Long ago, when my publisher was calling in favors to solicit blurbs for one of my first books – that’s how it’s done, by the way – she convinced the very successful Lisa Jackson to participate, which she did with a very gracious blurb.
Little did my editor know, or even have a clue, that Lisa lived about a mile from me.
Not that we starting hanging out at Starbucks. Lisa is the busiest, most prolific author I know. Or I should say, know of (we haven’t actually met, though we may have passed each other in the aisle at Safeway without realizing it).
Which is why I’m delighted and proud to have her here on Storyfix. As you’ll see, she’s one of us, very real and honest and open, just way richer and more famous. Which is no accident. Because she’s really good at what she does.
Lisa Jackson has written fifteen international bestsellers – yep, you read that right – including the #1 New York Times novel, Fatal Burn. Her latest novel is Montana Fire/Aftermath, Tender Trap, released in December 2009. If you’re encountering this post after that, chances are a newer one is out there already.
But first, read what she’s sharing with us today.
Writing is just not about creating worlds and characters and coming up with plot points and motivations, there’s a whole business side attached to becoming an author – published or not. Who knew you would have to worry about taxes, office supplies, publicity, retirement, health insurance, websites and so on and so forth? Who cared? I, for one, just wanted to write . . . well, to be honest, I wanted to sell.
The wolf was at the door, I had a couple of small boys and I needed to make some cash. Babysitting wasn’t cutting it; an outside job only meant dollars to be dispensed for a wardrobe, gas and babysitting. And I wanted to be with my boys.
When my sister, Nancy Bush, suggested we write, I was leery. She was talking romance novels and neither one of us had read one. But, what the heck? Babysitting wasn’t exactly keeping me in diamonds and Ferraris. Well, it wasn’t even keeping me in aluminum foil and a beat-up Honda Civic.
So, we gave it a shot. The book written together, with another friend went NOWHERE on an SST. (Except it was before SSTs came and went.) It was rejected all over New York, well, and the continental US. But Nancy and I persevered. She sold her next book out of the chute and it took me another year.
The deal is I never planned to be a bestseller. In fact it wasn’t even in my realm of dreams. I know, I know. Most authors look to the stars from the get-go. I didn’t. I just wanted to feed my family, buy insurance and put gas in the car. Eventually I did and then, man, oh, man the business side of becoming an author leapt into my life—not only did I worry about cover art and blurbs, or rack space and publication dates, I had all that bookkeeping/tax/office stuff to keep track of. Yikes! I’m pretty good at that stuff–I just would rather be writing. You know.
Anyway, flash forward to today and mind you it’s been over thirty years since I first put fingers to a manual typewriter. Everything’s changed technologically–think cell phones, computers, Kindles, blackberries, Internet-, facebook, etc.–you get the picture. Everything to writing the book and researching it, to sending it over the Internet . . . wow.
The important thing I did was just kept writing. As distracting as all of the above can be, I just keep trying to write the best book I can and attempt to keep the tendency to work around the clock at bay, because, trust me, the last thirty years have flown by! I don’t worry about movie rights, or the lack thereof, bestseller placement, literary fiction vs. pulp, where I “stand” next to other authors; cuz, really I don’t care about that so much.
I just want to tell a really good story.
Lisa is so prolific that the publisher can’t keep up with her covers – she has three books in the pipeline which will fill in the blanks below.
If you sometimes think you’re too busy to chase your writing dream, keep this handy and reassess.
Storyfix note: wow.
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