To celebrate the success of Emelie Schepp's new book Marked for Revenge- we spoke to her about the importance of belief in your own work.
Did you have any idea that your debut novel, Marked for Life, would be such a huge success when you first decided to self-publish it?
When I decided to self-publish Marked for life I knew that it was essential to do everything as professional as possible and that meant that I couldn't do everything on my own. Therefore I hired an editor, a proof-reader and a graphic designer. Right from the start I was aiming high and I worked really hard to reach out to my readers. I believed in the story of Jana Berzelius, and I put all my effort and spare time to sell the book, but then I had no idea that Marked for life would be such a huge success.
How did it feel to start seeing your ebook in bestseller lists and winning awards?
Three years ago nobody except my husband and I believed in the story of Jana Berzelius, but I thought that if I managed to sell my book to my readers they will believe in the story as well. Winning the award shows that I was right. I am so happy and grateful that the readers voted me for The Best Crimewriter Of The Year 2016. Having my fans supporting me is the best feeling in the world.
Why do you think this particular title sold so well across such a wide range of formats?
I believe it has to do with my main character, Jana Berzelius. I decided early on to write about a woman who was brilliant, physically strong and striking yet by necessity odd, even secretive. But it wasn't until I read an article about child soldiers that I realized how dark Jana’s background would have to be. Many readers are fascinated by her. Perhaps it has to do with her personality; that she has two sides to herself. On one hand, she is a famous and successful prosecutor working hard to maintain laws and order in society. And on the other hand she is tough, a fighter who doesn't hesitate to break laws in order to hide the shame of her dark past.
How has self-publishing changed your writing life? Did you find that being popular as a self-publisher helped you to gain credibility with trade publishers?
Being a self-publisher you learn so much about the industry. You also learn to be creative, when your book by any reason isn't accepted in some bookstores you try to find other ways to have them sold. When I became Sweden's most successful publisher I did gain some credibility and by then I was contacted by many trade publishers. Today I teach others in self-publishing and besides writing a good story it is all about working hard, being dedicated and having patience and persistence.
Finally, what would be your main piece of advice for other authors?
Believe in your story and set time aside to write it.
Since I still worked full-time I had to make time to write Marked for Life in the nights. So every night at 8pm when my kids had fallen asleep I sat down in front of my computer. I turned off my cell phone, the television and my e-mail program and started to write. Six months later I held my first draft in my hand.