Today I’m excited to introduce Meg Lacey to the blog! Ever wanted to know what’s it’s like for a writer behind the scenes? Looking to start your own writing career? Keep reading for Meg’s story and great tips!
Fighting my way back…
By Meg Lacey
I’m going to tell you a little story, a sort of fairy tale, of a woman, a computer and a writing career…sort of. Note—there is a moral at the end, so stick with me.
Growing up, I read everything in sight, even the oatmeal box. My mother was a great reader, and I came from a family of storytellers. My grandmother would keep my brother and me enthralled in her true adventures, especially the ones about WW2 and her travels. So I’ve always been surrounded by words, sentences, paragraphs, etc. But I never thought of being a writer.
Yet I’ve always written.
My professional background is theatre, from there I moved into the TV and advertsing worlds by producing/directing and eventually writing scripts for commercials promotional projects and cable TV. Then I read my first romance novel. I’d read romance fiction along with everything else for years, but my big love was gothics and thrillers, followed by historical novels. I’d never read a Harlequin romance, until one day I was bored and found one in a used book store. It was ‘Dear Villian‘, by Jacqueline Gilbert, and it was set in a repetory theatre in England. I loved the humor, the characters, and the setting, so I read everything I could locate by the author. Then the big romance boom happened. Suddenly new companies were springing up like weeds, and guess what? Editors were dying to read new authors. So I wrote a book.
I sent it off and got a refusal, but also a lot personal letters from the editor suggesting revisions. I sent it in again, but… They asked to see the next. Again, no dice. I sent the book to other houses and editors, and again, received a lot of personal feedback and another, will you revise for us. I rewrote that book four times until I’d written the life from the story. During this time I also started a full service production business, marketing and advertsing in all media. As that was my main focus, writing romance took a back seat.
I kept writing though. I finally sold my fifth complete book, and then I wrote and published 5 more. But, needing a new challenge, I’d left the first production company, and started a second. Again—there went my focus on writing, which had started so well with Harlequin being promoted as a “Woman to Watch;” and my editor wanting to build me into a romantic comedy star. It ended for a number of reasons, but the big one was my other responsibilities— to employees, clients, the bank, and most of all to my young family. Thus, ended my first romance career.
Finally, in 2007, I decided to try again. I wrote another book for Harlequin, and was told everyone loved it. The book came out, and I heard…. “Sorry, now we hate your writing.” By then, the economy was in the toilet, my company was in trouble, and eventually I closed it. My second stab as a novelist was briefer than the first.
In 2009, I decided to give my writing career one more shot—third time’s the charm, right? But, now, another great thing was happening, the rules were changing for all authors—Ebooks. Suddenly, tons of new online companies were available, and—wait for it—looking for authors. And, the market was also creating opportunities for Indie publishing for those books writers loved, but marketing couldn’t figure out how to sell.
So what have I learned so far, besides never stop learning?
For a writer the real point of this fairy tale is three fold:
- Never start two demanding careers at once. It never works the way you think it will no matter how much energy and drive you have.
- You have to work for the chances you’re given. I also put this one as ‘See an opportunity and take it, and if you don’t see one—make it!’
- Use the 3D method:
- Determination – want it badly and work your tail off to get it.
- Discipline – learn all you can and get it done in a timely fashion.
- Dump – dump your butt in a chair and stay there until you’ve finished what you need to accomplish for the day.
For a reader the point is even more simple:
1. Ebooks give readers the opportunity to try new writers without investing all of their grocery money.
2. Readers have a choice. Today’s marketplace offers a wide variety of subjects, tone and complexity. No longer do you have to read twenty stories about babies, because a corporate power’s discovered they’re profitable. (Don’t misunderstand—I adore babies, but I don’t want to read about them exclusively. The really strange thing about this approach is the more a specific market trend is followed, the faster the market narrows, which has also opened the way for new publishers and writers.)
So, here I am, starting over again, but this time I’m learning more than ever. I’m working with people who love books, and love what I do. More importantly, I’m really loving it too. I don’t get that sick feeling everytime I see a note from an editor or agent, or read a bad review (and everyone has bad reviews). Maybe that’s a feature of today’s new book reality. With so many books available, every writer has to love what they do, and it has to show everytime.
I’m writing entertainment for people to enjoy, and some even tell me they do. And, you know what? That is more rewarding than all the other things I thought were important in the beginning. I now have two book series, one a paranormal series with Imajinn Books, Tales of the Sparrow, with the first book, The Sparrow and the Hawk, 9/12 and the Second, The Sparrow and The Vixen’s Three, 11/13, and another with Samhain Publishing, Million Dollar Men, with the first book, Million Dollar Mistake, 10/12, and I’m working on the second. And even more good news, my first book for Entangled Publishing, Something’s Cooking, will be out 8/13.
And the moral for my fairytale is (see, I told you there was a moral) —dream your own fairytale, but realize you’re the heroine of your own story. You can determine how the tale is told.
I wrote my first novel in the sixth grade, but my fiction writing career didn’t last. I went into theatre for a bachelor and masters in acting/directing. I ended up in media as a writer-producer.
Over the years, I’ve been an actress, director, producer, creative director, CEO, copywriter, creative dramatics teacher, mime, mom, college instructor, and a school bus driver. I’ve established two creative marketing/media companies, working as a V.P. and as CEO, working in all media: network cable programming to corporate initiatives; to video, games and interactive websites.
My past Harlequin and current books are all available online.
Great thanks to Meg for sharing her story! How are you living your fairy tale?