Random Q&A: Lisa McMann

Lisa McMann is a former blueberry picker and, more recently, a New York Times bestseller; her first novel, Wake, is nominated as a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association. The sequel, Fade, will be on sale on February 24, 2009.

1) What is your writing day like?

Intense. On the days I am writing, I write fast and barely stop for air, much less lunch. It all starts at precisely 8:22 a.m. when the last family member leaves the house for school, and it usually goes until 2:30 or 3 p.m. I drink a couple Diet Cokes in there, maybe stand up a few times to stretch, or go outside to sit in my thinking chair if my brain needs a breather. I love days like these.

2) We’ve heard about “the call” when someone gets an agent/a publisher. What was “the call” like when you heard you were on the NYT Bestseller List?

My agent called me on a Wednesday afternoon and said that Jen, my editor, wanted to talk to us both. He then hooked Jen up with the three-way calling thing and while I was waiting for Jen to come on the line, I was just sitting there, wondering what was up – I actually thought she was calling to say that they were disappointed in sales or something, or that maybe there was a problem and they no longer wanted to publish FADE…of course I’m as neurotic as any author.

So when Jen came on the line, she says something like, “I just wanted to let you know that I am talking to a New York Times bestselling author!!” only she kinda screams that last part and I absolutely can.not.believe it. So I said something like Shut. Up. and we all three were talking at once, so excited, and I said “No WAY!!” about a hundred times.

And it was the absolute best day of my entire life. (My husband doesn’t mind that it was better than our wedding day, which really sort of sucked.)

3) What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Editing the rough draft.

4) What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?

Writing the rough draft.

5) I know you’ve mentioned publicity in another interview. Specifically, you mention your MySpace page. How exactly does a writer or wannabe writer create a MySpace page that gets people to go there?

This is a GREAT question. And I don’t have the answer. I only know how to have a Myspace “presence,” whereby I go out and find people who like to read YA books, and hang out and talk with them.

A lot of authors feel like it’s up to the fans to find them. I love it when fans find me, but those people already know about the book. I want to find future fans, too. We as authors need to be humble enough to seek them out.

So you find an author who 1) has a lot of fans on Myspace already and 2) writes similarly to what you write, and you find readers on their pages. I prefer to befriend people from their “new friends” list and comments rather than their top friends so I don’t end up wasting time befriending people who haven’t logged on since June of 2006.

You send a friend request to them. If the person accepts your friend request, a thank you is in order. Please don’t start the conversation out by saying, “Hey, I have a book coming out that you might like!” I hate when people do that to me. If they want me to buy their book (or CD or whatever), they need to court me a bit. At least pretend like they care, you know?

You might want to mention that you found them on Cassandra Clare’s (or whoever’s) Myspace page and you wonder if they’ve read City of Ashes yet. Or comment on another book in their “favorite books” section that you’ve read too. You have a conversation with a fellow book lover.

Be a friend first. Your page should have all the info about your books on it – when your friends come to like you, they’ll naturally grow curious about your book and ask. And they’ll read your bulletins and blogs, too – that’s where you sell your book. And over time, they’ll be pulling for you! They’ll spread the word about you and your book, forward your bulletins to their friends, all because you took the time to establish a reader-in-common relationship with them.

Yes, it takes a ton of time. And it’s not for everybody – you have to enjoy interacting this way. But when I see teens posting on blogs, “Lisa McMann’s book WAKE is amazing and she’s really nice too – she’s my Myspace buddy!” I sort of melt a little. And I know that my effort paid off not only in word of mouth advertising, but also in a loyal friendship with some pretty amazing, invisible people.

For more Lisa, visit her website and blog.



Filed under Random Interviews

34 responses to “Random Q&A: Lisa McMann

  1. Deb

    Thanks for this interview! Just ordered Lisa’s book. It looks great! Congrats on being a NYT bestseller…oh so funny on the phone conversation–I swear I could hear it, lol.


  2. Lisa is indeed a great MySpace friend. I love talking shop with her (since we’re with the same publisher) and helping her celebrate her successes with her. And I agree, it’s much better to be able to say that not only is a book amazing; its author isn’t so bad herself. 🙂

    Great interview!

