Jodie Toohey is the author of four books, two poetry collections – “Crush and Other Love Poems for Girls” (2008) and “Other Side of Crazy” (918studio, 2013) – as well as two novels, “Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters” (2012) and “Melody Madson – May It Please the Court?” (2014). When she is not writing fiction or poetry, Jodie helps people say what they want to say through her professional writing and editing business, Wordsy Woman Word Sales and Service.
What inspires you to write?
In general, what inspires me to write is a desire to record my story – from the mundane, every day chapters to the joyous and sad ones. I’m inspired to write poetry by the little things I notice and the feelings I have at a particular moment. For my first novel, “Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters,” I was inspired by a friend who was a teen living with civil war at the same time I was a teen dealing with the death of my cousin. For “Melody Madson – May It Please the Court?” I was inspired by my job as a paralegal at a law firm. The current novel I’m working on was inspired by an event in history – a tornado that nearly wiped out my town on June 3, 1860. I’m inspired by so many things to write, but fundamentally, I’m inspired by living life and being a human being.
Tell us about your writing process.
My process depends on what I’m writing. If it’s poetry, I hand write it in my journal and then type them into the computer. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I’ve written a poem until I go back, read my journal, and find meaning in what I’ve written.
For novels, I use a hybrid outlining/story boarding and free writing technique. I usually free write when I’m solidifying my idea, playing with different plot lines and character traits. And then I create basic outlines and character sketches. Then, I start writing my story, still not exactly sure how I’ll get from point A to point B. As I write, this comes to me, and then I go back to outlining, creating detailed character profiles, and crafting story boards to keep in front of me while I write.
What advice would you give other writers?
Keep writing and reading. And then write some more.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’ve used both – self-publishing three times and traditional publishing with a small, independent publisher once. For me, because I worked with a small, independent publishing company, the only difference with traditional publishing (“Other Side of Crazy”) was that I didn’t have to pay for formatting, cover design, and printing, which was great.
I admit, I did pitch to agents and publishers to some degree for all of my other books. On “Missing Emily,” I got great feedback – it was well written and a good story – but they said the market wasn’t clear because the characters were teens facing too heavy subjects for their ages (the teens that the characters were based on WERE facing heavy subjects). But I thought it was an important story to tell so I chose self-publishing. For “Melody Madson – May It Please the Court,” I had an agent but she couldn’t place it so I decided to publish on my own. For me, traditional publishing would simply be a matter of financing – not having to pay for formatting, layout, cover design, etc. because I know that regardless, the marketing would be totally up to me.
For new authors considering whether to try to traditional or to self-publish, I would advise simply to get educated. Know all of your options and everything that is involved with the publishing process, Then decide for which parts you can and want to pay. Some self-publishing companies will try to upsell you at every step so you need to be firm on what you’re hiring out and what you’re doing yourself (I consider using a self-publishing company a form of outsourcing). And no matter how you publish, you have to accept that you will have to market your book if you want more than your friends and family to read it (and that takes a degree of marketing, too).
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that, of course, there will be more e-books and more self-publishing as traditional publishers are forced to tighten their finances more and be more selective than they already are. I can see the big houses focusing on just high-ticket books in the distant future – like those written by celebrities or big, in-the-news, events.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Poetry, Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print