Monday, October 12, 2015

Meet the Utopia 2016 Bloggers - Jo Michaels

Happy Monday, everyone! Wow. I totally blanked on this post last week. Why? Because I was in the throes of interviewing all the awesome people like Stacey Rourke, Christina Benjamin, and BJ Sheldon over on the radio show. *squeals* But here I am, and I've got a bunch of awesome Q&A for you. If you're ready, grab a cup of Jo, sit back, relax, and let's get our interview on!

Get tickets for the event here!

What you do for work outside of blogging?
Wow. I do so many things! I'm a wife, a mother, an author (of course), the Utopia con blogger coordinator, a radio show host, and I own INDIE Books Gone Wild (an editing company that caters to Indie authors).

I find, in each of those roles, I learn a different facet of the book world. Being a wife, I understand what it's like to want to do all the bookish things while also wanting to spend more time with my husband. It's the same with being a mom. So, I can identify with all those authors who feel like they're being pulled in two different directions by life.

Being an author, I feel the struggle other authors go through to produce a great book, get it out there in the world, and market. That's why I'm a blogger, and it's why I hold my big blog event each year. We all need help, and I try to pay it forward as much as I can.

As the Utopia con blogger coordinator, I get a look at what all people have to balance in order to make things happen in their worlds and help where I can/when I can. Because I understand how life can get in the way, I try to make a schedule and give information way before it's needed/due.

A Daily Cup of Jo forces me to relax for half an hour or so each week and just talk with my peers. I've learned so many things from them!

Owning IBGW, editing, and formatting novels has given me a whole new perspective when reading and a great appreciation for a well edited novel.

What you do besides blogging in the literary world (editing, book reviewing, etc…)?
I'm a book reviewer, formatter, and editor.

What's the one thing you feel you've gained by doing the above?
I didn't gain one thing; I gained all the things. Most importantly, the people I've added to my tribe that have changed my life in profound and interesting ways. I've created bonds with other authors that (I feel) are unbreakable unless I choose to break them. That alone is worth more than gold.

How did you find Utopia?
Interestingly enough, it was my best friend, Tia Silverthorne Bach, who introduced me to the conference. She asked, "Hey, Jo! Whaddya think about this? Wanna do it with me?" I looked over the website, read all the pertinent information, and agreed to take this leap off the Cliffs of Terror with her. I dove right in and started interviewing authors so I wouldn't feel so dang out of place when I arrived. I haven't looked back.

What did you learn or gain at Utopia that you don't feel you would've gotten anywhere else?
I gained my people. That first year, I sat down with these four amaaaazing women, and made lifelong friends as we brainstormed Fractured Glass. Without Utopia, it would've been an online relationship where I knew them by name and face, but not by the grip of their arms when we hugged, or the way they each light up a room when they enter it. No stories of our lives would've been shared, and we may not have gotten together the second year we were there to create our new novel, 7. It was the energy at this particular conference that fueled our imaginations, and I know it wouldn't have been the same had we been anywhere else. Plus, we did karaoke together that first year, which broke the ice in unbelievable ways. *grin*

What's one thing you’d like to see folks in the literary world do (together or separately)?
I'd like to see more of them get together and help one another. Not just by sharing advice, but by sharing things socially, meeting face to face and sharing ideas, and finding a way to pay it forward more. There's a lot of that going around, but I feel there could be more.

How do you feel you contribute to the writer world at large?
I hold my big 12 Days of Review Requests event on my blog each year to help Indie authors get sales and reviews for their books. I'm also going to start soliciting other authors for backmatter material in the way of previews and buy links for their books in the ones I have that are along the same lines (zombies, fantasy, historical fiction, etc...) so I can (hopefully) help even more.

What's your ultimate blogging goal?
I've already met it. *grin* It was to have that one person who learned something here message me in some way and say, "Your post was exactly what I needed. It saved my forehead from the red mark of shame." I've now heard that numerous times, and it never fails to make me smile. I remember starting out and struggling to find my own footing. All the content on this blog is here to help others navigate the twisty roads of publishing without getting too lost.

If you don't have tickets to this event yet, you need to get them right now!

Go here! Go, go, go!

Be sure and visit the other bloggers this month!
Week 1: Jo Michaels (who actually posted on week two) and Maria Pease Week 2: Shana Benedict and Delphina Miyares Week 3: Toni Lesatz and Ren Reidy Week 4: Ashley Bodette and Kathryn Grimes

Have you found your happy here on the blog? Ever run across a piece of information that made you have an ah-ha moment? Tell me about it below!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!


1 comment:

  1. Great interview! Love hearing about all of your (many, many) projects you have going on.


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