We are delighted to bring you some information on our sponsor for the Testimony Contest. J.J. Hebert is a best-selling Christian fiction author. His debut novel Unconventional has been the number one best seller in Amazon’s inspirational category many times.
We believe J.J. Hebert brings several very unique things to the table for the members of FaithWriters. For one thing he is a guy, and the guys are greatly outnumbered at FaithWriters. He is also young, still hungry and successful, but not so successful as to be unapproachable. Inside the storyline of his best-selling novel you might just find a part of your own journey as a writer.
One of the biggest benefits J.J. Hebert brings to the table is his experience in doing exactly what many of you want to do. In his personal story you will find what it takes to self-publish a bestseller. J.J. has done it . He is also the owner of MindStir Media, a successful self-publishing company. MindStir was designed from his experience being on the author’s side of the fence. His company will be publishing our first book of member testimonies and he has put together a very special package just for us. J.J. will be hands-on in our project as we seek to produce our own best-seller that will directly benefit our members and impact the world for Christ. He will also be involved in the marketing and promotion of our finished product.
Self publishing is definitely the wave of the future. There have been many best-selling self published books. Ever hear of The Shack? We have had several members ask us for direction in this area. Although we have had other companies approach us, we believe MindStir can do a great job for you. To be sure, though, we are putting them to the test with this book.
We hope to produce a series of books and we want your testimony. So please see the contest rules.
Here is a brief interview with J.J. Hebert.
How did you become a writer?
I started writing seriously about ten years ago. At first, I focused solely on fantasy (wrote seven drafts of one novel) and then I eventually transitioned into Christian fiction, followed by children’s fiction. I played the “querying game” for a while at the beginning of my career. I sent out many query letters to literary agents, and I even signed with an agent, but I ultimately chose to self-publish. Self-publishing was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. So I guess the short answer to the question is: I became a writer by writing, writing, and writing some more. Persistence is key in this business! Don’t ever give up!
I’ve published two of my own books – Unconventional and Weepy the Dragon. I also help other authors publish their books through MindStir Media, the self-publishing company I own.
Any bestsellers yet?
Both of my books have landed on Amazon best seller lists. Unconventional, for instance, has been the #1 inspirational book in the Kindle Store many times and the paperback has sold very well, too. My self-published books have sold tens of thousands of units.
I think our members will be able to relate to you in several ways. One way is the story we find in Unconventional. Can you briefly tell us the heart of the story?
The story centers on James Frost, a janitor trying to ditch the mop and become a published author. James faces a great deal of rejection and uncertainly in his journey, and he even “finds” God along the way. It’s a spiritual/inspirational novel that really focuses on “being different” – that it’s okay and actually better if you’re not like everyone else.
Is there any of your personal story in there?
I think there’s always some truth in fiction. As I mentioned earlier, I queried many agents, so I know what it’s like to face rejection and to doubt yourself. As most of you probably already know, it’s difficult to push through the rejections. There were many times when I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. I’m certainly not the most talented writer but I’m very determined. James Frost, the main character in Unconventional, is the underdog in me and in you.
Why did you decide to start MindStir Media?
After experiencing the success of Unconventional, and hearing from many aspiring authors, I decided to open MindStir’s doors to the public. I had heard many horror stories about other self-publishing companies and their author-unfriendliness; therefore, my main goal was (and is) to provide authors with unique and author-friendly publishing options. MindStir specializes in paperback, hardcover, and eBook formats. MindStir Media also handles the distribution – so all MindStir titles are available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Powells.com, BooksAMillion.com, etc. The thing that really sets us apart from all the others is the mentoring program included in each publishing option. I work directly with each MindStir author as their mentor.
What do you think of FaithWriters?
FaithWriters is a wonderful place to share your writing in a safe environment, and even pick up some paid writing gigs! It’s obvious that Mike and the staff work incredibly hard to bring value to the website. In fact, I’ve never seen a writing site offer more opportunities than FaithWriters – contests, writing gigs, discounts on other services, etc! Not to mention it’s a Christian site that promotes the gospel!
Any advice for our writers who are trying to become published authors?
Do what’s right for you and your career. Some will tell you to pursue traditional publishing, others will tell you to self-publish. I can’t tell you what’s right for your career. Pray and write daily. Don’t let anyone’s “no” stop you from following your dream. And I’ll say it again: persevere!
You have told me a few times that you are really looking forward to the “Testimony”contest with FaithWriters. Any advice for our writers about the contest and submissions?
When you sit down to write your first draft, don’t overthink it. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Sound crazy? It isn’t. Allow yourself to be writer first and editor second. Let that first draft flow out of you – from your heart. Then go back and do some self-editing.
What about members who have a book written and want your advice on publishing. Can they contact you?
Absolutely. I would encourage any FaithWriters member to contact me at 800-767-0531 or through the MindStir Media website where I offer a signup for a free consultation. I’ll even provide a 10% discount on MindStir publishing packages to members of FaithWriters who decide that self-publishing is for them.
Read J.J. Hebert’s best seller – Unconventional (click here to see it on Amazon)
More Testimonials for MindStir and J.J. Hebert.