Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Out and About at the Zoo

Welcome to Jo Linsdell , a very popular visitor here at Slow and Steady Writers earlier in the year when she demystified Twitter and told us about her new guide book Italian for Tourists. As well as being well-known for her writing, Jo is also an expert in promotion and marketing. Today l am delighted to present  the interview she gave to tell us more about her writing life and latest book--a picture book for children entitled Out and About at the Zoo.

Q: What is a typical writing day like for you?

Jo: I don't have a typical day as such. Being a fulltime mum to a 4 year old and a 9 month old means I have to fit in my writing time around them. I grab time when I can and make the most of it when they're napping. I tend to get most of my work done late in the evening after the kids are in bed.

Q: What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?

Jo: It's not easy but I try to make time for both everyday. I always have a to-do list written up for each day and make sure it includes both work and family based tasks. A trip to the park with my kids is right up there with writing a new chapter or carrying out marketing tasks.

I think when you love doing something you make the time for it in your life regardless.

Q: You recently released your first children's book Out and About at the Zoo. Tell us a bit about it and what you feel is the most important message you share.

Jo: I'm really excited about this book coming out. Out and About at the Zoo was released on 1st June 2012 and is a children's picture book. It's a fun day out discovering the different animals at the zoo. The rhyming text and colourful pictures make it perfect for younger children.

It also carries an important message as it highlights the joys of spending quality family time together. A day out like this one will remain with both the mother and child for a long time.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for the book?

Jo: I wrote the text after taking my son to the zoo for the first time. It was great to watch him discovering all the animals. Children see everything as magical and interesting. It's amazing watching them discover the world and being able to see it through their eyes.

I decided to make it rhyming text as those are my sons favourite type of books.

Q: You published this book using Create Space. What made you decide on this publishing route?

Jo: Self publishing is my plan A, not a back-up plan B. I like to have full control over every element of the book and call all the shots. In the past I've used (which I am very happy with) but, when I was researching print costs for publishing a full colour children's picture book, Create Space was nearly half the price. I'd been wanting to try them out and so this seemed like the perfect occasion.

So far I'm really pleased with my choice. The print quality is great and Amazon has one of the best customer services I've ever come across.

Q: You're currently doing a 3 month tour to promote the release of the book. Where can people find the tour schedule?

Jo: I have a page dedicated to Out and About at the Zoo on my website that contains all information regarding the book and the tour.

Q: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Jo: Yes several. I'm already working on another rhyming children's picture about a young fairy called May that dreams of one day becoming a tooth fairy.
I'm also working on a chick-lit and a non-fiction book about social media.

Q: Where can people follow you on-line?

Jo: I'm a real social media junky and pretty much everywhere. The sites I use most are:

 Wish I'd asked how she manages to fit all that social media networking into her life too...

 Thanks so much for fitting us into the schedule, Jo, and all best wishes for the success of the book. Looks just right for the great-niece.


  1. Thanks for hosting me on your site again Anne. It's always fun to be here :)

    Ah yes Social media... Like I said I'm a total junky when it comes to social media and have active accounts everywhere. The only 'big' platform I'm missing is Pinterest and given that it's now considered the third most powerful (after Facebook and Twitter) I can see myself 'pinning' very soon.
    In order to have a constant on-line presence across the board but not be chained to these sites 24/7 I program some posts in advance and also take advantage of syncing accounts together. I use to program a few tweets each day to post on Twitter. These then automatically post to MySpace and up until this month also to LinkedIn (Twitter is making some changes regarding third party apps and so now you can post to LinkedIn and have it show on twitter but not the other way round).
    I occasionally use the scheduled posts feature on Facebook. My facebook pages are also set up to sync with Twitter (which then goes to the others).
    My blogs are all automatically posted to Facebook via the NetworkedBlogs app too which is a great time saver.
    By automating my 'work' posts I can post in one place and have it show on all of them. I then just pop in and out when I get the chance and use that time to concentrate on build relationships on the networks. We should never forget the 'social' aspect. Just marketing is spamming and will quickly lose you followers and likes.

    1. Oh forgot to mention, my blogs are also automatically feed to my Amazon author page (as are my tweets) and to my Goodreads profile.

  2. Super amount of extra information there on the social media front. And Jo is great at practisibg what she preaches. Check out all her book pages and follow her on the social media sites. l have always found her ready to answer questions, help with advice.
    And Jo, think you also forgot to mention

    Thanks so much for your visit and all that helpful info. l'm so dilatory when it comes to social media. I've made notes on your tips and shall try to do better :-)

    1. Thanks Annie. I have several blogs:

      and my new personal blog

    2. Overawed at how much you achieve, Jo.

  3. Hi, Jo and Annie. I reviewed Italian for Tourist when it first came out. And, Jo is scheduled to be a guest on my site August 1st.

    I tried Lulu years ago and published my first children's book with BookSurge, which has morphed into CreateSpace. They're professional, helpful, and get the job done. Good choice.

    Out and About at the Zoo sounds wonderful!

    1. Thanks Karen. I'm looking forward to joining you on on 1st August.

      CreateSpace has a great on-line community too where members are always willing to offer tips and advice. It's packed with fantastic resources for authors and illustrators.

  4. Hi Annie and Jo.
    What a busy woman you are Jo. How lovely you have two gorgeous babies to take to the park and the zoo. I'm glad you find time for your writing and overawed at your marketing competence. You sound as if you know how to balance your happy life. Congratulations on your new children's book. I wish you every success.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Wendy. My two little boys are my world. My 10 month old just started standing by himself and is very quick at crawling so between him and my 4 year old they definitely keep me on my toes. It's a lot of fun though and they're great inspiration for new projects.

      I consider myself very lucky as I get to do all the things I love most; being a mum and being a writer.

      Marketing isn't really that hard to do, especially for writers as we're already creative people. It's easy to make it fun.

      One of the best quotes about marketing I've come across is

      "If you are the answer, what was the question?"

      I always try to remember it to help me stay focussed on my goals.

  5. What an inspiring interview with another very busy super achieving mum!

    Always so great to hear of other mums who are combining work and family - thank you for being so open with your advice.

    The book sounds wonderful - I have a monkey mad 3 year old daughter so sure she would enjoy it!


    1. Thanks Katie. Oh you should check out the free printable animals masks I made to go with the book. There's a monkey one ;) All you have to do to download it to spread the word by paying with a tweet or Facebook update.
      My son is definitely a cheeky monkey and with the mask he really gets into the part ;)

  6. Fantastic interview. WOW! And I thought I was busy! I definitely wouldn't be able to fit in two small boys, and when I had small boys, I didn't write. I congratulate you on your amazing schedule. Thanks for your freebie, and I'll see you on Twitter. :-)

  7. I look forward to checking out Out and About at the Zoo. I think the only way to keep up with social media is to sync some your sites. I'm just not there yet.

    1. Thanks Mary Jo. Syncing definitely helps. Building an on-line reputation takes time. You need to be constant in your efforts and create your niche. Try to work in your keywords so you become known for your topic. When someone thinks of that topic, they will eventually connect it to you.

      I wish there was a secret for overnight success but unfortunately I haven't discovered one yet. Luckily for us social media is constantly evolving and new applications and widgets are being creating on a daily basis to make our jobs easier.

      If you feel overwhelmed try concentrating on building a strong following on just one or two sites first and then branch out later on. It's better to have a good, active following on one site than lots of sites and no support. Quality over quantity ;)


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