Thursday, July 8, 2010

Interview with Jenna Johnson

Available at Amazon

Welcome Jenna!

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.
Are you sure you want to know?  It was quite a journey ;).  I can’t tell you when the idea for The Legend of Oescienne – The Finding first formed; it was more like my mind was trying to figure out what format to put my ideas in.
During college, I took several art classes, so the first evidence of the Oescienne series started showing up in my sketchbooks in the form of characters, creatures and maps.  It wasn’t until after I graduated that it occurred to me that perhaps I should turn these ideas into a book series.

Did you query agents or traditional publishers before publishing on Amazon?
I queried about fifteen agencies before I discovered self-publishing (through a friend).  Perhaps I should have kept at it, but after receiving rejection after rejection where my manuscript wasn’t even read, I decided to step out on my own.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?
My main reason for self-publishing really boiled down to one fact: I wanted my story to be read.  Sure, I might have eventually hooked an agent or earned a publishing contract, but I really didn’t want to wait ten or more years.  I knew I might not sell many copies (though I still hold out the hope that my book will someday be ‘discovered’), but I thought the risk worth it.

Will you try to garner a traditional publishing contract for any future books?
I’m torn on this one.  I’d love to get picked up by a publisher (yay, someone to do the marketing and hard work for me ;)), but at the same time, I wonder if I’ll face the same problem as before.  Also, I know several indie authors who do very well on their own.  Not to mention, being self-published has its positive factors, one being that I’d have much more control of my own work. 

So, I guess to answer your question, I’d say I’ll try to get my next series or book (not in the Oescienne series) traditionally published, but if I can’t find representation, I’ll go indie again.

Did you design your cover art?  If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information?
I did design the cover art for the first two books in the Oescienne series, and I will design the art for the rest.  I am considering finding another artist to design the covers for my other book ideas.

If you used a graphic designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
If I use an artist for my next books, I plan to be as involved as possible.  I’ll probably send them the manuscript and have them come up with some ideas for the cover.  I’ll then want to see sketches of their ideas, and will ask for updates as the design evolves.

How did you feel when you got your first sale?  Are you pleased with sales so far?
I was pleased to see my first sale, but I felt even more excited when I received my very first proof copy in the mail ;).  I’ll be honest: I hoped to be selling more books than I have.  My paperback sales aren’t that great, and my Kindle sales aren’t much better.  I’m hoping it is because my book is a YA fantasy and not too many teens own a Kindle.  I have a handful of good reviews on amazon, so I’m hoping the sales will pick up some day soon.

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
Let’s see . . . I am on facebook where I have my own personal page and a fanpage for the Oescienne series.  I also have a twitter account and two blogs (one written from the point of view of my main character as a diary entry; the other is just me, and right now I’m hosting ‘Drive-Thru Interviews’ where I interview other authors).

I network with other writers and readers on Kindle Boards and Goodreads.  My biggest form of social media would be my website,, where you can find tons of extra info, including maps, book information and previews, illustrations, FAQ, author contact information and news.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My first book is still available from, and both books can be found on  These are the main ones.

What’s next for you?
The Legend of Oescienne – The Finding has been out for a year, and the second book in this series, The Beginning, has only been out for a month.  I have many books on the back burner right now, including the rest of the Oescienne books and several other YA fantasy series.  I also have some children’s fantasy series and some fantasy books for the older audience in the works.  I tend to hop around from book to book, depending on which one wants the most attention.