Judith Cassis - Author of the Writer to Writer series
FJ: When did you decide to become a writer?
Judith: I’ve been writing since I was 7 years old. I began with poetry and wrote my first story at the age of 11. In high school, I took every English class offered and in my senior year I asked my English teacher if she would support me in an independent study so I could write a book. She agreed and I did. Never published it.
FJ: You’re a ghostwriter. What exactly is that?
Judith: In my case, ghostwriting encompasses everything from working with what my clients have and expanding upon it, to taking an idea and writing a whole book.
In 1999 I began ghostwriting articles and newsletter material for business associates. From there I began ghostwriting blog articles and books, mostly self-development and business topics. Over the years I’ve written all or parts of several books under the authors’ names. In 2013, one of those books became a NY Times/LA Times Bestseller.
About the author and the Writer to Writer series
FJ: You’ve self-published several anthologies. How did you get started with that?
Judith: It happened almost by accident. I’ve been teaching creative writing for 20 years, and self-publishing classes for 8 years in Santa Clarita, CA and also in my hometown Pine Mountain Club, CA. I was moved by the fact that many of my senior students felt they had missed the boat and would never fulfill their dreams of being published authors. I wanted to help, so in 2003, I published my 1st anthology for one of my writing classes. Students were between the ages of 50 - 96 and submitting to the anthology gave them the opportunity to see their names in print. I just kept going from there.
FJ: What are you trying to achieve by publishing these anthologies?
Judith: Publishing their words is a dream many writers have but fear they will never bring to fruition. Contributing to an anthology is less daunting. It gives them the opportunity to contribute material without the responsibility of publishing.
In the Golden Pen Writers Guild we meet weekly and go through the entire process of writing, copyediting, and publishing our books, from draft to format to proof copies. So the project becomes an educational exercise with the finished product being the book.
FJ: What is Writer to Writer?
Judith: Writer to Writer is a writers community comprised of bloggers, authors, and prospective writers. As a proponent of self-publishing, I became aware that many people didn’t have access to information about self-publishing and book marketing. The How-to was missing.
Writers were wanting to self-publish but didn’t know how, so I began teaching classes that eventually evolved into a community. The next step I took was to write and publish the Writer to Writer book series for writers.
I invited experts in a variety of industries ancillary to self-publishing, social media and marketing and published the 2nd book in my series, Writer to Writer Success Mastery. (The founder of Fat Jack’s, Phillis Stacy Brooks, is one of them.)
The Writer to Writer book series is my way of offering information and perspectives from writers, to writers. It was born when I gave my advanced writers class an opportunity to share their expertise as self-publishers with other writers and continued from there.
Each contributed their own perspectives on writing and just as with the Golden Pen anthologies, those who wanted to do so went through the process of self-publishing step-by-step. It began as a way for them to observe the publishing process and prepare them for what would be involved when the time would come to publish their books.
FJ: Where do your ideas come?
Judith: That’s a really good question, Phillis, and one I often wonder myself. I am inspired by life: things I see, hear, and experience, and also the experiences of others. My mind is constantly coming up with ideas of what to create, what to write, and my biggest challenge is where to go with whatever comes forward seemingly out of nowhere.
Judith: I’m working on a few things, actually. It’s going to be a busy year! The 8th anthology for the Golden Pen Writers Guild, titled, This and That will be on the market in October.
My 3rd book in the Writer to Writer series, Make Money Writing, should be ready to go by winter. I’m also pulling together poems and material written over the years and creating a gift book with photos I’ve taken.
FJ: Do you have any advice for new authors on marketing their books?
Judith: Yes I do! The most important action any prospective author can take is not only to be informed but also to stay informed. Times and technology change quickly. Stay informed on book marketing, advances in social media and changes in other media. Write a book proposal. A publisher or agent would require it, and there’s a reason for that. If you are self-publishing, YOU are the publisher. Require it of yourself. You’ll gain perspective and an intimate understanding of your book.
If you want to sell books, you’re in business. The second most important thing is to create a business plan and marketing plan.
FJ: How do you get book reviews?
Judith: Ask. Ask. Ask. Never be afraid to ask for Amazon reviews, endorsements, and testimonials from everyone you know. Keep testimonials on file. You may never use all of them, but the more you have the better because you can pick from the best when you need them for marketing and promotion.
FJ: Do you have any upcoming classes or events?
Yes! This summer I’m launching a book series on the mountain near my home. My next writers’ retreat is coming up in August. Information for all my events will be available on my Writer to Writer Success Academy page on Facebook and also in my soon-to-be-open Writers Community. There will be lots of free tips and info and it’s free to join.
Email me, firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add you to my master list and send my newsletter.
FJ: Any last thoughts for our Fat Jack’s readers?
Judith: Now is the best time to move forward from wherever you are to wherever you want to be. Set your intention, commit and take the first step. That’s all we ever have to remember. Life will take it from there.
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