Guest Author Interview: Delle Jacobs by Susan Lute

Delle Jacobs likes to say she lives in a fantasy world of endless green forests, and silvery rivers that cascade between shining, snow-capped mountains. She shares this world with two to three generations of adult males (depending on circumstances), two cats of mixed heritage, and all sorts of mossy-backed folk who don’t mind the rain that makes their land so magical. Besides writing, her other favorite addictions are her grandbabies and Photoshopping covers for ebooks.A multiple Amazon and Kindle BEST-SELLING author, and three time winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award, Delle has been an indie author almost from beginning of this new publishing model. Help me welcome Delle to See Jane Publish.

Tell us about your publishing journey.

Well, I think it’s been sort of like hacking my way through a mosquito-infested jungle with a butter knife. Or maybe digging the Panama Canal with a spoon. Yet there have been times that it’s been like standing at the brink of a high cliff where I could see the whole world laid out before me.

I began writing professionally in 1993, and once I finished my first book, I joined RWA. That book is definitely one that will forever reside with the dust bunnies beneath the bed, but I had just enough editor encouragement that I dared write a second book. But it always seemed I was on the wrong side of lines closing down and editors leaving to go work for Microsoft. I finaled in the Golden Heart seven times, but didn’t win my first one until 2003, and then won again in 2004 and 2005. The market for historicals was really dead about that time. So, I finally agreed to try ebooks. To my surprise, my first submission was accepted by Awe-Struck E-Books, and was published in 2000. I think most authors considered that a negative, back then. But from the beginning I’ve seen e-books as sort of new frontier, and I’ve always loved the cutting edge of the future.

After five books with Awe-Struck, I had two published by Samhain, and they became my first RWA recognized books. But my favorite book, Lady Wicked, just couldn’t seem to find its home. Then Nicole D’Arienzo of The Wild Rose Press found it in a contest and snapped it up. When I got my rights back on the five Awe-Struck books, I was persuaded to self-publish with Kindle, then Smashwords. And in about six months, my sales started climbing rapidly. In the last year I’ve had six books hit the Kindle and Amazon Top Seller lists, some staying there for months. Who knows if this will last?  Although I still do some traditional publishing, I’ve discovered I’m really much more comfortable with handling the entire package myself.

What’s the funniest thing to happen to you along your road to publication and what was the most exciting?

So many things…  Well, the last question first: I think the most exciting thing was winning my third Golden Heart. I didn’t expect it because I’d only entered after learning the Regency category would not make its minimum number of entries if I didn’t enter. That meant cutting 1/3 of the book in only two months. It didn’t have a chance so I had a really good time at conference that year. Nothing to worry about. Surprise. It won.

Funniest thing? Recently I went with another author, Sammarie Ashe, to Starbuck’s in Safeway for a Shut-Up-And-Write session. There were also some cute young girls close by who were collecting money for a charity. And then there was this really scraggy guy with a small blue shopping basket ambling by. You’ve seen his type about town, I’m sure. Surfer shorts that looked like they’d fall off, a Raiders T shirt, big ugly tattoo on one outer calf. He’d walk by the girls and keep on going. Then I’d see him walking past in the next aisle over. Then back toward us. He did this a few times, just enough that we were getting really uncomfortable. So I mentioned him to one of the clerks and she said they’d watch him. Then he left, leaving his basket on a table in the coffee shop. Whew. Then he came back, got another basket and started circling again, always sidling a glance at the young girls. After his third trip around, we were totally creeped out. Sammarie went to find someone, and that person called for store security. So up comes the guy in the Raiders T. He’s Security. That’s right. We outed the store security guy.  And we’re now going to a different Starbucks.

What has been the most challenging thing related to publishing you’ve had to deal with on your journey?

I think it must be coming to grips with the truth that I’m not going to stop writing outside the box.

I know I could. But do I want to write that story? No. So should I make myself quit and go back to knitting and playing guitar? No. It’s fortunate for me that over the years I collected a small but viable group of fans, enough to tell me there were people who wanted to read my stories BECAUSE they were different. I thought that would be a small niche of e-book readers. It appears, though, that it’s a much bigger niche than I ever could have imagined, and it’s growing all the time.

