Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Amanda Flower-Chat 2

Author Amanda Flower, a native of Akron, Ohio, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Like her main character India Hayes, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. When she is not at the library or writing her next mystery, she is an avid traveler who has been to seventeen countries, forty-eight U.S. states, and counting. Maid of Murder is her debut novel and the first in a series featuring amateur sleuth India Hayes.

To learn more about Amanda and Maid of Murder visit her online at You can also follow Amanda on Facebook at or Twitter at To read the first interview, go to:

EBD: Did you do the usual query process to find an agent or did you submit your manuscript directly to publishers?

AF: I did go through the query process to find an agent. I even found one who would try to sell my mystery. However, after a year of working together, we both realized the arrangement wasn’t working out. After I left my agent, I started querying agents again, but I also decided to send directly to publishers that didn’t require agents. Five Star was the first publisher I sent my novel to, and I’ve been so pleased with the result.

EBD: You’re referring to Five Star Publishing-Division of Gale-Cengage Learning. I found that focuses on hard-cover library editions. What were your reasons for choosing that publisher?

AF: Five Star’s focus on the library market was one of things that attracted me. I’m a college librarian and more than anything else, I’ve always wanted to see one of my books on a library’s shelves. So many libraries have purchased the book, and I couldn’t be happier about the library world response. I’m so thrilled that more people will be able to enjoy the novel by checking it out from their local library.

EBD: Did your publisher help you with a marketing plan?

AF: If you mean, does Five Star plan library book talks, signings, and blog tours? Then no, they don’t do that. Many publishers have cut back on that type of service due to the cost. However, Five Star has been very supportive of everything I have planned and scheduled. I send my editor regular updates about author events, so she can make sure there are books at all my signings. She does an amazing job and has even overnighted books to events.

EBD: I see as well as a blog tour promoting Maid for Murder that you are also participating in book signings at book stores and that you are also a speaker. Did you speak to groups before your book was published as a librarian, or did your speaking engagements come about as a result of your book?

AF: When I was a kid, I hated public speaking. Thankfully as a part of my job as a college librarian, I’m required to teach class and speak to groups on campus, so by the time Maid of Murder was released I was very comfortable talking in front of a group. However, I hope my talks about the book are more entertaining than freshman orientation when I show eighteen-year-olds how to check their library card records.

EBD: How do you like promoting your book? Has it cut into your day job?

AF: Promoting my book is definitely more work than I expected, but I love meeting readers in person at signings or online through blog posts like this one. The reception the novel has received is worth all the hard work. Promotion hasn’t cut into my day job too much. Of course, there are some days I wish I wasn’t at the library so I could deal with some issue with my book, but in general, I’ve been able to balance. Luckily, my day job is low key most of the time.

ED -What is Five Star's distribution? Have they placed your book in chains, Indies, on the Internet, like Amazon?

AF-Five Star’s main audience is libraries. It has excellent distribution with them, and many libraries have Five Star books on standing order, which means every time a new one comes out it’s immediately shipped to the library. In addition, Five Star places all their books on Amazon,, and They will place books in any indie or chain stores that request them.

ED-If so, what is their policy on taking back books that haven't sold?

AF-If a bookstore can’t sell the books, Five Star will take them back. It’s no problem.

ED-Have you placed books yourself?

AF- No. The only places I take my own stock are to library book talks. All the libraries I’ve visited have been nice enough to let me sell and sign books after my talks.

ED-Tell us a bit about your experience in the publication process. How many edits did you go through? Were you included in choosing a book cover?

AF-After Five Star acquired the book, the novel went through two content edits and one copy edit. My content editor, Jerri Corgiat, did an amazing job in helping me polish the manuscript.

One of Five Star’s graphic designers made the cover. Isn’t it cute? I just love it. When it was time to design the cover, I sent the synopsis of the book and a list of possible things that could appear on it. The graphic designer really took my suggestions to heart and came up with a beautiful piece of artwork, but it was a total surprise. I have a poster version of the cover hanging up in my office at the library because I like it so much.

ED- Is your book available in electronic format? If so, which formats?

AF-Not yet. It will be released in Kindle in early 2011.

ED-What did you enjoy most about publication?

AF- I enjoy hearing from readers most, in person or online. I’m always thrilled when readers tell me they loved the book. I especially like it if they tell me the book was funny. My main purpose with the India Hayes Mystery Series is to make readers laugh. Laughter is my favorite sound.

I’ll end on that note, which is indicative of her novel. Thanks Amanda for talking with us over the past two weeks. We hope your series makes a long run on the shelves and in download.


  1. I'm so behind with my reading that I haven't read your book yet but I could use a good laugh and hope to read it soon.

    The place I most often hear authors speak is at conferences and I find, whether the author is making a debut or is a bestseller, hearing the writer speak definitely influences me to follow their career.

  2. I'll check for this next time I'm at the library, Amanda. If it's not there, I'll suggest they order it. It sounds fun!