Wednesday, May 8, 2013

FROM A DREAM OF SELLING ONE TO 2.5 MILLION




That's a big leap, isn't it? What I appreciate about my guest, Holly Jacobs, is not only does she tell a good story, rich in family and friendship, but she worked hard to see her dream a reality. It wasn't without rejections. No overnight success, just plain hard work and the love of telling stories. I'll let her tell you all about it.

                                                                                                                               

There’s the world the way you want it—maybe even need it to be. And there’s the world the way it is. It’s hard to rectify the two. Sometimes it feels almost impossible. But in the world the way it is right now, you've got to figure out a way to cope with that."  ~April Showers, Holly Jacobs, 5/13

That’s a quote from this month’s release, April Showers.  It’s the second book in my A Valley Ridge Wedding trilogy and that paragraph was one of the first things I wrote for the story.  That small snippet became the foundation I built the story around. The quote hints at the fact that these characters live in a hard reality.  Granted, their reality is one I created, but they are not living their dream at the beginning of the book…but don’t worry, they are by the end! 

The fact that I get to create stories and characters is my reality, but more than that, it’s my dream.

I’ve always been a reader.  I mean, I can’t remember a time didn't have a book I was reading.  And like most readers, occasionally I’d find myself wishing I’d wrote a particular book. One day, that wishing became something more.  I was wishing I could write a new book…a story I’d created.

More than a decade ago, I finally said the words out loud.  “I’d like to write.”  My husband didn't laugh.  He didn't scoff.  He didn't tell me to get my head of the clouds.  He said, “Sure, do that.”  I played around with my writing at first.  I sold a poem ($4…uh, I decided poetry wasn't for me).  I sold some literary fiction.  I’d always been a science fiction/fantasy reader, and thought my stories might go in that direction, but what I kept noticing is that they skewed towards relationships. I was fascinated by exploring how one person relates to another.  I found myself gravitating toward romance.

I’d found my niche.

Uh, but I hadn't found my publisher.  I focused on Harlequin’s comedy line, Duets.  I’d send Duets a book, they’d reject it.  I’d send another.  They’d reject it.  And yet another…then, you guessed it, they’d reject it.  My dream was getting a bit battered and I thought about facing the reality that my being a writer wasn't going to happen for me.  But luckily, my husband had an entirely different reality in mind.  He kept encouraging me and telling me that he was sure I’d make it.  I’d make noises about earning real money, he ignore them and said, “Write.”

In March of 2000 I got a call from a Harlequin editor (who’s still my editor) and she bought that first book, I Waxed My Legs for This?  My December 2013 book, A Valley Ridge Christmas, will be my 35th for Harlequin and my 50th over all.

Over the years, many of the Harlequin lines I wrote for closed.  Duets, Silhouette Romance, Flipside, Signature, Everlasting Love.  Each time a line closed, I had to reinvent myself a bit and stretch my writing in order to sell to a new line.  I think learning to be flexible in how I tell a story has made my writing stronger.  I still write light romantic humor for Montlake Romance (which bought out Avalon and republished all my old Avalons, along with December’s new, Everything But a Dog) and I’m writing these bigger, more serious dramas for Harlequin’s SuperRomance. 

But mainly, I’m living my dream. I've sold two and a half million books in more than twenty-five countries.  I've written comedy, sweet humor and drama.  This August my first cozy mystery will be released (and my family was just a bit nervous when I talked so happily about someone being murdered). 

I've been so lucky that my family and friends have supported that dream, and that readers around the world have as well!  And I’m very lucky that with a lot of hard work the world the way I wanted it to be has aligned with the world the way it is! That’s a precious gift…and it’s one I pass on to the characters in April Showers!



BUY: AMAZON, B&N, eHARELEQUIN

APRIL SHOWERS~Holly Jacobs 

(A VALLEY RIDGE WEDDING series #2)   

Rainbows don't come without rain

The world you want isn't always how the world is. Former marine Sebastian Bennington discovers that upon his return to Valley Ridge for a friend's wedding. Even his grandfather's health isn't what he's expecting. Nor is the interference from his grandfather's young business partner, Lily Paul.

Even more aggravating, Lily seems to know everything about Sebastian, thanks to his grandfather. But Sebastian can't get her to open up about anything. Is she using all that merry sunshine to hide something deeper and darker? He's determined to find out, as long as their crazy attraction for each other doesn't get in the way….EXCERPT

-Available in audio book format-



Holly Jacobs' books have made Walden’s Bestseller List and won numerous awards such as the National Readers' Choice Award, the Holt Medallion Award and the Bookseller’s Best. In 2004 Holly won Romantic Times’s prestigious Career Achievement Award for Series Love and Laughter.  Holly is currently writing for Harlequin Superromance.  Find Holly: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  Website, Holly's Blog 

27 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

I'm so glad to have back Over Coffee, Hall! What a wonderful article. I'm glad you didn't give up when all those rejections came in. It's crappy when you work your butt off and then get a rejection, but you kept on writing and following through on fulfilling your dream. Encouraging message!

Congratulations on the over 2.5 million copies and 50 published books!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia and Holly - this is interesting that once Holly had found her niche through hard work and 'settling into' her way of writing - the books flowed.

