Lisa Renee Jones interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Apr 29, 2016 12:42:53 PM
Lisa Renee Jones interview with David Alan Binder
Her bio from her website: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series, which is now in development for a television show to be produced by Suzanne Todd of Team Todd (Alice in Wonderland). Suzanne Todd on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with. I’m thrilled to develop a television show that will tell Sara’s whole story – her life, her work, her friends, and her sexuality.
In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin’s Press.
Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and can also find her here:
1. Where are you currently living?
Colorado Springs, CO – hubs and I just moved here a few years ago after having both grown up in Texas.
2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
As cliché as it is: don’t let anyone dictate your journey or get you down. Publishing is a very vulnerable world. You’re putting a story you put your heart and soul into the world for others to judge. You’ve got to have thick skin and the ability to learn from your mistakes, and take the utmost of criticism. Because even if you write the world’s best novel someone will have something bad to say about it. So, just be prepared, be tough, and don’t give up.
3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
My writing in general. I have a very peculiar style of writing at times. They say you have to find your style, and I did, it just happens to be on the wordy side. But I like that because you can fit more stuff in unknowingly.
4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
I am both self-published and traditionally published. As any hybrid author will tell you, they both come with their detriments, and their positives. And each one has their own golden marketing plan. What works for traditional may not work for indie, and vice versa. Neither option is the “better” option. Each one has the ability to become a career for an author with the right makings, but in the end you’re publishing a book. And how successful that book does, by way of your marketing plan, will pave the way for your future books. It’s also a personal preference for a lot of people. Some think indie gives you more freedom, and some, once in traditional, like the security it can offer. But every single publishing story/career is different. So just because the majority are saying one thing doesn’t mean that it’s right for EVERY author. The best way to find out what’s right for you is to test the waters and ask specific questions of your fellow authors. Gleam the information as best you can and then make an informed decision based on it and the first-hand knowledge you’ve accumulated.
5. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
Currently I have two main traditional publishers, both in New York, Gallery Books and St. Martin’s Press.
6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I touched on the alternative vs. conventional publishing above, but as per the eBooks vs. print books – the market has changed drastically towards eBooks, we all know that. But what you have to remember is that there will always be BOTH. At for the near future. So don’t alienate them. There are easy, print on demand options for print distribution to Amazon, take advantage of it. Let those paperback readers know that they’re not forgotten and that you’d love for them to read your book. And one thing I learned from a project I just did with my readers is that people also buy BOTH books if they can get the print copy signed, or if it’s considered a “favorite” author/book. So you can sell the same book twice to the same person. Don’t discount print just because it’s a common misconception that its becoming instinct. This concept also goes to audiobooks – if you have a good opportunity to produce an audiobook, go for it. There are a lot of audio listeners out there that would love to listen to your book on the way to work and back home. So my general concept is to cover all your bases. Yes, eBooks are typically the bigger seller, but it’s important to include everyone when at all possible.
7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Anyone can publish a book now with indie publishing. But if you’re speaking as to traditional publishing – I WISH there was a secret. I really do. I got here by pure perseverance, stubbornness, and determination. Which are basically the same thing, but whatever it was there was A LOT of it to get to this point. I do have two pieces of advice I like to give: 1) Join author groups/critique groups online to better your writing (which everyone can stand to do at all times) and chat about the ins and outs of the current market. 2) Get an agent. Research who is accepting manuscripts that have clients like you, and try to get a meeting with an agent. An agent will protect your interests with publishers and help brainstorm career moves, and they have access to contacts you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. They are a wealth of information and in my case an exceptional asset to my career.
8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
See above. But just to expand a little bit – do you research. I can’t stress this part enough. You can’t reach out to an agent who only has clients who write children’s books when you write romance or thrillers. Gather a list of agents who represent clients of your nature and pick up the phone to call them if you can, or send them an email. But make whatever communication you have well-thought out and have a plan of action, an ideas in mind. Treat each conversation as a big interview you can’t blow.
9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
I’ve pretty much touched on all of my tips in my previous answers. Though one added comment – you are never finished growing as an author. If you think you can’t get better, challenge yourself more. I am constantly thinking of new storylines that will test my limits, get me out of my comfort zone and into a new way to approach writing. If you’re in this for the long haul, that’s a critical part of it, in my opinion.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
How different it is dealing with the different professionals in this industry. As a hybrid author you deal with bloggers, readers, editors, cover artists, photographers, graphic designers, etc. And they’re all different. Some of them read your stuff and love it and want to talk to you about it, and some of them have never read your books but work with you closely in promoting them. So it’s a very different vibe with everyone I work with, but it’s also so much fun to encounter all these different people. As for the actual writing – I guess it’s how much my characters stick with me. I have been finished with my INSIDE OUT series for over a year now and those characters still try to sneak their way into my current work in progress from time to time.
11. How many books have you written?
I believe at last count it was more than 40, possibly more than 50 at this point.
12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
Join author groups, get a critique partner, and have several different editors/beta readers. It all adds up and helps. Also, accept and learn from constructive criticism. If you can’t do that all of it will be a wash.
13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
A lot of my books end of cliffhangers so I always add some very big twist at the end. Something a reader didn’t see coming, or a climax to an ongoing issue that didn’t go as planned. I plot out these aspects far in advance. Sometimes it has to do with the characters’ past and that’s just part of adding depth to said character, you just have to present the information in a way that’s shocking to readers. But plot twists in general can be planned and unplanned, there’s no formula to it really, it’s just what feel right to you as a writer.
14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
That would most likely be for readers to judge, since I’m still in awe that this is my career. But what I HOPE makes my book stand out from the crowd is the mystery and romance intertwined in my books. I go through a lot of drafts of trying to create the perfect couple (for each other, scars and all), the perfect story (for the characters), and the perfect secrecy. It’s not always easy, but it’s always fun to write. It’s what I love to write, and I can only hope that that shines through in my book and is what makes my lovely readers love my books.
15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
The list is long and ever-flowing, but first and foremost is connecting with my readers and conversing with them about my books. Because without readers there would be no career in this market for me. But on a more promotional side – it changes daily, honestly. Anything from social media ads, to blitzes with promotional companies, to making sure the bloggers who want ARCs get them. In all honesty, I have a list of more than 100 things I can do for each book launch and I am always adding and deleting from it. So what I can tell other authors is to make that same type of list and keep it up to date, and make sure to look into new endeavors, and delete the ones that don’t work.
16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
There are a ton of things I could have done differently, but it would have changed where I am today and I don’t want that. So I wouldn’t change anything, but instead I just make sure that I learn from the things that didn’t go accordingly to plan.
17. What would you like carved onto your tombstone? Or what saying or mantra do you live by?
The age-old cliché: everything happens for a reason. I live by that saying every day. And yes, it takes some reminding at times, but it does my soul good to know that sometimes things are out of my control and that I am right where I should be in life.
18. Place to find Lisa Renee Jones:
Please contact me at dalanbinder at gmail dot com or ab3ring at juno dot com
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