I just cannot wait to introduce you to our lovely authors today. I have Hope & Alyssa today. We have discussed several things here. From their next books to unethical practices in publishing Industry. They have Co-Authored “Dear Hero” book. Do you know, not everything in their superhero world is as it seems. Who are the real heroes and villains?
Welcome to my “Meet the Author” series Hope & Alyssa. Thanks for being here on my blog.
I m including Author’s Bio and links in the end. Come on, lets meet them and know more about them and their books which is not included in Bio
How and when did you both meet? When did you decide to co-author?
Hope: We actually met at college. We were both part of the same major. We’ve coauthored short stories and articles together, so we figured we might as well try to write a book together.
Alyssa: Hope was a year ahead of me, but we still hit it off great. We bonded over our silliness and love of costumes. It only seemed natural to write together.
Tell us a little about Dear Hero:
Hope: Sure! So Dear Hero follows the story of a villain and a hero who match in a nemesis-pairing app. They fight behind coffee shops, but they don’t expect to fall in love. When a shadow organization haunts both of them and their pasts, they may have to team up to make it out alive.
Alyssa: What if being a hero or a villain was a career path like any other? What if it involved building your social media platform and fighting bigger and better nemeses for clout? At that point, what does it even mean to be a hero or a villain?
How did you come up with this idea?
Hope: It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact moment. Alyssa and I had some parody YA twitter accounts where we made fun of YA and superhero cliches and tropes. My friend was also on a dating app at the time, and we saw quite a few superhero movies come out that year. Everything clicked together, so we hopped on a Google doc and started writing.
Alyssa: Our original idea involved hero/villain pen pals, but we wanted it to be snappier, with more dialogue, so we modernized the concept. The idea of hero/villain Tinder was too funny to pass up.
How was the writing process for this different than other books?
Hope: For one thing, it’s all chat format (a new popular form of an epistolary novel). Although Alyssa and I had a skeletal plot we were following, we never knew what the other person would write. Often characters or major plot points changed based on what they said. We did make sure to spot-check each other for plot consistency and copy editing.
Alyssa: We wrote together in real time on a Google Doc. That meant hours and hours typing furiously. I don’t think I’ve ever spent that long at a time just writing, but when there’s someone on the other end and you’re having so much fun, writer’s block and the munchies fade away.
What was the hardest part about writing this?
Hope: Honestly, this was the most fun I ever had writing a book. The hardest thing was balancing work schedules. Alyssa and I wrote the first draft (emphasis on first draft) in nine days, but we had a three hour time difference between us and five jobs we worked collectively. This led to a lot of late nights writing. But honestly, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. In fact, we did when we wrote the sequel LOL.
Alyssa: Time, for sure! I kept forgetting things like meals.
Do you have a favorite character?
Hope: So my allegiance changed with the sequel (a guy who, if he materialized, may or may not become my future husband), but in Dear Hero I love Kevin. He’s a theater nerd slash frat boy who doesn’t know how to rein it in. He’s awkward, adorable, and ridiculous.
Alyssa: V is my precious murder child. She’s deadly, she’s sassy, and she has a secret soft side that may or may not involve singing lullabies to her pet sharks.
How do you decide which part to be written by whom? How do you coordinate? Tell us more about your next book
Hope: You know, most of that summer is a blur. I often write from a male’s POV and Alyssa knew she wanted to be the villain, so I think we divvied parts from there. We knew they needed henchmen and sidekicks, so we ended up claiming those characters along the way.
Alyssa: Like Hope said, we knew for our main two, and then as new characters popped up, we just claimed them as we went along. As it just so happened, I ended up writing for most of the villain characters and she ended up writing for most of the heroes. In our upcoming sequel, our sidekicks and henchmen take center stage, and we divvied it up pretty much in the same way–I took the female henchman lead, and Hope took the male sidekick.
Have any of your books been made into audiobooks? If so, what are the challenges in producing an audio book?
Hope: Not yet. It usually all depends on the publisher. Often the trouble comes with payment. It depends on who you produce your audio titles through, but you need to pay the voice actor as well. People usually don’t like royalty payments (instead of an advance) which is why many smaller publishers don’t go the audio route.
Alyssa: This is my debut, so no audiobooks yet, but I would love that!
How important is marketing a book in the present condition when every day we see new titles coming up? Any tips to Share?
Hope: Oh, goodness, it’s absolutely vital. Obviously with the pandemic happening, in-person events are nearly impossible. I think you also have to factor in the fact that people have experienced technological burnout. It’s a lot of posting regularly but not too much that you overwhelm people. A huge tip is to build your email list. Otherwise, if people follow you on social media and all you post about is your books, you’re going to get a lot of people unfollowing. It’s also important to provide free materials. Alyssa and I wrote a novella that we offer for free to those who sign up for our newsletters.
Alyssa: More and more of marketing is falling on the author now. The publisher helps, but with such a saturated market, it’s vital for authors to be a huge part of the process. My biggest tip is to think about what you’re offering your audience. Don’t just post ads all the time; add value with what you post so that people want to follow you, whether that’s book reviews, aesthetic pictures, short stories, free content, writing advice, humor…
What does literary success look like to you?
Hope: Honestly, a person who never gave up on their writing. Reviews come and go. Sometimes you get awards, sometimes not. But if you finished the idea and put yourself out there, I think that’s a success.
Alyssa: I think it’s different for each writer. We all have different goals. For me, Dear Hero is a success if we can make readers laugh and have a good time.
