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The Work From Home Show

Mar 31, 2023

Jane Healey is the #1 Washington Post bestselling author of The Secret Stealers, The Beantown Girls, The Saturday Evening Girls Club, and the new book Goodnight from Paris

Healey shares her journey as a writer and how she got her first book published after facing rejection from 70 agents. She also discusses the importance of having a day job while pursuing writing and the different pathways to success in publishing. Healey talks about her writing process, marketing strategy, and how she aims to publish one book every two years. 

Are you an aspiring writer struggling to get published? In the latest episode of the Work From Home Show, bestselling author Jane Healey shares her journey to becoming a published novelist. Here are 5 lessons we can learn from her experience:

  1. Perseverance is key: Jane faced 70 rejections before getting her first book deal. She didn’t give up on her dream, and neither should you.

  2. Have a day job: Writing can be a tough industry to break into, so it’s important to have a steady income while you work on your craft. Jane worked as a product manager while pursuing her writing career.

  3. Consider different publishing options: There are different pathways to success in publishing, including self-publishing and traditional publishing. Jane won a crowdsourced publishing contest called Kindle First, which led to her dream editor offering her a publishing deal.

  4. Writing can happen anywhere: Jane has been known to write in skating rinks and school pickup lines. While she now has a home office, sometimes she needs to leave the house to focus on the first draft.

  5. Marketing is key: Jane invests in a publicist and uses social media to promote her books. She is also grateful for the support of readers and libraries in the New England area.

So, keep these lessons in mind as you pursue your writing career. And don’t forget to check out Jane’s books, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores. Happy writing!

Introduction [00:00:01] Introduction to the podcast episode and the hosts.

Jane Healey's background [00:01:03] Discussion of Jane Healey's background and her journey as a writer.

Working in tech and pursuing writing [00:03:05] Discussion of the benefits of working in tech while pursuing writing as a side hustle.

Different pathways to success in publishing [00:05:09] Discussion of the different pathways to success in publishing, including traditional publishing, self-publishing, and independent publishing.

Jane Healey's path to getting published [00:06:18] Discussion of Jane Healey's path to getting her first book published, including submitting manuscripts to agents and participating in a crowdsourced publishing contest.

Discovering the Contest [00:08:40] Jane Healey talks about how she learned about the contest that helped her get her first book published.

Different Paths to Publication [00:09:05] Naresh Vissa and Jane Healey discuss the various ways authors can get their books published.

Writing Process and Location [00:10:08] Jane Healey shares her writing process and where she prefers to write.

Frequency of Book Releases [00:12:46] Naresh Vissa and Jane Healey talk about the ideal frequency of book releases and how it affects marketing.

Marketing and Promotion [00:15:04] Jane Healey discusses the role of her publisher, publicist, and social media in marketing and promoting her books.




Speaker 0 (00:00:01) - Forced to work from home by your employer laid off or feeling depressed at home. Do you wanna make money working from anywhere? We'll show you how to do it from your couch. It's time for another episode of The Work From Home Show coming to you from their homes in Austin, Texas, and Tampa, Florida. Here are your hosts, Adam and Naresh.

Speaker 1 (00:00:28) - Hey everybody. Welcome to the Work From Home Show. Shout out to all our homies, homeboys, homegirls, home Trans, all the work from Homers out there. I'm Naresh Bisa. Today we have Jane Healy on the show. She is the number one New York Times and Washington Post bestselling author of The Secret Steelers, the Beantown Girls, the Saturday Evening Girls Club, and the new book Goodnight from Paris. Jane Healy, thank you so much for joining us on the Work from Home Show.

Speaker 2 (00:00:59) - Oh, thank you so much for ha having me. I'm so happy to be here.

Speaker 1 (00:01:03) - So are you a f would you characterize yourself as a full-time fiction writer

Speaker 2 (00:01:08) - Now? I am, yes. Yeah, I wouldn't care for, you know, the first 10 years I was doing this, I wouldn't characterize myself as that. But yes, now I am.