  3. I was able to get aquainted with Lisa through Myspace. She was one of the few who actually commented back. I was able to share with her how well her book was doing in the Borders where I work, and how much I enjoyed it. She responded and seemed so genuinely happy that I was a fan that a plan went into action. We have this very visible front of store bay for the new YA books. I like to do super stealth missions and sneak books from some of the more personable authors I have met up there even though they are not on the “list”. My stealth action worked, and Wake stayed up there sold out 2 times until it was moved to the Borders Original Voice, and Best Seller bay. (It felt diabolical….in a good way! I think I may have done an evil laugh too.) Ladies, and gentle sirs you know why this happened? No, it was not my awesome skills that were reminiscent of Chuck Norris, and James Bond. It is because Lisa McMann rocks the party that rocks the pinata. She deserves a big *HUZZAH*. So in short thanks for the interview it rocked. One more thing…..Lisa McMann is AMAZING. The End

  4. Myspace is especially important for me when it comes to networking with authors. Wake is one book I’ve seen profiled on myspace, and whose author has courted teen readers who have then come into my library and asked me to order the book.

  5. Great Interview! Ha, remember a few days ago when you posted a blog saying that FADE will be out in 2009 but by accident you put 2029, that still cracks me up Lisa. =)

    Also, I have yet to read WAKE (blame it on college) but as soon as I do I just know I’ll be anxiously awaiting FADE!

    Thanks for being my friend on myspace. I’m glad you’ve met so many great people there.


  6. Ok. I admit it. I’m way too old to be a YA reader, yet I am. I love it. Can’t get enough of it! I’ve been a friend of Kelly Parra, YA author, on myspace since last year. Loved her book. And while stalking her page, noticed a comment by Lisa McMann. In an effort to continue to procrastinate on my life, I spent an inordinate amount of time pouring through Lisa’s page, reading about her newly released book, her bio, heck, even browsing her “friends” pages. I sent her a friend request. Not only did she accept, but she left the sweetest comment on my page. Since then, I’ve subscribed to her blog and clung to the edge of my seat anxiously awaiting my fix on Fade, her next book. You see, I also have a myspace/blog addiction and Lisa is an extremely entertaining enabler 🙂

  7. Mandi

    This is a great interview with a great writer and an even greater woman! I’ve always wanted to be able to say about someone, “I knew them back before they were famous.” So thank you Lisa for making that dream come true! (Hee hee, dreams … like in your book … get it? I swear I don’t know where that came from …)

  8. I love Lisa. I met her through my BGFF Wendy Toliver. Lisa is on my tops list which may not seem like a big deal but for 15 and 16 year olds it is humongous. It meant I had to push some GF down to the nether land of second page “ALL” button. I have a number of author friends. I love them as friends. They actually are REAL. They like really read what you write and respond when they have time. I sometimes have to fuss (hehe) at my BGF writer’s and tell them to write and stop talking to me. lol. Rock stars and movie stars don’t usually maintain or probably even read comments. Some probably can’t even write- just parlaying the words of others into something they really aren’t feeling. Authors write. They open up and actually expose their hearts. I write reviews and I love to comment on my friends books because they are always brilliant. I received WAKE as part of my duties as a teen board member for Simon Pulse. I couldn’t wait to find Lisa and tell her how wonderful it was.
    There are even authors who come and visit my home page or comment on a poem I have blogged. You can’t even begin to comprehend what a few words from an incredible author can do to brighten your day and make you appreciate writing. Writing poetry to me is as easy as breathing. Writing prose is really hard. My BGFF Wendy encourages me and I would never have written my few stories without her love and prodding.
    MY SPACE has opened up a world for me. A world of authors who write as I think. They understand me (well, us). They speak in our voice and enter our heads and hearts. When I say I can’t wait for a next novel- that isn’t idle chatter. I really can’t wait.
    My BGFF Lizzy and I have been in each others dreams. We dance with faeries in flower beds and never trample the flowers.
    If U R a gurl reading this – read and try writing, if U R an author- Thank you.