According to you, what is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Hope: Yikes, there are so many. I’m probably going to steal Alyssa’s, but vanity publishing. They literally make authors pay $2,000-$10,000 to upload their book on Amazon, do a shoddy edit, and slap together a cover. But next to this I’d put people paying for reviews. It happens all the way up to big five. But if you think about it, if you pay someone to review your book, that review isn’t going to be unbiased.
Alyssa: Hope has listened to me rant for what must cumulatively be hours about the evils of vanity presses and how they prey on authors who are desperate to have their books published. You do NOT pay a publisher; a publisher pays YOU. And watch out for that sneaky “hybrid press” label; they’re usually a vanity press in disguise. You’re not going to make your money back. Ever.
Preethi : A big eye opener & informative for all upcoming authors I wasn’t aware of Vanity publishing.
Can you make a living out of writing books?
Hope: Oof, in most cases, no. There are, of course, exceptions, but it’s rare. I’ll get so many people who tell me, “Oh, I want to get my book published so I can become rich and famous.” I often have to hold back a grimace, because it doesn’t work that way. The average number of books sold traditionally for a book in its lifetime is 250. Have I gotten over that for my books? Absolutely, way over. Can I just live off my royalties? Heck no.
Alyssa: It’s so incredibly rare that I’m just going to flat-out say no. Whenever someone says they’re thinking about writing a book to make some extra cash, I have to chuckle. For most people, you put way more time and effort into a book than you’ll ever get returned in royalties just to compensate you for your time. Writing is a labor of love, and even a lot of your favorite authors most likely have day jobs or spouses/partners providing additional income.
Any advice for other writers?
Hope: I always feel like I could write a book for this question alone. My best advice is to trust the process. It will take a lot longer than you anticipate. Publishing involves a lot of stop and go, and a heck of a lot of hustle.
Alyssa: Take every opportunity you can. You’re going to have to take on a lot of gigs you don’t like before you get to where you want to be (cough cough, my stint in journalism). And right when you’ve had it and you’re about the throw in the towel, that tends to be when you hit a breakthrough, if you just hang on.
Who is the author you admire most? Favorite Book?
Hope: Oh boy this always changes. My favorite book has wavered between the Book Thief and Great Gatsby. But as far as authors go, I have so many friends who are authors who I admire. You have to have incredible tenacity to get traditionally published these days. I’ll have to put Alyssa here.
Alyssa: Awww, Hope, you’re making me blush. I’ve always admired Hope. (I thought she was too cool to want to be my friend in college. Luckily, I was mistaken.) C. S. Lewis is a huge favorite of mine.
If you had to describe Other in three words, what would they be?
Hope: Only three? OK: hard working, full of integrity, silly. Alyssa gets the job done, does the job right, and throws in some jokes for good measure.
Alyssa: Hope is funny, hard working, and persevering. She’s always cracking me up, and you’ll never meet someone who is more of a go-getter.
Writing a book for me is
Hope: Therapy. An explanation of the complex emotions I feel and can’t put into words. An adventure. And an invitation for others to enjoy an intriguing story.
Alyssa: Fun! I love writing stories, and have since before I even went to kindergarten. (Granted, the writing was pretty much illegible at that point…) I am happiest either reading or writing fiction.
If not a writer then I would be
Hope: For the longest time I wanted to be a teacher, but then I realized I couldn’t teach. I’d love to be a docent at a museum or a tour guide in some historical city. It would have to involve history in some way. If science didn’t involve so much math, I would’ve become a paleontologist.
Alyssa: I was going to go into medicine until my mom talked me out of it and encouraged me to pursue my dreams of writing and editing. It was probably for the best for all of us.
Lastly, what else do you want your readers to know? Your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind (Apart from what’s in your bio)
Hope: And now I’m forgetting what my bio says. I will say we are probably some of the strangest people you will meet. I do run around in costumes for no reason at all. I’m not even cool enough to be a cosplayer. At the same time, I love playing handbells and modeling on occasion for a bridal runway. I could get lost in museums forever. That was honestly one of the hardest things about the pandemic was I couldn’t visit the local art museum. And you’ll catch me in vintage shops, in a forest pretending to be a faerie, or on stage in local theater.
Alyssa: I read an absurd amount of books. I spend a lot of my day reading submissions or editing manuscripts and then clock off work and immediately dive into another YA fantasy. I’m often known to start a book around 11 p.m. thinking I’m just going to read a bit before bed, but then I finish it at 3 a.m. (not recommended, yet it still happens about once a week). I love discussing fan theories in way too much depth, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and all around just being a nerd. I like to say these things because I remember teenage me being afraid that being an adult would mean becoming old and boring. In reality it just means that there’s no one to tell you to go to bed–a blessing and a curse!
Here is there Bio:
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 800 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids to HOOKED to Crosswalk.com. She writes about 250-300 articles a year. Her modern-day Daniel, “Blaze,” (Illuminate YA) released in 2019, and the sequel “Den” released in 2020. The final installment Vision releases in August 2021. Her superhero romance she co-wrote with Alyssa Roat releases from INtense Publications in September 2020. Sequel Dear Henchman set to release in April 2021. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on Instagram and Twitter @hopebolinger. Find out more about her at hopebolinger.com
Alyssa Roat studied professional writing at Taylor University. She is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E., the publicity manager at Mountain Brook Ink, and a freelance editor with Sherpa Editing Services. She has had 200+ bylines in publications ranging from The Christian Communicator to Keys for Kids. Find out more about her here and on social media @alyssawrote or https://alyssawrote.com/
Have you read any of Hope/Alyssa Book? Its time to check out friends.