Let’s Chat with Author Janell B. Wojtowicz!
Welcome, Janell Wojtowicz and Readers. I’m so glad you could join us. This week we’re visiting with author Janell B. Wojtowicz (For those of us without a clue as to how to pronounce Janell’s Polish name, it’s Why-tow-vitch). Grab a cup and a spot in our circle. Don’t forget to join the conversation below for a chance to win an ebook copy of Janell’s novel, Embracing Hope.
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Janell Wojtowicz: Life Before Writing
Born and raised on an Iowa farm, I’m an introverted farmer’s daughter who ended up in the extroverted big city. My dad farmed 360 acres and raised cattle and hogs. Mom was the stereotypical homemaker. My brother is pastor in a small Iowa town. I’m the exception to the family’s rural tradition.
My first venture into city life was to Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I earned a B.S. in written communication/journalism emphasis. Returning to my Iowa roots, I worked the next 10 years as a reporter/editor in three rural community newspapers.
I married Frank, a Minneapolis guy (friend of the family), in 1993, and officially became a city slicker—a married version of Mary Tyler Moore. I worked in Northwestern’s PR department for 12 years, 16 months at a Christian inner-city nonprofit, and four years in public information for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Since 2010, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and now an author.
How Janell Wojtowicz Began as an Author
Embracing Hope is my debut novel. It launched in November 2016. I never set out to write it. The idea and compulsion began in 2007 when I watched a BBC version of Jane Eyre. That night, I dreamed the beginning, pivotal middle scene and ending of my story, and began writing it the next day.
It took nine years of stops and starts before Embracing Hope was published. Life interrupted: job loss/search, family health issues and loss, downsizing and moving, and apathy when the publishing world was turned upside down by ebooks and Amazon. I pitched my novel to and was rejected by 10 agents before I stopped in 2010 when I lost my full-time job. Looking for a job and pitching a novel are too similar and I could tolerate only so much rejection. During those years, I worked on the manuscript and the sequels for pure enjoyment without the pressure of pitching.
Pivotal Moments for Janell Wojtowicz
In 2015, one of my best friends and writing mentor died of a massive heart attack. A few months later it was as if he whispered from heaven, “Janell, it’s time.” I got serious and decided to try again in his memory. I pursued small publishers because the competition for agents was stiff and I was an unknown first-timer. I pitched to three small publishers in early 2016: one was a flat out rejection. The second offered me a contract, which I signed in April 2016. I withdrew my pitch from a third one as a result. In August, the publisher closed its doors. My novel hadn’t progressed beyond the contract, so I wasn’t surprised. I gave up on traditional publishing and considered self-publishing—for about a week.
I posted a question on the LinkedIn Authors, Editors, Publishers and Bloggers group about resubmitting to the third publisher. All respondents said I had nothing to lose, so I did. A few days later I got an email from a group member offering his advice. A Christian entrepreneurial businessman, he had published a few books. Over the next weeks, we discussed the state of publishing and our goals. He and his wife read my manuscript, then he asked if he could publish it since he was starting a traditional Christian publishing company, Discern Products. Embracing Hope is the first fiction venture.
Lesson learned: Never underestimate LinkedIn connections!
A Debut for Janell
What’s been odd about my “dream come true” is I’ve never done the cartwheel, cheering, or bawling that I had looked forward to for years. I’ve had heart palpations, tummy trembles, and occasional utterances of “Weeeee!” My hands shook as I held the proof. (Tweet That!) When the first box of books arrived, I gasped then sighed in satisfaction and relief.
And panic at the next hurdle: marketing the beast. Right now my publisher and I are focusing on getting Embracing Hope out to the masses.
What’s Next for Janell
There are two sequels in development. The story of the bad boy in Embracing Hope is 90 percent done. The second is 50 percent done. A fourth and fifth are twinkles in my eyes.
Some Insight From Janell
When I look back on it, I see God’s hand at work. Losing my full-time job and fruitless searching for a job disheartened me. However, managing the family issues and publishing a book would have been impossible if I had a full-time job. And while I had asked God why I had to go through the pain of losing the first publisher, I see it was how God directed me to Discern Products.
As often as Romans 8:28 is tossed around, I’ve learned that “God works all things for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
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Readers, thank you for joining us. You can find Janell at the following:
Goodreads – http://bit.ly/2p7bsMw
Twitter – @janellwoj
Author Facebook – www.Facebook.com/janellbwoj
And you can purchase her book at the following:
Amazon – http://amzn.to/2q4UXjf
Smashwords – http://bit.ly/2p77JP4
Barnes Noble Nook – http://bit.ly/2oBYm8g
Kobo – http://bit.ly/2pU5aQq
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Thank you, Janell Wojtowicz, for being the center of attention this week. Your journey and persistence are examples to us. God bless your every effort for Him.
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Lord, You’re so kind to use faulty vessels like us to accomplish Your purposes. Bless Janell as she labors to convey Your Truth through story. ~ For Jesus’ sake