Monday, March 18, 2013

Guest Post: Best Selling Author J. Sterling


Our guest today is J. Sterling Best Selling Author of The Perfect Game. She is a self published author who achieved commendable success with her wonderful work, and is now represented by Jane Dystel at the Dystel Agency with a great publishing deal and a new book titled The Game Changer releasing soon. 

Q & A with J. Sterling: 

Tell us about your most current book?
My latest release is called The Perfect Game. It's the story of 2 college juniors who find love, when they're both trying to avoid it. Or at least they think they are.  :)

How was this book published? 
I self published this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble first. I've since expanded to include Kobo & iTunes.

What was the most exciting thing about seeing your book succeed?
Wow! I'm not sure how to answer this honestly. :) I think for me, I wanted this book to be a success SO BADLY. I'd been working so hard, it was my third book release and I knew it was something special. But I never expected it to be as successful as it was (and still is). That book- and everyone who reads it and tells their friends to read it- blows my mind on a daily basis. I'm so grateful. The most exciting thing has been everything that has come with the success- the Best Seller Lists, getting an agent, publishing offers, etc.  

What was the scariest thing? 
Holy crap- at first, hands down, the scariest thing was feeling like I was suddenly trapped in writing this genre. I know that sounds weird, but I still have to write the follow up to a true Young Adult book, and I suddenly felt like I couldn't do that anymore. It's been extremely interesting the phases of emotions i've gone through with the success. I'm okay now. I'll write what calls to me.  :)

Tell us about how you found your Literary Agent?
My agent found me. A few days after the release of TPG, I got my first agent bite. And then I got another. After about 5 seconds on the phone with my now agent, I knew I wanted her on my team. She's seriously incredible and I know she wants me to succeed. I know I made the right decision in terms of who I ultimately decided to go with. 

What's your plan for this book and what's coming next?
My plan for TPG is the hope that it will continue to find its way into new readers eyes/hands. As a self published author, there really is only so much you can do. You only have so much reach, before you have to sort of throw up your hands and let your readers help you, you know? I feel like I have done all I can for now, so the next thing is to release the follow up book.

What's the status of your book now? 
I've just signed a publishing deal with Amazon Publishing to re-release TPG, as well as release the follow up, The Game Changer

How long does it take you to write a book? 
When I finally buckle down and get serious with my time, it takes me about 6-8 weeks to write a complete first draft of a book. That isn't edited or anything, it's just a complete story that usually needs A LOT of updating. lol

Tell us about your creative process.
It isn't pretty.  No, really. It's not. LOL It's messy. It's chaos. It's totally unorganized. 
I literally start with certain ideas- like I know the jist of the story- how it's going to start and how it's going to end (sometimes. HA.. Little secret? I knew HOW tpg was going to end, but I didn't know for most of the book how in the heck I was going to get the characters there.) and there are usually really specific scenes I know MUST happen in the story-  but I don't always arrive at the ending the way I thought I would. I allow my characters to sort of take me on their journey and once that happens, it turns out better than I could have ever imagined or planned.  So my creative process is very fluid. Oh man, you should see the notes from TPG- they are SO NOT what ended up happening in that book AT ALL!  Completely different character names, different story, different elements... everything. always. changes. 

What do you think would be the single most important advice authors can take from you? 
The best advice that I can give upcoming authors is to...

#1- Remember that you are now your business. THINK about the things you write on facebook...  think about HOW you say things... everything you do reflects on you and your business now- because YOU ARE YOUR BUSINESS.

#2-  It's important to have INTEGRITY in anything that you choose to do, so make sure you're writing for the right reasons. And remember that none of us best selling authors got where we are by asking other authors to do the work for us. We worked hard to make a name for ourselves in this business, so you need to do your own work as well. It might sound mean, but it's offensive when we get emails asking us to promote your latest book when we don't even know you, haven't read your book, etc... we know you're trying to get exposure and publicity, but we created everything that we have through our own hard work. And if we can do it- you can too. Trust me when I tell you that you will relish in your success so much more when you know you busted your ass and never gave up to make it happen.  :) 

And #3- Don't be afraid to fail -  it's how you'll get better.  Learn how to take constructive criticism (and learn the difference between constructive and Destructive criticism). If numerous readers are pointing out the same things that didn't work for them in your book... your baby... your heart... your soul...  take a step back.  Let it simmer. Maybe they have a point?  Maybe you could improve on that aspect-  be open to suggestions that will only improve your writing skills and help you grow.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I just wanted to say that I have a lot of helpful tips on how to self publish on my blog in the FAQ's section. Whenever I get an email from a future writer, I always direct them to those posts first. It seems to help.  :)  And oh yeah, good luck you guys! You don't need it, but I figured i'd say it anyway.  xo 

We give J. Sterling a special thank you for J's sharing her precious time with us. I think that she is not only a terrific writer but a fun and charismatic person, and love having her on this tour with us. 

Happy writing my friends!

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