Social Media Extraordinaire: Joan Y. Edwards

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In an era when a writer's ability to get published is dependent upon not only having a great manuscript but also their presence on Social Media, one author stands head and shoulders above the rest. Joan Y. Edwards. In a mere seven years time she has managed to rack up over 340,000 reads on her blog and over 1400 followers on Twitter!

How did she do it? She did it by following the Cardinal Rule: HELP OTHERS.  

One needs only to click open her blog to find all sorts of helpful tidbits; inspirational thoughts, practical "how to" information for writers, book reviews and author interviews, each blog followed by impressive lists of resources. Click on a tab called SubPub to join a group of writers who commit to submitting a manuscript the third Friday of every month ; a Joan inspired idea. Additional tabs prompt organizational strategies leading writers through the writing process from preparing a manuscript to submission. Check out a yahoo group and Facebook page she created called, To Market To Market, a place for authors to share book release, book launch and sales information; a place to legitimately promote their work.  

While building her multi-faceted blog, Joan generously responded and continues to respond to every comment and question, often doing research to help or reply to a social media query she received. Her generosity is evident throughout the blog and Facebook pages she has created. 

When other wannabe authors sat back waiting for that first publication credit before starting a blog, Joan jumped in with both feet. She built her blog with only one book publishing credit to her name, a children's book that she self-published. And right now, as I create this tribute, her second book, an adult non-fiction called Joan's Elder Care Guide, is being released. Joan is living proof of what can be accomplished while building publication credits. 

So who is Joan Y. Edwards? What makes her tick? Why is she so generous with her time? I decided to find out. 

1. Through your blog you continue to inspire and support writers of all experiences with your positive views on life. Where does your effervescence for life and helping others come from?

At one time in my life, I was depressed and didn't want to go on living. My parish priest told me to go for counseling...that they had it for whatever I could pay. If I couldn't pay anything, it would be free. It helped me to have a different outlook on life and to realize that I was a worthwhile person. I asked the priest what I could do to repay God for helping to save me. He said, "Joan, just continue what you've been doing ever since I've known you. When someone comes into your path who needs help, you try to help them. Just continue doing that. Continue being you."

2. If I had had you in my classroom when you were a child, would I have been able to recognize that giving spirit in a young Joan Edwards?

When I was about 5 years old, I bought my Mother a compact, lipstick, and powder. Out of my five dollars, I had only 3 pennies left. I cried. Mother asked me what was wrong. I said, "I wanted you to have these things for your birthday. But now I don't have any money left."

That was my first feeling of not enough. What Mother told me, set things straight in my mind. She said, "Always save some for yourself when you're giving to someone else."

At a later time in my life, I realize that she could have meant, "Think in abundance." Once you think in abundance, you're not worried about not having enough. Your focus is saying I'll have enough. Say: “God will provide me with an abundance of all I need.” When you have an abundance, you have enough to meet your needs and leftovers to share with others.

My childhood friends and high school friends say I shared with them on a personal level. I was shy in class. We always invited children to play at our house. We shared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs, and bologna with them. One time we shared so much our cupboard went almost empty. We got in trouble for doing that. To me, things seem to be more fun when I share them with someone.

3. Dr. Phil and others in psychology say we as humans are defined by a few significant events in our past. Would you be willing to share one event in your life that shaped you into the Joan Edwards we know?

My first online experience shaped my courage for trying other online ideas. I taught Children's Liturgy at our church for nineteen years. After Mother broke her hip and wasn't able to get out much, I realized there might be children who couldn't get to church. These children might enjoy reading devotionals and working puzzles related to the Gospel stories in the Bible. I asked the pastor if I could put the devotionals and puzzles on the church's website. He said, "Yes."

Therefore, I did the devotionals and puzzles for the next Sunday and sent them to the man who took care of our church website. Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! It was a wonderful success. People from all over the United States and other parts of the world (England, Trinidad, Philippines, Scotland, Australia) wrote me. They asked if I could do them two weeks ahead. I kept producing and sending things faster than the man at our church could upload them to the church site.