Speaker 1 (00:01:15) - Well, let's talk about those first 10 years, <laugh>. Did you work a full-time job and do this on the side? Obviously it makes sense now for you to be full-time because you have all these New York Times and Washington Post bestselling books. But walk us through those first 10 years, how you got started, how you got your first book published.

Speaker 2 (00:01:34) - Yeah, so, um, I was actually, um, back in the day I was a product manager in high tech, believe it or not. I was a, I was a whole different thing. And then, um, my daughters were born, uh, they're 19 and 16 now. And so I pivoted to doing, um, freelance writing with, so I would really, I was working from home actually doing whatever anyone would pay me for. So it was a lot of, I did a lot of magazines and journals and things like that, but also a lot of private client work. Um, but I'd always wanted to write novels. And my first novel, the Saturday Evening Girls Club is actually came from an article I wrote for Boston Magazine about, um, about the group and the pottery that they, um, that they made. And so that I worked on the Saturday Evening Girls Club, um, novel in the fringes of my life, I like to say, for about 10 years. And, um, and you know, the first time out I just, I tried to get it published. I got a, like, I don't know, I stopped counting at 70 rejections, I think <laugh>, I don't even know. Um, but then in 2017, um, I finally got a break and that novel came out in 2017.

Speaker 1 (00:02:39) - So your first book was published in 2017?

Speaker 2 (00:02:42) - Yes.

Speaker 1 (00:02:43) - And you, so that means you've come out with almost a book every two years if, if I'm not mistaken, correct. 20,

Speaker 2 (00:02:50) - It's, that's exactly right. Yes. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (00:02:52) - Okay, cool. So your background, you said you worked in tech. Is your background in business or technology, is that like what you did after college? Tell us a little bit more before you started working and how you ended up working in tech.

Speaker 2 (00:03:05) - Yeah, that, you know, um, it, it was a, I, I'm from Boston, Boston area. There's a lot of tech companies. It was kind of a boom when I first got outta college. So, um, you know, and I knew, you know, I've always wanted to write novels, but I didn't know anyone who got outta college and just started writing novels and paid off their student loans and were able to move outta their house and, you know, all of that. So, um, so, you know, there was a lot of tech jobs and I always tell young people who wanna be, you know, who wanna write novels, I said, I always say, don't count out tech because, um, you know, you need to make a living. And tech, you know, the tech field always is always looking for good writers, good communicators, you know, and, and it's, it's fascinating. You know, there's always new technology is fascinating and changing all the time. So I, I always tell people like, don't, you know, don't rule that out because you can make a living and, and also pursue your dream of fiction on the side.

Speaker 1 (00:03:57) - Yeah. And when, when you got started, there wasn't self-publishing, now you have self-publishing available, correct? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, and, and of course you're not a self, you're New York Times Washington Post bestseller list. So you, you have your own publisher, you, you have your own agent most likely. But now it, it's easier. And we've done a few episodes in the past about how we recommend that you work a job, you work in tech, you work from home, and you do this on the side. And that's what I've been doing. I've, I've published five books, uh, self-published.

Speaker 2 (00:04:32) - Oh, awesome.

Speaker 1 (00:04:33) - Yeah. Through through my publishing company. Uh, and I'm a technical writer. I write mostly business, non-fiction, e-commerce technology.

Speaker 2 (00:04:41) - Oh, okay. So we have that in common. Yep.

Speaker 1 (00:04:44) - <laugh>. Yeah. Not a whole lot of, of, of fiction though, but, but I think the important takeaway is, like you said, there are a lot of aspiring authors out there, especially fiction authors. Yes. And if you think you're just gonna quit your job and write a book or graduate from school and, and write a book, our recommendation is work that product manager work, work wherever. Yes. And, and write the book on the side.

