- Thrive Detroit
Melissa Love: Candle Maker by Day, Writer by Night
Melissa Love is a multi-talented Detroit entrepreneur with three novels to her credit as well as her own candle business. A product of the Detroit public school system, she graduated from Northwestern High School. Soon after, she went on to further educate herself in the medical field. She is a surgical technician and has been in the field for a number of years. She has also worked for the prison system and has been in her current place of employment for 11 years. This proud mother of three grew up around Lee Place near Clairmount and Rosa Parks.
Melissa has always loved reading, and after experiencing some urban fiction writing, she began writing her own novels. She describes her writing as “a way for me to be creative in telling compelling stories and memorable characters of lies and deceits.” The catchy titles of Melissa’s books include A Wife’s Denial, Love on Death Row, and A Scandalous Surprise, just to name a few. She also is a contributing author to the book Sorority Ties. All of these books can be found on Amazon. Melissa started out self-publishing until she was able to find a publishing company.
Of her experience self-publishing, Melissa says, “self-publishing is very hard and nerve wracking. There is a lot of energy to putting a book together, along with being faced with doing my own promoting.”
Melissa’s pros and cons of self-publishing include:
The pros: You can publish your book anytime you want to. You can set your own price for your book. You get higher royalties if your book sells. You hold all the rights to your book. You can make any changes you want, from the cover to the content.
The cons: You have to pay someone to edit your manuscript and get a cover design for your book. To have a great book that stands out, don’t try to do it yourself. First impression is everything! Readers do judge a book by its cover. If you don’t have a big publishing company behind you, you’ll have to push harder to get your book out there. Traditional books will make it on the big store shelves and authors will get an interview by a website or a magazine with a large audience. But a publishing company will also take a good 40 to 60% of your book sales.
In between working in the medical field and her writing, Melissa also found herself creating candles. Bored with the usual scented candles on the market, Melissa started to develop her own scents and styles. She would make candles for her friends, family, and co-workers as holiday gifts. Soon the requests for orders started pouring in. Her candles are unique for their “wickless” design and beautifully crafted melts. Melissa says, “I wanted to create products that are visual and fun to look at.”
In 2012, Melissa launched her first Esty online store. She has also created “swag bags” for various events and artists. With so many orders pouring in, she has enlisted her daughter to help with packaging and labeling her candles for shipping. I asked Melissa if her daughters have been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug. She said no, but they do enjoy helping Mom in some aspects of the business.
Melissa remains connected to her old neighborhood and returns every year for the annual Lee Place gathering.
She is a woman on a mission, with a drive to turn two passions into an enterprise. Many of her co-workers have purchased her books (which some request to be in) as well as her candle melts.
Keep an eye out for Melissa Love; you may find yourself engulfed one night reading one of her novels by candlelight, with love on your mind.