Teresa Jones is the author of the newly released book, Return to Your First Love. Teresa is a writer for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA), which publishes the award-winning Journal of Ordinary Thought (JOT). Teresa is a member of Toastmasters International and the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE). Teresa is faithful member of the Apostolic Faith Church, where she serves as a prayer counselor for the Prayer Line Ministry. She and her husband, Alexander, have been married for 16 years and have two children. You can visit Teresa’s website at www.teresarjones.com. You can contact Teresa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to Beyond the Books, Teresa. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
My first short story was published back in 2008 in the Journal of Ordinary Thought, entitled, A Challenging Ride. However, this is the first time I have had a book published.
What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
My first published book is Return to Your First Love – A Journey Back to God.
For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
I was blessed to get published with a trade publisher. This was not easy, though. I lost track of how many times I received rejection letters from publishers and agents. If I had to give an estimate, it was more than 50 times. I was contacted by a few self-publishing companies that were interested, but the terms of their contracts were not feasible for me. It took me two years to get published.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
Return to Your First Love is the assignment God gave me. With that said, I had faith that I would connect with the right publisher eventually; no matter how long it took. I once heard a minister say, “Rejection is direction.”
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
Waverly Media Group has been a God-send! Waverly Media Group was established in 2007 and they were looking for a new author with an intriguing story to launch their Christian publishing division. The experience has been a marriage made in heaven!
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
After working towards this goal for ten years, it felt great to see the actual book come to fruition. My husband and I went to a Spanish restaurant to celebrate.
What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I have utilized email blasts, for the most part, which has cost me a few hundred dollars. This method can get quite expensive. However, I have had over 60 individuals, thus far, to sign up for my mailing list (www.revelation2-4.com). I only need a fraction of those interested to purchase a copy of the book to cover the cost of the email blasts. My prayer is that all of them will buy a copy, and then some.
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
I would have to say no, because I learned more about the publishing industry – knowledge that I never would have obtained had the process been easier.
Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
Since my book was recently published, I feel that I’m just staring to get my feet wet. I had my first book signing where I sold several books. I will be in a better position to access my progress in a few months from now.
Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
I originally wrote my manuscript manually. I would never do this again. Not only did I lose precious time, I had to pay almost $900 to have it typed, but it was money well spent. Since I work full-time, it probably would have taken me years to type it myself.
What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
My biggest accomplishment since becoming published is selling the first copies. I had a book signing at a conference for women. The experience was surreal. I started writing Return to Your First Love ten years ago, and I’m still amazed that I have a finished book.
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
My husband tells me that I should have been a lawyer, because of my ability to debate and my strong opinions. If I were to choose another career, I would be a teacher. I would teach junior high students. The pressures of high school have a way of making or breaking an individual. I believe the few years before high school are crucial in terms of developing a child’s skills and character.
Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
I would not give up being an author to become a teacher, at least not in the conventional sense. Authors are given a sphere of influence. I believe I will combine both worlds.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
I see myself with several best-sellers under my belt.
Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
I am a woman of faith, and I believe that whatever God wants to do through you will come to pass, if you don’t give up. The obstacles are there to see how bad you want it. That’s why so many people settle for the mundane – it’s easier to obtain. Getting published is not for the faint at heart. The experience can be daunting at times, therefore, you must be tenacious. If you have a story to tell that the world needs to hear, press on in faith.