Who is your favorite author, and what are you currently reading?

After all these years, my favorite romance author is still the first one I discovered, Laura Kinsale. I’ve read so many authors I love, but nothing can beat her romances of the 1980’s and 1990’s.

I’ve been reading outside my own genre more lately, and have found a number of new authors I really like: Pamela Beason’s The Only Witness captivated me so much on my last plane trip that I caught myself “turning the page” on my Kindle by turning it over instead of clicking. We have so many great authors here in our own chapter, and I’m trying to get to the newer ones so I can at least say I’ve read one of their books. And I recently found a German author (who found me first), Katharina Gelach. Her The Urchin King is a wonderful tale. Now I’m reading Honolulu by Alan Brennet, and want to read Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth.

What’s coming up next for you?

I’m hoping to finish two books very quickly and publish them. The first is an illustrated version of The Mudlark, which is done, but I’m having trouble getting those pesky illustrations to the right dimensions for the new color e-book readers like Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook. I’m polishing a short historical, Beloved Stranger, a Regency with a Napoleonic Wars setting. I have two more books to finish, and yet I can’t wait to get started on the next one, which so far is only a title and blurb.

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Posted on November 16, 2011, in guest post, Susan Lute and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Hi Delle,
    Great interview. Your “writing outside the box” is the very thing that makes your voice–rich enough to eat with a spoon–unique, that keeps me coming back for more novels and short stories. Having slogged through hundreds of plain vanilla books–knowing I have many more in my future, I often find myself wishing there were more writers (like you) enamored with the written word. You, dear lady, really do know how to wield a pen.

  2. Great interview Delle! I will forever remember that day at Safeway. I’m even inspired to somehow get it into a future store. *grin*

  3. Thanks, Norah! It’s been wonderful to have your support for so long.

  4. Wonderful interview, Delle! And what great comments. You surely are a trail blazer. I certainly would not have gotten such an early jump on self-publishing had I not had your example to follow. If giving is the path to receiving, you should be showered with many rewards.

  5. Thanks, Paty! I’ve learned a few things from you too, especially in promotion. I sure wish I had your kind of energy.

    Sherri, thanks for your comments. There’s no doubt that indie publishing calls for a completely different approach to publishing. It’s not for everyone, and I think most of us who do it wonder from time to times if it’s even for us old toughies. You’ve got to keep on changing your perspective and adapting to the rapidly changing new world. Kind of like the merry-go-round that keeps going faster and faster.

  6. Thanks, Susan, Terri and Maggie! That’s a neat song, Maggie. I guess I usually think of Frank Sinatra: “I did it myyyyyyyyy wayyyyyyyy…”

  7. Thanks, Jamie! I can’t say I play guitar anymore, and my fingers have lost their toughness and strength. I’ve learned I can’t go through life without prioritizing anymore, so that means some of the things I’ve always loved have to be sacrificed.

    I won’t go into why I left Awe-Struck after its original owner/editors sold it, but getting my rights back for those books was probably the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

  8. What a fascinating interview. I was thinking about the inde publishing opportunities while ut walking this morning, so I found your comments very interesting. thanks for sharing.

  9. Delle, every time I talk to you or read something about you I learn something new. I appreciate all your guidance through my trip into self-publishing and I’ve been enjoying your books. As always an entertaining post.

  10. You have always been a trailblazer, Delle, both in life and fiction. I’ve admired you from the day I joined RCRW and you still prove to be an amazing writer. For me you epitomize “doing it your way.” Here’s a song I think fits you to a T. It’s called “My Life.” Check it out.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxEYqiJ1Klw I think you’ve not only done something good with your life, but you’ve been an example to all those authors who make a choice to do what feels right to them.

  11. Your career through indie and e world is fascinating and yet it is all because you write awesome stories that connect with readers. Keep doing that. :D

  12. I’d also forgotten your early years with Awe-struck. Interesting journey. And so cool about your upcoming projects. Thanks for joining us :D

  13. Great interview. And a good way to get to know you, Delle. You play guitar? I didn’t know your history with Awe-struck. Look forward to seeing you soon @ RCRW!

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