Frequently Asked Questions

Tell me what you want, what you really really want (to know)


Below are the questions I get asked most…well…frequently. Click the question to see the answer.



Most Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a book published? How do I write a book?

Writing can be really, really confusing, so I understand why so many people email me with questions about it. To try and make it easier on my inbox, I’ve literally posted ALL SORTS of writing stuff on this site. Go to the Publishing FAQs section, and also check out my videos on YouTube! I’ve also written THIS BLOG ENTRY that gives you the very basics on both traditional and self-publishing. I also get a lot of questions that there is no right answer to– “How do you know when your book is done?” or “Should I outline this way, or that way?” The truth is, writing is a very personal thing– and when I think my books are done might not be the same point that you think your books are done. Go with your gut, avoid your lazy bone, and trust yourself!

Can I have an ARC/book/swag for a giveaway/bookstore/friend?

Once a book is available in stores, free review or giveaway copies are no longer available. If you want an ARC, a guest blog post, an interview, or a charitable donation, please email publicity@lbchildrens.com. It’d also probably be helpful if you read THIS post by Saundra Mitchell on the finer points of getting ARCs. As far as swag goes– I typically only have enough swag to “fund” my own giveaways. I am, however, happy to send you bookplates for your site giveaway. Just send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and I’m happy to send you up to ten bookplates (please specify which books you’d like them for– some of my titles have unique bookplates!). Please include a note with your blog URL and how many of each bookplate you’d like. Please don’t get more than you’ll use– they are not cheap!

Can I interview you for my site? Can you do a guest post for my site?

For guests posts, interviews, or guest videos, please email the publicist of the publisher of the book you’re most interested in having me discuss. AS YOU WISH is with HarperTeen; the fairytale series and PURITY are with Little Brown; the PIP BARTLETT series is with Scholastic; the SUPERSPY series is with Bloomsbury; TSARINA is with Razorbill.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration comes from all sorts of places– and every book I’ve written has a different “inspiration” story. With AS YOU WISH, I set out to create an urban fantasy that starred a paranormal being seldom used in YA fiction. Jinn and Viola’s story slowly developed as I began to play with the idea of a master falling in love with a servant. The story took a long time to develop and become the book it is today.

For SISTERS RED, things were a little different. The idea of a new Little Red Riding Hood, one who wasn’t afraid of wolves, has always been an interesting idea to me. I’d also been wanting to create a story about sisters for ages– what it means to be the older/younger sister–and the two different ideas crashed into one another. The SISTERS RED that will be available in stores is not wildly different than the first draft.

I got the idea for SWEETLY while I was driving. It was the first book where I got the idea in an “a-ha!” type of moment. I always knew the story would take place in a chocolate shop, and I always had a good handle on Sophia’s character, but it took me some time to work out who Gretchen was and what she wanted.

I got the idea for PURITY while driving home from a winterguard competition. Originally, I was going to call it 27 WAYS TO LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY and it was going to be a light, fluffy, antics type novel. When I started working on it however, it ended up being not only about losing one’s virginity, but about God, love, and mourning.

I got the idea for FATHOMLESS because I was very inspired by the original version of THE LITTLE MERMAID. I always felt bad for the temple princess, the girl who the prince chooses instead of the Little Mermaid. She’s painted as a villain in the Disney version, when really she was just another girl that the prince happened to love more.

I got the idea for COLD SPELL after reading the Snow Queen, a fairytale I adore now but wasn’t familiar with in my childhood. I loved how, unlike most fairytales, the girl went on a dangerous, crazy mission to save the boy, instead of the other way around.

I got the idea for TSARINA from my publisher– they approached me and asked about a book set in Imperial Russia, starring a noble girl and a magical Faberge egg. From that point, I was incredibly inspired by history, which was so fascinating it required little fictionalization.

I got the idea for THE DOUBLECROSS (and its subsequent sequels) while trying to fix a broken idea. Originally, I’d wanted to write a story about wizards who work as spies. That didn’t really work, so I started dwelling on who else might make an interesting spy. As someone who didn’t exactly excel in gym class, the idea of a big-boned kid who makes up for athletic meh-ness with a lot of wit and a noble heart jumped out at me.


General Questions

Your book isn’t in my local bookstore!

