With Holly Jacobs
So, here’s how my career has gone...I wrote for Kensington’s Precious Gems and then it folded. For Harlequin Duets and then it folded. For Harlequin Flipside and... Well, you’re getting the idea. There was also Silhouette Romance, Harlequin Signature Select and Harlequin’s Everlasting Love.
Thankfully, I’m now writing for Harlequin SuperRomance, Harlequin American Romance and Avalon Books.
So, how did I land on my feet time and time again?
Well, it helps that I have a size ten foot. Big feet give you something to steady yourself on. (Okay, side note. My rather largish feet were the bane of my existence back in school. I hated them. A high school friend, who wore size three, was wearing heels one day and stood next to me...in my sneakers. She said, “Wow, Holly, your feet really are big.” I was crushed. But eventually, I discovered my big feet made me steadier, so I’ve embraced them and will admit their size in public now! LOL) Seriously, I guess it wasn’t the big feet, but the thick hide. I hated to see each line go, but I didn’t let that stop me. Each time, I immediately looked at the market and tried to decide where else my voice my fit. When I zeroed in on my target, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
You see, no matter what line I wrote for (write for), I think there’s an underlying Holly-ness to my work. That writer’s voice everyone talks about and no one can really define. It’s a bit of how you structure a story, a sentence. It’s a bit about word choice. And I think it’s about your world view. My view tends to be a funny one. My family laughs its way through both the tragedies and the joys that come our way. I think that sense of humor is reflected in my books.
So, my 1st tip is...stay true to what you do no matter what you’re writing.
I write with humor (even the more serious books). I write kids a lot. I have four kids, I know kids...so I write them. I write families. I write pets. (Sidenote...most of my pets have cameoed in books, normally with a bit of a name-change. We had a 170 lb Old English Mastiff who become Dudley in Night Calls, and our shelter dog was in my first American Romance, Once Upon a Thanksgiving...) That’s what I do well–families, real life, kids and fun. So, no matter the line, I try to stick to that.
My 2nd tip has to do with being aware of the market.
I keep an eye on it. I see what’s hot. I write category romance, so I know about each line’s requirements. For instance, Blaze is hot. My love scenes...well, not so much. I once had to rewrite a love scene because the editor said, “the heroine didn’t have a good time.” LOL Of the more than forty books I’ve written probably almost half of them don’t have any sex scenes at all. So, I would never target Blaze because I know my voice wouldn’t fit it. Also, I am too contemporary sounding to probably ever do well with a historical line. Sometimes knowing what you don’t do well is a good place to start. I looked for lines that liked families, had a light sensuality and didn’t mind a bit of humor.
And that thick hide thing...well, I don’t know that you are born with that. I think it comes with practice. When you have a to tell stories, it’s easier to ignore the hurdles and just keep writing. I mean, I have all these people in my head, and if I’m not a writer, then I’m just crazy! LOL So, I choose to be a writer, and even when a line folds or some other hurdle appears in front of me, I believe that not only do those people in my head deserve their own stories, I believe that readers will enjoy those characters as much as I do. So, even when lines have folded or a story’s been rejected, I keep trying, I keep submitting...sometimes over and over before I make another sale. Okay, so maybe that’s not really a thick hide, maybe it’s being thick period. LOL And it may have more to do with being optimistic by nature and a bit naive. Either way, I just keep trying and submitting and so far, something’s always eventually hit. It’s hard work. And yes, it can be depressing. But here’s the thing...I love what I do. I love taking these vague ideas and the people-in-in-my-head and letting them loose on a page. I love watching a story unfold. I...well, I love what I do.
I try to stay true to my “voice,” I keep an eye on the market. I have developed a thick hide (and have those very large feet to steady myself on
So, since I’m guesting here with you today, do you have any questions? I’ll be popping in and out all day and will try to answer any of them I can.
PS I’ll be giving away books from some of the various lines I’ve written for to one of today’s participants!
Holly Jacobs wrote for Precious Gems until...it died. Then she happily went to write for Harlequin Duets and Silhouette Romance. Duets died, but she wrote for their new comedy line, Harlequin Flipside...until it died. But, hey, she still had Silhouette Romance. Uh, it died. She tried writing for Harlequin Signature Select...it died. Finally, she tried something different from her comedic, light humor romance roots...she wrote for Harlequin Everlasting Love. The book won RT’s Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Everlasting. Life was good. Great even. Then Everlasting died. Thankfully, Holly jumped right back (thanks to her trusty size ten feet
Holly Jacobs blast from the past.... from the Holly Jacobs fan club (Me-->Tina!)