Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

The Five Spot: Leigh Ann Kopans

Today’s Brew:  Raspberry Lime Seltzer.  It can’t always be beer.

by Kristen

Julie and I have been keeping an eye on Leigh Ann Kopans for months now, and not in the creepy, trash picking, Wendig stalking sort of way that might make you say eww.  If you’re considering self publishing, or if you have a debut book coming out from any publishing company, you should be paying attention to Leigh Ann as well.  Leigh Ann’s debut novel, ONE, released on Tuesday.  She decided to self publish.  Instead of just throwing it out there and hoping for the best, she launched a complete campaign including a street team and merchandising.  She gave herself almost six months of lead time to get the word out.  Leigh Ann’s journey to release day is to us an example of how self publishing should be done.  It was never in your face, spammy, or obnoxious.  But we were all still aware of her book.  Mine is on it’s way to me as we speak.  I can’t wait to see what’s between the covers!

Amazon Kindle

Special Edition Paperback with comics (from Amazon)

Barnes and Noble Nook

iBookstore

Signed (from my site)

Without further ado, we asked Leigh Ann five questions about ONE and her life in general:

Tell us about your favorite character in ONE.

Leigh Ann: I really do love the main character, Merrin. She’s doing that thing that teenagers are so good at – wanting a lot of different things and trying to chase them all. She’s grown up with a fierce independent streak, and when someone finally comes along that she can trust, she has kind of a hard time with that.
She’s also crazy-smart, but wants one fantastical thing more than anything else – to be able to fly, which she’s been taught is impossible for her. Her grit and determination drove the story for me.

Nick Flora wrote a song about ONE.  Tell us about your relationship with him.  How did he come up with that song for your book?

Leigh Ann: Nick is the friend of a very good friend. When he  started a Kickstarter for his newest album, “The Reintroduction of Nick Flora,” one of the selections for a contribution was “I’ll write a song about anything you want.” I knew that writing a song for my book was a lot to ask, so I contacted him privately, and a beautiful friendship was born. He ended up writing an absolutely INCREDIBLY PERFECT song for the book. It’s going up for sale on Amazon and iTunes soon.  Listen to it here:

You have put together a thorough campaign for ONE.  Tell us how you put together your team and who did you consider your target audience?

Leigh Ann: I was lucky to have an incredibly savvy assistant, John Hansen, from the very beginning. He helped me create buzz for a street team in his areas of reach – bloggers and teens – that really complimented mine. I brought a lot of writers and adult readers, some of whom are teachers and librarians. The result was that we were able to gather a street team that it pretty well balanced between writers and readers, teens and adults. I couldn’t be happier.
My target audience is definitely teens, and the people who help them choose books – I write Young Adult because I believe in the importance of good stories told well for teens.

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve come across as a self published author?

Leigh Ann: There’s definitely a stigma out there, so a lot of the time, people come into reading ONE, or even viewing it on Goodreads, as something they expect to be sub-standard right off the bat. To a certain extent, that’s a bummer, because I’d like to be given as fair a shot as anything traditionally published. But mostly, I’m not worried about it, because I’m confident in the book I’m putting out there and its quality.

We think it’s awesome that you’re a rabbi.  How does that influence your writing?

Leigh Ann: LOL thanks! You know, I’m not sure how – or whether – that influences my writing at all. Writing is something I picked up when I was bored out of my skull during the year I stayed at home with my children, and desperate to feel like something I did mattered. I’d always loved literature, but never tried writing anything. So it really came about as wholly separate from the rabbi thing. And I don’t really write about Jewish topics or themes – just the stories in my head.

Leave us with something from ONE.

A few lone fireflies flit around a bit too early. The top three-quarters of the sky are only slightly dark. I reach out to swipe one from the air and watch as it staggers across the back of my hand, testing its legs after a stretch of flight.

I wish walking felt more foreign to me than flying.

Praise for One

 

One balances a fully imagined, super world with deep, well-crafted characters and took me on a heart pounding, heartbreakingly authentic journey I hated to see end.

~Trisha Leigh, author of The Last Year series

 “Exciting, edgy, romantic and beautifully written, ONE is a book from an incredible new writing talent that will leave you longing for more!”

~Emma Pass, author of Acid (Random House 2013) and the upcoming The Fearless (Random House 2014)

 “I opened One and didn’t put it down. On the surface it’s a fast-paced superhero story combined with all the wonderful and terrible aspects of teenage life, but beneath that is the story of a girl who only wants to be more than she is. It’s a fun adventure cloaking a simple but powerful truth of the human condition.”

~Francesca Zappia, author of the upcoming Ask Again Later (Greenwillow/HarperCollins 2014)

Leigh Ann Kopans’s Biography:

Raised on comic books and classic novels, Leigh Ann developed an early love of science fiction and literature. After earning degrees in Sociology and Hebrew, she went on to become a rabbi at The Ohio State University. Surrounded by college students, she found her niche writing science fiction and romance for teens.

Leigh Ann, her husband, and four children live in Columbus, Ohio, which sadly lacks superheroes but does have the best football and fabulous ice cream.

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