Don’t give up. Whatever obstacle is in your way right now, make it your life’s mission to overcome it. I promise, it will be worth it. Your story is worth it.

Ontario-based author Jessi Elliott writes ‘swoon-worthy romance with a dash of sass’. Her debut novel, Twisted Fate, a new urban fantasy, released in February 2018. We catch up with her to talk about the steep learning curve of publishing, finding a critique partner through Twitter and juggling full-time work with book marketing. 

What made you want to be a writer? How did you begin writing?

Well, I’ve loved reading for many years and one day I decided that I wanted to try to write a book. When I first started writing back in 2011, I didn’t think of publishing. I had no idea what it was or what it entailed. I’ve learned a lot since then.

What inspires you to write?

I talk about this quite often, but it’s honestly what allows me to write. Music. I can’t write without it. There are so many amazing artists whose work I pull inspiration from. Other than that, I use Pinterest obsessively for inspiration, along with little quirks from my own life.

Twisted Fate by author Jessi Elliott

Is there any particular incident that has happened along your writing journey that you’d like to share?

Yes! I’ll share the story of how I met my now best friend and critique partner, Destiny. She and I found each other on Twitter (which I like to dub the hub for writers). We discovered that we both lived in Ontario, Canada, and after chatting for a few days, found out we lived within driving distance to each other. So that’s what we did. She drove to my city and we met in person. I’ve always said internet friends are the best friends, but it was incredibly epic to meet someone I’d been connecting with online in real life.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Two things: find your people and do your research. Writing can be a lonely passion, so it’s very important to find people who understand that on a personal level—people who experience it, too. Research is one of the most important things you can do as an aspiring author, whether you want to self-publish, or query an agent and pursue traditional publishing.

What do you think is the biggest marketing challenge for new authors?

Building an audience is very hard. Building an organic following is even harder. It’s easy to buy followers online, but if you want a real, human readership, you have to put effort into posting on your social pages and interacting with people. I consider author marketing it’s own job.

What methods of book marketing do you find the most effective? 

Connecting with readers (and other authors) on Instagram and Twitter is what I find to be the most effective. It’s easy to find what you’re interested in by using hashtags, and it’s also easy to find other, new to you authors through people that you already follow.

How do you make time for your book marketing?

It’s definitely a struggle, and sometimes takes the back burner. Working a full-time day job makes it a bit tricky sometimes to be able to dedicate time to writing and marketing, but it’s very important to do so. I try to schedule time during the week, but usually end up doing most of my author work on the weekends. My goal for this year is to invest more time in scheduling posts, that way I don’t have to worry about promoting myself and my book so much when life gets crazy.

Any advice for approaching publishers?

Be genuine. The publishing world is a small one. Everyone knows someone. Plus, if you’re not being yourself, you’re not going to attract the readers you want to interact with. Again, do your research. Talk to people, ask questions; you can never have too much information.

How do you handle rejection as a writer?

I really haven’t experienced a lot of rejection. However, when I do, I try hard not to take it personally. I remind myself that publishing is a business, and then I force myself to keep doing what I love: writing.

How do you deal with isolation, as writing is an inherently private exercise?  

Romance Author Jessi Elliott

I write in coffee shops a lot. That’s more for productivity, but it also allows me to surround myself with people so I’m not holed up in my bedroom for hours by myself. I would suggest finding a writing group if possible. Writing with others is a great time, and it keeps you from isolating yourself from the world.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. Whatever obstacle is in your way right now, make it your life’s mission to overcome it. I promise, it will be worth it. Your story is worth it.

You can find out more about Jessi Elliott via her website and social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Twisted Fate is available for purchase via Amazon US, Amazon CA, IndigoBook Depository and B&N.