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Joanna is back, and this time we discuss perseverance for writers. She discusses ideas she has used to help market her books and what it takes to keep writing through highs and lows.
We are going to move on and talk to some about some other stuff.
So our topic is going to be perseverance. Yes. But let’s talk a few other things first. So what type of software or services do you like to use writing your book, publishing and all that?
Joanna: Gosh, that’s a good question. Gosh, I can’t believe it. I’m just like stunned here. One thing I do differently, because I know a little bit about book design, is I actually start typing my story in the book format in Design, which is a book design program that’s a pretty
Stephen: hefty one.
Joanna: Yeah. And the reason, and I actually have word and book design. I’ve just started doing this where I will copy everything I’ve written in book design, paste it into the Word document, so I also have a backup. Okay? So if Heaven for Bed technology fails, I have a backup, right? So what I find with book design, by having the story in that layout, so you see the two pages is it’s.
it’s a trigger for me to be really extra picky when it comes to the rewrites, cuz I see it as a book. So I’m very critical compared to if I read it in a manuscript like I, I have, I don’t know, that’s just something that works for me to be really critical. I have to see it in a book and then it’s like my little inside edit editor turns on and I’m just like, and I’ll. . I’ll rip my writing apart to make it better. Yeah.
Stephen: Okay. Yeah. Alright, that is a little different procedure. Yeah. So that’s cool. Alright, so you’ve written several books. What are you doing different than what you did from the start?
Joanna: Oh, gosh, that’s another good question.
The backing it up is different, but I tend, and thank God for my editor, I tend to complicate, like I’ll get multiple because I don’t, I’m not a plotter. Okay, there you go. I’m not a plotter, but come book three and book four, I am plotting. Okay. Okay. I’m just, I just, and I think I’m going to, I’m going to convert and no longer be a Panther and plot more, and I had, oh God, Freddy Cruz, he, mm-hmm. from the greater Houston area.
Stephen: Yeah. He was just on my podcast couple weeks ago.
Joanna: He gave the best advice where he said he will plot like the first half of his novel. and then stop and just let the creativity take over. And I thought that was the best advice ever. So that’s what I’m going to do more of.
And yeah and it’s weird because with the first draft of Book four, because it takes place in Holland I’ve already started keeping it. with two story lines because I think I’m concerned about getting all the details right with the location. So I’m telling myself, okay, take what you’re doing in book four and apply it to book three as you work through the edits.
Stephen: Okay. Nice. All right. And what are you doing to market your book? Oh, gosh.
Joanna: I’m thankful. I’m so thankful for coming on this podcast. Yeah. I’ll do I’ll be a part of different giveaways, it, it, for example, my, I have a sister and she’s a sewist and she has her business called La Laroche Handmade, so she will do a yearly, Contest with SOIs, and so she’ll ask for donations.
So I’ll donate a book, right? I have no troubles donating a book. Okay? Yeah. So if someone needs a book, okay, , you know it, it’s if you’re in the US in Canada, if you need a book as a prize, I have no troubles doing that. I will, like I say, appear on podcasts. I have a newsletter and I’ll talk about my books again, the newsletter you can access through the website, the chase cv, art studio.net.
And I have been going to markets and I’ve been successful let markets, and for someone who is a bit of an introvert who has a hard time, I’m making small talk. I’m doing okay. right? I’m doing okay. As long as I can talk about my books, I’m okay. Great. Yeah and I had a couple of book signings, so that, that’s been pretty cool.
Stephen: Good. Yeah. Okay. All right, so let’s talk about our main topic, perseverance. Yeah. Which I think hopefully everybody understands how important that can be. Yeah. But what made you wanna choose perseverance as a topic to discuss?
Joanna: Just thinking of my own situation and I think of an, if I was a new author now, what advice would I want to hear?
And I’d want to hear someone’s story. And I’m going to say such as mine where I was writing for 10 years and I was having success with three short stories being published and I was submitting to book publishers and I was getting rejections. and when I stopped, it was about three years shy of 2013 when self-publishing no longer became taboo.
And it exploded. And of course I miss that boat. Okay.
Stephen: happy too.
Joanna: I totally miss that boat. I would just say, even if you think you won’t be like, I didn’t, I remember saying to my friends, no I don’t think I’ll be doing any more. And
Stephen: to go .
Joanna: Yeah. And if you need to take that break, that’s okay.
That’s really, that’s okay. And just maybe it’s not your time or it’s not the right time. Okay. And, I still wrote, but it was more. Personal training articles, so I still had my fingers into doing some writing. It just wasn’t creative. And I am, it takes me about a year and a few months to write a novel.
There are some authors out there who are incredibly fast, and they’re publishing, self-publishing a book like every two, three months. That’s not me, that’s not my process.
You take however long you need to write a book that has your name on it that you feel proud about, okay, this, there isn’t a race, this isn’t a race. And another great piece of advice I received was. , do not compare your writing journey with anyone else’s. Yes, I was
Stephen: gonna bring that up. I was gonna mention that.
