Saturday, November 12, 2011

YA Author Melissa Kline Talks About Small Presses and Self-Promotion

When I met Melissa Kline two years ago, she had a rough manuscript for her novel MY BEGINNING, and an unshakable belief in herself. The book came out this past summer, garnering Melissa awards and kudos.

Melissa (right) promoting the Rocky Mountain Women Writers, a group she founded, and her book, at a Wine Women & Wellness event in Denver last week.

KCW: MY BEGINNING was published by a very small publishing house, Lucky Press. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of publishing with a small press?

MK: Advantages: Having a close relationship with my publisher/editor, having a say in book design, cover design, titling, etc., independence -  scheduling own signings, events, etc., becoming  an entrepreneur - making connections, marketing and promoting - a crucial skill in this market.

Disadvantages: Minimal exposure to media, corporate bookstores,  prestigious awards, international marketing.

Being with a small press has been a wonderful experience for me! I am so grateful for my publisher and the strong foundation we've built together as a team.

KCW: Did you pattern your character Ivory after someone in particular? And what similarities do the two of you share that you were able to draw on to create her?

MK: She is me! Ivory and I share many similarities. As a child I was painfully shy, introverted and a dreamer. I was teased because of the way that I looked, and not accepted amongst my peers. I always had one good friend growing up and a die-hard crush on one boy throughout most of my school years. I longed to escape as a teen, just as Ivory does. Her transformation and awakening is representative of my own changes and metamorphosis.

KCW: How have the awards that MY BEGINNING earned affected your work on the sequel?

MK: Receiving the Halloween Book Festival award boosted my confidence tremendously. I have been told that MY BEGINNING is motion picture-worthy and to keep the same writing curve. There is a little bit of added pressure, but I'm super excited about the sequel and know that it's going to be just as good, maybe even better, than the first!

KCW: You make miniatures and draw sketches of your characters and settings. For many writers, those things could be a distraction from actually writing. How do you make it work for you and still find time to write?

Melissa's miniatures

MK: Usually, I write the story first, then create. But sometimes if I'm stuck on a scene or need a boost of inspiration, I'll get creative. These methods help me connect with my characters and get to know who they are on a deeper level. It aids me in the writing process and is not a distraction at all. There is an ebb and flow to everything I do. Sometimes I need to be creative, and sometimes I need to just write. It's important for me to honor my creative intuition.

KCW: You're a real go-getter when it comes to self-promotion, even before your novel came out. What are some of the steps you took to sell your book? Which were the most successful?

MK: First of all, I think it is so important to define who you are and what you want. That was a very important step for me - owning my writing talent. After that it was all about sharing it with others, i.e., creating a professional platform including a blog, writers group, business cards, tag lines, etc. Networking is a huge part of success! Even the smallest connections can take you to big places. Create a professional portfolio for yourself and take yourself seriously. Say, I AM! not I WANT. Present yourself as a professional to others wherever you go. I think this is especially important. We have to believe in ourselves first and own who we are! Sounds corny, but it really works.

Melissa at a book signing with two other authors.

As far as book promotion, it's all about getting out there, making connections and being willing and patient. Keeping with the same mind set as I mentioned above. Networking, networking, networking. It's been really powerful for me to connect with other authors for events and promo work. I think that writers/authors need to stick together and support each other. There is power in numbers!

For more information on Melissa Kline, go to  or the Melissa page of Swagger. If you want to enter to win a free copy of MY BEGINNING, enter our Swagger Swag contest. See the 10/12 post for details.

Share your publishing and promotional experiences with us. Do small presses make you feel more a part of the creative process? How do you promote yourself?

Kathy Cannon Wiechman


  1. Looks like the old poem in a bottle method isn't gonna work then! Love and admire your energy. Great and inspiring post.

  2. "It's important for me to honor my creative intuition." This line is so important for any person who's interested in being a writer. We often neglect our creativity because it not only makes us completely vulnerable, but also because we consume so much writing that has very little.

    "We have to believe in ourselves first and own who we are!" Another fantastic line! Such a life-long struggle for many, yet it is such an important factor for freeing one's self, not to mention any other choice we make afterward (career or otherwise).

  3. Thanks Emma, Gina and Kathy! This interview was a lot of fun! :)