Author Archives: Jo Ann Schneider

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My Publishing Journey: Part 2

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Last week I told about my very first published work, Babes in Spyland.

This week, we’re delving into my first published novel!

I mentioned before that after I’d gone to a professional writing conference I made a goal to have a YA book written and ready to pitch to an editor the next year.

Often times, at these conferences, you can pay for time with an editor that works for a publishing company.

Sure, you can ambush them in the hallway and try to tell them about your book, but I was much more comfortable with the idea of the two of us in a room by ourselves and the only thing we were there to talk about was my story.

I rewrote my first book seven or eight times. Maybe more. It was crazy! I had a great idea, but I didn’t know a whole lot about the nuance of telling a good story, so each time I learned something new, I would change my book.

Most often for the better.

After a year of writing, rewriting, having a whole bunch of people read it, more rewriting, and spending a whole lot of my free time with my laptop, I had a book to pitch at the conference!

The experience was perfect. The editor was kind and asked for a copy of my manuscript.

However, I knew that the two of us weren’t going to click. I liked this woman, but didn’t feel comfortable with the thought of working with her. I think our personalities were too similar so when, months later, she politely rejected my story, I wasn’t butt hurt.

So I took the book to another conference, once again paid to chat with an editor, and had another request for the manuscript.

Then I waited. I sent it to a few other editors and publishing houses, but only got rejections.

The next year, at the conference I’d first pitched at, I met a small publisher that I’d submitted too, and when I talked to them they were thrilled about the pages I’d sent them and asked for more.

At that moment, I knew they would publish the book.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever had that experience, but I felt it all the way through my body. I KNEW.

Sure enough, a month or two later, my first YA novel was under contract!

I still love this cover!

The road to publication after that wasn’t totally smooth. My book got pushed back in the schedule, which was frustrating. The publisher was having me post on Twitter (the social media platform of the day) which I was garbage at.

I anticipated heavy edits from the publisher, like many of the other authors that I’d spoken to who worked with them, but only got a proofreading edit. Typos and grammar. I knew my book wasn’t perfect, and had been anticipating the process of improving it.

I didn’t get that opportunity, which I’m still sad about.

However, I did get most of the other experiences I’d been wanting. Like being super excited when I opened my first Advance Reader Copies of the book!

This is me holding my first ARC copy of New Sight!

I remember being so nervous for the book to come out that I went and got a pedicure then went to Barnes and Noble, where I almost cried!

Second shelf up in the middle!

How many times had I imagined seeing my name on a book in a book store?!? It was surreal and a dream come true. One of the workers asked if I needed help, and I just pointed and said, “That’s my book!”

A week or so later I had my first book signing in a Barnes and Noble. (This was the thing to do back in the day)

Behold, myself and the amazing author Sarah E. Boucher!

I sold out of books and had a great turn out of family and friends!

This was in 2013. I’ve come a long way since then, embracing self-publishing and adopting a pen name in addition to Jo Schneider.

New Sight has been through a couple of cover iterations, which has been kind of fun. I do love the original, but my publishing company was bought up and I got my rights back, so I had to change the cover.

This version has my niece’s eye on it and the background is a picture I took of Druid Arch, where the finale of the book takes place. I love this cover, but it’s not to market, so I had to replace it.
Here’s the most recent version of the cover. It’s amazing. My brother-in-law did the eye rune in the background!

One book turned into three, and now there’s a finished trilogy for New Sight along with a couple of side stories!

One thing leads to another, and a whole lot of hard work, and suddenly you’re a published author!

Don’t give up on your dreams, people. 🙂


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My Publishing Journey: Part 1

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I thought it might be fun to take a walk down memory lane this week.

Not the memory lane where you cringe at the clothes you wore in high school, or the way you styled your hair during the 90s.

Nope.

I’m going to take you through my publishing journey!

I used to write I was young, but I put it down for a long time until I was in my late 20s. A friend started a writing group, I joined, and I’ve been telling stories ever since.

Mind you most of them were terrible, but I was writing, which is the key.

After I attended my first real writing conference I decided that, in a year, I would have a finished YA novel to pitch to an editor.

I accomplished that goal, but that novel wasn’t the first thing I published.

A friend told me about an online platform, which is long gone, that was looking for serialized fiction. An episode a week for a 12 week season. She wanted me to cowrite with her, which I declined, because, honestly, I don’t always share well with others.

So instead, I decided to write something of my own. Something silly and fun and not stressful.