Yeah. Cause, cause I think a lot of authors still, a lot of people. , they have that thought as, oh, I’m going to write a book, publish it, and I’ll retire next week. You know that it’ll be instant success. And more and more. You hear? That’s not it. It’s the ones that keep going. Keep trying.
I, listen I’ve met and I listened to the podcast called Writers Inc. has JD Barker on it. Yeah. He talks, about some of the things he’s done, Yeah. And it, perseverance. Just keep trying, just keep doing something new, something different. It’s the ones that I’ve seen I’ve gotten some author events, a conference for authors, and I’ve seen somebody who was not attending the conference have a table set up trying to sell their mystery book, and I’m looking at it.
This is a book of fiction, right? Yes. Yeah. I thought everybody’d be interested cuz I’m an author and you’re an author. I’m like, but we’re here to do author stuff. We wanna buy books on how to be an author, how to write craft and all that you’re trying to sell as a fiction book. Nobody wants that right now.
So my point is that people get these expectations. Oh, I’ll go to this author event and I’ll be super popular. Yeah, you’re one of a thousand people. Nobody, yeah. And. Yes. Perseverance. You keep trying, but sometimes you gotta make sure you’re trying things that are moving you forward the right things and you don’t know what that is.
An author table may not be the right thing. It may be, you gotta make sure you’re doing it correctly too. . Yeah. And
Joanna: up. Yeah. And I, for the longest time I was working full-time. And I remember How did that feel? Yeah. Sitting on the city bus. 45 minute drive into work and coming home, and I’d get out my writing and thank goodness I could read and write on a bus.
Like I, I didn’t get mo, I never got motion sick. So I would write on the bus. Okay. And I know I had a few people who’d be sitting beside me, looking at, at what I was riding. And I remember trying to squeeze in if I had a 45 minute or an hour lunch, I’d be grabbing my writing and I’d be writing on my lunch break, if I yeah.
So just trying to squeeze it in when I could.
Stephen: And the other thing, I notice a lot of authors they think that first book and they will spend years pushing that first book without writing a second book. And everything I keep hearing is, write your next book, write your next three books.
Yeah. One series, different series. Just get more books out there. That’s when something may click and someone will discover the right thing and other stuff will take off. It just seems like the strategy of writing one book for five years perfect. Perfecting it and then pushing that one book for the next three years is not the best strategy.
Not necessarily a book a month, but at your pace. Get more books out. And I was just talking to an author. I. and I said, honestly, I think if a new auth newer than me author, what’s the best strategy? I’d be like, write five books in the next five years. But don’t publish any of them until you’ve written all five of them, because you’ll find how much better you’ve gotten and you have a better idea of the industry and you then you can.
do however you wanna release ’em all at once. Schedule ’em out. You can schedule ’em every six months and keep your name out there. You There’s strategies and that to me that seems like if I could go back in time, that’s what I would tell myself to do. And writing each
Joanna: book is a different experience.
Yes. I think dealer’s child, That the second book
Stephen: was hard,
Joanna: right? Like the second book was hard. And I don’t know whether that’s because I had more expectations for myself and book three was a little easier and just cuz of, I think it’s knowledge I’ve gained and this book four seems.
Because of knowledge I’ve gained, and more authors I’ve met. I have an author, another author out of the US who, because it deals with espionage and that’s this field. He’s going to help me. So it’s just it’s plays into exactly what you just said.
Stephen: And that’s the thing with the perseverance.
That’s a huge keyword, I think, for just about everybody. Yeah. I I was talking to an author who’s been a full-time author for almost a decade, has written before that, and he’s questioning, he. I never broke the bestseller list. I’m not selling so many books. I’m ready to retire. Is this worth it for me?
Or what should I be doing? And he’s not giving up, not stopping, just trying to figure out what’s the best next step ne next course for him. And that’s still perseverance still going. And what I’ve discovered for me is author is not. Only title are the biggest part of my whole overall business or brand.
I work with kids on, I’m starting to, I should correct that, work with kids on storytelling for video games. So I’m helping teach kids to write and doing stories, not only short stories and books, but video games. So the books themselves are just part of what I’m doing, and that’s, yeah. Another form of persevering and, getting out there.
Creativity. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. And I know some authors that they create maps and games and all sorts of stuff for their books. Sometimes that’s where, the, their books themselves, oh, it’s not selling well, what else are you doing? Yeah. Uh, Sometimes you gotta think outside the box and We get focused.
Here’s another example. Sorry, went to a conference last year and then an article, . There’s an author talking about how she writes serial fiction. Yeah. And every year she starts in January or in July, I’m sorry. And every day. A new chapter comes out for till the end of the year, and that’s her whole thing.
And, but it’s romance and people are paying tons of money for this and she has a very good living doing it. Yeah. Suddenly everybody at the conference is going, oh, I need to do that. I need to schedule. I’m like, really? This doesn’t fit everybody. I’m like, science fiction people are not going to pay for a cereal every day.
