About Jillian Green DiGiacomo:
Jillian Green DiGiacomo grew up in a New Jersey suburb and currently lives in a New Jersey suburb (though not the same suburb). Once upon a time, she graduated with a degree in Asian studies from Vassar College and received a master’s degree in teaching from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Before having children, she spent most of her time either teaching English in Japan or teaching Japanese to high school students in New York. After having children, she completely forgot how to speak Japanese and has a hard time with English most days.
What inspires you to write?
I’m not a particularly disciplined writer. I don’t write every day or sometimes every month. But when I have an idea and it grows larger than something that I can hold together in my mind all at once, that’s when I start writing. My children’s book, Off the Wall, started with the thought “Do we see ourselves how the world sees us or does the world see us as we see ourselves?” That transformed into a poem about a little girl who changes every time she looks in her bedroom mirror. “Codename Cupcake” started with the image that is still included as the opening scene of the book: I had a vision of a woman sitting between two pregnant women at the back of a bus. That image “gave birth” to a stay-at-home-mom-superhero-spy novel.
Tell us about your writing process.
It took me ten years to write my first children’s story, “Off the Wall,” which is only 820 words long. Between pushing children in strollers and wiping runny noses, I would think about rhymes and jot ideas down on scraps of paper. I would sit on a bench, half watching my child’s swim lesson and half scribbling down ideas and crossing them out. I’m not sure I would recommend this process to anyone but it was the process that was available to me at the time. I started writing “Codename Cupcake” (an actual novel for adults) when my kids were in school full time which allowed me to carve out a few hours every day to write. This novel takes place in an elementary school. Once I had the general idea for the story, I sat for weeks with a calendar to plot out how to weave the drama and hijinks of this comic spy novel into ordinary school functions like PTA meetings and bake sales. The time I spent mapping the plot on a calendar proved invaluable for that book. I am currently writing what I think might ultimately be a one-act play. My process for this new adventure is to close my eyes, cross my fingers and hope for the best.
What advice would you give other writers?
Fresh Eyes!! You know what you wanted to write. You know what you wanted to convey. But it is only when you share your writing with others that you will truly know if you accomplished what you meant to accomplish. It is extremely stressful and humbling to hold up your work to the scrutiny of others but if you can find a few trusted readers, and you can open your mind to their opinions, suggestions, and questions, your work will only get stronger. I find that my readers are invaluable at showing me where there are cracks or inconsistencies in my work. I don’t always agree with their solutions but their fresh eyes are priceless when it comes to identifying issues big and small within my writing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
The best kept secret of indie publishing is that indie publishing is (contrary to what I’d expected) extremely empowering. Of course it is frightening to be completely in charge of everything: I found my own editor. My daughter designed my book cover. And now I am doing all that I can to publicize my book. But, as it turns out, participating in every aspect has given me a greater understanding of the process and the business of publishing. The more I do, the more I learn and the more I learn, the more empowered I feel in what has often felt like an elusive and exclusive industry.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Historically, authors needed a publisher because it was the publisher who had access to a printer and the ability to take the financial risk required to outlay the upfront cost of a print run. In this new age of print on demand and ebooks, authors no longer need a publisher to get our literary works out into the world. That’s great! But as indie authors know, the challenge comes not only in creating a book but in finding an audience with which to share it. Today, traditional publishing houses still hold the monopoly on access to the large and powerful media outlets. The New York Times, for example, will not, by their own rules, review an independently published book. I’m sure they have this policy to stave off the massive wave of offerings that would flood their review department otherwise. Moreover, many book stores, large and small, only sell books that they receive from a certain small list of distributers who only sell books from a certain small group of publishing houses. So, today, the playing field is massively weighted against the indie author. And even those famously self published books like “The Martian” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” only reached their best-seller status once they were picked up by one of the large publishing houses and given the access and exposure that comes with traditional publishing.
But the playing field is slowly shifting. The indie world is figuring it out. More and more quality works are discovered outside of the closed circle of the traditional publishing world and indie authors everywhere are using social media to gain traction in the market. Many book bloggers today have only hundreds or maybe a few thousand followers as compared to the Millions of NYT readers. But everyday that those reviewers offer honest and useful critiques and recommendations, their audiences steadily grow which in turn boosts book sales for indie authors. It is an exciting time to be a self-published author. And I think the future looks brighter and brighter.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: fiction, humor, childrens fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.