  9. Lisa is my Myspace friend also! I’m so proud of her being a NYT Bestseller! YAY!

  10. Vickie A.

    Great interview!!I absolutely love Lisa :] She is a cool myspace buddy, I have hadher as a freind for awhile now and then I finally got to meet her at borders and she is great!! I love her book to death. She is a great author.

  11. Elaina W.

    Great interview!!! You are an awesome myspace friend. I haven’t got the chance to read Wake yet but I’ve heard so many great things about it and I can’t wait to read it. Congrats on being a NYT Bestseller! =D

  12. Heidi

    Lisa McMann is so awesome, it basically blows my mind. Any who, I love it when authors have myspace profiles because then I get to find new books to buy and love. And if the author isn’t nice, then I know not to buy his/her book. 🙂

  13. Breann

    Amazing interview! Lisa McMann really is an awesome writer. Her book wake pulled me in and I finished the book within a matter of hours. Now the only time I EVER read a book fast is if I’m hooked and that doesn’t happen a lot.. So that tells you something.. The book was GREAT! I can’t wait for Fade to come out and to see what happens next. Lisa is also a great myspace buddy. 🙂 It’s fun to talk to her and she is very nice.

  14. Amanda Marrone

    Hi Lisa,

    My son and I loved Wake! We loved the sparse story telling that still gave an emotional punch–and we’re very much looking forward to Fade!


  15. Cassandra

    Lisa added me a couple months before her book came out, and she truly became a friend of mine–one I’d call a close friend. She actually cares about her readers, and is an amazing writer. Her and I click and I hope we’ll still be friends for a long time. She may be an author with quite a bit going on, but she still takes the time to reply to comments and see what her readers are up to, which really does make a difference in people’s lives. I love WAKE and I can’t wait for FADE to come out. GO LISA!!!!!

  16. I love Lisa! Great interview. I definitely agree that if authors want to make new friends and find new fans, Myspace is an amazing way and it’s awesome to be able to talk to the author and get to know them…makes you want to support them more.

    I’ve been a friend of Lisa’s on Myspace for a little while now, and she really is great! It’s been awesome talking to her and I LOVE LOVE LOVEEEE Wake. I really do adore it and I’m so happy she’s a NYT’s bestseller now. I can’t wait for Fade.

    Great interview, once again. Well deserving author for sure. 🙂

    -Lauren B.

  17. Angel Young

    Lisa befriended me through Myspace. She is an amazing writer. I read my ARC of WAKE in a single day because I simply could not put it down. It is one of my all time fave books.
    As an aspiring author myself, I really look up to Lisa. Watching her grow as a writer, knowing her before and after the release of WAKE — it’s really amazing. I’m very happy for her and her success with WAKE.

  18. Oh, man, so I’m friends with Lisa on myspace also! Her blogs are great and she makes me laugh all the time 🙂

    Congrats on being a bestseller!

  19. Oh, and also… Did you ever notice that “studying” is “student” and “dying” put together?? It’s quite true.

  20. Rebekah

    Hoorah!!! For being a NYT bestseller!! There was never any doubt!! Amazing author!! Thanks for letting be on your myspace friend list!!

  21. Lisa rocks. Myspace rocks.

    I kiss up too much during normal hours, so I’ll leave the prizes for the others!


  22. tasha t

    im a myspace fan, love her myspace blog, can always get more info checking into myspace

  23. Freak

    Lisa is AMAZING!!! I got to meet her on her tour and she was just fabulous, I got Wake signed and now refuse to let it leave my home, but my friends have bought it and it’s going around my group rather quickly. They always mention how they couldn’t put it down, and I tell them how I read it the first night I got it.

    I found her on myspace, and that’s the whole reason I found her book, and got to meet her, so I have to say, myspace rocks my socks off!!!


  24. Chelsea

    cool interview, can’t wait for FADE!!!

  25. She’s right. That is how i found out about her book, that’s why I bought it. Not to say I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise, but I wouldn’t have so quickly!