Authors have ZERO say in where their books are stocked. Trust me, if I had it my way, it’d be in every store, everywhere. Most major stores like Barnes & Noble cycle out books after about three months. Very, very few books manage to stay longer than that. SO, if you’d like to buy one of my books and don’t want to use a site like Amazon.com or BookDepository.com, ask your local bookstore to order it for you. You won’t have to pay until the book arrives and, if it gets there and you decide you don’t want it after all, there’s no harm done!

Where were you born? Where did you go to school? How many siblings do you have? How old are you?

Born: Raleigh, North Carolina. College: Georgia College & State University and the University of Georgia Siblings: One younger sister, Katie. Age: I was born in 1984. For more of this type of question, check out the Bio page!

Can I send you something via snail mail?

Yes. Especially if it’s something awesome, like a letter or a cookie or a pony.

Jackson Pearce

P.O. Box 7008

Atlanta, GA

30357

If you want a signed bookplate, just send me a self-addressed, stamped-envelope (a normal sized envelope is fine)! Please specify which book you want the bookplate for, since I have different plate designs for each. If you want to send me a copy of one of my books to sign, please include a shipping envelope with adequate return postage.

I’m writing a paper on your book/I’m supposed to shadow someone/I need help with a school assignment.

All the answers to homework-related book questions are in the book. If you’re writing a paper on me as an author, read the rest of these FAQs and if there’s something that’s still unanswered, shoot me an email! I get a LOT of requests to “shadow” me for a day, primarily from college students. Shadowing me would entail sitting on my couch, in silence, while I worked on my book. Maybe, if you were lucky, we would sit in a coffeehouse, in silence. I promise, it’s not very exciting.

How long did it take you to write your first book?

It took me a little over a month to write AS YOU WISH, and another year to edit it. That said, there was another book that has never been published that I spent YEARS on. It got to the point that I was obsessing over it instead of creating something new, so I forced myself to put it down and write AS YOU WISH.

How old were you when you wrote you first book? What about when you published your first book?

I wrote my first book in high school, but it was never published. I wrote AS YOU WISH when I was 22; it sold to Harper Collins when I was 23 and was released when I was 25.

How do you get past writers’ block?

I tend to outline very, very heavily, and usually get through all the writers’ block stages there. It’s a lot easier because that way if I get stuck or need to back up, I don’t have to undo months work of work– I just have to fiddle with the outline. When I get stuck while outlining, though, I usually just walk away. The more I try to solve a problem, the harder it becomes, but if I sit it out, read another book, or work on another project, the idea almost always comes to me.

Who/What inspired you to start writing?

There isn’t one author who inspired me to start writing. I loved reading as a child, and started wanting to create my own stories when I was about nine years old. I think all the books I read before and since then inspired my writing today.


Publishing Questions

How do I get a book published? How do I write a book?

Writing can be really, really confusing, so I understand why so many people email me with questions about it. To try and make it easier on my inbox, I’ve literally posted ALL SORTS of writing stuff on this site. Go to the Publishing FAQs section, and also check out my videos on YouTube! I’ve also written THIS BLOG ENTRY that gives you the very basics on both traditional and self-publishing. I also get a lot of questions that there is no right answer to– “How do you know when your book is done?” or “Should I outline this way, or that way?” The truth is, writing is a very personal thing– and when I think my books are done might not be the same point that you think your books are done. Go with your gut, avoid your lazy bone, and trust yourself!

Do I have to be a certain age to publish a book/get an agent?

You do not have to be eighteen to publish a book or get an agent. There is no age limit on publishing– kids as young as six have made the NYT list. Often, this question is followed by “Will my parents have to sign the contract?” Honestly, I don’t know, but I don’t think so. Your parents don’t have to sign anything to allow you to have a part time job, so I would think the same rules apply. But really, I have no idea.

I want to write a novel. Where should I start?

I love to outline, so much so that I did a video on it: CLICK to see. I always, always start with an outline. And then? Write the book– as fast as possible. Don’t edit as you write. That’s just how I do it though; everyone has their own method. And then? Edit until you want to cry into your cat’s fur for hours at a time. And then? Repeat the last step until it’s as good as you can make it, NOT “as good as I can make it without really tearing up the whole plot.” I have a few other how-to-write style videos on my YouTube page, for what it’s worth.

I’ve already written a novel. Now what?