This encouraged me to learn how to create a website of my own. I took an online course at Central Piedmont Community College. I created my own website in July 2002 - www.joanyedwards.com. I sent those who requested a link when I uploaded new devotionals and puzzles. I even added skits. This early success encouraged me in other online endeavors. It led me to a writing contract for Liturgical Publications for 3 years writing devotionals and being an editor of creative things for children's liturgy.

4. Each blog post you do contains lists of resources. Where do you find the time to not only write interesting blogs but also compile the resources?

Once I've decided a topic on which to write, I use Google search to find out what others say about the subject. When I'm watching television with my husband, I copy and paste the links into Notes or send them in an email to myself. Then I copy and paste them into my draft blog post. I read through the links and decide which are the best ones to leave in the post. I delete the ones that don't seem helpful. Sometimes I write the post and then look up resources to backup my opinions.

5. How much time do you set aside for researching and writing your blog posts? What does your average schedule look like? Day? Week?

It takes me from three to four hours to write a post (including the search for helpful links). Sometimes, I work on three different posts during a month. I post the one that I finish first. The other two came close behind.

6. I see that you write adult books as well as children's. Which do you prefer and what should we expect from you in the future? 

I love telling and writing stories for children. I wrote and illustrated the picture book, Flip Flap Floodle in 2004. I'm working on illustrations for a chapter book, Larry, the Terrifying Turkey.
                                                                
I've written two screenplays: one for teens and one for adults. I've written a young adult novel called Immigrant Heart. After I finish my illustrations for Larry, the Terrifying Turkey, I'll focus on getting Immigrant Heart ready to submit again. I enjoy writing for adults and children. I'll read over my children's books, young adult books, and screenplays. Then, I'll decide where my heart leads me. Blog writing for adults will continue! I love interacting with readers!

Flip Flap Floodle available Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/jmzqudt

I enjoy reading self-help books. While I was caring for Mother, there were no elder care books. Mother's situation kept changing. I discovered that if I left plans for her care, things went better. These plans were very detailed, much like lesson plans that I left for substitute teachers during the 35 years I taught elementary school. Caregivers who came kept telling me that my plans helped them. I thought writing a book with things I learned might help others caring for their elders. My focus was to help the caregiver take care of her needs as well as the needs of the elderly.

Guide, Paperback:   http://tinyurl.com/gplnb4p

8. When I asked Joan about the intriguing cover of her new, Joan's Elder Care Guide book she sent me this quote from it's creator, talented artist Aidana WillowRaven: 

"This particular cover is a digital compilation sketch and painting using a couple photographs of Joan's mother, making it a personal tribute for her, as well as an encouragingly informative guide and handbook. I include a B/W sketch on the title page, too."  

9. Does Joan Edwards ever sleep?

I admit that if a project is on my mind, I work on it until it's finished, even into the wee hours of the morning. Other times I might work late because I'm in the creative zone...not realizing there is anything else going on. I'm completely in the story with the characters, or completely in the blog post. I also love to begin a book and keep reading until I finish it.

Thank you Joan for sharing this personal glimpse into what makes you tick. Thousands of  blog readers are grateful for your continued contributions. 

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If you would like to share in the accolades and/or suggest future blog subjects for Joan to research, feel free to leave a comment or contact her through one of the links below.

www.joanyedwards.com


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Sandra Warren is the author of Arlie the Alligator, We Bought A WWII Bomber and other books for children and adults!

18 comments:

Carol Baldwin said...

Nice interview with Joan, who does help others! Great tribute.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Sandra,
Thank you very much for posting an interview with me on your blog. You asked intriguing questions. I appreciate your kind words about me. I love sharing helping others achieve their goals and gain inner strength.

Celebrate you and your writing talents and your compassion for other writers.

Never Give Up
Joan

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol Baldwin,
Thanks for your compliment. You also help may with your insightful blog.

Sincerely,
Joan

Sandra Warren said...

Thanks to both Carol and Joan for your comments. Together the two of you have influenced thousands with your respective blogs. I admire you both.

sheri levy said...

Sandra, this is a wonderful way to let me know more about Joan and to tell her how much her kind nature inspires me. I loved your very in depth questions. Great interview and post!

Georgia Ruth said...

Sandra, thank you for introducing me to Joan's wisdom. I am constantly amazed how generous writers are. This business is not cutthroat like many competitive industries. I tend to think it is because we spend a lot of time tapping into motivations and have compassion for different personalities. As artists, we are really competing against ourselves.

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

Wonderful interview, Sandra, of a wonderful lady! Congratulations, Joan, on all your great accomplishments and for just being you!

Vivian Zabel said...

I enjoyed the interview. I look forward to meeting Joan in person a week from tomorrow.

Vivian Zabel said...

I enjoyed the interview. I look forward to meeting Joan in person a week from tomorrow.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Sheri,
Thank you for coming to Sandra's blog to say, "Hello." Thank you for telling me that my kind nature inspires you. Your fun way of dealing with animals inspires me. You are a blessing!

Never Give Up
Joan

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Georgia Ruth,
"Hello. It's a pleasure to meet you." Thank you for writing. You are right. Writers are generally willing to share their knowledge and skills with each other. I believe writers share great compassion for others.

Good luck to you with your writing and other creative endeavors.

Never Give Up
Joan

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Linda Vigen Phillips,
Oh my goodness! You are so sweet! I'm so glad that I know you. Thanks for sharing the links to Joan's Elder Care Guide with your Stephen Ministry group and others. I hope your book, "Crazy," continues to jump off the shelves.

I hope to see you at the SCBWI-Carolinas conference in September.

Never Give Up
Joan

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Vivian Zabel,
Thanks you for stopping by. I'm very glad that you enjoyed Sandra Warren's interview. She asked really intriguing questions. I'm getting excited about getting to meet you at the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. conference next week. Thank you as President of 4RV Publishing for believing in me and publishing "Joan's Elder Care Guide."

I hope it makes money for you and your company!
Believe in You
Never Give Up
Joan

Linda A. said...

I know Joan well and I'm so thankful that I do! Sandra, your interview encouraged Joan to share stories and that's also one of her many gifts. Very well done ladies and I'm sure Joan's book is well done too! It's going to be so very beneficial to so many!

Sandra Warren said...

Sheri,
I'm glad you enjoyed getting to know Joan better. The questions I asked were things I've always wondered about.

Georgia,
You are correct...writer's are very generous and giving. Joan has much to offer even mystery writers, like yourself. I hope you join her blog.

Linda Phillips,
Ditto to what you said...thanks Joan for being you.

Vivian,
I'm sure you'll enjoy meeting Joan.

Linda Anderson,
I was surprised and delighted by the stories Joan shared. All writers come by their talents and their passion for writing in unusual ways. I wanted to learn Joan's.


Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Linda Andersen,
Thanks for stopping by to say, "Hello." I'm glad you enjoyed hearing the stories I told in Sandra's blog post. I do hope that my book encourages and helps many caregivers and their elders to believe in themselves and never give up! Thanks for sharing my life's journey.

Never Give Up
Joan

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Sandra, Linda Phillips, Georgia, Vivian, and Linda Andersen,

It was fun talking with you. I love sharing stories. I hope your writing and publication dreams become reality for you!

Never Give Up
Joan

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Sandra,
Thanks again for interviewing me on your blog!

May God bless you with an abundance of everything you need!

Never Give Up
Joan

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Hi! I’m Sandra Warren, a writer with very eclectic writing tastes. I’ve been fortunate to have publications in multiple genres including children’s, gifted education, parenting, how to, poetry, journal, educational activity guides and biography as well as audio and video production. I'm a city gal recently transplanted to the mountains of NC where glorious mountain vistas inspire latest renderings.

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