Speaker 2 (00:05:09) - That's absolutely right. Um, we're, you know, yeah, work with work the fiction as a side hustle for a while. And I, and I think you brought up an important, important point. We're in a really interesting time in publishing. Um, there's many different pathways to success now with, with independent publishing, self-publishing, traditional publishing, and um, you know, cuz I've had some friends who, you know, for years tried to get an agent, tried to get published, tried to get, you know, get that publishing deal and, um, a couple of them have broken out. One of them is a romance writer and she decided to self-publish. Um, and she put three books out, um, and had a very strategic marketing plan along with it, social media. And she's crushing it. She's crushing it as a self-published romance author. And I'm so thrilled for her. So that, you know, there's more than one path to success in publishing now. And it's, it's, it's evolving all the time.

Speaker 1 (00:06:01) - So the, the important question that many people are wondering and people who do want to go the traditional route, cause it's very hard to go the traditional route. How did you get that first deal? Did you just submit manuscripts to publishers or did you meet an agent somewhere?

Speaker 2 (00:06:18) - Yeah, so my path, again, there's a lot of different paths. I was, you know, the first time out w with those 70 rejections I mentioned <laugh>, those were all from agents, you know, I mean, I think the traditional route you usually think of, like, you get the agent first, then you, you know, the agent shops your book to publishers and hopefully you get a, a publishing deal out of that. Um, so that didn't happen for me. I, you know, I, I wrote another manuscript that we'll never see the light of day. And then I took the Saturday Girls Club out like a year later and was like, you know what, I'm just gonna give this one more try. And I started putting my agent list together. But at the time there was, um, there was this contest, um, this Kindle first contest, um, and it was, it, it's no longer, it was only up for like a year, but basically it was like a crowdsourced publishing contest where you could, you'd put your manu, you'd submit your manuscript to this website.

Speaker 2 (00:07:12) - It was run by Amazon. Um, and, um, people would vote for it whether they thought it deserved to be published or not. But I knew that I, I put it up there because I knew that agents and editors were also checking out that mm-hmm. <affirmative> that contest for pro projects. And I actually said when I put it up there the night before, I said, I'm really just doing this cuz I want Danielle Marshall from Lake Union Publishing to, to see it on there and offer me a publishing deal. And my husband was like, and I were just laughed like, yeah, sure. Like that's a pipe dream. And so I put it up on Kindle first and um, 30 days later I found out that I won. Now there was multiple winners on that contest. Um, was

Speaker 1 (00:07:53) - This voting based?

Speaker 2 (00:07:54) - Yeah, it was vote people voted for your PR on this website, um, as to whether you deserved a publishing deal. And it was an e-book publishing deal, which was not what I wanted either, but I was like, I have nothing to lose this manuscript.

Speaker 1 (00:08:07) - Yeah, you gotta start somewhere

Speaker 2 (00:08:08) - Sitting on my computer, <laugh>. I might as well try. Um, so I, I I wanted the real deal, but I'm like, whatever, I'll give it a try. I'm just, you know, all the angles. And, um, so I won that. But then two days later, um, Danielle Marshall from Lake Union Publishing, um, de my dream editor actually called me and said, um, you know, we wanna publish the Saturday Women Girls Club.

Speaker 1 (00:08:34) - That's awesome. And, and

Speaker 2 (00:08:36) - Yeah, it was wild.

Speaker 1 (00:08:37) - How did you find out about this contest?

Speaker 2 (00:08:40) - Um, you know, it was, as you probably know, like I'm on a lot of writers, you know, writer inbox, different platforms, different groups and um, and people were talking about it and, um, on social media and everywhere else. And so that's, that's how I first learned about it. And, you know, it, it was only out, out and up there for like a year. But, um, but uh, it was long enough for <laugh> for me to get on there and for Danielle to find my project. So that was amazing.

Speaker 1 (00:09:05) - I think it's great because we've interviewed, we continue to interview a lot of number one New York Times bestselling authors and everyone has their own unique story as to how they got that first deal. We've never heard this before where you got it through a contest. We've had people who said they self-published a book, did really well, the, they sold the rights. We've had people say, you know, I just submitted a manuscript and, and boom, they liked it. Yeah. And we've had people like you who, or we haven't had, you're the first one who said, you got you, you got your foot in the door or your feet in the door through a contest.

