Where do you get your ideas? Ever since I was a kid in elementary school, I have been making up stories in my head. I suppose I thought everyone did that! It was only much, much later that I entertained the idea of trying to get published. I generally start with two characters, and then build a world around them with a lot of what ifs.
How many books have you written? More than 70! Most of my books are around 50,000 words. That translates to a manuscript of approximately 250 double-spaced pages. My Scotland series (Hot for the Scot, etc.) has longer books, more like 60,000 words. And my newest venture is a trade series for Canary Street Press. Those books are 85,000 words.
How long does it take you to write a book? With the shorter ones, I can do four books a year. That means turning in a manuscript every 13 weeks. Included in that time are getting a synopsis approved, doing Art Fact Sheets that help the publisher produce a good cover, doing revisions of another book in production, reading final page proofs of yet another book, and most importantly, hitting a certain word count or page goal every day for the work in progress, so that I stay on track to meet my deadlines. The new series set in Blossom Branch takes more like 4-5 months per book.
Where can I find your books? When a book first comes out, it is available in print and e-book. Print books can be found at Barnes and Noble, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. As I’m sure you know, there are many fewer bookstores than there used to be! Another great to way to buy the book in paper is to order directly from Harlequin.com or from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Newer books are usually available in paper for 2-4 months, or until the initial print run is gone from the warehouse. (One thing to note is that if you order from Harlequin, you can get the book a month early!)
E-books are generally available forever, which means that you can go back and buy an older series you’ve never read. There are many ways to read e-books. You can download the Kindle app on your iPad or computer, or even your phone. If you are interested in having a device that is “only” for reading, there are many versions of the Kindle, some of which are only $79.99 (or refurbished, only $59.99). If you happen to be a person who is tech-phobic, I promise that someone you know can set you up and get you going!
But, if “paper” books are your first choice, you’ll want to buy books as soon as they come out…before the inventory is gone. I always alert my readers about new releases via Facebook and Twitter, though the surefire way to know about new books is to sign up for my e-newsletter. (See my website to sign up.) It comes out no more than once a month, so it won’t clog your inbox.
If you love Amazon and shop there frequently, you might want to follow me at www.amazon.com/author/janicemaynard. By doing so, Amazon will alert you when one of my books is about to come out.
Apple has been working hard on their bookstore and recently has made several changes to their platform, so it is easier to find authors you love. If you have money in your iTunes account, you can easily download from iBooks, now simply called Apple Books. Apple does not offer paper books.
One exception to the above information about ordering paper books is that some books are available via POD, Print On Demand. Included in this category are my six Southern Hearts books and my four Kilted Heroes books. Because of POD, you can buy these books in paper anytime.
What are the perks of being a writer? The best one is flexibility. If I don’t get my word count in during the day, I can always work nights and weekends if I need to. There’s no commute! And I can wear my jammies.
What are the downsides of being a writer? Being under contract it a lot of pressure at times. When regular-life crises erupt, it can really play havoc with my writing schedule. I also have to plan vacation time and other travel around my deadlines.
Do you have an agent? Yes! The wonderful Emily Sylvan Kim of Prospect Agency has been my agent since 2004.
Any other great things about writing?? Over the years, I have made so many wonderful friends in the writing community. I see them from time to time at conferences, but we all keep in touch via social media. Romance writers are a hugely supportive group and tend to cheer their colleagues’ successes. A rising tide lifts all boats…
Is your writing a full-time job? An emphatic yes! When I sign a contract, I receive an advance against royalties. Later, as the book actually hits the shelves, I may receive further payment if the book has earned more in sales than my original advance.
I am proud to say that my books are available in countries around the world. The need for happy endings is universal. I love what I do, and I am so thankful for readers like you!
If you want to support your favorite authors, the two best ways are buying the book the week it releases (if you can), and leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, etc. Those reviews can be brief, but they make a huge difference in search algorithms.