“Self- Publishing Is Not Always Financially Stable” - Jenna Summer

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1. Tell us more about your background and journey.

My name is Jenna and I choose to write under the name ‘J. S. Brown.’ I am 20 years old and the author of 2 poetry collections. I was born in Southern Ontario and I grew up on a farm with my Dad and Grandparents. I come from a large family of 3 sisters and 2 brothers (I am the second youngest) and I’m an Aunt to 3 nephews and 2 nieces.

I am enrolled in college, obtaining my bachelor’s degree of commerce, and I plan to become a chartered professional accountant when I finish school. I currently live with my boyfriend of six years, in a small town near Toronto, Ontario and together we share a 2-year-old Siberian Husky. 

2. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

 I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember – from poems to songs – I've been filling notebooks ever since I could write my ABC’s. I’ve always dreamed of publishing my own books but, I always thought you had to be some big, fancy author with a publishing deal in order to do so.

When I discovered all the websites and online tools for self-publishing, I was absolutely mesmerized. It took roughly two years to publish my first poetry collection but once I did, I was hooked! The following month, I published my second poetry book and just three months later I am sitting here working on my third book. 

3. Is it a financially stable career?

 Being a writer can be a financially stable career, however, it can be quite difficult when you are choosing to self-publish. A lot of the aspects of self-publishing are free, yes, but not everyone is able to design their own book cover, market their own book, or do the various other tasks required for publishing without paying someone to either assist or do it for them. 

Overall, self-publishing is not always financially stable but I’m sure there are people out there that are able to make a living from it! 

4. Who is your favourite writer and why?

 I’ve always told my Grandfather that the reason I’m a poet is because of all the Dr. Seuss books I had on my shelves while growing up. Although I wouldn’t say he’s my favourite author, he was the first author to influence my love for poetry.

Really, I can’t say I have an all-time-favourite author, because I read so many books, however, I adore books by Courtney Peppernell, R. H. Sin, and especially Edgar Allen Poe. 

5. Where does your inspiration lie?

 I gather inspiration from absolutely everything. From everyday life, to movies, to books and even just my imagination! Writing is my therapy and my escape.

Sometimes I write to share with the world but most of the time I write for myself. The people that inspire me to write the most is my grandparents. They have always supported and been the biggest fans of my writing since day one. 

6. What does your typical day look like?

 My mornings start with a serenade from my Siberian Husky, Lucy. She loves to sing me awake when she wants to go outside. After I’ve let her out, fed and walked her, I check up on my social media pages and respond to messages.

Once my boyfriend is awake, we get coffee and start our day. Since quarantine, my days involve painting, reading, writing, working on my book and my photography, however, I will be returning to work soon and then my days will change a bit.

I currently work in a small-town restaurant and I will be returning to school in September. My classes are completely online this year so I will be learning how to get into that routine when Autumn nears. 

7. What piece of advice would you like to give to future aspiring writers?

I actually have a page titled in my next book, ‘to the aspiring writer...’ and it goes something like ‘Don’t be naïve and assume that your words will not hold weight for at least one person.

There are 7 billion people in this world, and it would be impossible for your words to not hold meaning in at least one person’s heart. So, write it all out, even if you think it sucks. Odds are there is someone waiting for your exact words.’

8. Which is your favourite book and why?

 I read a lot of books and I always have a hard time picking my favourite book and author but a book that I can say I’ve read over 3 times is ‘The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd,’ and it’s a beautiful book about a young girl who struggles with the loss of her Mother.

She is mentally and physically abused by her Father and eventually runs away from home to find more information about her late Mother and in return finds home in a place completely unexpected. The book is based before the Civil Rights Act and is heart wrenching and exceptional! 

- Jenna Summer 

Interview By - Rupali Rawat 

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