Monday, March 4, 2013

Guest Post: 'Staying Power' by Jennifer Lyon

Thank you B.E. for having me today! 

B.E. kindly pointed out that I’ve been around for a while now. I got “the call” in 2000, and my first book in the Samantha Shaw Mystery Series, DATING CAN BE MURDER, came out in 2002. I’ve written that series, some romances, several novellas, a paranormal romance series and this year I have two new series coming out.

So what does it take to have staying power? Okay, here is my first and most important tip—if I can do it, so you can you! I truly mean that. The longer I’ve been around in the business, the more I realize it’s about these three things; stubbornness, drive and adaptability. I’ll explain:


I don’t mean stubbornly refusing to listen to sage advice, but the pure refusing-to-give-up kind of stubborn. It took me eight years to publish, and in that time I got a few nasty rejections. They hurt right down to my bones, and for a few hours, or days, they had the ability to paralyze me.

But my natural stubbornness always rose, and I was determined to prove them wrong. I learned to shrug off ugly rejections as they had no value for me (or you!). But to succeed I had to get better at my craft so I strove to learn from the rejections that had constructive criticism. 

Those lessons served me well when I published. I refused to give up when my series were canceled, editors were fired, the economy tanked…it all happened. I might have had to step back and take a breath, give myself a little time to get over the situation, but I always ended up going back to work on a new project. Because I’m stubborn. 


We may think we have the drive to write, but when it comes to the daily grind, the reality can be tougher than we believe. First, we must have the ability to complete a story to The End. It’s easy to get derailed at some point in the book; I know I do. But my drive to finish that book becomes a compulsion and I keep at it until I do it. 

And then the revisions arrive. For me, that process looks like this: First I scan the revision letter. My stomach cramps and a voice in my head, one that sounds a lot like a two-year-old, screams, “She just doesn’t get it!” Then I shut the document and go away to sulk with my best friend Chocolate. But after a little time, light switches start flipping on in my brain and ideas take over. Soon I begin ripping the book apart with vigor, ready to attack the revisions. Because deep down, I love writing and I am driven to make that book the very best that I possibly can. 

And I do it all over again with copy edits and page proofs to get that book as clean and perfect as I can.

That’s the drive to write. After a book is finally finished, I’m so drained I think I’ll never do it again. But I always end up doing it all over again because that drive is there. 


It’s always been important to be adaptable. Readers’ tastes change and the market changes to accommodate them. Believe it or not, there was a time when no one in New York would buy a vampire story. And then WHAM, vampires took a huge bite out of the market (sorry, couldn’t resist!) Change is a fact of life and we must adjust.
When paranormal was hot, I looked at the market and then created a paranormal world that I loved about Wing Slayer Hunters and Witches. Readers responded well to that. But the economy crashed and my editor was laid off. Eventually my series was dropped and I had to figure out what to do next. I’m too stubborn, and love writing too much, to give up.

The market is changing drastically again with the rise of digital (e-books) publishing. I’ve created two new series, selling one to the hot new digital publisher, Entangled. 

The other one I refused to show to any publisher, choosing to self publish The Plus One Chronicles myself. There are many reasons, but a strong one is that I want to write it to the newer trend of serial type novels. These are shorter connected books that end on a hook leaving the reader (hopefully) anxious for the next one. A second strong reason is that I can control the price, and in the market we’re in today, price is key. It’s been a whole new experience to be in control of the covers, marketing, hiring a great editor and so on. But it’s all a part of adapting to the changes in the market and staying in the game. 

Stubbornness, drive and adaptability are my tips for getting published and staying published for the long haul. But my number one tip is that you can do it too, you just have to be willing to hang in there and keep writing. 


Award-winning author Jennifer Lyon has several new releases coming out this year. THE PROPOSITION, the first book in her new Plus One Chronicles was just released on February 24 and following later in the year will be Book Two: POSSESSION - Coming 5/28/13 and Book Three: OBSESSION - Coming 9/24/13.

Writing under Jennifer Apodaca she will be releasing the first book in her Once A Marine series, titled THE BABY BARGAIN which will be out in March 2013 from Entangled Publishing in their Indulgence line.

Find Jen at:


  1. Great advice, Jennifer - it's so easy to give-up after the rejections start piling up, so it's good to know that with those three traits success can be attained!

    Also good to know that just because you do get the call doesn't mean it's a bed of roses afterwards - a good reminder for those still waiting for a non-rejection :)

  2. Three great traits needed for making a go of this writing business. Sometimes I think the first two are easier to come by than the third. But I think adaptability is the key to long-term success. Everything changes. Good luck on your new series!

  3. I found myself nodding in agreement a lot as I read this post. :-)

    Wishing you continued success and I hope your enjoy your foray into self-publishing!

  4. I see these same traits reflected in the characters you write about. It is part of the reason I love to read your books. One trait you forgot to put down in "Heart". You have a lot of it and it shines through in your writing.

  5. I second what Kat says, not just about you, Jen, but about writers in general. We have to love what we're writing. The readers are smart. They'll know if we're just "phoning in" the words. Enthusiasm and love added to stubborness, drive, and adaptability makes for a winning formula. Well...that and patience. Thick skin. Okay, the list goes on. LOL but if someone really wants to be a writer, they'll find what it takes to make it happen. FYI, love the new series. Still want more Wing Slayer Hunters and their Witches, and can't wait for the Once a Marine series! Now quite lollygagging around and start writing! ;-)

  6. It's been a crazy Monday morning but I finally got here! Hi everyone! And thanks B.E. again for having me. I'm going through to answer comments now :-)

  7. Janet, I know, rejections suck. I still get them and they still ruin my day. But we have to stick together and keep writing what we love and keep submitting! That's why this blog is so helpful. It provides a community so we know we're not alone. I went through eight long years of rejections, and swore I was going to give up many times. But usually a day or two later I was back at it. Hang in there!

  8. Karyn, you know, I think you're right. Adaptability takes a massive amount of energy to forge a new direction. I hadn't really thought about it like that until you said it. Excellent point!

    Thank you on my series! Luck plays a very important part too :-)

  9. JB, thank you. I really am enjoying self publishing even with the tremendous amount of work involved.

  10. Kat, thank you :-) Heart is important too! I had that under Drive and took it out. This blog was so long, i was trying to tighten it. I hate to bore people too much :-)

  11. Silver, well said! And thank you so much!

    By The way, I'm reading BRIDE'S MOON now--just about half way through and really enjoying it!

  12. Great post Jenn. I put a spin on stubbornness and change the word to perseverance :). As a reader I am so happy that you have the drive that you do. I love the Wing Slayers and am really enjoying Kat and Sloane. Thanks.

  13. Viki, thank you! Sure perseverance sounds better :-) It doesn't matter what we call it, just that we know we keep fighting another day!

  14. Thank you so much for stopping by today, Jen. The post was awesome.

    And if the rest of you haven't snagged a copy of The Proposition yet, get crackin'. And get ready to pick up The Baby Bargain when it comes out! =o)

  15. Thank you for having me here today, B.E.!


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