I tend to think of the writing side and business side of publication as two entirely different things. If you want to venture into the business side and seek publication, you’ll need to prepare yourself for a fairly intense experience. Here’s my version of a to-do list: 1) Revise the novel. Edit it. Look at it as if it weren’t your baby. Let other people look at it. 2) Write a query letter. Re-write and re-draft the query. Use agentquery.com and the Verla Kay Blue Boards as a source for query letter writing help. Use the blueboards for information while posting to cheer other writers on. Use THIS article by Saundra Mitchell to make the query perfect. 3) Query five agents you’re interested in. Wait to hear from at least three before you send another five letters. 4) Begin working on a new project. A new project will take your mind off the project on submission, and give you something new to be excited about if things don’t go so hot with your first project (they didn’t with mine, and I would’ve cracked if I hadn’t been working on AS YOU WISH). 5) Don’t self publish simply because you can’t get a publishing house or agent to take on your work. Self publishing is right for some types of books– non-fiction, text books, etc– but is generally NOT the thing to do with fiction if you want to be the next Meg Cabot or J.K. Rowling and the like. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before you self-publish.

What writing books do you recommend?

I’m actually not a big fan of writing books because I think writing is a very personal process– and the aspects of it that aren’t as personal have tips and suggestions widely available on the internet. The only book I really love and would buy is BIRD BY BIRD, by Anne Lammott.

Do I really need an agent?

I think so. While I never would advise you ignoring the business side of writing with the assumption that you agent will handle important decisions, an agent can advise based on years of experience in the industry. Not only that, but an agent has access to editors that an unagented writer doesn’t. It CAN be done without an agent, but I wouldn’t want to try it. AgentQuery is my favorite source for agent info, and is more up to date than books on the subject. I’d also check out Writer Beware’s signs of a scam agent and worst agencies list so you don’t get duped!

Will you recommend me to your agent? Can I tell your agent I know you?

If you actually know me, feel free– but he always checks with me, so be honest. I no longer recommend new clients to my agent.

Do you have any advice on writing in general?

General advice, via me and 28 other YA authors:

Can you read/critique/give me thoughts on my manuscript/query?

Probably not. There are several reasons for this; one, because doing a thorough and worthwhile reading takes time, something I’m fairly short on. Two, because it opens me up to a feast of potential copyright issues. And third, because you want a critique PARTNER, someone you can work with long term, someone who becomes unafraid to tell you when a scene sucks and is willing to hear the same from you. Chances are, there’s someone in your writing circle who fits those criteria better than me anyhow. That said, I do occasionally take on freelance editing clients. This is a paid service and only for those who are over 18. If you’re interested, please contact me for rates and details.

Will you blurb/blog about/mention my book/project/website?

Blurb requests need to go through my agent. I don’t blurb self-published titles at this time. As far as blogging or mentioning your book/project/website goes– this blog isn’t meant to be a promotional or advertising outlet for others, but rather a place for me to talk about my own books or whatever strikes my fancy. I appreciate you thinking of me, but there are better resources for advertising!

Do I need a college degree to become a writer?

I did a big giant blog post just on this topic! Read it HERE.


Book Related Questions

Is the Retold Fairytale Series finished?

(This might be spoilery, if you haven’t read the books)
Yes, COLD SPELL is the last book I plan on writing in that series, at least for now. There is admittedly lots of room for additional stories, and I’m a little sad I won’t get to write the Goose Girl retelling I’d been looking forward to doing next. Unfortunately, sales for FATHOMLESS and COLD SPELL weren’t high enough to justify a fifth book in the series– those two books are actually going out of print soon. SISTERS RED and SWEETLY have sold nicely, and will still be available.

(COLD SPELL spoilers below)
I know some readers are disappointed because there was no “final fight” in COLD SPELL that brings all the characters from the previous books together for a big werewolf-destroying showdown. I can understand why that’s frustrating, especially if you went into the book expecting that. I did, however, always write these books as companions, not hard sequels– there isn’t a single over-arcing 4-book plot thread that needed such an ending. Yes, the Fenris are still out there, but quite frankly, they’ll always be out there. They’re an evil older than Scarlett and Rosie and Samuel and Gretchen and Celia and Lo and Kai and Ginny. What was important to me, in each of these books, was showing how those characters address and live with the reality of evil and their role in stopping it.