That’s just not the thing. It’s good to go to the conferences and hear this stuff, but again, you have to evaluate it. What works for you. And I switched it up. Yeah. I’m creating a mailing list for teachers and educators and parents that they can sign up. Wow. And it’s a serial fiction story that gets emailed to them for their class.
So every week, wow. The class is getting new story. Same type of idea, but using it for my thing. But if I hadn’t gone to that conference and gotten the idea and then been able evaluate it for my thing, I wouldn’t have thought of doing that. Yeah. So that’s me persevering .
Joanna: I’m actually, you playing with this idea because I like creating art.
For the longest time, I’ve always said I’ve wanted to write a children’s. , and I’m taking a writing. It’s through Simon Fraser University. It’s called the Writer’s Studio. And we, I have to credit, so here I am. I swear all the students, they’re old enough to be my daughter. Okay. , my daughters. But I’m like, it’s okay.
It’s okay. It’s okay. So what happened was two of the students, because we’re on break, sent an email and. , do you want to, who wants to be a part of a secret scribe? So instead of a secret Santa, you put your names like in a virtual hat, and you pull a name and that person has listed, let’s say like for me, I listed skateboards, thriller bathtub braces, like five things I wanted to see in a story and.
So you pull this person’s name and you write a 250 to 500 word short story. So I participated in this and the one I received it was I needed to write about a zebra rowing to shore in a canoe and a crystal ball. And I never thought I had the story in me. and I don’t know about you, but I just, the thought of writing a short story literally gives me hives cuz I’m used to the long form, right?
So I wrote this short story and I thought, okay, I could illustrate this. This could be a short story, this could be a children’s picture book. And I think I just might go ahead and do that in 2023. That would
Stephen: be cool. Yeah. Yeah, that’d be great. Now here’s another thought though that you’ve made me think of.
I’ve run across some younger kids, pre schoolish age kindergarten age, picture books, but it’s about the history of rock and roll, and it has guns and roses in it. It has Prince, it has queen, it has all these classic rock artists done in kid. Picture book sign, it talks a little bit about the rock, and I’m thinking, wow, that’s something you wouldn’t think of because you’re, it’s oh, Barry Land and Unicorns and stuff.
But I looked at, and like I, I would buy that book for my kids. Yeah. So what we don’t have, and I’ve never seen is that same type of kids’ picture book with motorcycles and a mo a kid’s motorcycle gang or something. Not a gang, really, I can guarantee there’s parents out there that would say a motorcycle book for my kid.
Alright, . So there’s another great idea. I think that would be awesome to see something like that. That
Joanna: is a really good idea.
Stephen: Okay. And even better you get a group of these kids that are riding their bikes and they run across a mystery . Yeah, you have the younger versions of your main characters when they’re older or something like that.
Joanna: Think of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, right? Yeah. Absolutely love Sno. And they dealt with some heavy issues, yeah. Oh my gosh. You know what I’m going to be thinking about while I’m shoveling snow later.
Stephen: So I. Getting back with authors a year and a half after I talked to ’em and seeing what they’ve done, what changed, what’s different.
So I would love to make a note and contact you around Christmas time next year. And what’d you do, Joanna? What books do you have? Let lemme see it and talk about that. I’m gonna put it on my calendar when we’re done .
Joanna: I would love that. Now you’ve given me a deadline
Stephen: and I worked a deadline. There you go,
That would be awesome. And I’ll tell you, I don’t have a whole lot of kids in my life, but I would definitely buy a kid’s picture book with, about kids with motorcycles or whatever, I think that would be awesome.
Joanna: Just what you were telling me about the one with the classic rock bands.
Yeah. Which, queen, he’s a huge queen fan. Buy the book. I’d say I’m buying it for my child, if I had that. But I’d actually, I’d be buying the book for me ,
Stephen: For research. Yeah. Yes. Yes. for your book. . Yeah. Yeah. All right, Joanna. As I think we got some great ideas here for everybody.
Merry Christmas, everybody. . This will probably air after Christmas, . Yeah. So before we go tie things up, do you have any other advice for new authors that you would give them?
Joanna: Just write. Just write whether it. 30 minutes during a lunch break, whether it’s writing while on . Okay. I remember once with my kids, I did a writing challenge where I was waking up at 4:00 AM and my youngest at the time was five and she heard me tiptoe downstairs and she came down i’ll bright-eyed in her little pink pajamas and I said to her, You really need to go back to bed.
You don’t get up till six. Mommy woke up at 4:00 AM right to do this writing challenge. So she was really sweet and she did go back to bed. But uh, really just write your story. Sometimes you may feel like you have to put blinders on because you’re gonna hear about all these other authors and their success and their movie deals, and.
Just write your story and make sure you’re writing for you because you love to write. Yeah,
Stephen: agreed. Agreed. Yeah. Great. All right, Joanna, it’s been really fun talking to you this afternoon. Thank, get your shoveling done so I can do my shoveling later this week. . We’ll make sure we get through the holidays.
Thank you so much. Yes, thank you. I appreciate it.