Wednesday, May 29, 2013

COSCBWI May 2013: Jody Casella Author Visit

This month's COSCBWI meeting featured author Jody Casella.  Jody's forthcoming book, Thin Space, is set to release in September 2013, and she shared her publication journey with us.

It's always fascinating to hear an author's road-to-success story.  Jody has been writing her whole life, learning a lot along the way.  Thin Space will be her first published novel, but it was actually the sixth book she wrote.  Like many writers, she admitted she thought she was ready to submit before she actually was.  With a BA in Creative Writing and an MA in English, she already had a good foundation in writing, but attending conferences and workshops helped make her work stronger.  She's had her share of good--and bad--luck, including scoring an agent (woohoo!) only to have said agent make a career change (d'oh!).  But it has all worked for the best, and her current agent made her publishing dreams a reality.

Jody had a lot of interesting bits of advice to share, as well as some funny facts about her publication journey.  A few of these included:

-Don't over-think things.  As a perfectionist, she had the tendency in her first novels to write (and rewrite) a lot while in the drafting stage.  By the time she was done, a huge amount of time, energy, and words had been spent on a story that still needed a lot of work.  NANOWRIMO (aka, National Novel Writing Month) helped her adhere to writing goals and not get bogged down by nit-picking early drafts to death.  While her NANOWRIMO novel has changed a bit along the way, it ultimately became Thin Space.  (How cool is that?!)

-Find inspiration all around you.  Jody shared the stories behind her inspiration for Thin Space, including a shoeless boy she happened to see at her son's bus stop one day.  You never know when inspiration might strike, so be ready with a notebook and attentive eyes.

-Treat your writing (and illustrating) as if it's a "normal" job.  If you ran into a problem at your office, would you sit there and cry and doubt your self-worth?  Or would you find a solution through your own problem-solving skills and help from your peers/boss?  Don't be afraid to tackle a writing problem in different ways (it may take a few tries--or twenty), and never be afraid to ask others for help.

-Don't give up!  Jody once worked in acquisitions for a literary magazine.  It was her job to sort through the submissions and send out rejections.  She explained that ordinarily, 90% of the submissions were wrong for the magazine for any number of reasons, and that 10% were really great.  But of that top 10%, only three or four pieces could be chosen, and it broke her heart to send rejections to the writers that were sooooooo close!  (Which simply depended on the final say and whims of her supervisor.)  If you find yourself losing heart during your own submission process, remember that it's a subjective business and that you may just be closer than you think.

Lastly, Jody talked about her June blog interview series!  All month long, she'll be posting interviews with other writers regarding their publication journeys.  She has a wide variety of authors to spotlight, as well as many different routes to publication.  Be sure to check it out at:  (I can't wait to read the series!  June is just a few days away...)

I wish Jody the best of luck with her upcoming book release, and many more books to come!

If you want to learn more about COSCBWI, you can find out more on the group website at or "Like" us on Facebook!  I hope to see you at the June meeting!


  1. Thanks for the great summary! THIN SPACE is awesome.

    1. Glad you liked my summary! I can't wait to read THIN SPACE this September. It sounds like a fantastic book! :)