My guest today is the author of a slew of books like, How to Save Money Without Going Crazy, 99 Writing Prompts for Romance Writers, as well as several books on home-schooling, dating, free lance writing, and many other subjects. She holds a degree from University of Hawai’i and is a full-time writer. When she isn’t crafting words, she can usually be found chasing her two little boys around or cuddled up to a good book. Please give a warm welcome to Beth Jones!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in southern Kansas, the daughter of a writer. I think since my dad was always working on a story, it really helped spark my own interest in books, reading, literature, and creating stories.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I home school my two little boys. That keeps me pretty busy.
Do you have a day job?
I actually work full-time as a freelance writer, author, blogger, and writing consultant.
When did you start writing, and when did you finish your first book?
I wrote my first eBook in 2011 and published it on Smash Words. It did horribly. I didn’t market it and didn’t really know what I was doing. My second book, The Coupon Diet, was much more successful an each book since then has just sold more and more copies.
From where do the ideas for your stories come?
I primarily write non-fiction self-help eBooks. I get most of my ideas from my friends, honestly. When I hear someone complaining that there isn’t enough good information available to help people learn how to write from home, it always sparks something in me that wants to help…and an eBook is born!
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I don’t necessarily run out of ideas, but I do tend to get frustrated with my writing and have to take a break now and then. When I ever need inspiration, I just have a conversation with someone about something controversial. It’s usually enough to get me writing again.
Do you outline or write “by the seat of your pants”?
I tend to write a loose outline and follow that, but I always leave room for modification and change. When I write fiction stories, I typically don’t use an outline.
What author or book influenced you most in your writing?
I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan. I also love Alice Sebold, C.S. Lewis, and J.L. Bourne.
What challenges did you face in getting your book published?
The biggest problem I have when it comes to writing eBooks is simply finding the time to sit down and write. I also have carpal tunnel syndrome, so I can only write for a certain amount of time before it simply hurts too much to do so.
If you had to go back and do it again, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published you’d do differently?
I would have worried less about things like the cover and description of my book and focused more on getting the word out to people about it.
How do you market your work? What works best for you?
I use a variety of marketing techniques, but I heard someone once say that the best way to market your book is to write another one. This works pretty well for me.
What was your favorite part of this story to write?
My most recent book, “How to Save Money Without Going Crazy,” is designed to give moms and dads a variety of simple, easy-to-implement ideas for saving money. Nobody wants to read a 300 page book on saving money. They want something simple that’s going to give them what they need to know and in a way that’s reasonable.
Tell us about your writing environment. Is it messy or neat? Is there a cat on the desk or a dog at your feet? Do you use pen and paper, laptop?
I just moved to a new state, so right now I’m using my laptop. I prefer to write on a desktop computer with the company of my fat cat, Boo.
What about your process? Do you produce consistent daily or weekly word counts or do the words rush out all at once and leave you with a dry spell?
I write daily for at least a few hours. I tend to have several projects going at once so I try to work on each one at least a little bit each day.
What project are you working on now?
I’m actually working on a full length zombie novel which is a bit out of the ordinary for me, but I’m enjoying the process.
What was the toughest criticism you received as an author? What was the best compliment?
The worst review I ever received simply said “I knew all of this already. This book sucked.” The best compliment was when someone said I had helped inspire them. That felt pretty amazing.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep writing even when it’s hard. Write, write, and then write some more. The more you write, the better you’ll become.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you for taking the time to review my work, to send emails, and to contact me with questions. I love hearing from my readers!
(Blog Note: Pictures lifted from Beth’s very own Facebook page.)