaphysics – clairvoyance, past lives & past life readings, ghosts & hauntings, developing your psychic abilities, spiritual awakenings, spirit guides, empathic abilities, psychometry, telepathy, divination, life paths and lessons, connecting with your higher self, unlocking latent abilities, meditation on the go, crystals, chakras, tarot, pendulums, third eye activation, karma, soul quests, palmistry, elemental spirits, protecting with white light and much more.
Melissa can be reached on her cell at (561-452-4555), via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through her websites: http:/MelissaAlvarez.com, and http:/apsychichaven.com.
2. What inspired you to write your first book?
For my nonfiction book, I had created a journal for myself and then my friends and neighbors wanted copies of it. I decided to open a publishing company and publish it myself so it would be available faster. For my first fiction title, I was almost asleep and saw the opening scene for Night Visions running through my head. I got up and typed it right away.
3. How many books have you written?
I have written three nonfiction books (two are currently under consideration), three novellas, and two novels. I’ve also been included in six other titles.
4. How do you decide on their topic?
I write what I like and what I know about. I’m backlogged right now on finishing books that have been requested that I haven’t completed so those are first on my list. After that I’ll decided if I want to do another fiction or nonfiction title. As Melissa Alvarez (my real name) I write business nonfiction, self-help and metaphysical nonfiction. As Ariana Dupré I write paranormal romantic suspense and I’m currently working on several young adult titles as Jara Jordan. I use pen names to keep my genres separate for my readers.
5. What works best to keep you focused and on track?
LOL having my kids in school for six hours straight. Now that they’re on the same schedule I have one big block of time to get a lot of work done - writing and promotion.
6. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
Well, it’s a career for me but I do it for both. I’ve always been a writer and will always be a writer, whether or not I’m making money from it.
7. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
Anything and everything that I can do to get my name(s) out to the readers. I buy advertising, send out press releases, belong to online groups, and talk to everyone about my titles and the business of publishing. Most recently I started an online radio show where I’m promoting other authors through interviews and giving live psychic readings. By doing this, I’m keeping my name in the public eye, introducing authors and others in the metaphysical field to listeners and that introduces readers to my books too. My radio show is live on Friday’s at 11:00 AM EST at http://blogtalkradio.com/MelissaAlvarez .
8. What are some unique methods?
As a writer I need quiet. Now, I can write when my house is full of noise but I find that I can put out more work faster and get more accomplished if it’s quiet or if I tune out everyone else. I don’t listen to music when I write or anything like that.
9. Do you sell through a website?
Yes, my publishers. http://www.cerridwenpress.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419908965
10. Do you plan on writing additional books?
Yes, I’m currently finishing up two nonfiction titles for The Lotus Circle and then I’m writing the remaining two books in the Visions series for Cerridwen. After that I’ve got another Talgorian book planned and the young adult title. I’ll be busy for a while. ;-)
Please visit my website at http://melissaa.com for a complete listing of titles, their release dates and more. You can also get a free download of a short story that I’ve written when visiting my site.
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