This is where Babes in Spyland came to life!

Babes is a world that some friends and I created as a joke, and I took it over! (Buhahahaha)

Fine, I asked first.

Anyway, this is where it all started!

I published five seasons of Babes. At one point it was bundled into a book. I still have a handful of copies of that, and when I become a super famous author I’ll sell them for lots of money.

Right now you can get a copy of it on Amazon for just $99.00. What a bargain!
(Just kidding. Call me and I’ll make you a better deal.)

Is Babes in Spyland a good book?

Well, it’s not my best writing, obviously, because it’s my first published work. However, it is hilarious. Super Secret Agents battle ridiculous villains all while making smart remarks and looking fabulous.

The Super Secret Agency battles crime on a level that shouldn’t exist.

Agents Milkshakes and Sugar Lips, Agents Amphibian Queen and Bunnynose face off against the likes of mimes, Homebase Security, the lines at the porta potties, exploding puzzle boxes, baseball fanatics, a zombie flash mob, and the fish that got away, to name a few.

Follow these lovely girls of mystery as they are called on to escort a tanker of ‘happy’ milk to Billy Bonka’s chocolate factory. Or their task to infiltrate the mysterious island posing as free range chicken specialists — Chicktopia.

Not to mention, the perfect storm of trouble that lies in red light districts, a run through “The Pen,” cock fights, and a betrayal they never saw coming. All while looking good.

Someday I’ll get back to this world. I love the characters and the silly, yet serious, tone of the stories.

This is where it all began! The first week this gem hit the internet I was technically a published author!

The original logo for Babes!

A big thanks to the friend who begged me to write with her and then challenged me to submit a story so she wouldn’t feel so afraid to submit her own. We both got accepted. We both wrote several seasons on this platform. Since then we’ve both gone on to publish a LOT of books.

It just goes to show you that your first steps aren’t always what you think they will be.

My first FanX signing!


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The Books I Read in 2023

My original goal was to read 30 books in 2023.

I ended up reading, or listening, to 51 books!

I mean, 30 was certainly a Scotty answer (you know, tell the captain it will take an hour then do it in five minutes and look like a miracle worker), but I didn’t honestly expect to hit 51.

Some were quick and easy reads while others were soooooooo long.

There were three books that I started and didn’t finish (DNF). All of them because I got bored with the story and didn’t care about the characters.

Maybe I’ll man (woman?) up and make a goal to read 48 books in 2024. That’s one a week. That might be insane, but I’ve done it for two years in a row. (Knock on wood. Please don’t take this as a challenge to curse me, universe.)

Maybe I should stretch a bit…

Okay, fine, I’ll read/listen to at least 5 non-fiction books in 2024. Believe me, this will be a sacrifice. I love my fiction. I think I only read one non-fiction last year, so this will really be leveling up. I might even make one of them non writing related, but no promises.

What are your goals for 2024?


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2023

Tis the season for reminiscing.

In some ways this year was easier than 2022. No close family members passed away and I didn’t have major back surgery. I’m extremely grateful for both of those things!

At the beginning of 2023 I put myself on a strict schedule for writing and publishing, just to see if I could do it.

I stuck to it until this fall, when things went off the rails and I still haven’t been able to get myself fully back on the train. Or the wagon. Whichever. Both?

What happened?

I’m not sure. Maybe burnout. Between Nov 2022 and Sept 2023 I wrote four novels and four novellas. I thought I could keep that pace going, but the book I published in October gave me some serious issues, and I can’t seem to get my writing brain back in a good place.

I’m trying to remind myself to look on the bright side, so for a minute I’ll focus on what I published this year!

I put out four novellas as Jo Schneider!

I put out four novels and one Christmas story for Karly Stratford!

This is honestly a lot of words and a lot of products!

I’ve had a great time writing the Curvy Girl Crew series and I’m hoping to have the last book out the first half of 2024.

The fifth Hunger book is halfway finished, and I may put it and the last one out at the same time. I’m not sure yet.

I’m grateful for my readers and the people in my life that encourage me when I’m ready to throw in the towel.

Also, the hubby who provides caffeinated beverages and chocolate when he knows I’m struggling.

Things I’m looking forward to this year:
A cruise with my family
A trip to Alaska to see the Northern Lights (fingers crossed that they will show up the few days we’re there)
A trip to see the total solar eclipse in April (fingers crossed for no clouds)
Being able to exercise again
Finding a hobby to distract myself from writing woes
More writing 🙂

What are you looking forward to this year?


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