Today, I welcome a good friend. I’ve known her for about twenty years, when we first met at the Writer’s Club message boards on American Online. We’ve been in many clubs together, even started a few ourselves. Of course, she had the idea and would ask me if I’d like to help, and I’d say, “Sure.”
She is always breaking new ground in the publishing industry–example: the first RWA online chapter: From The Heart, another writer’s club: World Romance Writers, and the first author promotion site (to my knowledge): Word Museum. She is a wonderful person as well as author and entrepreneur. So, it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you, Lori Soard.
It All Started with a Giraffe Named Geraldine
My very first memories are of my dad telling me bedtime stories about a crazy giraffe named Geraldine. Geraldine was always getting into messes and had to be rescued. He would let me make choices in how the story would go. Does Geraldine go into the clearing or stay hidden? Does she follow the noise she heard or ignore it? These were the first stories I helped create and one of my favorite memories from my childhood.
I always loved books and stories. My parents bought me books as little gifts, played word games with me, and let my imagination have free reign. I truly believe that God gives us the parents he does for a reason and he couldn’t have chosen better with mine. I am thankful every day for their influence in my life and their love.
When my first grade teacher showed me how to string letters into words and words into sentences, I was thrilled. Now, I could read books for myself. And, I could write my own stories. I devoured every book I could get my hands on, started journaling and started writing stories. My early school years were all about finishing the busy work, because the teachers would let me read quietly if I finished early.
In high school, I would write stories and pass them to my friends between classes. They would add to them and we’d all swap stories again. I still have some of these silly stories, but they were so much fun. Some of them are about aliens taking over our friends’ bodies, but most are about romance. We had code names for our crushes in case anyone ever found one of our stories or a teacher tried to read it out loud.
It wasn’t until college when a journalism professor encouraged us to write an article and submit it to our local newspapers that I realized you could make money from your writing. The editor published my piece, put it on the front page, and gave me $25. At the time, I was more thrilled with that $25 than any amount I’ve ever been paid for my writing since. It was a light bulb moment for me and I knew I would always write from that point forward.
I’ve been published in multiple formats. Some of my first books were with ebook publishers, in the days when people said ebooks would never take off and they were basically a joke. I knew, even back then, that they were the wave of the future. I’ve always loved technology and I just felt in my gut that they would one day be a big deal. My very first book was titled Man of Means and was on a floppy disk. I recently republished that book, after extensive edits, for Kindle and in paperback.
Later, I was published by Thorndike for their Five Star line. I loved working with my editor, Russell, but they eventually moved away from contemporary romances and I felt a bit lost as I was another orphaned author. Eventually, I moved over to Amber Quill Press. In the last couple of years, I’ve moved to self-publishing. Just as I once thought that ebooks would be the wave of the future, I believe that being in control of my own books and how they are presented, packaged, and priced, is the next phase of my writing. I won’t say I’ll never again be with a traditional publisher. I enjoy the give and take of working with an editor and getting the intensive feedback that entails. I’m open to whatever direction the Lord wants to take my writing career.
One thing I’ve learned along the way is that you have to be open to writing different things. About 10 years ago, I began writing more non-fiction than I had. Although I’d always written a few articles here and there, I noticed the majority of my income was from articles and not from my fiction. The fiction income tends to come in spurts, but you never know just how big the spurt of income will be or when it will arrive. Writing non-fiction balances that for me. I also like to give my brain a break, as writing non-fiction requires different skills than writing fiction. I also edit for a couple of clients and do some web design. By varying tasks, I can stay busy most of the time and easily put in 40 hours a week or more. All the time, I’m loving every bit of it. I feel so blessed to do things I truly enjoy and make a living at it.
Marketing has changed a lot over the years. Today, you have to be active on social media, advertise, and stay in touch with your readers by blogging. However, I also believe you need to be vocal that you’re a writer and your books are available. I have a friend, and everywhere we go she is talking about her books to people. I’m trying to learn from her boldness, because I have a really hard time doing that for myself. I actually will hide out and never mention I’m a writer unless someone knows it already. I don’t know why, but this is definitely something I’m trying to overcome.
I have found it really hard to line up in-person book signings for this latest book. There used to be a lot of independent small booksellers out there. They’re all but gone. That makes it a bit more difficult to get out there and meet new readers. I’m going to be trying some festivals and different events instead in the coming year. I’m hoping that will allow me to get the word out more. I am also doing some online book tours and connecting with friends who are bloggers.
I actually wouldn’t change anything about my writing journey so far, even the mistakes. I believe that we learn from every mistake, every success, and every failure. These things all come together to make me who I am. I like who I am in Christ and the skills, knowledge and lessons along the way. I would do it all again.
I would encourage new writers to dig in their heels and never quit. Focus on why you are writing. It likely isn’t to get famous, because there are easier ways to achieve that. It is probably because you have something to say or a message to share. If you can share that with just a handful of people, then you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. Learn to focus on the reason and not the result and you’ll always be a success with your writing.
Lori’s Latest Book
Lori’s latest book is Cupid’s Quest, which is the first in her Cupid’s Crossing series. It is a contemporary inspirational romance available in paperback and ebook.
The only life Gracie has ever known has been the nursing home and the residents who are like family to her. Now, she risks losing it all and her friends scattering to different homes if she can’t come up with the money to save the business.
Between caring for his ailing mother and running the family farm, Brandt is stretched thin. Too thin. When his mother begs him to enter a local scavenger hunt, win the prize money, and convert the farm into an orchard, he knows he can’t refuse her anything, so he reluctantly agrees.
While seeking clues to the scavenger hunt, Gracie and Brandt keep bumping into each other. Gracie’s always had a crush on him that keeps her from stringing two coherent words together. Brandt doesn’t understand why she dislikes him so much she won’t even talk to him. If the nursing home residents would settle down and stop getting into crazy shenanigans long enough, the two might figure out that they have more than a little in common.
You can sign up for Lori’s newsletter by visiting her website at http://www.LoriSoard.comand clicking on “Newsletter” at the top of the page. She regularly gives away prizes such as autographed copies of her books and gift cards to Starbucks and Amazon. Plus, you’ll stay updated on her latest news.