Editor’s note: This interview has been translated from German. Click here to view the original interview.
In this interview series, we introduce literary freelancers. Whether author, translator, editor or event organizer: Each and every one has made their way into freelancing. What was it like for you, Michael Meisheit?
Introduce yourself briefly: Who are you and what do you do in the literary industry?
Michael Meisheit, born in 1972, living in Berlin. After studying film, I first wrote screenplays, primarily for the TV-series “Lindenstraße”. In 2012, I discovered self-publishing. Since then, I have published over 20 novels by myself under my pseudonym Vanessa Mansini. Since 2019, I have also been writing thrillers for Heyne-Verlag.
What was the biggest challenge at the start of your career?
When I entered the world of literature through self-publishing, I had to change my way of thinking on multiple levels. If you want to make money with self-published novels, you need to think about eBooks, you need to think about algorithms and you need to think about (not particularly popular) online-platforms. All of these are worlds I hadn’t been familiar with up to that point. Additionally, I had to find my inner rambunctiousness, because you definitely have to market yourself. This was really unfamiliar to me as a scriptwriter working in the background. But the reward for this was a complete freedom of choice regarding everything. It’s been my mistakes that led to failure, but it’s also been my decisions that brought success.
What has been the most important realization in your career up to this point?
That as a supposed author you are not alone in an ivory tower, nor should you be. “Band together” quickly became my motto and thanks to social media, it was possible to form country-wide networks and find mutual support. More than one book can be successful and as a group you accomplish much more and get there much faster. And even if it is only to find some colleagues online to have a virtual coffee break with. Even Corona can’t do too much harm to that. But of course, the best is to have real meetings and develop real friendships at expos or similar events.
What advice would you give to people starting out in your field of work?
If you want to publish a book by yourself, you should definitely think about how to find an audience for your work beforehand. So do not publish and then we’ll see. On many platforms, the first few days are decisive for the success of your work. And even in the writing phase you can find publicity for your own work. There are numerous websites and social media platforms on which you can find tips and get help on how to achieve that, because, as I said earlier, you are not alone with that difficult first step…
Michael Meisheit was born in 1972. For twenty years, he worked as a scriptwriter for the German TV-Series “Lindenstraße”. Since 2012, he publishes humorous romantic novels – mostly under the pseudonym Vanessa Mansini. With “Nicht von dieser Welt”, he won the Indie-Author-Award of the Leipzig Book Fair in 2014. Altogether, he distributed almost 200.000 copies of his books through selfpublishing. Since 2019, he also writes thrillers for the Heyne publishing house.
Image in header: © Erik Weiss