The authors of Grit for the Oyster are represented by the interviewer's Pump Up Your Book Promotion, a public relations agency specializing in online book promotion.
More than a how-to, Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Authors is a confidence-building book is designed to draw readers to a closer relationship with God, to affirm their calling to write, and to offer pithy practical guidance from successful writers like Terri Blackstock, Martha Bolton, James Scott Bell, Liz Curtis Higgs, Dr. Gary Chapman, and David Kopp.
We interviewed the creators of this anthology – Joanna Bloss, Debora Coty, Suzanne Woods Fisher and Faith Tibbetts – to find out more about their book and how four moms happened to come together to provide words of wisdom for aspiring authors.
Thank you for this interview, Suzanne, Debora, Faith, and Joanna. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
We’re inspirational writers from the four corners of the country who got together through a writers' conference in California in 2006. We were all on different legs of our writing journeys but were united by the desire to pen a motivational book for writers that affirms, builds confidence and inspires, while at the same time offering pithy practical guidance.
Do you write full-time?
Suzanne writes full time and Deb, Faith and Jo work full or part-time. We are all moms and squeeze precious writing moments from full schedules. As you no doubt know, writers write. Even when you’re not physically tapping at the keyboard, ideas are marinating in your brain.
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers is a powerful motivator for aspiring and experienced writers, offering wit, wisdom and inspiration to take that first step and persevere through the writing journey. There are many books that address the mechanics of writing and getting published, but not about the heart of writing. Bestselling author Terri Blackstock calls Grit for the Oyster “A great way to start each writing day…a treasure trove of encouraging words for writers.”
What kind of research did you have to conduct to write your book?
We asked scores of successful authors, publishers, poets, agents, and editors to share inspiration, helpful hints and writing tips with those just starting out. We posed the question: What advice would have helped you the most in the early stages of your career?
What message are you trying to convey with this book?
The creation of a lustrous literary pearl takes time. And a lot of friction in your oyster. You can’t rush the process but you can prepare by learning what to expect (how the industry works), how to deal with the fluctuating tides (success and rejection), and
Why did you choose your particular genre?
Grit for the Oyster is a faith-based book that we felt inspired to write as a mentoring leg up for aspiring writers. After all, nothing makes you want to lose your religion more than a shoebox full of rejection slips!
How long did it take your book to be published from the time you submitted and was accepted to the time it was finally released?
Grit took about a year to write and we were very fortunate that Suzanne and Deb both had books published previously with Vintage Romance Publishing (Suzanne: Copper Star and Copper Fire; Debora: The Distant Shore and Billowing Sails). VRP was starting an inspirational non-fiction line, and Grit for the Oyster was one of the first books accepted for the Vintage Spirit imprint.
Do you blog? If so, what can you tell my readers about the advantages of blogging as a useful tool in book promotion?
The four Grit co-authors started a wonderful writing blog, www.gritfortheoyster-book.blogspot.com, that is updated daily with juicy tips, priceless insights and applicable information to assist writers at all levels. Each Friday we feature an exciting guest author (please feel free to query us if you’d like to be considered). We each have at least one other personal blog as well, which may be accessed, as well as our websites, through the Grit blog previously cited.
We firmly believe blogging is extremely advantageous in connecting with readers, which is an important part of book promotion. Accessibility and communication through blogging are essential elements of 21st century promo. Plus, we like to blog! We keep our blogs fresh and fun…they’re like piano scales to a writer.
What’s next for you?
Suzanne has a novel, For the Love of Dogs, due out in February. Following on its heels are four contracts, stacked up like airplanes waiting to take off, with Revell/Baker. The first is non-fiction, Amish Peace in an English Life, and the following three are fiction books about the Amish.
Debora is looking forward to the release of Billowing Sails (the sequel to The Distant Shore) in 12/08, and is totally excited about Mom Needs Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood, Regal Books’ featured Mother’s Day release in 3/09. Everyday Hope (Barbour Publishing) will follow in 8/09 and Barbour has recently initiated discussion concerning a book project for 2010.
Joanna recently pitched a novel and a non-fiction series to publishers and is completing them while awaiting replies. She has learned to be as productive as possible in the waiting time—“It keeps me from camping out next to the mailbox and frightening our mail carrier.”
Faith is waiting for replies from magazines regarding articles submitted for publication. She uses her waiting time to work on an epistolary novel with a co-worker and is also writing a book of personal essays entitled Lose Weep, Find Keep.
Thank you for this interview, Joanna, Faith, Debora, and Suzanne! Do you have any final words you’d like to share with my readers?
It’s wise to consider starting with small, achievable goals. Magazine articles, or a book with a small publishing house. Small presses can create wonderful opportunities to build your name, learn the ropes, etc. Many terrific books are published by small presses. Good things start small.