J.J. Hebert, Best-Selling Author of “Unconventional”

First, thanks for hosting me, Tymothy. For those who don’t know, I’m the bestselling author of Unconventional as well as the President of MindStir Media, a self-publishing and book marketing company. Unconventional (paperback & Kindle) has spent time on the Amazon.com bestsellers lists, and the Kindle has been the #1 inspirational book in the Kindle Store numerous times. It’s been a fun ride for sure. To learn more about my writing, please visit my official Web site at http://www.jjhebert.net. I also offer free self-publishing and book marketing tips at my blog: http://www.jjhebertblog.com.

Today I’d like to share a bit about my journey as a writer, focusing on the moment I realized that I could be a writer … you know, that moment I said to myself, “I’m going for it!” I think I got my first taste back when I was around twelve or thirteen. I sat down at my box of a computer and wrote fifty pages of a book, Cyclopsis, and saved it on a floppy disk, which became the most valuable piece of technology I owned at the time. I guarded that disk with my life. There was a problem, though: The story lacked in almost every department. As a young teenager, however, creating fifty pages from scratch filled me with pride and I knew that I wanted to pursue writing at some point—if I could just figure out how to finish a story. I think that’s the most difficult part of writing for any young writer: learning to complete a story. Most people can type up a few pages but finishing a book, especially a novel, requires lots of drive, persistence, and focus. Oh, and I can’t forget planning (and some talent helps, too)!

I had my breakthrough (many years later) when I finally discovered (via online discussions) chapter by chapter outlining. Up until that point, I didn’t bother with outlining and just wrote freely without planning anything in advance. I sat my butt down and wrote an outline of what would become my first novel. This type of planning put me at ease and I knew that I was finally ready to go for it—to finish my first novel, tentatively titled Defiance Rising. I’m proud to report that I did finish. This time I saved it on a CD (times had changed), which I guarded like gold. I celebrated a bit. Celebrated some more. Then I read the first draft. Ouch. As before, it lacked in virtually every department.

Seven drafts and nearly a million words later, I set that manuscript aside and decided to take a break and write something a little more personal: Unconventional. The story flowed out of me very quickly. I wrote about fifty thousand words in a month. I referred to my new outline occasionally. I completed the novel in less than a year and then “I’m going for it” changed meaning: I was going to publish that book! I ultimately decided to self-publish Unconventional and, as they say, the rest is history!

When did you experience your “I’m going for it” moment(s)?



Unconventional is a wonderful story full of heart, humor, and what it means to truly be successful. An A+ novel for the keeper shelf.”

—Gemma Halliday, award-winning author

“I loved Unconventional, a stirring love story and spiritual journey that will surely touch your heart. You’ll remember James Frost for a long time!”

—Cecelia Dowdy, inspirational romance novelist

UNCONVENTIONAL is designed to inspire readers to reach for their dreams.

Buy this book. Read it. Share it with everyone you know. You—and they—will be glad you did!-Dorothy Thompson

Indeed. Thank you. J.j. You are a valuable asset to and in the writing community…and a powerful voice in the Kingdom of God.

If you’re on Twitter, Follow J.J. @authorjjhebert

About Tymothy Longoria

Tymothy Longoria has been described as a writer with a flair for the dramatic (whether this is true still remains to be seen). He is a fan of all things fantastic, metal music, black t-shirts, and aligns himself with geeks, nerds, and all manner of monsters, and is an ardent, optimistic supporter of his fellow creatives. He has written several short stories for the online macabre zine Underneath The Juniper Tree and in 2012 was awarded Debut Author of the Year by Twisted Core Press for 'Envy', his contribution to the Seven Deadly Sins Anthology. He is currently editing his full-length dark fantasy retelling, Revenants: Book One of The Stories. Fairy tales? If only. Legends will be reborn. Tymothy calls Texas home, where he lives with his wife, two children, and a cat called ThunderCat aka Kitty PawKitty. He is represented by Bree Ogden of Red Sofa Literary. View all posts by Tymothy Longoria

5 responses to “J.J. Hebert, Best-Selling Author of “Unconventional”

  • Ruth Fanshaw

    I knew I wanted to be write books from the age of about six, when I first realised the stories in books actually CAME from somewhere.

    My first attempt at “Going For It” was when I was about 14. I actually did complete my first draft, but it was only about 10,000 words long! 😀 And, yes, it was lacking in just about every department as well! 😀

    I’ve kept trying on and off over the years, and am now living another “Going For It” moment. I hope that I may actually have acquired enough skills as a writer to pull it off now! 😀

    Thanks for this post. It’s encouraging to be reminded that we actually can reach our goal, if we KEEP “Going For It”! 🙂

  • J.J. Hebert

    You got it right; keep going for it! 🙂

  • Tymothy Longoria

    What a fascinating entry! I love reading about how fellow writers have experienced their ‘go for it’ moment.

    Mine came within the last couple of months. I’ve been writing since I was a freshman in high school, dabbling mainly in articles and inspirational poetry. I sat down and wrote my first novel when I was 15-16 years old, 120+ pages of a scattered story that really went nowhere, but I was proud just to be able to write something of length. I had a couple of poems published in a local newspaper, and a poem published in an international, limited edition tribute magazine to writing icon Stephen King. The latter had been my favorite accomplishment.

    However, I hadn’t really taken my craft too seriously. In several ways, I was actually trying to fight against it and suppress it. There’s something incredibly intimidating about pouring your heart and soul into your work, only to expose it for everyone to see. I feared the risks and potential rejection of actively chasing this passion. I told myself there was nothing special about my work anyway; that it was a common gift to have and anyone could write if they wanted to. I thought belittling it in my mind would eventually make it disappear, but it wound up making the urge more insistent and restless. It reached a point where I couldn’t find any peace unless I was in my own world, writing. So, I turned to God in prayer and asked Him to give me a sign if this was what I was meant to pursue. The sign, as it were, came almost instantaneously and were like a brick to the back of the head. Suddenly, everything became crystal clear and I realized the idea I had formed for my Christian fantasy novel had been manifesting itself for years, seemingly waiting for me to just embrace it at long last. It’s now transformed from my mental work in progress to my physical one.

    Shannon Henebry, Freelance Writer

  • Amber

    Great guest post! I loved JJ’s book 🙂

    I’ve always written stories, and when I was about 18 I wrote my first novel that I swore would get me published. Thankfully I never sent that in cause umm…yeah, it was BAD. Since then I’ve wrote stories here and there but over the past year or so have been focusing on a few dumped projects. I’m determined to get one of them done and the newest one so far has grabbed a hold of me and won’t let me go 🙂

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