Writer's Manual Interview
WRITER'S MANUAL - Sister Site to Writer's Gazette and EbooksCafe
An Interview With Judy LeBlanc
Writers Manual welcomes you!
Tell us a bit about yourself. What would you like us to know about you?
Thank you for the opportunity of sharing a little of myself with you. I would like to begin by saying that the old saying of never say never is really true. When I was in the "career" time of my life, I used to write proposals for the US Government Defense Agency. It was so much pressure that I said when I retire; I am going to throw away my "red" pen and computer, and NEVER WRITE AGAIN! Well, that lasted about 10 years.
My husband and I were living in a small beach town in the middle of Baja Mexico when I got the itch to start writing again. I said to myself, "now I can write what I love and not what I'm told to write.”... That sounded like so much fun. Little did I know that it would be a brand new career in not only writing, but in Marketing!
I have always been fascinated with the esoteric and I kept journals for years on this subject. One day, after reading through my journals, it occurred to me that the information in them was so good it had to be put into a book. But how can I write about this subject without boring people, I thought. Thus, my animated allegory style, and my first book “Things My Father Never Taught” Me” were born; which was followed by “The Compromise,” the “Unveiling” and then my favorite “Many Faces to Many Places.”
As writers and authors, we all know that writing takes discipline. I wrote every single day without fail for one full year on each book. The days that I had writer’s block, I edited, rearranged, and corrected words. Sometimes just doing that would inspire me. Little did I know that my hard work was only half way done.
After I finished my book, I began to look for a publisher. The thought of getting rejected never even crossed my mind! Haaa-- Haaa. At first I took it personally … then I remembered that Richard Bach got rejected 265 times before some “smart” publisher took a risk, and then it became a huge success! One day, I received a contract from a publisher in Utah. I was thrilled! Had it not been for my husband who read “between the lines” and discovered that there was no mention of marketing in the contract, he suggested that I keep looking. I received two more contracts after that, and discovered that they were all the same … the writer gets between 8-10% depending on how hard he/she markets the book, and the publisher gets the rest. The math on that made me decide to go with a Publishing Press that let me keep all of my rights, did a lot of marketing, and helped me to do the rest.
Since my first publication in 1994, I have learned that marketing the book is probably more important than writing it. If the marketing doesn’t continue … the book dies. I am constantly looking for new promotional websites, opportunities for Radio and TV interviews, advertising, and postcard mailings. I invest in postcards, business cards, and book markers, and I am always giving them away.
So... writer’s write on! Just remember that Richard Bach was rejected 265 times before his book became a success!
What are you doing now? (Career? Married? Single? Children? Pets?)
Today, I live in Mesa, Arizona. I left that small beautiful town in Baja to return to my homeland. After my husband passed away, I stayed for 6 extra years to continue writing and teaching. I found it difficult to travel back and forth to promote Many Faces to Many Places, and that was the impetus to make the giant step back to the hustle and bustle of city life, not to mention that it is much easier to stay in touch with my family now. I did have to leave my collection of exotic birds, dogs and cats since I left my own home and came to live in an apartment. It was a tough adjustment to make. However, the results of the promotion of Many Faces to Many Places has helped me with the adjustment.
What is your favorite food?
I guess I would have to say that my favorite food is rice! I love rice. I can eat it everyday cooked in every different way. I also love fresh seafood, especially shrimp. Oh, we mustn’t forget the ICECREAM ... I love it! Especially chocolate.
What is your favorite color?
Surprisingly, my favorite color is white. The reason I say surprisingly is because my last name LeBlanc means the white. Also, my grandmother's maiden name was "LeFebre" and is translated to "The Linen" .. Coincidentally, I do love white linen.
What is your favorite sound?
Ahhhhh. What a nice question. My favorite sound is that of running water. I love to listen to waterfalls, running rivers, and the sound of the crashing waves along the beaches.
Who is your favorite person?
Oh, that is a tough question. I guess I would have to say that I have several people who I admire and one of them is Bill Gates. Yeah, I know ... he's not a writer, but he is a good example of a person who followed his dream from the inside of his garage. Now that he is such a huge success, he is giving back from his blessed abundance.
What is your favorite place?
Gosh ... another toughie. How can anyone have a favorite place when there is so much beauty throughout the world. I have been fortunate enough to have traveled almost all of North America and when I am asked what is my favorite place, I can't come up with any one in particular. There is so much beauty everywhere.
What is your favorite memory?
The memory that has stuck in my mind, and probably will be the best memory of my life, was when my husband and I celebrated our first anniversary in the white mountains of New Hampshire. We were alone with nature, sitting at the very edge of the river with two candles on a picnic table, under the stars, eating fresh lobster and drinking a bottle of champagne. WOW! Who could ever forget that?
What is your favorite article of clothing?
I'm glad you asked about that because I honestly don't have a favorite. In fact, quite frankly, clothes are the least of my interests. I dress because I have to. The same goes for shoes. I am almost always barefoot.
What is your favorite word?
This is a good one. Coming from a writer, who can choose almost any word out of the English language and some in Spanish as well ... my favorite word is "oh poo!" I love that word! Every time something doesn't quite come out right ...I always say "Oh Poo!"
What is your favorite writers' quote and why?
