We had the good fortune of connecting with Joni Franks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joni, what do you attribute your success to?
When I started my writing career, I choice the path of self-publishing over traditional publishing and I believe it has proven to be a key factor for the success of my book series and my brand. There are pros and cons to self-publishing. Being an indie author has required a 100% investment of my time and money, but it has allowed me to retain creative control of both my storylines and my illustrations, maintaining my original vision for my books.
When submitting manuscripts to traditional publishing houses, there is a strict agenda of how to go about it. It takes a lot of research to know what books publishing houses are looking for, who to contact, and if your genre is acceptable. Its routine to wait six months to one year for a response from your inquiry if you hear back at all. It is also recommended to only approach one traditional publishing house at a time. This can equate to a whole lot of waiting. If you are picked up as one of the authors a traditional publishing house is interested in, it is very likely that your content and artwork will be altered in an entirely different fashion than you envisioned.
My book series Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush, has given me a platform to address issues like labeling and bullying, equality, environmental conservation, and dark sky preservation without censorship. To date, this series of books has earned over thirty literary awards and achieved bestseller status. Presently there are six books in the series, one Spanish version, a coloring book, and a new book title to be released in 2022!
The series appeals to all age groups which has been a bonus. I have new mothers who read my books to their newborns because they want to raise their children with my messages. Dog lovers and adults also buy my books. I am happy to report that my oldest fan is Queen Elizabeth and I happily display the royal mail I received from the palace in my office.
I hear from my fans that my writing style comes from the heart and is very different from what is normally seen in mainstream publishing. I believe this is the biggest reason for my success. Being an independent author has allowed me to remain true to myself and publish the stories I see relevant. Self-publishing has allowed me freedom of expression in the content and the artwork that I own as an indie author.
The success of Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush has given me the courage needed to begin a companion series for a slightly older audience. The Crooked Forest, Legacy of the Holey Stone is the first book in my new series and has already won the prestigious Moms Choice Award in addition to the International Readers Favorite Five Star Review. This book addresses finding one’s life purpose and overcoming heartbreak and desperate odds. To learn more visit www.jonifranks.com.
I encourage you to remain true to yourself, listen to your heart and go boldly forward in whatever endeavor calls you. The rewards can be amazing!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am very proud of the artwork in my books. I spend hours searching the internet for images of my book characters. Everything is taken into consideration from hair color to eye color, to the characters age to all background images used. I then provide instructions to my publishing house to follow for the illustration placements and scene depictions as I see them. I am then assigned an illustrator who takes direction from my instruction to create the finished artwork. As an indie author, I own the artwork in my books which has been an advantage in creating a continuing series and keeping the characters consistent throughout.
I love the creation process! From dreaming of that next storyline to visualizing the illustrations. The support and interest that I receive from my fans keep me going forward.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The San Luis Valley of Colorado is a mystical place and a fantastic vacation destination! If my friends were coming, these are the places I would take them.
The Crestone Artisan Gallery is in downtown Crestone, Colorado at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It is an artist owned and operated gallery and I have the pleasure of being a working member, with gallery space for my award-winning book collection. In addition, you will find paintings, photography, pottery, sculptures, weavings, glass mosaics, jewelry and so much more! To learn more visit www.crestoneartisansgallery.com.
San Dunes Recreation and Hot Springs Pool is a natural artesian hot springs oasis! There is an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, sauna, and a family style grill. In the adult pool, called The Greenhouse, small plate appetizers are available and there is a bar as well. There is an outdoor recreation area and camping is available by reservation. To learn more visit www.sanddunespool.com.
Joyful Journey Hot Springs. Here you will find comfortable hotel rooms, spa service, hot spring pools, and various retreats. Tipis, yurts, RV camping, and camp sites are also available. To learn more visit www.joyfuljourneyhotsprings.com
The Great Sand Dunes National Park. No visit to the San Luis Valley is complete until you have visited this one-of-a-kind national park that is open 24/7 365 days a year. There is four wheeling, hiking, and camping. The wind-swept sand dunes glow beneath the rugged mountains and provide a geological wonderland that contains over thirty square miles of fascinating territory to explore. To learn more visit www.npa.gov.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My sweet Welsh corgis and inspirations for my stories, Sagebrush and Gyzmo
Other: Please feel free to reach out to me via email at email@example.com