The Lit Ladies are so excited to welcome bestselling author Tracey Garvis Graves to discuss her latest novel, Covet, and about writing in general! Best of all, if you enter our COVET giveaway with the Rafflecopter form below, you have a chance to win a copy of COVET (U.S. mailing addresses only please). Tracey recently spoke with the Joplin Writers’ Guild and provided some great information on both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Hopefully her incredible personal journey to becoming a successful writer will inspire you to make your own writing dreams come true.
Many of you may know Tracey from her blockbuster success with her first book, On the Island, about two castaways who fall in love. The kicker? These two people, a teen boy and his older tutor, should never have become romantic under normal circumstances.
Tracey received 14 form letter rejections from agents, but she believed in her book so strongly that she decided to self-publish. After selling hundreds of thousands of copies via Amazon (and other online booksellers) and selling the movie rights to the book FIRST, traditional publishers finally took notice. A division of Penguin bought the book and she’s since published Uncharted, the companion piece to On the Island, and now Covet. Yay Tracey!
Let’s find out the details about Tracey’s fantastic success story.
Spirit Lady: Welcome to the Lit Ladies blog, Tracey. We are so honored to have you! You are a true lit lady, following your writing passion and not giving up on your dream of writing books. So, what do you love about being a writer?
Tracey: Thank you so much for having me! What I love the most about being a writer is being able to create my stories from the comfort of my favorite writing chair. I’m a homebody at heart, and nothing makes me happier (outside of my family) than my laptop, a quiet house, and my dog Chloe sitting at my feet while I type away. I wrote On the Island while working full-time, so being able to focus on writing 100% during the daytime hours is like a dream come true. I love being my own boss.
Spirit Lady: I completely understand what you mean about creating stories and personal happiness. Your latest novel, Covet, deals with some heavy subjects: marriage trouble, unemployment, toeing the line of adultery. Why this story? And how do you keep readers hooked when dealing with tough issues like these?
Tracey: Covet was a story I just wanted to tell. I love contemporary romance, but I love women’s fiction, too. Having already tackled a romance in On the Island, I felt that it was time to try my hand at women’s fiction. Plus the story is set in a suburban neighborhood, and that’s something I know quite a bit about.
My hope is that readers will find the subject matter relatable, which will keep them turning the pages. I love women’s fiction for that reason: the storylines often parallel the issues women deal with in their everyday lives. I also try to keep my characters likeable, so that readers will sympathize with them. I want my characters to feel like someone you could be friends with in real life.
Spirit Lady: More and more authors are breaking into different genres, so I love that you were able to publish the type of story you wanted to. Now, Covet is traditionally published and On the Island was self-published. Any words of advice for the fast-changing publishing industry? Do you have any resources for those wanting to try self-publishing?
Tracey: The publishing industry is changing at lightning speed, so all writers need to keep an open mind. We don’t know what the next year will hold, or even the next six months. Preconceived notions need to be thrown out the window, and writers will need to determine the publishing method that works best for them.
On my blog, I have an FAQ that provides lots of information about self-publishing (scroll down to FAQ on left sidebar). Please check it out!
Spirit Lady: Fabulous. That will be so helpful to a lot of writers. So could you walk us through a day in your writing life? How do you write a new novel and market the latest one at the same time?
Tracey: I’m an early riser so the first thing I do once I’ve poured a cup of coffee is make the rounds of social media. I check FB, Twitter, and my 3 e-mail accounts. After I get my kids and husband out the door I try to focus solely on writing from about 9-3. I’m very protective of my writing time because I need to take advantage of the quiet. In the evening I’ll usually work on Q&A’s or blog posts, which fall under the heading of marketing my current or previous books. I try to make sure that writing the new novel gets the biggest chunk of my time.
Spirit Lady: It sounds like it’s all about blocking out time for different activities so that you have time for your family, too. All of us Lit Ladies balance family, work/school, and writing. As a mom yourself (who was also working full time when you wrote On the Island), what advice would you give us?
Tracey: Well, you’re going to have to give something up. In my case it was newspapers, magazines, and television, which were all things that I loved. There simply wasn’t time to fit all of those things in because family, work, and writing took up pretty much all the hours I had (I was always a little bit tired during the year it took to write On the Island). But if you love writing, everything else can be put on the back burner. It will still be there when you’re done.
Spirit Lady: Thanks so much for sharing your words of wisdom, Tracey. You were so kind, easy-going, and informative with the Joplin Writers. I know the readers here are going to gain just as much insight from you. Anything you would like to add?
Tracey: Thank you so much for featuring me on Lit Ladies! It’s been fun.
I truly believe there has never been a better time to be a writer. There are so many options available and if you think you’ve got a story to tell, please start writing it and don’t stop until you reach ‘The End.’ Writing a book was easily the most rewarding and joyous thing I’ve ever done. I want you to experience it!
Spirit Lady: Thanks so much, Tracey! And everybody remember to fill out the Rafflecopter form below and get points to enter the contest for checking out Tracey’s website!
Use the box below to enter to win a free copy of COVET.
a Rafflecopter giveaway