April Showers sounds a fascinating read ... good luck with it -

Thanks I enjoyed reading about Holly's road to success .. Hilary

HollyJacobs said...

Sia, Thank you so much for having me over! It was hard work, but it was also so much fun! I can't tell you how many awesome people I've met as I've talked around the country. And I've learned so many things. For A Valley Ridge Wedding series, I had to research our local wine region. Yes, it was arduous research! LOL

And yesterday, I had to call my insurance company with a question. I prefaced by saying, "This is going to be your weirdest question of the day." Then asked my question for the current WIP. At the end of the conversation, my agent agreed, it was her weirdest question! LOL But hey, the upcoming book will be accurate insurance-wise! LOL

Anyway, thanks! Looking forward to spending today here...and looking forward to more coffee!!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Hi, Hilary! Thanks for taking the time to check out the blog. I'm so glad you think April Showers sounds interesting! I so loved this book!

Holly

Jo said...

It so nice to read of eventual success even if it takes a lot of hard work to get there. I understand J.K. Rawlings had lots of rejections too.

Sia, just to let you know, I sent you an email just now.

Pat Hatt said...

Wow 2.5 million is an awesome feat indeed. Congrats and not giving up is the way to be.

HollyJacobs said...

Jo, I think I had an easier time believing in myself simply because I was blessed with a family who believed in me.

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Pat,

Sometimes I feel like I should pinch myself when I look at the stats!

Holly

Johanna Garth said...

Such an inspiring story and good reminder that, even when it seems overnight, usually most successes are the result of lots of hardwork.

Sheila Deeth said...

Wow! What a great inspiring story. Thank you for persevering and proving what can be done.

~Sia McKye~ said...

I don't know of any writer who hasn't gotten rejections and while I can't wall paper my entire bathroom in rejection letters I can do a wall, lol!

Johanna, you got it. Over night successes usually have a lot of work done behind the scenes before there is an acknowledgement of the work.

Ah, the power of persevering. Takes some tough hide and a strong belief in oneself.

Jo--thank you. Interesting article. I've been having difficulties with g-mail. Internet was totally down all day yesterday into the late evening.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Boy, that Holly sure is lucky! (And the harder she worked, the luckier she got, huh?) Congratulations, Holly, on enjoying a stellar career doing exactly what you wanted to do... you're living the dream.

HollyJacobs said...

Johanna, If there's a take away to my story, it would be that hard work is a necessary component to realizing any dream! It's a lesson I've tried to pass on to my kids!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Sheila, Thanks! I'm working hard...but I'm also living my dream!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Sia, And the thing is, no matter where you are in your career, rejections still happens. Editors not liking a story you love, or readers not loving a story you've written. So I write books I love, and hope that others love them, too!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Susan,

Thanks! I am lucky...and I know it!

Holly

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

There's something to be said for a supportive spouse. I wouldn't have pursued it either if not for my wife.
Congratulations on all of your success, Holly!

HollyJacobs said...

Alex,

I'm so glad you have that same kind of support. And thanks!!

Holly

Dana Fredsti said...

I really need to read "I Waxed My Legs for This" as the title made me snork my champagne. Yes, I was sipping bubbly and reading this post. Seemed appropriate to celebrate a success story. I never get tired of reading/hearing about writers who have made it and I love the fact your husband is so supportive! congrats and looking forward to reading your work.

Shell Flower said...

Great inspiration to keep on keepin' on here! Awesome.

HollyJacobs said...

Dana, Thanks! I loved that title, too! I had a reader who looked for a long time for a copy, so it can be a bit hard to find, but I keep hoping they reprint it.

Enjoy the champagne! I'm drinking ice water. Uh, you win! LOL

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Thanks, Shell!! I'm very lucky!!

Holly

~Sia McKye~ said...

Shell, I'm glad you've found inspiration and a reason to come on back.

That touches on the reason I like having guest like Holly and oh so many other authors. Rarely is there a shortcut to success. Every writer has a measure of glitches, tears, laughter and triumphs.

Most writers are rather isolated. We spend a lot of time sitting before a screen or with a pad of paper and with imaginary people. It's easy to become discouraged and think we'll never make it as a writer. When I see successful writers having faced some of the same issues I have and overcome those things, it's inspiring to me. Encouraging.

If there is a message I want to put out there, with the help of many, is don't give up on your dreams. It's like climbing a mountain. We're going to fall, slip and slide back. If we're determined to reach the top, we get up and go at it again. We might be slightly battered and bruised when we reach our goal but we kept going.

Hall, you brought up a good point. Even published, authors still face rejection of proposals or books by their editors.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Dana, you and Judi with Champagne. Mind if I pull out some scotch to sip and raise in a toast to those who worked their butts off to make it?

You know me, I'm a whiskey girl. Lol!

HollyJacobs said...

Sia, Yes we all still face rejections. This isn't a career for wimps! LOL

Really, thanks for letting me visit with you all! It's always fun to hang out with other writers and readers!!

Holly

Lynda R Young said...

Support is everything!

HollyJacobs said...

Lynda,

It so is!! I didn't mention, but one of my most treasured moments came when I was still working on getting published. My daughter came in the room and was simply talking about something she wanted and said, "When you get published..." There was no if. She didn't doubt I would be published. How could I stop trying when someone believed in me like that??

Holly