How I sold a Million Copies with Holly Jacobs
This is an archive of the Writer’s Oasis Chat, which meets on BeYourArt.com and AOL. It invites authors and professionals to speak on various topics in writing. Contact Shirley Flanagan, the Writer’s Oasis Chat Administrator, or join the Writer’s Oasis Topic to be added to the mailing list.
Sunny: Introducing our million seller, Holly Jacobs
Holly: Okay, so I feel a bit presumptuous with the title of this. Although, the geek in me was truly excited when I did the math last year and realized more than a million of my books had sold worldwide, an
Sunny: Its amazing Holly
Holly: and realized more than a million of my books had sold worldwide, and I was even happier when I made it past the million and a half mark last royalty statement. Holly: That worldwide is a big part of the number. That and the fact that Harlequin is truly a global entity. I just did an article on Harlequin’s overseas distribution.
Holly: . They sell books in more than a hundred countries. I’ve had books come out in only about a quarter of them so far.
Tinny: Don’t keep us in suspense What did you write that sold 1 M?
Holly: The global distribution really helps! <g> I’m still getting new royalties from foreign markets on my first Harlequin release, I Waxed My Legs for This?…it came out in 2001.
Josie: wow that’s awesome Holly
Sunny: That sounds humorous, Holly
Holly: So, I’ve been thinking about this topic since Shirley asked me to come chat with you. How did I do it?
Holly: I think the first thing to realize is that as the author, I have no control over so much of the process. I can’t MAKE people buy my books (I wish I could! LOL).
Holly: . I can’t make overseas publisher option one of my books. I can’t…well, there’s a lot I can’t do. So, what can I do?
Holly: When I’m asked for writing tips, my first and best tip is always the same…write. Write every day.
Holly: I think, in order to make a living at your writing, you have to make writing part of the rhythm of your life. So, write every day. Treat it like a profession, even before you sell.
Holly: Set goals. Okay, let me clarify. Set realistic goals.
Holly: If you say, I’m going to write twenty pages a day, but you’ve never been more than a two page a day writer, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Holly: Set a reasonable goal. I tend to write at least five pages a day. 35 pages a week.
Holly: . If I want my weekend off (and most weeks I do) I try for seven pages a day on the week days.
Holly: When the lines I started writing for had longer word counts, but no more time to write them, I changed my font from a proportional one (courier) to a non-proportional font (TNR).
Holly: When I wrote my 5/7 pages, they were really more like 7/9.
Holly: . Basically, I’m tricking myself into writing more, but not telling my brain we are! LOL My brain is easily fooled!
Holly: These are important tips because, in order to sell a lot of books…you have to write a lot of books! LOL
Holly: I know these sound basic, but really, the secret to my sales are pretty simple. Write. Write a lot.
Sunny: ? How many books did you write before success?
Holly: I’ve sold 42 books since the late nineties. That’s not counting the fifty-ish short stories, or the many articles/essays.
Holly: I write. That definitely is the biggest part of my sales.
Holly: OKAY, THAT WAS PART OF THE PRE-WRITTEN STUFF. BEFORE I WROTE FOR HARLEQUIN,
Holly: I WROTE FOR SOME VERY SMALL PRESSES/LINES…IMAJINN BOOKS, PRECIOUS GEMS.
Holly: ANYONE WITH ANY QUESTIONS SO FAR?
Pam_Reese: wonderful points so far
Sunny: ? Where do you get ideas for new novels?
Holly: PAM, THANKS. THE THING IS, THERE REALLY IS NO SECRET HANDSHAKE. THAT FOREIGN DISTRIBUTION THING MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE.
Neva: No question… other than how to stop being ‘green’ with jealousy
Holly: I HAD A BOOK OUT IN THE UK IN DECEMBER, AND I HAVE ANOTHER OUT IN POLAND IN MARCH.
Holly: THOSE JUST HAPPEN…NO WRITING ON MY PART. LOL
Sunny: Foreign sales worth grabbing
marna: I am a painter actually. but I think that the idea of making painting a part of every day is the same.
Holly: SUNNY, MY IDEAS…WELL, THEY COME FROM EVERYWHERE. A SONG. A CONVERSATION. AN ARTICLE IN A MAGAZINE OR THE PAPER.
LGVernon: Holly, did your small press work figure in to your landing contracts with bigger houses or an agent?
Holly: MARNA, I THINK ANY ART NEEDS TO BE A PART OF THE RHYTHM OF YOUR LIFE.
Holly: FOR ME, WRITING IS LIKE BREATHING. IT’S JUST PART OF WHAT I DO.
Sunny: ? Has writing been a part of most of your life?
marna: Yes.. painting is the same for me. And I have had some success, but very little, how do you push yourself to outreach
Holly: VERNON, I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH, IF ANYTHING IT HAD TO DO. (AND WE’RE IGNORING TYPOS TONIGHT…NO PROBLEM! LOL)
LGVernon: Thank God for small favors. The typo police would haul me off, otherwise.
LGVernon: And please call me Linda. Vernon is some guy with a pocket protector and time on his hands.
Holly: SUNNY, I DIDN’T START WRITING UNTIL MY YOUNGEST WAS GETTING READY FOR SCHOOL…I FIGURED OUT I NEEDED TO THINK ABOUT WHAT I WANTED TO DO WITH MY LIFE AND AS A LIFELING READER, THIS WAS IT.
Holly: LINDA, I JUST DO IT. I DON’T WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT THE NEXT STEP…I CONCENTRATE ON THIS PAGE…THIS CHAPTER…THIS BOOK. THE NEXT ONE WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF. LIKE I SAID, I CAN’T CONTROL
Holly: NEW CONTRACTS OR EVEN GAINING READERS. I CAN ONLY CONTROL MY WORK…MY WORDS.
LGVernon: Speaking of control—how do you prioritize your ideas–you must have a million of them.
Holly: REALIZING MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE FOR ME. ADD TO THAT, I’M A MEAN BOSS! LOL
Holly: LINDA, I DON’T KNOW HOW TO ANSWER THAT. SOMETIMES CIRCUMSTANCES PRIORITIZES MY IDEAS FOR ME.
Holly: FOR INSTANCE, THIS NEW TRILOGY. I WANT TO DO MORE, AND THEY SEEM TO BE APPEALING TO READERS, SO COMING UP WITH AN IDEA FOR THAT SETTING BECAME THE PRIORITY.