Jessica Roberts: how a simple idea evolved into a novel

Jessica Roberts speaks on a very interesting point, the harsh reality of marketing, in her interview.

One of the reasons she said marketing was hard is the tools that are readily available to traditionally published authors are not available to self-published. Then she talks about Amazon.

Although it is a dog-eat-dog world out there for the self-published, it is the same for any artist in any field.

Warren Richie’s article, Inside US lawsuit: How Apple, publishers allegedly brought Amazon to heel, describes how the environment is changing. Here is also a more recent update on the lawsuit, written by Julie Bosman, Justice Dept. Sues Apple . . . After reading these articles, one is not only educated about the publishing market, but learns a favorable environment for self-published authors has been created, one they can capitalize on if they have a superior product and knowledge of marketing.

Even in such an environment, only the best will succeed. I am of the opinion just because someone is traditionally published does not make them the best. Only readers can determine such.

For all you readers, read Roberts’ experience when it comes to writing, and the tools she has learned to use when it comes to marketing her novel.

Straight from the author’s mouth: how a simple idea evolved into a novel

1. Can you tell us about Reflection? Why did you choose to write this book? 
I’ve always loved to write. I can remember in one of my high school classes—way, way back when (laughs)—doing a timeline of my future and filling in the blanks with phrases like “Complete my first book when I’m 20”, “Write my second book when I’m 25”, and so on. So I guess I’ve always had the desire to write.

Also, I knew I wanted to write for a young adult audience since those are the books I enjoy reading the most. Those first looks and first kisses—there’s nothing better!

One day I was in my bathroom drying my hair in front of the mirror, and a scene popped into my head—the balcony scene in Reflection. The following day I was on my computer. I enjoyed writing that scene so much, I knew I had to write a beginning and an ending. And that’s how it all started.

A few years later I finished my debut Young Adult novel, Reflection, a sweet, spicy college romance with a twist!

What is Reflection about? The short teaser on the book’s cover says:

“What if six perfect months with the guy of your dreams, turned out to be nothing but a dream?”

So the book is basically about a spunky high school grad named Heather who leaves her small hometown and ventures off to college. Something happens and she lands in a coma. In the beginning of the book she wakes up from the coma and proceeds to retell her story of attending college and falling madly in love with a rugged classmate named Nick. Throughout the whole book, we as readers are trying to figure out if her love story is real or if it was just an amazing, potentially heartbreaking dream she had while resting in her coma.

2. How long did it take you to write Reflection? Can you talk about your writing process?

If I compiled all the writing days together, it probably took about 4-6 months to write Reflection. But since I wrote in spurts, here and there whenever I had time, taking the summers off in the process, I would say it took about 3-4 years from start to finish. I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way. It’s hard enough to sustain some semblance of fluency even if you write every day. But when you’re a mommy, you do what you gotta do!

Writing process . . . hmm. I don’t know if I have one particular writing process. Obviously, any novel starts with an idea. I’ve always had an active imagination. It’s bothersome at times, especially late at night when I want to fall asleep and my thoughts won’t let me. I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell the characters in Reflection to shut-up so I could get some sleep.

I guess I’m not the best person to answer that question because I know I should have some sort of writing process, but I don’t. For me I write when the dialogue and scenes come to me. Then I compile the scenes together so the story flows, with an engaging beginning, a climax, and an ending.

3. Any editing tips? 

I’m psycho about editing. Still, I can’t tell you how many edits I went through – am still going through. The best advice I can give is to let A LOT of people read your manuscript before you publish it. A LOT!!

4. If you could share one tip you learned with self-published and traditionally published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be? 

I’ve realized that if you go the self-publishing route, it’s a lot harder to get your book out there so people know about it—which is soooooooo frustrating!

Publishing companies, in contrast, have marketing tactics and promotional connections that bring their books to the masses fast, and those avenues are just not as readily available to self-published authors. It sucks, but it’s the truth. I got ahold of Amazon one day and asked what it would take to be a part of their “featured books” email blast. The rep. told me they are reserved for companies that have contracts with them – namely the big publishing companies. However, there are base packages that include a little advertizing corner in some random location on the Amazon website, starting at $10k. No biggie. Only the price of A CAR! (laughs)

If you do self-publish: goodreads; book bloggers who offer review services; and self-promotion through social media such as facebook, twitter, etc. are great places to start. The goal is to reach a large audience. And don’t forget to be patient. It takes time!

Website: www.jessicarobertsauthor.blogspot.com
Email: jessicaroberts.author@aol.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JRobertsAuthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica…

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