When Monica Leonelle approached me about reviewing her new novel, I popped over to her website to find out more. The prologue of Socialpunks grabbed me right away, and she had so much other interesting information on her website. I enjoyed reading Socialpunk and really looked forward to interviewing Monica. Here’s the scoop on why Monica writes and what advice she has to share with other writers.
KBW: How did you move from doing social media and digital marketing to writing novels?
Monica: It wasn’t a huge leap for me, and Socialpunk has the mark of a digital strategist on it. 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.
My first book was a nonfiction book on digital strategy. I really fell in love with writing and publishing books at that point and wanted to try my hand at a novel. The rest is history.
KBW: Do any of your characters resemble you?
Monica: Nasser is exciting because he’s got such big ideas and he’s so damn reckless. He’s willing to completely derail his entire hash just to pursue a dream. I’m a bit like him at times, to be honest.
KBW: What is the most rewarding part of writing novels?
Monica: I enjoyed creating the Socialpunks’ world. The 2198 world is magical to me. So coming up with all the descriptions and thinking through how everything works in the future was very fun for me.
The most rewarding part is having people who genuinely enjoy sharing my worlds and characters with me.
KBW: What is your best piece of advice for other writers?
Monica: 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 there.
KBW: On your website, you say you are a “reader-supported writer.” What do you mean by that?
Monica: I make money when readers buy my books. I don’t work on advances or anything like that. I make most of my money on nonfiction content right now, but am also starting to see a nice bonus from my fiction writing.
KBW: I’m a fan of the TV show Once Upon a Time too. Who is your favourite character and why?
Once Upon a Time is such a creative show with a ton of great mythology. It’s hard to pick a favorite but I guess my favorite character is Snow White. Though I was thinking the other day, why is she so straight-laced in Storybrook? Her character is not like that at all in the fairytale world. Some of the other characters are like that too (Prince Charming) and it’s confusing to me.
What I really enjoy about Once Upon a Time is how so many of the characters are played by actors from other TV shows that I loved. House, Breaking Bad, Falling Skies, etc. It’s so fun to see those actors playing completely different characters.
KBW: Can you think of anything else you’d like to add?
Monica: If you’re on the fence about reading Socialpunk, the book is original and fast-paced and like nothing you’ve ever read before. If you enjoy stuff like The Matrix, Inception, Minority Report, or the Terminator movies, you might like this book too.
Thank you for the interview!
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