J. J. Hebert is a writer. Surprising, huh? He has written fifty-two novels, including the immensely successful, award-winning Willard’s Heart. J. J.’s also an archaeologist, and he recently unearthed an ancient religious scroll in Jerusalem that, in time, will prove absolutely nothing about anything important. He presently resides in Yemen, where he enjoys being the richest man in the land.
Of course, the aforementioned isn’t true (except for the “J. J. Hebert is a writer” part), but you found it entertaining, right? Perhaps just a little funny?
Honestly: J. J. Hebert’s debut novel, Unconventional (paperback), became an Amazon.com best-seller in three categories on July 19, 2009. The Kindle version has been the #1 Inspirational Book in the Kindle Store numerous times. J.J. is also the founder of MindStir Media, which helps authors successfully self-publish and distribute books worldwide. Currently, he lives alone in New England, home to some of the greatest sports teams in the world (for now), where he’s at work on his latest novel, Saving Dad, and a children’s book, Weepy the Dragon.
Unconventional is my debut novel and centers on James Frost, a janitor turned author.
Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
I self-published with MindStir Media, a company I formed from scratch. I had a literary agent for about six months but ultimately decided that self-publishing was the best route for me at the time. After seeing the success of Unconventional, I decided to open MindStir Media to the public.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
This is what I love about self-publishing: I was able to publish my work very quickly. I also retained all my rights and see a high amount of compensation per copy sold (much higher than I would have if I had signed a traditional deal with a publisher).
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
It was probably the most amazing feeling I had ever experienced when I saw Unconventional up on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, etc. I celebrated by having a dinner/book launch party with my closest friends and family.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I became much more active on Facebook.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
After releasing Unconventional I learned that writing the book was actually the easy part. Marketing is tough! I’ve grown by delving into as many free marketing tools online as possible and helping other authors do the same. I now offer free book marketing tips at my blog: http://www.jjhebertblog.com
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
I’m amazed by the fans and the support I’ve received from all types of people.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
I love hearing from readers how Unconventional has impacted their lives. Many readers have written me stating that my book inspired them to follow their dreams.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Write the best book you can, edit … and then focus on getting it published. And be open to constructive criticism.