My Writing Journey

This is my first chance to post as a member of the Emblazoners, so I thought I’d introduce myself.

I grew up on a potato farm in Idaho, and loved reading and writing. My favorite thing to do as a senior in high school was to get my work done as a library aide and sit down to write. I would pick out a name and an animal, and just run with it. I came up with some pretty crazy concepts—one of which I still hope to publish someday.

I went to BYU and studied Early Childhood Education and met my husband, Steve, when I was a senior. We started our family soon after and within nine years, we had our six children.

In 2009, I decided to open a bookstore out in Eagle Mountain, and by November of that year, Dragons & Fairy Tales. In the year it was open, I learned so much from the authors that came out and signed at the store. So while the store didn’t last, the knowledge I gained took me on paths I never expected.

Speaking of unexpected paths … right after we closed the store, Steve got a job offer in Australia and we jumped on it. So we packed up the store and our house, and took our kids off to the Land Down Under. That’s where a lot of my writing really began.

Things were less than ideal while we were there, and I blogged about our adventures to keep me sane. When we finally came home five months later, I had enough material to write out a 73,000 word book for NaNoWriMo.

Since then I have published six books, and have so many more ideas to go. In my writing adventures, I learned several important points. I’ll list five of those below.

1. Love your cover. No, seriously, You should see the first cover I had on Stolen Luck. Google it and I’m sure you’ll find it. Why did I go with it? I wanted the book out now. I wanted a book available for Christmas and working with that cover artist was difficult, so I dealt with it.
Don’t deal with it. It’s your book. Your baby. Make sure you love the cover because you will be selling your book to other people and you don’t want the constant reminder. Believe me. You could be stuck with evil leprechauns for the rest of your life.
2. Don’t rush. Make sure edits are done well, covers are what you want, and everything is ready before you hit the submit button. I am constantly rushing into things and I regret it later. I’m thankful for those around me that remind me to slow down, enjoy the ride, and be happy with the better results.
 3. Read the contract. If you go traditional, know what that contract says. I am currently in the process of getting my rights back on a series, and a few things in the contract that I figured I would never have to deal with are the biggest obstacles right now. Find someone that knows contract law and make sure you’re not making a huge mistake.  Look at the right of first refusal, royalties, buyout options, and responsibilities for both you and your publisher.
 4. Don’t stress over things you can’t control.  Cover artists need time to create, editors need time to edit, formatters need time to format, and even printers need time to print. Take a deep breath and realize they’re doing their best to make you look good.
 5. When marketing, don’t burn yourself out. When Twist of Luck was released, I went all out on a huge blog tour, and I didn’t see a lot of return. It was still fun, and my readers enjoyed it, but I was totally burnt out at the end. Look around for fun ideas and research to see what marketing works now. My friend just did a Twitter party and it went very well. There are also Facebook launch parties, blog tours, cover reveals, and physical launch parties. Do all of them or do one or two of them. Know your schedule and what you can handle before pushing yourself into it.

Happy writing!

About Jaclyn Weist

Jaclyn is an Idaho farm girl who grew up loving to read. She developed a love for writing as a senior in high school, when her dad jokingly said she was the next Dr. Seuss (not even close, but very sweet). She met her husband, Steve, at BYU, and they have six happy, crazy children who encourage her to keep writing. After owning a bookstore and running away to have adventures in Australia, they settled back down in their home in Utah. Jaclyn now spends her days herding her kids to various activities and trying to remember what she was supposed to do next. She has published six books in a year, and her mind is still reeling from the awesomeness. Her books include Endless: A Modern Cinderella Tale; The Princess and the Prom Queen; Magicians of the Deep; the Luck series–Stolen Luck, Twist of Luck, Best of Luck, and Just My Luck, a novella.

10 thoughts on “My Writing Journey

  1. Great advice, Jaclyn! All good points, and yes you MUST love your cover! As for promotion and marketing, it’s a learn-as-you-go ride. We learn what works and what doesn’t individually. Best advice: enjoy the ride! Thanks for sharing your experiences! Really want to visit Australia one day! Cheers!

    1. Thanks, Sharon. 🙂 Marketing is so different each time you put out a book, I think.

      Australia is beautiful! Even with all the bad stuff that happened, I’d go back in a heartbeat.

  2. What wonderful advice! It is so easy to take on too much and get burnt out.

    I loved learning more about your life I have always thought it would be fabulous to own a book store. Plus- you moved to Australia. WOW! 🙂 Best of luck to you!

    1. Thank you! There were a few times throughout the year that I had to stop and do something else because my brain was fried.

      Owning a bookstore was one of my favorite things to do. I miss it so much!

  3. Live and learn, right? Thanks for putting your lessons out there for us to benefit from. And I enjoyed learning your background! 🙂

    1. You’re welcome. 🙂 And thanks! So much of my writing has come from the experiences over the last few years. I never would have put myself out there and started writing if I hadn’t had to do it for the store OR while we were in Australia.

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