Author Feature: Jessica Tilles
Are you a plotter or pantser? Tell us your process.
I’m a panster. I will, however, become a plotter when I’m not sure which direction to go, or if the author’s enemy, Mr. Writer’s Block, pays me a visit. I’ve never been a structured writer. I like writing without thinking, if that makes any sense. I enjoy letting the characters introduce themselves to me and tell me how to tell their story.
Typically, when I sit down to write, I have no idea what or whom I’m going to write about, which is exciting for me. The first thing I do is search royalty-free stock images for photos that speak to me. Every image tells a story. From there, I conjure up the opening line and go from there.
I'm a pantser too! I've often done the same, trying to plot when I'm stuck, but then something speaks to me and I disregard my plot, lol. So when know how you write, but what is your preferred category and genre to write? Why?
I refuse to keep myself in a box. I write whatever genre strikes me at the time. However, I do typically stay within erotica, contemporary. Sometimes, I have no idea how to categorize the stories I write. When I sit down to write a book, I never think, Hmm, what genre shall I write now?
We are writer soul mates, I swear. I am the same! I stick to upper young adult romance, but the subgenres vary completely. Whatever the characters need. Moving on, we have had a conversation about this before--marketing. In your opinion, what marketing works best for you?
Grown roots marketing and building relationships. I know it sounds old school and like I’m running for office, but in a way it is. Just like a politician, you have to build your constituents. The Internet is a phenomenal tool, you just have to find your niche of using it. When I wrote my first book, Anything Goes, I realized I could travel anywhere in the country sitting at my computer. So, I virtually traveled outside the United States and made connections with book clubs in other countries. I connected with them by sending an introductory email or, at that time, commenting on message boards, and the rest is history. Many of those readers are still following and supporting me 20 years later.
Here’s what I’ve learned. Marketing is not a one-size-fit-all outfit. Not all readers are your readers. You have to find your readers. If you write erotica, find where the erotica readers hang out online. The same goes for sci-fi, romance, and other genres. Interact with those readers. Even if you haven’t put out a new book, don’t stop talking to them. You always want to stay in their literary sight. Send them a “Hey, how are you?” email. There was a time when authors sent bi-weekly or monthly newsletters to their email lists just to keep their readers informed of what’s going on their lives, what new book they’re working on, etc. Marketing is all about building relationships. I’ve built good friendships with readers. When you know who your readers are, I think the rest is easy.
This is the response I often hear: Find the readers. But what else have you learned through your publishing experience, particularly since you are a publisher as well? Aspiring authors would love to know the truth.
It is long, tedious work. However, if you want it done correctly, then you’re grunt through it. I’m an independent publisher. I’d always thought it best to follow the trends of the major publishers, and I still believe doing so. I don’t believe in rushing out a book just put out a book. I’m asking people to pay their hard-earned money to buy my book. The least I can do is to ensure they receive a great experience from the beginning of Chapter 1.
I completely agree. Quality is everything. Find Jessica Tilles through these links: