About Jessica Fishman: Having grown up in a Midwestern Jewish and Zionist family, Jessica Fishman moved to Israel after graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Journalism and Business. She spent her first few years in the country serving in the Israel Defense Forces, learning the Hebrew language, and getting acclimated to the country. Jessica Fishman has written a number of articles about Israel and her story has been featured in leading Israeli and Jewish media.
After developing the popular Aliyah Survival Blog, which is an irreverent portrayal of an American immigrant’s first years in Israel, she has written a deeply personal, witty memoir about the difficulties, absurdities, and excitement of making a home in a new country.
She was inspired to write Chutzpah and High Heels: The Search for Love and Identity in the Holy Land after a life-changing event in Israel. Her goals are to share her experience and inspire social change.
Describe your writing style in three words: Straightforward, Witty, Sincere
Tell us about your writing/editing/publishing process: Let me start out by saying that I love writing! I’ve always loved reading, but I discovered that I loved writing thanks to an influential teacher in high school. My writing style changes depending on what I am writing and what stage I am in the writing process. For my memoir, the first draft of my manuscript was almost a purging process. I had been through a traumatic event and getting it all on paper was cathartic for me. However, it was also difficult. I would emotionally transport myself back to different experiences. While at first this process made the emotions stronger, over time, it helped to ease and dull the pain. Then during the editing process, I focused on the reader’s experience. Wanting to write a very compelling narrative forced me to look inwards in ways that I had never done before. It made me analyze and understand my experience in a way that ultimately allowed me to heal.
eBooks, Hardback or paperback books? ebook and paperbook.
Every author must have (a): A good excuse to procrastinate writing and a strong drive to write.
Where did you get the idea to write you book, “Chutzpah & High Heels”? I had first begun my blog about what it was like to move to another country. However, after I went through a negative experience, I wanted to share it in order to try to create positive social change.
Salty or sweet? More salty
How did you celebrate the publication of your first book? The day of, I had dinner and drinks with girlfriends. Then I launched a book tour.
If you weren’t an author you’d be (a): For my day job, I do marketing in the alternative energy industry.
What is the best advice you’ve been given? Keep revising
How would you spend a perfect day? Some combination of family, friends, outdoors, a book, and making a positive difference.
Where do you want your writing career to be in 5 years? Right now I’m focused on the publication of this book to think 5 years down the road! But I hope that 5 years down the road that my book may have made some difference on the social justice issues that it addresses.
What are you working on right now? Getting the word out about Chutzpah & High Heels.
5 Best Tips for Authors
While many tips for authors focus on how to write, I thought I would focus on marketing tips. While I’m a writer at heart, my profession is marketing. So I wanted to share some of expertise in marketing with authors, especially since the changing landscape of book industry places more of the marketing activity on authors.
- Hire a graphic designer: I’ve seen many people try to keep costs down by creating their own book covers. While we may be good writers, graphics is its own art form. Spend a few extra dollars so that the cover of your book reflects the quality of your writing. This also applies to your website design.
- Know your audience: I can’t stress this enough. Make sure that you are marketing your book to people that it will speak to. You can define your audience by age, gender, religion, politics, etc. Once you are able to hone in on your core audience, you will know where and how to find them.
- Get outside of your shell: Many writers are introverts – myself included. Writing is a very private activity, but marketing your book is not. Get out of your comfort zone to sell your book. If you want to do a speaking tour, find a presentation coach who can prep you.
- Use your connections: This does not mean force your friends to buy your book. It does mean ask them how they can help. Maybe they can set you up with a connection at a local community center for an author event. Maybe they know someone who can review your book. It also means, make sure that every contact you have with your connections that your book is mentioned. For instance, add it to your email signature, your cover photo on social media platforms, make a business card for you as an author.
- Get the word out: This is a wide suggestion, but it also gives you the opportunity to be creative. There are lots of things that you can do to get the word out. Create banners for social media that you can post in relevant groups. Send out a press release to media. Create a pre-order campaign. Develop leads. One way that I developed leads was by creating a contest on my blog for people to share their “Only in Israel Stories.” People would submit their stories and the winner won $100. Over 100 people submitted with their emails and once my book was published, I emailed all of them to let them know that they could now buy the book. The main point to focus on in getting the word out is to be creative and to make sure you are reaching the right target audience for your book.