Today, I’m so excited to introduce LeighAnn Kopans, author of the fabulous YA sci-fi, One, which released this Tuesday. I love One because it takes a plot you don’t see very much in YA–superheroes–and turns it into something that is just plain fun, while also mixing in a little bit of romance. Plus, that cover? So awesome.
I love LeighAnn’s publication story because she didn’t self-publish as a means of giving up; to her, self-publishing was about beginning anew. After she landed an agent, her book received lots of positive feedback from the publishers they pitched it to, but ultimately, it just didn’t sell. However, after that, she didn’t just throw in the towel and decide to self-publish purely as a means of getting the book out somehow. Instead, she weighed the pros and cons and decided that self-publishing was the right fit for her, and that she was going to work as hard as she possibly could to make her book look and read like any other traditionally-published book on the shelves.
And she did just that.
She started a street team, hired a great cover designer and copyeditor, packaged her book in a professional manner, sent out Advanced Reader Copies to bloggers–everything. I’m incredibly happy for her and all she has accomplished, so to celebrate One‘s release, I’m having her over for a quick interview and a giveaway.
1. What inspired you to write One?
I’ve had an intense love of superhero stories since I was a little girl – 8 years old camping out in front of the TV every Saturday morning to catch X-men cartoons. I loved everything about them, and since I have an obsessive personality (understatement) I obsessed over the pseudo-science of mutations. How exactly would superpowers WORK? It didn’t take me too long to realize that most superpowers featured more than one component.
That idea stuck with me for a long time, and once I’d cut my teeth on my first novel (in the drawer for now,) I decided to try my hand at using my half-superpowered idea on a Young Adult novel.
2. What was your favorite scene to write?
It was the first scene I ever wrote, actually, and what later became Chapter 8 of the book - when Merrin and Elias discover how their powers work together. The whole setting and discovery of the moment felt so magical to me that it just poured out, and I knew I had something special.
3. What advice would you give to those out there who are unsure of what publishing route is right for them? What made YOU choose self-publishing?
The advice I give to everyone is to sit down and think long and hard about your goals for THIS BOOK. Any goals are valid, honestly – Maybe you want your family members to be able to buy your book, or maybe you want other people to read it. Maybe you want to make a little money with your book on the side. Maybe you really, really want your book to be in a book store. Maybe you NEED to hold your book in paperback, but have no cash. There are different methods of publishing for each goal – everything from publishing on Wattpad to self-publishing to small press to the query-agent-sub-Big 6 sale route. Each publishing method has its major pros and major cons.
I chose self-publishing because my book went on submission in NYC but wouldn’t sell, for unclear reasons. I believed my book was good and would have some degree of mass appeal, and that it could have the greatest number of readers and maybe even make a little money if I self-published it. Really, in a nutshell, I believed that ONE deserved to be published, and I knew I could do it myself in a way that I was proud of.
4. What is one part of your marketing plan that you feel worked the best?
Hands down, my street team was the most effective method of marketing. I’m so grateful that John planted the seed of the idea, and that I had so many amazing friends and contacts and friends-of-friends to assemble what is truly the best street team around. There is nothing more effective than passionate word of mouth, and that’s what a street team is.
I also teamed up with my fellow author and friend Francesca Zappia to create the most unique teasers I’ve ever seen – comic-style installments that summarized the first eight chapters of the book. We saw a great response on Goodreads when the comics went live. I asked myself what would make me, as a reader, read teasers, and the answer was that I was sick of reading long text excerpts. I would want something to give me a glimpse of the story in a totally different way from most people.
5. For those interested in self-publishing, what advice would you give?
Be methodical about your decision. Know what it takes time, resources, and dedication-wise BEFORE you decide to self-publish. It’s not an easy route, to be sure, but no publishing route is. After being in this game for almost seven months, I can say that I’m very happy with my decision, and all the angst and worry was definitely worth it.
Also, remember that when you self-publish, you are in charge – you can do anything you want! The sky is truly the limit. I was able to send out more ARCs than most traditionally published authors, dream up cool swag and promo, and have a HUGE street team – all things I would not have been able to do unless I was a top-billed traditionally published author. Think outside the box – self publishing does not have to mean making do with less. In fact, oftentimes, it can mean having more.
6. You have to do one dance move to celebrate your release. What would it be? (This is a serious question!)
Gotta be a Dougie, since all you need to do that move is music and style – and, dance-wise, those are the only two things I *do* have. We can’t all be superheroes at EVERYTHING.
Thank you so much for inviting me and for writing up this interview! Teen writers are amazing, and I’d love to come back or help out in any way I can. Happy writing!
Thank you so much for coming, LeighAnn!
Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly, or even drift along like a freaking ghost – too bad all she can do is float up and down. When almost everyone else is a Super, with at least two powers, or a Normal, with none, being a One is the worst kind of in-between.
All Merrin has ever wanted is to land an internship at the Biotech Hub. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over news of Hub President Fisk’s experiments, hoping she can get close enough to his research on the manifestations of superpowers to finally figure out how to fix herself.
Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other. Merrin’s over the moon – Elias is as good at kissing as he is at helping her fly. Better yet, her mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub’s internship short list.
But when the Hub kidnaps Elias, Merrin discovers The Hub’s sick experiments could take away even their measly single powers – Fisk’s interest in Ones like them might even be lethal. If she stands up to Fisk, she not only risks Elias’s life, she’ll also destroy her chances of ever finding a way to fly solo – of ever being more than a One.
Buy it on:
Special Edition Paperback with comics (from Amazon)
Signed (from her site)
Also! I’m giving away an eBook copy of One. I don’t want to make you do anything fancy to enter, so just comment below and I’ll put you in the drawing.
(Or if you comment but don’t want to be entered, just say so.)
Thanks! Hope this helped, and be sure to pick up your copy of the book even if you don’t win. It’s available in print as well for those of you without ereaders.