Amazing Author: Sarah Jio

It's Tuesday and I have been traveling! Time to catch my breath and bring you this amazing author interview from Amazing Author Caroline Leavitt!

Sarah Jio talks about The Violets of March and authors who help other authors!

Guest Post:

The Jodi Picoult Effect: Why Big-Time Authors Who Help Newcomers Rock!

Caroline, thank you so much for having me here! As a debut author, it’s so lovely and encouraging to be supported by successful writers (you!) who have also been in the same shoes, which is what I want to share a little about today. Being a first-time novelist is both exciting and nerve-wracking (as I’m sure you remember!), so thank God for veteran authors who stick their necks out on behalf of newcomers.

My first novel, The Violets of March [LINK: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0452297036/craforboo-20], is out on April 26 from Penguin (Plume). I sold the book last spring, and after the contracts were signed, I realized that I had a pretty steep learning curve ahead. After all, book publishing was a whole new ballgame for me. I came to fiction from the world of magazines, where I’ve been a contributor to publications like Glamour, Redbook, Health, SELF, Real Simple, O, The Oprah Magazine, and many others. I knew my way around the magazine industry, but books? There was so much to figure out. Blurbs! Marketing! Sales! Book buyers! Publicity! Um, yikes!

Perhaps most daunting was the task of reaching out to other authors and shyly asking them to read my book in hopes of getting an endorsement for the cover. I fretted about this for a long time. Frankly, the whole idea of sharing my work with other authors made me feel so vulnerable (something I needed to get over quick if I was going to be any good at this novel thing!). I thought about the authors I admired and respected and wondered if they’d ever—in a million years—be interested in reading my fledgling debut. Sure, I was proud of my novel, for sure, but there’s something very frightening about sending an early copy to an author you love. But, with great anxiety and trembling hands, I composed an email to Jodi Picoult (you know, the bestselling author of a zillion books, including Sing You Home). I told her about Violets, shared the book trailer, and held my breath as I clicked send.

And guess what? A few minutes later, she wrote back. Just like that. And I nearly fainted.

She shared that she’d already received five other blurb requests that day alone and couldn’t make any promises. But, she said if I still wanted to send a galley over just in case, she’d do her best to have a look. Yep, I sent a galley out that very afternoon, with fingers and toes crossed. And, several weeks later, I nearly fell out of my chair when she wrote to say she enjoyed the book and had written a blurb for me [LINK: http://www.sarahjio.com/?p=1128]. I was 9 months pregnant at the time, and promptly began having labor contractions. (True story.)

Here’s the thing, Jodi has an insanely busy schedule. She’s one of the top-producing authors in the world. She’s basicallysuperwoman. She didn’t have to give me (a total stranger with nothing to offer her in return but insane amounts of gratitude) the time of day, but she did. Her vote of confidence for my novel meant so much to me, as did the support from Allison Winn Scotch, Claire Cook, Sarah Pekkanen, Beth Hoffman, and Kelly O’Connor McNees—all of whom prove that the book world is filled with plenty of terrific, warm and generous souls. If I’m ever so fortunate to be in a similar place of success, I vow to be just as generous to new authors as these wonderful women have been to me.

About me:
Sarah Jio is the author of The Violets of March, out from Penguin (Plume) on April 26, a Target Emerging Author selection and Costco buyer pick. Her second novel, The Bungalow, will also be published by Plume in April 2012. She lives in Seattle with her family and is at work on her third novel. To learn more about her, visit www.sarahjio.com.

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