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A couple of years ago an author in New Zealand contacted me for social media assistance. I was very pleased to know that my reputation had reached so far! Enjoy reading about Jenny.
Tell us a little bit about your book and business.
My latest book, Love America: On the Trail of Writers and Artists in New Mexico, arose from a visit of mine to Taos and Santa Fe, which turned into a literary pilgrimage. Afterwards it generated an exploration of New Mexican history and the ways New Mexico has influenced writers and artists (often from New York) who visited over extended periods or, in some cases, settled there permanently. For instance, D H Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Willa Cather, Frank Waters. Also, the heiress and brilliant collector, Millicent Rogers. The book offers a different approach to travel, one which I have found transformative.
As for my business, I am first and foremost a writer so that is my top priority – to keep writing and not let my time trickle away attending to all the other aspects of the writing business. I am lucky to have found an enthusiastic publisher for this title. The book had a great designer and publicity management. After my last title, which was self-published, I sought help from Sue Canfield with managing social media and that was well worthwhile. I have also had my website renovated in time for the launch of the latest title and am well pleased with the result.
Why did you write your book?
I felt a strong desire to make sense of my lived experience, to make it intelligible, coherent and beautiful. Inspiration for a new book has come following an unexpected connection between two hitherto unconnected things. For instance, my experience of the Rugby World Cup played in New Zealand in 2011 and my need for a sense of belonging resulted in my third book, Not For Ourselves Alone.
How did you publish your book?
This title was published by a traditional publisher for a niche market.
How did things change for you as an author in 2020 and how did you manage to weather the pandemic?
I worked on the manuscript with a mentor/publisher who, upon its completion, offered to publish it. During our 5-week covid lockdown I felt unable to write and worried that nothing would come of the plan. Her trip to New Mexico was cancelled and with it our hopes of finding a US publisher with a view to a co-edition. Linda was still keen to publish in NZ however and the book was launched in early November. Now she has returned to the idea of seeking a co-edition partner. How will the continuing pandemic affect the result? We’ll see!
What is your favorite book marketing tip?
To seek and follow the advice of experts in the field, especially that of social media. To spare nothing in learning to apply this knowledge of engagement and then to work out a comfortable personal balance between time spent on social media as against writing more books.
What are your goals for 2021?
To publish and market a children’s picture book for which I have completed the text. Next, to write a new adult book, Never Stop Travelling. And of course to achieve a better balance between working to deadlines and taking time out.
Where can readers find your book?
A short interview on national radio suggests how the book is interesting to readers: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/standing-room-only/audio/2018772875/a-kiwi-s-love-letter-to-the-us
Jenny Robin Jones is a writer of many years standing.
Born in Wellington, where she now lives, Jenny spent her formative years in England, returning to New Zealand as a young adult to begin her working life as a teacher.
She was for many years executive director the New Zealand Society of Authors, served as its representative on the board of Copyright Licensing Limited (CLL) and was a long-term chair of the selection panel for the CLL awards.
She also chaired Peppercorn Press, publisher of the quarterly review journal New Zealand Books.
Love America is her fourth book.
Link to my website: http://www.jennyrobinjones.com