Saturday, April 9, 2011

Meet the author...

C.C. Jackson is a Louisiana writer who recently self published her young adult novel, Stay. I interviewed Jackson via email to find out more about her writing journey.

Please tell us a little about yourself and your novel.

I grew up in a small town in northern Maryland and moved to southern Louisiana after meeting my husband 15 years ago. I really enjoyed growing up in Maryland but have definitely fallen in love with the deep south.

I wrote my first book when I was in the fourth grade. It was about six orphans that became friends and traveled to Paris. In Paris they rode horses and met Michael Jackson. It was featured in an exhibit at our local mall at the time. My parents still have and cherish that little book.

When I was in the tenth grade, I won a local Sci-Fi writing contest. It was very exciting and really let me know that I could do this. I have been writing and blogging ever since. Stay just sort of came to me one day. I just sat down and started writing all of the things that popped into my head.

It is about a girl named Callie Rose. She grew up in southern Louisiana, leading the life of a normal teenage girl. One night she was stolen away from her home only to be told that she was destined to become queen of the fairies. The story is about her struggle to grow up in a harsh underground environment, putting aside everything that she thought that she wanted for her life prior to being kidnapped. She gets her first dose of love and heartbreak when she finds herself torn between two guys. She must also decide if she is willing to challenge the current queen, who is a tyrant, in order to take her rightful place on the throne.

What made you decide to self publish your novel?

My husband purchased a Nook Color to give to me as a Christmas gift. I think that it is one of the best gifts that he has ever given me. I have always been an avid reader, and I was reading at about a three-book-per-week pace.

It was during the exploration of my new toy that I first discovered Indie Writers. They were putting out all of these really great books themselves. I had written several stories over the years just for fun and thought… Hey, I can do this. That’s when I sat down and started writing Stay. Six weeks later, it was published.

I never even considered submitting to a large publishing house. As an Indie, I was in total control. I could set my own price, or even change it if I chose. I was able to price my book at a price that people could afford, especially in this economy. I didn’t have to sit and wait for years just to see someone else read my work. Self publishing has been very rewarding.

How did you juggle three children, a part-time job, and writing?

I am very fortunate to have a wonderful husband that works very hard so that I only have to work a part-time job. It started out that way when the kids were small. I was able to be at home with them through the week, and just pick up shifts on the weekend. I am also very fortunate to work somewhere that offers such a great shift. I just work two nights, twelve hours each shift. It’s great and works out perfectly for my writing.

Now that the kids are getting a little older, I have all day to write while they are in school. So, I have decided to keep my weekend shift at work and continue to concentrate my free time during the week on my writing.

Your novel is available on Kindle and Nook – could you briefly describe the process of creating an ebook?

After reading some great books by Indie Authors on my Nook, I started paying attention to who they listed as their publisher. Smashwords was the name that kept popping up over and over. When I finally went onto the Smashwords site, I found a great tutorial that talked about formatting and such so that your book could be converted into ebook format. The main things that it talked about were things like paragraph indentions and spacing. It was pretty easy really.

When my book was finally ready to be uploaded, I opted to publish to Kindle and Nook directly. Those are the main sites that your book will sell through and I felt that a one-on-one relationship with those networks was pretty important. I still use Smashwords to publish to iBooks, Kobo, Sony, and a few others.

What has been the biggest challenge in making your novel a reality?

The biggest challenge by far has been marketing. Going from a complete unknown to trying to sell your work is a daily battle. Social networking has been my biggest asset, but it can become very time consuming and leave little time for actual writing if I’m not careful.

What’s been the most rewarding part?

The most rewarding part of getting my work out there is when someone sends me a comment, whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, or my website, that says I really loved your book and can’t wait for the sequel. It just gives me such a feeling of satisfaction. That’s what it is all about.

What sort of publicity have you done for your novel – obviously, social networking, but any local readings? Has it been hard to do your own marketing?

The largest part of my publicity has been through social networking. Twitter is my number one asset for getting my name out there. I have also sent copies of my book to several book bloggers for review on their websites. I am hoping that they will play a large part in helping me reach a bigger audience. All of the publicity that I have done has been through the internet in some way. With my book not being available in local book stores, it’s very hard to gain an audience for public readings or book signings.

Are you working on any other writing projects now?

I am working on two projects at the moment. I am working on the sequel to Stay, as well as another young adult paranormal romance. I hope to have them both available in the next few months.

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