I honestly don't have a favorite writers' quote, however, I can say that Richard Bach is one of my favorite writers inasmuch as his first book "Jonathon Livingston Seagull" was a short, 7,000 word book. My latest book, Many Faces to Many Places is almost 30,000 words and the traditional publishers rejected the word count as being to low. I always love to remind them of Richard Bach's best seller of 7,000 words.
What is your most favorite quality about yourself?
My favorite quality? You mean that I can only choose one? haa haa haa. I would have to say that my favorite quality is my tenacity. Without that, I don't think I could make it through life.
What is the least favorite quality about yourself?
Oh, that one is easy. My least favorite quality is my "impatience." Oh, how I wish I didn't have to cope with that. There you see, I don't even have the patience to cope with my impatience!
If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
If I could go anywhere in the world right now it would be Italy. Why? I don't know. I just love the Mediterranean. I love the people, the culture, their character, their personalities, and if I could, I would love to stay at least 3 months in different parts of the country. What a dream, huh?
What inspires you to write and why?
Why do I write you ask? Honestly, I don't know. I sometimes ask myself the same question. The writing part is fun for me because it is a way of expressing yourself. The hard part of writing, which is discouraging at times is when you decide to publish what you write. That is when that big "T" word for tenacity comes in very handy ..Don't get me wrong, I have wanted to give up at least 100 times, and then I talk to other authors and find out we all feel the same. So I keep writing.
What is your favorite book and why?
My favorite book has to be that little 7,000 word book that Richard Bach wrote over 30 years ago. I love it because of his style. I love allegories.
What is your favorite genre and why?
Well, I wish I could say that my favorite genre was inspirational, especially since that is what I write. However, I love spy novels. Why? Because I admire the writers who can write them because I can't. haa haa haa.
List your three favorite authors (any genre) and why?
My three favorite authors? Naturally, Richard Bach is the first because his book became my inspiration to keep going.
My second favorite is Michener because I love the way he makes history enjoyable to read.
My third would have to be Koontz. I love his writing style.
What do you think makes a writer successful?
Ahhhhh. What makes a writer successful? Oh boy, that is a real tough question. I know that tenacity is way up there. Then there's luck, the fickle market, lots of help with promotion, and if you can find a good agent, that would sure help as well.
What is it that makes you successful as a writer?
What makes me successful as a writer? I don't know that I can honestly say that I am a successful writer perse. I guess that word is relative. I can't compare myself to Koontz, Michener or any of the other big writers out there, so I don't see myself as being a great writer. I can say that I love my book Many Faces to Many Places and I just haven't given up on the marketing of it. It is much more work than writing is.
What are your goals as a writer?
My goal as a writer is to reach the reader. I think that we all feel that we have something to share with others. I feel that way about my writings. I honestly believe that they do touch the people who read them, and if I can touch one person, then I can say I have done well.
What is the best tip you can give to fellow writers?
The best tip that I can give to my fellow writers is "never give up." I do have a few more however. Promoting your book is the most important part of your writing, and never take a bad review personal because there really is no such thing as a bad review, and last but not least, remember that Richard Bach's first book was rejected 265 times!
What do you hope to provide your readers with through your writing?
What do I hope to provide my readers with? Since my writings are inspirational teachings, I created an animated style so that my messages would be more entertaining to read. I hope to be able to leave the reader with something that will last them a lifetime. If it's only a word, a message, an idea, or a smile, then I know I have given something of myself to someone else.
List your three favorite online writer-resource sites and why (include URLS).
My three favorite websites for writer-resources are:
www.writersdigest.com, www.writing-world.com and www.writersread.com. This last site is really great. It is owned and operated by a 25 year retired publisher who generously shares all of his experience and tips with us.
If you have published a book, tell us about your publishing success (title, publishing date and company, where it is available to purchase).
My latest book is titled Many Faces to Many Places, published by Xulon Press in October. After sending several review copies out, an audio publisher read it and loved it. It is now published in Audio by Spoken Books Publishing.
I am happy to say that the book is available world-wide and may be purchased at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Borders, and at several other bookstores. More information is available at www.manyfacestomanyplaces.com
How long did it take you to write your book(s)?
Writing books does take time that is for sure. My first book, Things My Father Never Taught Me, took me one year to complete. My second, The Compromise, took me 6 month, my third, 6 months and my last book Many Faces to Many Places took me a year to complete.
What would you do differently if you could repeat the same publishing experience?
You know, I don't know that I would actually do anything different if I had to repeat the same publishing experience. I would love to have an agent take over the marketing and sales part of my book so that I could finish my fifth book. I know that the bulk of the promotion falls on the shoulders of the author.
What have you learned about the publishing world?
What I have learned about the publishing world is that there are so many publishers out there and almost all of their contracts read the same. I have learned to read what the contract does "not" say rather than what it does say. The author gets an extremely small percentage of the book sales and in my view, we end up working for them and they do very little marketing.
This is your chance to 'Talk Back' to your readers. What would you like to say to them?
Thank you for the "TalkBack" to my readers. What I would really like to say is that I welcome comments. Don't be shy ... tell me if my book had an impact on you in any way. I would love to hear from you. For those who haven't read it yet, I know for sure that if you either read it or listen to the audio ... I really think that you will love it. I have only had 20 reviews; fortunately, they all loved it.
What's the one thing that you want them to know about your writing?
What I think is important to know about my writing is that in addition to the messages that I share, my style is unique to all other books written on the market today.