Monday, June 3, 2013

Jo Linsdell, Fairy May

AUTHOR: Jo Linsdell
PUBLISHER: createspace

Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.

I've been writing pretty much since I could hold a pen and creative writing was one of my favourite classes when I was at school.

I got into writing poetry when I was a teen and then just seemed to fall into jobs where writing was part of my daily tasks. After working on publications for the dental industry and then writing research articles for the Neurology department at Rome's main hospita,l I decided it was time to start writing about stuff that actually interested me, and soon after I published my first book Italian for Tourists. That was the beginning of my writing career. Since then I've published several books and write in different genres. I'm most well known for my children's books though as I hit best seller status with those.

Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?

Full-time mummy and full-time writer when the kids let me. I work on my writing career daily and definitely put the hours in so I think it's fair to say I'm in this with both feet ;)

What influences your writing?

My kids, cartoons and films I've watched, other books I've read, ideas I pick up from the internet... I get inspiration from a wide variety of sources and each has an influence on my writing.

Is this your first published work?  What other types of writing have you done?

So far I've published two non fiction; Italian for Tourists and A Guide to Weddings in Italy. And two children's picture story books; Out and About at the Zoo and Fairy May. I also have several short ebooks available. I do freelance writing for clients too and I'm an avid blogger. When I'm not writing I also work as an illustrator. My next release is a children's picture story book called A Birthday Clown for Archer which is written by author Kathy Mashburn and illustrated by yours truly. It's set for release in June this year. It's fun working with other writers and collaborating on projects.

Why did you choose to write a children's story?

I'm a mum of two little boys (one is 5 years and the other 21 months). I was making up stories for them on an almost daily basis and one day my eldest asked me when I was going to write a book for him. I figured he made a good point and Out and About at the Zoo was born. Fairy May came about because my niece saw I'd dedicated the first one to my sons and wanted a book of her own. I was instructed that it had to have fairies in it and soon Fairy May was created. The more children's books I work on the more I like doing them. I've already started work on another one ;)

What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?

Like I said before, my niece asked for a book with fairies in it. As my youngest was teething at the time the tooth fairy theme sprang to mind. I didn't want it to be just a tooth fairy tale though. I like it when there's a subtle but bigger message. One of the things I believe most is just because things are difficult doesn't mean they can't be done. I wanted to use this to give the message to kids (and adults) that they should follow their dreams. They might just surprise themselves at what they can achieve when they work hard at it.

I finished the draft and sent it off to my copy editor. When I read through her comments I decided to rewrite the whole second half of the book. In the original the story was pretty much the same but the emphasis was wrong. It was more about her passing the test as opposed to what she had achieved.

With the text now in the right direction I sent it off to my proofreaders and go to work on the illustrations. I sketched out a storyboard and then used Adobe illustrator to create the digital illustrations. I then took the approved text and embedded it on to the illustrations and formatted the files for both print and kindle versions of the book.

I designed the cover art and then uploaded the finished files first to createspace, and then to KDP. After checking the proof copies Fairy May was made available for the public.

What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?

I'm not against traditional publishing, but I've always known I wanted to self publish my books. I'm a total control freak and have very clear ideas about what I want.

The industry has changed over the years and so has the reputation attached to self publishing. I do believe it needs to be done well though. The reader shouldn't be able to tell the book was self published.

What is your marketing strategy?

I divide my time between author branding activities and book promotion. I enjoy connecting with people and so focus on reaching out and helping others when I can, joining conversations or starting them. I like my social media to be social. Part of my strategy is to constantly try new things. I like to be innovative and experiment with any ideas that pop into my head.

Social media plays a key role in my marketing efforts but another favourite of mine is doing virtual book tours. In fact I like doing them so much I'm actually writing a book about them at the moment. VBT's are a great way to reach new audiences, experiment with content and they're  fun too.

What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?

I don't think it's necessary, but then again I self publish. If you want to get your foot in the door with the big name traditional publishers an agent is pretty much a must have though.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

My website is my home on the internet and links to all my projects and where I can be reached on social media.

Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?

  • As with all genres you should study your craft and check out your competition.
  • Try to remember what it was like when you were a kid and how you saw the world back then.
  • Ask kids questions and watch them to see how they interact with each other. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Please give us a brief synopsis or excerpt from your current book and when and where it will be available.

Fairy May is out in Print and Kindle versions and is available from all major bookstores.

"Fairy May dreams of one day becoming a tooth fairy but she struggles at school and always seems to get things wrong. With hard work and determination Fairy May prepares for her test. Will she realise her dream and become a tooth fairy?"


  1. Thanks for having me here today Penny :)

    1. My pleasure. Fairy May looks so cute! Love the illustrations.

  2. Studying your craft is always good advice. Sounds cute!

  3. Love your work and keeping up with you! Fairy May is great! My granddaughters loved it! ~ Kathy