Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a Texas bred but California bound creative writer. My mother would say that I have been a professional writer since the 6th grade when I first pitched an article to a magazine.
However, I didn’t really begin to take creative writing seriously until I was 33. I have written and published three books. Two are non-fiction about nutrition and entertaining, and the third was a book of poems and flash fiction.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The name of my latest book is: SIP: 90 Cocktails for 90 Days of Summer. I co-wrote it with my younger sister, who is an entertaining and lifestyle maven! She loves to cook and throw parties.
She pitched me the idea for a book of cocktails on a whim and we immediately got to planning and writing. Before we knew it, we had amassed a snazzy collection of recipes. We created them by trial and error, which was very fun.
Since I am a writer by trade, I decided to include fun trivia and historical facts about cocktails in the book as well.
We will be publishing a holiday version this October.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I am not sure if this is unusual or not but I write everything by hand first. I am the “Journal Queen” according to my friends.
I write down all notes, outlines, and even rough drafts in journals.
People even buy me Moleskin journals for my birthday.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Anne Rice, Stephen King, Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith, and Adrienne Rice to name a few.
What are you working on now?
Currently, I am wrapping up my first collection of paranormal short stories and a book on fun Popcorn recipes.
I really enjoy living in the fiction and non-fiction worlds as a writer.
It is quite normal for me to have fiction and non-fiction writing projects going on at the same time.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Twitter by far! I don’t have a huge following but thankfully, I get a decent level of re-tweets and engagement from the site.
Second, I would say Facebook, even though I only use my personal page to promote my books.
I wish Pinterest would take off for me but it hasn’t. I love that platform.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
My advice is that if you want to really take your author career seriously then you must do two things very well:
1. You must write a good quality book with compelling cover design
2. You must have a healthy book promotion plan of action and budget
It really takes savvy early planning such as building an email list and solid pre-launch promotion and post publish paid marketing to really see strong sales for your book, especially as a new author.
I am learning how vital this is now after my third book.
I think the fourth time will be the charm!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I ever received was from a former boss. Its simple:
“If what you are doing isn’t working, then you must do something else.”
Seems obvious, but that straight-forward advice is really guiding me in my life now more than ever. And I was given that advice over a decade ago.
As I venture more into indie-publishing, it is advice that keeps ringing true every step of the way in my author journey.
What are you reading now?
At the moment I am reading, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Delores Claiborne by Stephen King, The Desire Map (again) by Danielle LaPorte, and my latest issue of Writer’s Digest.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I hope to really break through as a paranormal and psychological thriller writer for fiction and as a respected lifestyle and food author for non-fiction.
I am trying to model my author career after Joanna Penn and Sean Plait, who write fiction and non-fiction. They are truly flourishing right now as author-entrepreneurs, and I find that so inspirational.
I want to do the same, but with my own touch.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Hands down my favorite book is, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.
Author Websites and Profiles
CJ Johnson Website