  26. Deanna

    Lisa McMann rocks my socks!!! She’s such a wonderful and talented author. Not only do I love her book Wake, but also can’t wait for her next book Fade to be released as well. When she accepted my friend request on Myspace I discovered that this wonderful author, was also a wonderful person! She actually talks to you!!! It is SO refreshing to meet someone who is so down to earth, and takes the time to resond to you. She is a fans best friend. One could not ask for more than to have a favorite author talk to you and treat you like a friend! Plus we live in vertually in the same city which is just complete awesomeness!! I also had the privilege of meeting her at a book signing and she is even more terrific in person!

    GO LISA, you are da bomb diggity!!!
    Janie and Cabel Forever!!!

  27. Emily Wright

    These are such typical responses from Lisa– funny, positive, uplifting and honest from the heart. What a fun interview =) Lisa is a great myspace “friend” and is always ready to comment back to anyone with a positive thought or encouragement to keep on writing. She definitely deserves to be on the NYT best seller’s list. There aren’t too many best selling authors out there who will give their readers the time of day– Lisa is an exception to that rule.
    (Was that too much kissing up? Haha!)

  28. Lori Nielsen Terzi

    I’m so glad Lisa friended me on MySpace last fall. As a result, I pre-ordered Wake from Amazon, and was one of the first kids on the block to read it. I work at a library and recommend it to lots of people (mostly teens, but there are a few adults like me) who like the paranormal romance genre. Would you believe our library system doesn’t have Wake yet? I donated my copy, but it hasn’t finished processing yet. In the meantime, B & N and B0rders are getting lots of business.;o)

  29. harmonybookreviews

    I’ve yet to read Wake yet but it’s definitely on my wishlist. I’ve been entering every possible contest to get it but I’ve yet to win it. It may just be one that I’ll have to break down and buy. (I’m cheap, okay?) But I do know that Lisa is on my Myspace friendlist and that she’s really super nice and I love reading her blogs. They rock!


  30. Brandi

    Lisa’s book, Wake, is seriously one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot of…oh, wait…I’m not really much of a reader. That, though, is simply a testament to how seriously amazing Lisa McMann really is…she got me to read a book! I was completely sucked into her book (pun intended, and you’ll get it, if you read her awesome book!), and can’t wait until her sequel, Fade, is released in February of 2009! I am a friend of Lisa’s via MySpace, but have known her for several years. She is an exceptionally talented writer, and pretty much just an awesome person all-around!

    Thanks for giving me something good to read, Lisa!

  31. Took me a little while to wade through all the sucking up, but I made it (I think I need new boots)!

    One things certain — I’m going to have to mention my dear amazing myspace buddies in EVERY interview from now on. 😉 You guys rock! And you are all doing a tremendous job in your attempt to win the prize. (If you don’t know about the prize, see my myspace blog:

    http://www.myspace.com/lisamcmann )

    Thanks, 5 Randoms, for a fantastic interview! I’ll be back Tuesday to announce the prize winner right here in the comments.


  32. Erin

    Hey Lisa!
    Remember me-Erin? I met you a few weeks back and my Aunt Amy introduced us. Anyway, thanks for the add on myspace and fyi- your book ROCKED! I am not even kidding a read it in a day and a half and now my Aunt borrowed it. I still havent gotten it back LOL! I cant believe I have to wait untill next year in FEBUARY to get FADE!!!! That is SOOO long away! I just cant believe it. However, I know it is worth the wait. I cant wait to read it. Luv ya!
    ~Erin 🙂

  33. Well, it’s Tuesday and I have to pick a winner now — I hate this part! It’s very very hard to do. I wish I had a prize for everybody. 😦

    Sooooo….I narrowed it down to six comments, and then I made my 14-year-old son choose the winner. *phew* I told him that “funny” and “sucking up” were major factors in who wins.

    And he chose…

    The Chuck Norris/James Bond impersonator, KRISTIN!

    Kristin, please drop me a message on Myspace or via email with your mailing address and we’ll get your prize out to you. Congratulations!

    Thank you to everyone for participating in yet another one of my silly contests, dear friends. You are all wonderful and I love chatting with you. And there’s no sucking up there. 🙂

    Thanks, Five Randoms, for letting us hang out. Friends, I hope you’ll help keep the Five Randoms in business by checking back and commenting now and then, and checking out their books!


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