Swoon Author Jenny Elliott: My Journey So Far

Now that Save Me has been published, I’m able to reflect upon the long, hard road I’ve travelled towards publication. Truth be told, though, the road wasn’t as long or hard as I’d expected, or as I’d been told it would be. Yes, I put in the requisite 10,000 hours necessary for developing writing and storytelling skills. I took lessons from pros, read tons of Young Adult novels, and networked extensively.

But I’d been told that, including those 10,000 hours, the time it would take to reach my first publication goal would likely be seven to ten years—the reason being that I would need to go through the query process with agents, then editing and submissions to publishing houses, followed by acquisition and the publication process itself. With Swoon Reads however, I skipped more of the lengthy query stage. And the process from submission to publication, which I’ve learned typically takes two years, took less than one year. So, in total, my journey from story conception to publication took about five years. Not too shabby!

At the beginning of my journey, my first official Swoon Reads video:

In my previous blog posts, I’ve touched upon how pleasantly surprised (though sometimes terrified) I’ve been regarding the editing process. I’ve also explained about social media and how keeping up with it feels like a job in itself. Last week, I shared my enjoyment of public speaking and conversing with writers and readers at author appearances. Now that I’ve fielded social media messages for a while, and after my first book signing at a mall bookstore this past weekend, I can add a few cautionary notes.

I’ll start with the book signing at the mall. Most visitors were kind, intelligent, and fun to talk with. Others were nice enough, but talked for hours (literally). The only truly negative aspect, though, was the crazies who I’ve discovered are inevitably drawn to the mall.

cliffordMy first guest called me a liar for saying that I wrote Save Me. It took me a second to figure out that he wasn’t kidding. And he was angry. Fortunately, he left, cursing in what I think was Spanish. Thankfully, malls have security. I felt like I needed a body guard during that encounter. But again, for the most part, the book signing was a great experience. I even got a photo with Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Then there are social media stalkers. At first, I naively thought that every person who approached me in a friendly way regarding my book was safe to communicate with. I soon realized that some social media followers will take things too far—constantly messaging, and at times even continuing to do so when I’d expressed that I was busy or socializing with others. Often, they’d also get too personal.

Really, the fault with the social media stalkers is largely mine, though. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t engage with “fans” if things feel off or excessive. If they stalk, don’t talk.

signingAll in all, at this point, only a few weeks after Save Me’s publication, I feel somewhat seasoned as far as experience in the book business goes. I stress “somewhat,” because I’m well aware that I have a lot to learn. The adventures continue.

The good news is that, in my experience, everything comes easier after those first fearful attempts at something new. I’m happy to have shared much of my journey with you through my blog posts this month and through social media. Thanks for following along, and I look forward to keeping in touch!

Author spotlight

Jenny Elliott

Jenny Elliott is a lifelong resident of Washington State and lives in Spokane with her husband and four kids. Writing …

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