We’re talking to authors from all walks of life about their experiences in publishing their book. Some have smooth paths, some rocky, but they all share a common goal – to see their name on the cover of their creation. It’s interesting to read what path they decided to take to get there and my guest today is here to tell everyone what he/she did in order to make it all happen so that other writers will learn a little something from the experience.
Today we are talking to Joss Landry, author of the Urban Fantasy paranormal thriller, I Can Find You, the second book in the series Emma Willis.
Joss has worked as a consultant for more than twenty years, writing copy for marketing firms and assisting start-up companies to launch their business. She recently made the switch from composing copy and promos, to writing fiction and prose. She is developing her style through courses and the support of other writers and is presently working on honing three other novels for publication.
Thank you for your time in answering our questions, Joss. Is this your first book?
I Can Find You is actually my fifth published book. The second one in the Emma Willis Series I began in 2014 with I Can See You. There will be four to five books in the series, perhaps more, depending on how Emma Willis feels about casting her life with all the adventures she is about to encounter. I have a sixth book that is also waiting to be launched, finished and completed. A story that is the first one in the new series Binar Bounty.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?
The million dollar question. For me, summed up in one word, publishing journey equals roller coaster. My heart is in my throat at every turn—should I submit to a publisher or should I self-publish? Each time the ride down is about to engulf me, I close my eyes and all at once I’m flying, as light as wind-blown plume with not much control into where this locomotion will spin me except that I realize I need to hold on for dear life.
In other words, I keep my head in the clouds, as this is how most stories find me, and I hold tight during an up and down motion, knowing that by staying focused on my stories, confident in my material, many people will finally locate and read my books.
I love fiction. An avid reader as a child and as a teenager, I found most fiction books cleared up moral dilemmas for me, and in the sweetest ways possible. I was the eldest of six children close in age, and most of the time, my serious life questions remained buried. I found my answers between the pages of storybooks, reading novels by the time I was ten. I read so many books during those formative years, in fact, I was the only child allowed taking out as many books as I needed from the church library every week. Those days, the rule was one book per child.
I read in French at first, then I read in English. Therefore, the list of authors who have shaped my life is numerous and diverse in culture and language.
Somehow, I accept that my publishing and writing journey has just launched, even though I wrote my first stories years ago. I’ve matured since then. Eight years ago, I didn’t have a genre or a particular niche to tell you the truth. All I had were titles, names of protagonists and their life adventures. To this day, Eric Parker and Jennifer Cormier have not met the light of day. The manuscript was written but never published. There are five more manuscripts patiently waiting, and I sense they will someday meet their fate and revel in people’s adoration.
Aside from those unwritten journeys, I self-published five other stories, and more are finding me on a weekly basis, and their clamors coerce me to write them. By now, my genre is more perceptible. I found my footing writing paranormal mysteries, urban fantasies, and dare I say, inspirational fiction—my home away from home and where I wish to be. Whether I follow the traditional publishing route? Or stay with the self-publishing road I’ve chosen? Time will tell. There are pitfalls in both these footpaths. I believe the best trail for you is the one that will motivate you, encourage you, keep you light on your feet, oh, and make you smile throughout the journey.
What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?
Another excellent question. I must admit that most of the lessons I learned years ago are no longer relevant. The publishing industry has morphed into a whole different species—one of these beasts called self-publishing. My term is not derogatory in the least. I use and love self-publishing. However, to tame the beast is not as smooth a task as one would expect. You just don’t saddle it and ride into the sunset in perfect unison. You need to obey the rules of Social Media, Facebook and Twitter, own a little parcel of ground on Internet with a URL address and keep an open-door policy to allow people into the fold, allowing them to share their dreams and whereabouts with you.
If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?
I guess you might like to ask me that question in a couple of years. So far, I would not change anything about how I got published. Perhaps I would take the open policy I learned more seriously, and if I could go back in time, this would be the first thing I would enforce. Have a URL address in the very beginning stages of my writing career, and encourage people to find me quickly.
Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?
There were several authors who inspired me to self-publish. From Chicken Soup For The Soul, by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, to James Redfield with the Celestine Prophecy, and I have all his books, to Michael J Sullivan, the Riyria Chronicles. When we think of H.M. Ward who wrote Damaged, and Barbara Freethy with Daniel’s Gift who left a traditional publisher to self-publish her own out of print books with great success, I was inspired. Of course, I have to mention, St Honoré de Balzac and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Mazo de la Roche with her Whiteoaks of Jalna series, De Maupassant as well as Philippe Hériat and Alain Fournier. The are all part of my past. All motivators of such.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Well, I was never good at making outlines. So don’t worry about this even though in the many classes I took, they always stressed how important and vital to a story was a detailed outline.
Here is how I shape my story. When a title springs to mind, with the etchings of a story, I look for pictures of my protagonists on the Internet. Where they live, more pics, the city and the best places to visit and best restaurants in town. I also map out their education their likes and dislikes, their astrological sign and slowly and surely a person is born. A place comes to mind. Where they go to school and where they live is mapped out and delineated. By the time you’ve found and decided on all your characters, (even the villains) their residence and all their faults and attributes, the story almost writes itself. To me, this is worth more than an outline as a picture is worth a thousand words, right? So search the Internet to find who would best impersonate your story then you will find it easy to stay in character. WRITE EVERY DAY, and after a time, whatever that may be, you will have a book and graduate from being a writer to becoming an author.