Today, I’m pleased to welcome author Jennifer Hallmark!
While she’s been travelling her writing and publishing road for several years, Jennifer is celebrating the publication of her first novel, Jessie’s Hope! She’s graciously offered to stop by and share her publication story, and some advice and encouragement for other writers.
Take it away, Jennifer!
Hi, Anne! I’m so glad you let me drop by today. Let me tell your readers a little about my journey. In 2006, I decided to make my writing hobby a career. I was a wife and mother of two older teens and I helped my husband run a farm with cattle and two chicken houses.
I first signed up for a writing class and joined a writer’s group. I began to study the craft and wrote articles, blog posts, and the rough draft of a novel. I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers and their critique group. I started submitting short stories and articles, both in print and online.
My first accepted work, though non-paying, helped establish me as a writer. I also grew my Facebook and Twitter following and built a blog readership. My first check came from a short story. I sold three. Writing conferences and retreats turned out to be a wonderful place to make friendships with other writers and people in the industry. Four book compilations came my way and I contributed to each one, making a little more money.
All this time, I was studying, networking, marketing, and building my reputation and skill set. I wrote another novel and found interest for it at yet another writer’s conference. In 2017, I signed a contract and this past June, Firefly Southern fiction released my debut Jessie’s Hope.
When I write, I usually sit at my desktop computer and record scenes I believe belong in my story. I think and daydream about my story for a while before I ever set it to paper. I type all the scenes out with little plotting. Then I put them in order and fill in the gaps. Once finished, I find a few Beta readers to see what they think.
I prayed a lot before seeking publication and felt led to pursue a traditional publisher. I’m a bit impatient at times and probably would have self-published years ago but just didn’t have peace. You always need to go where you have peace.
My book launch has been fun, stressful, overwhelming, joyful, and chaotic. I probably planned way too much for the first month but I wanted to strike while the iron was hot. (Pardon the cliché) I had a blog tour, enjoyed a Facebook party with author Hope Bolinger, and appeared at four events, one being my Jessie’s Hope book launch celebration. I just finished a review tour also.
Three words of advice to up and coming writers:
- Connect with other writers. They are encouraging and can help you lookout for scams.
- Study. Write. Study. Read. Write. Study.
- Submit. Enter contests for feedback. Try writing print and online articles and short stories in the beginning.
My journey took a different path than I imagined but it’s one I wouldn’t trade for anything. Start yours today. You never know where it might lead.
Thank you for the wonderful advice, Jennifer!
And thank YOU, readers and writers, for visiting!
For more information on Jennifer Hallmark and on Jessie’s Hope, keep reading!
Years ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility. It also stole her mom and alienated her from her father. When Jessie’s high school sweetheart Matt Jansen proposes, her parents’ absence intensifies her worry that she cannot hold on to those she loves.
With a wedding fast approaching, Jessie’s grandfather Homer Smith, has a goal to find the perfect dress for “his Jessie,” one that would allow her to forget, even if for a moment, the boundaries of her wheelchair. But financial setbacks and unexpected sabotage hinder his plans.
Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father. Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love when additional obstacles–including a spurned woman and unpredictable weather–highjack Jessie’s dream wedding?
Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and has published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations. Her debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, released on June 17th, 2019.
When she isn’t babysitting or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on her two blogs. She also loves reading detective fiction from the Golden Age and viewing movies like LOTR or Star Wars. Sometimes you can even catch her watching American Ninja Warrior.