Interview With Monica Leonelle, Author of Socialpunk

Monica Leonelle
Author of Socialpunk
I'm very excited! Monica Leonelle, author of Socialpunk, was kind enough to allow me to interview her via email earlier this week. In case you missed it, Socialpunk is a brilliant young adult novel that I reviewed on Kathryn's Inbox earlier this week. (You can read the review here.) Monica is well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors. 

What inspired you to write Socialpunk?

Socialpunk is a bit like The Truman Show meets The Terminator, except Mark Zuckerburg is president of the world. I wanted to do a cyberpunk and Socialpunk is classically cyberpunk, down to its roots. I loved the idea of being trapped in a virtual reality, and then acclimating to the real world.

Socialpunk is very reflective of today’s social media-driven world in terms of artists, curators, and influencers. It's definitely a physical reincarnation of the digital media world. I love the social media concepts embedded in the book and was inspired to write a cyberpunk.

How important do you feel word-of-mouth advertising is for writers? 

Of the utmost importance and should be #1 on the priority list! In my opinion, writers should inject their marketing directly into their manuscripts. Writers often think of marketing as this separate thing from writing, but it's not at all. 80-90% of books are sold through word-of-mouth and most of the marketability of a book is right there in the manuscript. So even if you are going the traditional route, if you are serious about getting published you should hire an editor to go through your book and see how marketable it is. Traditional publishers are looking for marketable books. It's a business and they need to make money. Then, you launch your book by asking people to read it. If it's any good you'll start getting word-of-mouth for your book. My goal is to give away one thousand copies of the book during its launch. I'm maybe a fifth of the way there so far? It's a lot of work, more than most people realize. I write about this stuff constantly on my Prose on Fire newsletter, so if these concepts interest you, you can check it out here: <

So far, I have seen a lot of reviews and features on book blogs for Socialpunk. Have you felt overwhelmed at all by the tour?

Well, I was gone spur of the moment for five days in DC this month. So I got pretty behind on interviews and posting stuff and tweeting. That was entirely my fault as I didn't expect to be on the road. I'm *almost* caught up though and should be back at full speed shortly.

I am mostly overwhelmed by how amazing people are. Bloggers are the best! And the reviews have been very kind and positive so far. That's always a relief. I've really taken in some of the complaints about the book and want to rework the book and fix those issues, so I'm looking forward to the blog tour ending and having time to revisit the book itself.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

I mostly just write on my couch and often with the television on! It's really bizarre. If I'm writing fiction I typically need quiet, so I'll write in the dead hours of the night. All I need is typically my computer, and sometimes my Spotify account.

I'm trying to learn to write anywhere under any conditions. Writing is one of those lucky professions that you can do anywhere, and I travel a lot and would love to get better about working on the road. So I'm working on *not* having a favorite place to write.

What is one book everyone should read?

When I was a kid I loved this book called The Girl With the Silver Eyes. Here is the exact cover of the book I had: It's one of my absolute favorite YA novels, and, surprise! Maggie Stiefvater loves that book too. This was the first novel that made me want to write fantasy and science fiction.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia? 

Thank you for giving my books a chance! I appreciate every reader, even if they don't love the books. I definitely listen to feedback and read every review so that I can improve as a writer.

A very big thank you to Monica Leonelle for taking the time to talk to us! Monica, I wish you every success with Socialpunk and look forward to reading the two sequels, Socialmob and Socialhood


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