We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Bidonde and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jessica, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
I think the thing that most people may not know about publishing is that there are many, many ways to publish your work. When I first set out to publish my book, I thought the only way was to sign a book deal with a traditional publisher. I had no idea that there were many ways to share your work. I found this both really exciting but also very overwhelming. It’s wonderful to have options but narrowing them down is arguably one of the hardest parts of writing and publishing a book.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think what sets me apart as a writer is what sets all writers apart; our own unique life experiences. No matter what story we are telling, there will always be a little bit of our own experiences in our work. My path to publishing Do You Follow was very different. I worked in TV, got my MBA, worked in advertising, started my own blog and on and on – but the through line for my career has always been story-telling. I think I could have taken a more direct path, but I’m grateful for each and every experience because it all contributed in some way to this book – and the ones I’ll write in the future. I learned that there is something to be gained in everything that we do. I also learned that it’s ok to carve your own path, to go against the grain and to be authentically who you are. My path was definitely not easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Any writer knows that being rejected and receiving negative feedback on your writing is not only inevitable, but a guarantee. I had to learn to not take it personally.  The way we are taught that not everyone will like us is true for books and all works or creative art. It’s personal and it’s meant to work for some and not work for others. But truly accepting that was a hard lesson.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Dallas, and Texas in general, for me depends completely on the season. Since we are in winter, I’ll share my current itinerary. We would spend time checking out the arboretum (it’s stunning displays are truly enchanting any time of year), we’d pick up bagels on the way at Lubbie’s, it’s my new favorite bagel shop on the east side of White Rock Lake. Speaking of, cooler weather is the perfect time to take my friends for a stunning walk around the lake. Tex Mex is a must in Dallas so lunch at Las Palmas is one of my must-dos. The patio is perfect on a nice day but the dimly lit interior is a whole vibe itself. A visit to Highland Park Village is perfect for window shopping followed by dinner somewhere fun. Dallas has a massive restaurant scene, with new options seeming to arrive weekly! But right now, there are tons of new options on Knox Henderson, like Anchor Bar. But if you’re looking for a cozy night and food to warm you up, Cosmo’s in East Dallas has some of the best Pho and other delicious bites in town, plus they play vintage films and the vibe is no fuss. If you’re looking for other cool things to do, I really like The Wild Detectives in Bishop Arts. There are lots of cute shops but this bookstore is one of the coolest I’ve been to!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people who I owe a great deal of gratitude towards for my success, but when I think about this book, my first editor, Sarah Welch, was the one person who was with me every step of the way. When you take a little ember of an idea and try to bring it to life, it can be isolating and confusing. I am really grateful for Sarah’s patience and guidance as I worked my way to finishing my manuscript. I can’t thank her enough, having an ally and someone to work through details with was valuable beyond articulation. She also introduced me to my publisher, which truly changed my life and career.

Website: https://jcbidonde.com

Instagram: @JCBidonde

Other: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21560710.J_C_Bidonde?from_search=true&from_srp=true https://www.amazon.com/Do-You-Follow-J-C-Bidonde-ebook/dp/B09HJLYZCX/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2E1A7GD9KXEJS&keywords=jc+bidonde&qid=1703271629&sprefix=jc+bidonde%2Caps%2C107&sr=8-1

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.