For many, she is know as one of the most followed Luxury Travel Influencer on Instagram. With over 2 million followers, Melanie Martins has been sharing her adventures across the globe for a little more than 4 years. But for others, she is known as the Author of Blossom in Winter, a forbidden and controversial love story that has captivated thousands of readers on social media. Considered on Goodreads as a “real page turner” , “engrossing and addictive”, and a “damn roller coaster”, it seems that Melanie Martins has officially started a new chapter in her life: the one of becoming an Author.

What made you change career path so suddenly?

It was quite an unexpected turn to be honest. One day, in November, I was seated in my living room and the story of “Blossom in Winter” chose me as its writer. It felt like I didn’t choose this path; the path chose me. In fact, I had a very stable life as a travel blogger working with brands and traveling to exotic destinations. But the urge to write this story was greater than anything else. So I trusted my gut and started writing it.

Did you ever write anything in this genre before? For instance, fan-fiction?

No, I never wrote fan-fiction. I did write some forbidden love stories when I was a teen, but I never expected or even considered to publish anything in this genre.

How difficult it was to change career path?

It was not easy. When I said to my partner I had started writing a novel in English, he thought I was crazy! After all, English is not even my first or second language, but my fourth. I just started speaking and writing properly in English sever years ago. In fact, at eighteen, I was on a trip to New York and realized I couldn’t even keep a basic conversation in English. I was so frustrated that I gave myself one year to speak it fluently. I was decided and motivated to prove to myself I could do it. I love challenges and I apply this philosophy to everything I do, writing a novel was the same.

Your Nº1 advice to anyone wishing to start a new venture/career.

Make sure you are in for the long term and that you have enough savings to take the risk. No one becomes an expert in a field overnight, you’ll need to master your craft, and this will take time. So be passion-driven, self-motivated, focused, eager to learn, humble, and disciplined.

With over 4.7/5 on Goodreads, your rating is currently one of the highest (if not the highest) in your genre. Were you expecting so many positive reviews for a debut novel with such a controversial story?

I knew I had something special in my hands after my copyeditor, who came from Penguin Random House and worked precisely in the acquisition of titles in romance, told me the story was quite unique and intriguing. There is a lot of suspense, mystery, and twists that makes you want to read it until the end. But even so, I was super anxious at the beginning since, as you said, it is a controversial story.

What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers to achieve such positive feedback?

Write for your readers, not for yourself. In other words, never be your own judge, do an editorial assessment to gather feedback, and once you’ve completed your first manuscript, if you are serious about publishing, hire a development editor. Your first manuscript is never ever publishable. Then hire a copyeditor and a proofreader, so your book is as polished as possible before you submit it to an agent (if you are going through traditional publishing) or to publish it yourself.

Why did you choose to do self-publishing? Isn’t it more difficult?

I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, so I don’t mind the hard-work and learning how to do new things. It is more difficult, but the rewards are also greater. A traditional publishing house will give you between 12-18% of royalties for each copy sold, while if you do self-publishing, which means you have to be the author and the publisher, you can make up to 70%. Nowadays, especially for ebooks, it’s very easy to publish on Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Nook, Play Books, etc. Everyone with a smartphone can read your book, no matter where in the world they are. So I don’t see the added-value in the digital space (ebooks and audiobooks) to go through traditional publishing. For paperbacks, you can do print-on-demand or print in big quantities to be sold on Amazon and other retailers, giving you always more than the 12% from the traditional publishing houses.

3 tips to anyone wishing to write a novel. Find your writing style beforehand; will you write in the 1st or 3rd person? With one or multiple POVs? Past, present tense, or both? Once you have this figured it out, organize your story, write the big picture, create biographies for the characters, find images that inspire you, in sum, have all the scenario built up. And finally, commit yourself to a strict routine of writing with a final deadline. If you can only write one or two hours per day, that’s fine, but stick to it.