# Please introduce yourself and your books!
I’m Emerald Dodge, author of superhero urban fantasy. My Battlecry series is about a superheroine who was raised in a cult, and how she escapes from the cult and ultimately destroys it. I’m a Navy spouse and mother of two young boys. We currently live in San Diego, CA.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
I think the biggest mistake an author can make is to write a story with the intention of pleasing other people. You won’t love your story the same way if it’s fundamentally someone else’s. Every character, plotline, and theme should first be designed to please you.
Following that, I think the next biggest mistake is to edit while you’re writing your first draft. Of course the first draft isn’t perfect–it’s just a draft. But if you edit and edit and edit, you’ll never actually finish it. Get those words on the page and worry about editing later.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I won’t lie, I don’t love bad reviews. However, reviews aren’t for me, they’re for other readers, and I don’t take them to heart. Many times a bad review will reveal that the reviewer wasn’t in the book’s target demographic in the first place, which usually explains why the story didn’t resonate with them. I never, ever reply to reviews, good or bad. Reviews are the readers’ space and I should not intrude.
# What role do emotions play in creativity?
For me, emotions are the engine of the story. I don’t often remember specific plots of books I read long ago, but I always remember how they made me feel.
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
You must absolutely study your competition’s covers and titles to gauge what is expected for your genre. Your cover and title are two of the most immediate and powerful marketing tools at your disposal; you would do well to think long and hard about them. I understand that many authors work on a tight budget, but this is one area where you should invest as much money as you can afford. If you’re stuck on cover/title ideas, make a list (or mock-ups, for covers) of ideas and give them to friends for their opinion.