Author Interviews, Blog

Author Interview: Jeanette Baker, Women’s Fiction

HI, I’m Jeanette Baker, author of the women’s fiction book Birthright.

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

Author:      I started writing in 1990. I went to my 20th class reunion and connected with a friend of mine. She had published 9 books. No one I’d ever known personally was a writer. I thought about writing a novel and decided to do it. What did I have to lose?

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Author:      6 months

If you’ve published, how long did your first book take?

Author:      My first published book took exactly one year.   

Has your publishing timeframe improved at all since your first publication?

Author:      No. The exact opposite happened. My timeframe now takes longer.

Are you indie, traditional, hybrid, or vanity, and why?

Author:      I have published by multiple methods: traditional, indie, hybrid. Times change.

How did you determine your target audience?

Author:      I wrote the kind of books that I liked to read. I assumed people who read that genre of book would enjoy reading mine.     

What is your publishing process?

Author:      For Birthright, I worked with Teri Rider of Top Reads Publishing, a hybrid publisher. She basically took care of all the publishing aspects of the book.

What platforms do you use to publish your works?

Author:      Since Top Reads has traditional distribution, my book is available in print and ebook on all the major retailer sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, etc.

How do you get critiques, betas, feedback, and edits?

Author:      I’m fortunate to have a publisher who knows how to do everything. 

Marketing  

What is your launch plan for your works?

Author:      My publisher ran several promotions for my backlist leading up to the launch of Birthright so there was already some interest in the book. And we are currently running a virtual book tour which lets even more people know about the new release.

What do you think is the most critical marketing component or tactic for becoming successful?

Author:      Keep writing what interests you and what you know.  

How do you define success as an author?

Author:      In the beginning, it’s the reviews, then the numbers, then, for me, it’s those wonderful fans who read everything I write.    

About Your Work

What type of content do you write and why? Fiction Novels? Poems? Songs? Screenplays? Short Stories? Epic? 

Author:      Always fiction, contemporary, historical and paranormal. The possibilities are endless.      

What is your author brand (genre, mood, image, theme, message, etc)? How did you decide on it?

Author:      I’ve moved around. Originally, it was Scottish historical fiction, then Irish and Scottish paranormal, then Irish and Scottish contemporary, then American historical and contemporary. 

How many works have you published? 

Author:      To date I have published 20 books.

Can you tell us a bit about your most recent publication?

Author:      Birthright is the story of two women continents apart, one who is desperate to know the other and the other just as desperate to never be found out. My website, Jeanettebaker.com has quite a bit more detail. I encourage you to visit.

What was your first goal when you started your journey to becoming an author? Has that changed?

Author:      I had only one goal, to be published.  

What do you want your readers to get out of your works? 

Author:      An appreciation of another land, another life, a world different than the one they have. 

Do you recommend any programs, courses, or websites?

Author:      I always recommend classes, going to author events and conferences and frequent reading.

Which authors write similar books to yours? How did you find them?

Author:      Kristin Hannah, Barbara Erskine, Diana Gabaldon, Louise Penny.

Have you always read in the genre you wanted to write in? Do you think that’s made it easier or harder to create new stories?

Author:      Yes, definitely easier.    

Where do you network most with other writers, authors, and creative types? LinkedIn? Wattpad? Twitter? Facebook? Somewhere else?

Author:     I started with a critique group, two talented ladies who were published. We stayed together for 20 years. 

Do you sprint-write like a starving cheetah, or are you a totally chill turtle writer? Somewhere in between?

Author:      I would say in the middle. I’m a fairly consistent writer and complete a certain amount of pages every day with some exceptions. I don’t have all-nighters and I tend to review what I’ve written the day before to be sure I got it right. This technique has been a life-saver.

Struggles  

How has the writing and querying or publishing process affected you emotionally? Do you have any tips for budding writers?

Author:      I don’t know if tips play out in my answer but I will say that writing is much more relaxing if you aren’t the parent of small children, or children who need help with homework or if you have a day job or have a husband who isn’t completely on board with your disappearing into the office daily. It can be done, but it’s not easy.   

If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

Author:      I would keep a single brand until I was a New York Times, best-selling author.

Are you a driven & self-advocating author, a gun-shy promoter, or a total marketing procrastinator?

Author:      A gun-shy promoter    

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Author:      I absolutely love the written word, particularly the English written word. I love reading authors who do it well.

How do you combat writer’s block?

Author:      Before I am done for the night, I jot down the idea, the conversation or event that will happen next. The following day, I reread what I wrote and get back to work.

What literary/writer-based term did you not know when you started that has become important and relevant to you?

Author:      Returns and Advances

How did your family and friends react to your writing? Was it what you expected from them?

Author:      They didn’t react to my writing but they certainly reacted when I was published for the first time. Yes, It was exactly as expected.    

What assumptions about writers and authors do you think are myths?

Author:      They shop at the grocery store. They take their children on playdates at the park, they attend back-to-school night and meet at local coffee shops. They hope for summer and fewer snow days. Usually, they are not rich or famous and life does not always go their way. 

Fun Stuff 

Where do you write your stories? A tiny office? A loft? The kitchen table? In the bushes while you secretly people-watch like a total creeper? Or a warm café with mocha in hand and feet up on an ottoman?

Author:      A small, open office   

What book are you reading at the moment?

Author:      “The Sunshine When She’s Gone.”

What is your favorite literary trope?

Author:      A Diamond of the First Water  

What have you learned about yourself from the writing and/or authorship process?

Author:      Sometimes, I can do it well, other times, not as well.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Author:      Wait and listen before speaking.