Why are you using a pen name for TSARINA?

Basically, for contract-y reasons. TSARINA is a “package” or “write for hire” book. To make it simple, Razorbill approached me and this conversation happened:

Razorbill: WE LOVE IMPERIAL RUSSIA!
Me: OMG ME TOO I AM AN IMPERIAL RUSSIA NERD HERE ARE SOME FACTS!
Razorbill: Want to write a book about it?
Me: WHY YES I DO.
Me: *writes book*

To make something super clear: I absolutely love TSARINA as much as any other book I’ve written. “Write for hire” is not a dirty word. Or string of words. Or whatever.

Write for hire deals are often done under pen names for contract/copyright-themed reasons, which is why TSARINA is being “written” by J. Nelle Patrick instead of Jackson Pearce.

Is your book appropriate for my child?

I really don’t know– I don’t know your child. Reading is a very personal experience, and what one kid can handle in fifth grade might be wildly different from what another can handle. My advice is to never stop your child from reading a book he or she expresses interest in, even one that might contain challenging topics– but to be aware and present so you can discuss any touchy subjects that arise.

Can I have an ARC/book/swag for a giveaway/bookstore/friend?

Once a book is available in stores, free review or giveaway copies are no longer available. If you want an ARC, a guest blog post, an interview, or a charitable donation, please email publicity@lbchildrens.com. It’d also probably be helpful if you read THIS post by Saundra Mitchell on the finer points of getting ARCs. As far as swag goes– I typically only have enough swag to “fund” my own giveaways. I am, however, happy to send you bookplates for your site giveaway. Just send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and I’m happy to send you up to ten bookplates (please specify which books you’d like them for– some of my titles have unique bookplates!). Please include a note with your blog URL and how many of each bookplate you’d like. Please don’t get more than you’ll use– they are not cheap!

How long did it take you to write your first book?

It took me a little over a month to write AS YOU WISH, and another year to edit it. That said, there was another book that has never been published that I spent YEARS on. It got to the point that I was obsessing over it instead of creating something new, so I forced myself to put it down and write AS YOU WISH.

How old were you when you wrote you first book? What about when you published your first book?

I wrote my first book in high school, but it was never published. I wrote AS YOU WISH when I was 22; it sold to Harper Collins when I was 23 and was released when I was 25.

Can you sign my copy of AS YOU WISH/my ARC of SISTERS RED/my arm?

I’d love to– I post about signing events and they’re usually listed on my Amazon page. BUT if you’d rather, send me a self addressed, stamped envelope, and I’ll send you a signed bookplate (specify which book you want it for). Please do not send me your arm.

Will there be a sequel to any of your books?

There is currently no sequel planned for AS YOU WISH or PURITY, but I don’t want to rule that out in the future. SISTERS RED has multiple companion books in the works, including SWEETLY, FATHOMLESS, and COLD SPELL.

Will your book be coming out in my country?

On the BOOKS section of this site, on each book’s individual page, are the countries each book is currently slated to be released in. This changes all the time. If your country is NOT on that list, please don’t download my books illegally. It makes me hate you. For more information on why it makes me hate you, READ THIS and WATCH THIS.


School and Library Visit Questions

Who do I contact regarding you visiting my school/library?

For school and library visit info, please send me an email (Jackson@JacksonPearce.com).

Can you visit my school/library?

I would love to. No, really. I spend so much of my time staring at a computer screen that it’s exciting and fun to get to talk to real, live people. For more information on my school and library visits, like what topics I cover, various courses I offer, and my honorarium, CLICK HERE.


Video Questions

What kind of camera do you use to film your videos?

A Canon Vixia HF200

What program do you use to edit your videos?

I used to use iMovie. Now I use Final Cut Pro X. Both are only available on Mac.

How long does it take you to make a video?

This varies a lot, but usually around an hour to and hour and a half to film and edit one. Big videos, like Writers’ Blok, take about a week to film and a full day to edit.

Why aren’t you making more videos/videos about X/when will your next video go up?

Vlogging is a hobby; writing is my job. I really enjoy vlogging, but only do videos when I’ve got the time and energy to do them. Every now and then I need a break to work on a book, edit a book, or sometimes just to relax and have some time off.

Will you do a video about ________?

Send me an email with the suggestion! No promises, but I’m always looking for new video ideas.