Dear Writer-Friends,

I've been self-publishing since 2011, and I've shared the knowledge I've gained in two books: the Indie Author Survival Guide, Second Edition, and For Love or Money. I'm not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: I'm one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. These books are my way of helping my fellow authors discover the freedom of indie publishing. Write on, writer-friends!

S.K. Quinn, Independent Author of Science Fiction

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Meet Elle Strauss, Author of IT'S A LITTLE HAYWIRE

I've talked before about how hard it can be for middle grade authors to go indie ... but I cheer on like crazy the ones that take that leap. The lovely and talented Elle Strauss - fellow Indelibles author of the YA novel Clockwise - has jumped with both feet and has graciously stopped by for an interview.

First, her new middle grade novel IT'S A LITTLE HAYWIRE:

Owen True is eleven and eleven twelfths and has been "exiled" to the small crazy town of Hayward, WA, aka, Haywire, while his mother is on her honeymoon. All he has to whittle away the time is the company of Gramps, his black lab Daisy, and his Haywire friends, Mason and Mikala Sweet. They don't look so hot this year, in fact, the whole town has gone to pot since the mill shut down.

Owen has his first encounter with a real life homeless man who ends up needing Owen's help in more ways than one. But how does a rich city kid help the small town's suffering citizens?

And what is Owen to make of the fog train and its scary, otherworldy occupants that appears out of thin air on the old tracks behind Gramps' house? Do they have the answer Owen is looking for?


"Strauss' characters are absolutely precious, especially Mikala. Your heart just breaks for her and her family. And Owen was a funny little toot, with a heart of gold. Just because you are young doesn't mean you can't help a community in need!Such a wonderful little read, that brought a tear to my eye at the end." -  Mandy at twimom101 book blog reviewer

IT'S A LITTLE HAYWIRE is available for FREE TODAY (2/23) ONLY on Amazon (normally $2.99).

Me:  Why do you love writing middle grade?
Elle: It's a Little Haywire is my first middle grade book and I really loved writing it. I remember being that age (8- 12) and how everything was a fresh discovery, the good and the bad.

Me:  I love that part too - the innocence and pure story telling of middle grade is awesome! Which makes me wish it was easier to market indie MG. Do think marketing middle grade self-pub books is more difficult than YA or adult? Why/why not?
Elle: Yes, I do, at least for right now. A year ago people said the same about YA. Now that ereaders are  more affordable and there are reading apps for smart phones we're seeing more teens reading e-books. Middle grade readers still read print books primarily.

Me: You are so right about how quickly things are changing! What middle grade marketing have you found to be successful?
Elle: Well, since this is my first middle grade and my first effort to market it, I can't really answer that question. :) Ask me again a year from now.

Me: I will do that! But for now, take out your crystal ball ... what do you think 2012 and 2013 hold for middle grade ebooks, and the middle grade market in general?
Elle: I think we'll see a growing trend for middle grade e-books as parents hand down used readers when they upgrade their own. I also think we'll see more ereaders in schools. Parents and grandparents are usually the buyers of middle grade books for their kids. It's true for print, but I see it becoming true as e-books as well.

Me:  I think you are absolutely right - there has to be a shift in the gatekeepers' willingness to buy ebooks for middle graders (the librarians, teachers, parents, grandparents). Dark Omen (my 13 yo) got a Nook Simple for Christmas from the grandparents...along with a gift card for ebooks. I can see more of that in the future, and his younger brothers are already clamoring for their e-readers! I can see a bright future for middle grade coming soon! Now that Haywire is launched, what comes next for you in terms of writing?
Elle: My next book is the sequel to my YA time travel rom/com Clockwise, called CLOCKWISER in Apr/May. A companion novel will be available in June.

Yay for more book releases (and I love the play on the name)! Thank you so much for stopping by, Elle! And best of luck with your middle grade story, as well as the Clockwise series!


  1. The book sounds fantastic! I like ghost trains. And I can totally pretend I'm 8.

  2. Great interview, Elle! So happy and encouraged by your passion and confidence. Thanks for hosting her, Susan!

  3. This is going to be a MMGM feature on my blog in a few weeks. I can't wait. :-)

  4. Elle, you are brave to venture into the indie MG market, But I know you go into it with a passion for your story (it's so obvious that you're smiling whenever you share your thoughts about It's a Little Haywire) and experience gained from your previous indie launch. i wish you the best of luck with this darling story.

    Thanks for sharing the interview, Susan.

  5. Wonderful story, Susan. Great to see more Middle Grade books.

  6. Thanks for the interview, Elle and Susan! I just bought It's A Little Haywire and already started reading the first chapter. I love it so far. As a fellow MG writer, this interview was a very valuable read.

  7. It's a Little Haywire sounds like a great book. Thanks for the interview.

  8. He's 11 and 11/12ths? I like him already. :) Wonderful interview, ladies!

  9. I love it when MG characters take on the bigness of life.

  10. Yay for Elle! The book sounds fantastic, and I'm pleased to see she's taking the bull by the horns when it comes to getting her work out there.


Erudite comments from thoughtful readers