Guest Author Interview: Joan Reeves by Susan Lute

Please help me welcome the awesome Joan Reeves to See Jane Publish. A busy author, Jane has her fingers in print and indie publishing, and brings a unique point of view. After the interview, check out her popular blog at SlingWords, her website and her latest books at your favorite online bookstore.

Joan Reeves writes funny, sexy romance. She is a best-selling ebook author of romantic comedy. She is also a multi-published print novelist and is published all over the Internet under her own name, various pseudonyms, and as a ghost.

Tell us about your publishing journey.

I’ve been a writer since the mid-1980’s when I decided to write a book. This momentous decision resulted in an absolutely horrible novel that I should have burned, but I didn’t because it taught me a couple of good lessons. First, I realized that writing a book was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Second, I learned that I really could write a book, no matter how bad it might have been, from the first word to the two magic words “The End.”

I began to read everything I could get my hands on about the craft of writing. I started to master the narrative skills necessary to write a coherent story that had a chance of selling. The next book I wrote won the Mystery/Suspense category of a prestigious regional writing contest for unpublished writers, and it gained me the interest of agents. That book never sold. I started a lucrative career as a freelance writer because I was tired of writing without earning. Freelance writing was very good to me, and it helped me establish a rather consistent cash flow which was important forme and my ego. J

The third book I wrote was the one that became my first published novel. Summer’s Fortune received good reviews when it was published as a romance novel. Oddly enough, I hadn’t thought I was writing a romance per se. I was just writing something that interested me: Why would a woman marry a man for money?

During those early years, I discovered Romance Writers of America and joined immediately. I made friendships that have lasted through thick and thin, and I learned so much about the writing business from my membership with this stellar organization. As I always say, it’s not enough to write a good book, you must also be savvy about the writing business if you’re going to succeed–and stay that way.

Then when the paranormal, erotica, and Christian fiction waves hit, I washed ashore like a surfer caught in the trough of a big wave. I don’t write any of those three incredibly popular genres so I was SOL one might say. I’ve said before I was like a round peg that couldn’t be shoved into the square holes of New York publishing. I wrote; I queried; I was rejected without ever having my work read. I was, shudder, called unmarketable.

However, I knew deep inside my writer’s soul that I had stories to tell that readers would want to read if only I could get them in the hands of readers. But how could I when I couldn’t even get them into an editor’s hands? The answer to that question appeared in the form of the Kindle that came out in 2009. The next year, I was furiously writing for clients, but I was learning everything I could about the ebook business. I was also reading scores of ebooks from popular and unknown authors–all of them indie published.

I closed out all my freelance work, turned down new work, and made my stand in late March of this year with the publication of Just One Look, a previously printed novel to which I owned all rights. I followed that up in quick succession with 4 other romantic comedies and a nonfiction book called Written Wisdom. Guess what? I was right. There really were thousands of readers–actually well over a hundred thousand–who decided I had stories they wanted to read. Thank you, readers. You all made me a bestselling ebook author.

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

I guess the funniest thing, to me, is that someone a while back called me “an overnight success.” I had a good laugh because the people who bandy that term about and who email me and want me to tell them how they can have my success which just “happened,” don’t see the more than 20 years of hard work, endless writing, and struggle that went into building my career.

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

When I was a mid-list print author, the most challenging thing was just staying published. As an ebook author, my challenge has been to find credible editors and other professionals because my first attempts at this resulted in undesirable results. I finally gave up and took on the task myself. It took me a lot of time to get my ebook files corrected after that. I enlisted the help of my readers who are simply fabulous. I’m very open about my quality control efforts so I list an email address where a reader can notify me of a typo or error, and I post the date in the Book Description if I do an update. I figure the buck stops with me so I make every attempt at perfection in content and format, and I try to be responsive to readers.

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

This is a question I always refuse to answer because I know too many talented authors, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Therefore, I always list a few authors that I read, and I try to vary the list so readers can discover other worthwhile authors. I’m an eclectic reader by the way. Here’s my list today that I culled from my Kindle TBR: Marilyn Brant, Laurel Dewey, Elaine Raco Chase, Bob Mayer, Nina Cordoba, Marie Force, Cynthia Wicklund, Janelle Taylor, Leslie Kelly, Barbara Freethy, Terri Reid, Jenny Gardiner, Bill Crider, Bella Street, Gerry Bartlett, and Allison Kent.

What’s coming up next for you?

I’ll be publishing Old Enough To Know Better, Book 1 of The Good, The Bad, & The Girly, a novella series, in October. I’ll also be publishing another nonfiction book for writers, Ebook Success: Joan Sells & Tells All. That’s about how I sold more than 120,000 ebooks in 5 months. I do have something really big that has happened, but I can’t talk about it until contracts are signed and countersigned. In this business, one never knows what may develop. A “done deal” can come undone in the blink of an eye so I never talk about anything until it’s signed, sealed, and delivered. So you can look for an announcement on SlingWords, my blog, as soon as everything is finalized.

Thank you, Susan, for the opportunity to appear on See Jane Publish–love that title!

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Posted on October 11, 2011, in Auth: Special Guest and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. It has been a pleasure having Joan with us. Thanks so much everyone, for stopping by 🙂

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  2. I love everything Joan Reeves writes! Always fascinating to read about a successful author’s journey.

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  3. Elaine Raco Chase

    Great interview, great writer, great friend!

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  4. Hello, Sophia! Thank you. I love hearing that my blog helps writers, and I love–even more– hearing that my books are liked! *g*

    Good luck with your back list.

    Joan

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  5. Hi Joan,

    What an inspiring interview! Thanks for generously sharing your journey with us and for giving timely information on your website. I’m venturing into indie pubbing with two of my back list books and I’ve gone to your website for guidance many times.

    I love your romantic comedies, too!

    Wishing you much continued success,
    Sophia Knightly

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  6. *LOL* Thanks. I saw the Jane in the first paragraph, but I figure you girls are so used to typing Jane, that when you start with an upper case J, the Jane just follows naturally!

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  7. Alright I’m an idiot. That first Jane is supposed to be Joan. Learn to proof-read it’s a valuable too.

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  8. Jane, welcome. I am one of the ‘Janes” – loved the abbreviated tale of your journey. Glad you could join us.

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  9. Yes, each author has his/her own path to follow. I once heard someone describe success as the center of a big field of tall grass. We’re all on spokes from the center, and we’re trying to cut our way through the grass to reach the center. Some of us are on riding lawn mowers, and some of us have nothing but a machete. There have been many times when I thought I was equipped only with a dull paring knife as I tried to carve out a path to success.

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  10. We are so glad to have you Joan! I love following your posts at SlingWords, and it’s been fun discovering your journey. Every author’s is different, isn’t it?

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  11. Good morning, Susan, and good morning to all the See Jane Publish readers! I appreciate the chance to be here today. While I’m working on my WIP, I’ll be checking in to see if anyone has a question.

    Btw, my website is woefully out of date–just not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do! However, that will be corrected this weekend. *g*

    Best wishes,
    Joan Reeves

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