Speaker 2 (00:09:41) - Yeah, it, yeah. And that's, that goes to show you, um, there's many different paths to publication I should mention too, like I am, um, Amazon charts bestselling author, author number one on Kindle and, um, Washington Post bestselling, but not New York Times. I, I wanna just correct that just to, to let you know, I'm not sure if that, if you, you, you might have, uh, been given that detail wrong.

Speaker 1 (00:10:02) - Well I'm sure your next book or the book you will eventually make the New York

Speaker 2 (00:10:07) - Times <laugh>. That's right, yeah,

Speaker 1 (00:10:08) - That's the home and how much your books have. So I mean, your bulk books have sold super well. So do you write from home or do you have an office or what, what's your writing process?

Speaker 2 (00:10:17) - I write, um, you know, I was with the Saturday Evening Girls Club cuz I was writing it between other writing projects and in the fringes of my life, I, I've, I can write pretty much anywhere including like skating rinks and school pickup lines and everywhere else. Um, I do have a home office now, which is nice. And I, I'm actually, we have a basement office cuz my husband's often working from a home now, like a lot of people. Um, so I'm in the basement hiding from my pets and people. Um, but yeah, I, I can work anywhere. Um, sometimes getting the first draft down is the hardest for me. I think it's the hardest for a lot of people and, um, I, I find it's better if I leave the house and I put my headphones on and I go somewhere where I don't have to be interrupted by laundry and other things <laugh>. So, um, so the first draft I often have to like go somewhere quiet. Um, and just like the focus and the concentration, um, is better when I'm not at home.

Speaker 1 (00:11:12) - So when you're at the skating rinks, pickup lines, are you writing on your phone or are you actually taking a laptop with you and like writing

Speaker 2 (00:11:19) - The car? Oh yeah, yeah. Usually a laptop. Although, um, you know, sometimes, especially now if I'm like working on a new project and I mean, I'm, I'm, I will sometimes like dictate into my phone more than type, cuz I mean, I feel like I just, my fingers aren't small enough for that <laugh>. So yeah. So yeah, I will all I'll, I'll sometimes dictate into my phone, um, you know, just so I won't just, so I won't forget frankly, <laugh> like later on, um, if I'm, if I'm walking or running or in the car or wherever,

Speaker 1 (00:11:50) - That's pretty impressive because I, I do a lot of writing on my phone, but to do it at random places, like pickup lines and, and skating rinks, especially fiction where like non-fiction, I feel you can go back reference, verify, if you forget something, it's EAs but fiction, you just have to write whatever in, in the moment. You have to write in the moment. Yes. Which makes it a lot harder because if you're in a pickup line and then you get interrupted by somebody who you're picking up and then it's like, that's, that thought is kind of gone.

Speaker 2 (00:12:26) - <laugh>. Yeah, yeah, exactly. It's not easy, but, but that's exactly why I, you know, like I said, sometimes I'm dictating, sometimes I'm, you know, whatever, whatever works right to get, to get the story down <laugh>.

Speaker 1 (00:12:39) - So are, are you planning to write more books maybe one every two years moving forward? Is that the long-term plan?

Speaker 2 (00:12:46) - That is the long-term plan. I, I, you know, frankly with the amount of research, um, historical fiction requires, I, I don't think I could do it faster than that. I'm really in awe of, of writers who can, um, some writers can crank out a book a year. I just, that's just not, that's not how I work. I mean, just from just coming up with the i an idea that I think is compelling and fresh and new and, uh, you know, lesser known history, whatever it is, um, that takes time. And then research to see if there's enough there, there, um, to, you know, I like to use history and research as a jumping off point for stories. So, um, so yeah, the, the process, it takes me longer than, um, than some people, but, um, but you know, it, it works for me. So I'm ho uh, that's my plan is hopefully every other year,

Speaker 1 (00:13:32) - I think once every two years is more than enough. And f from a marketing perspective, I just think if you're coming out with so much with one a year, e every book is gonna, essentially can cannibalize the previous book. Uh, whereas if you come out, you know, once every two years, once every three years, you can really focus on that book that comes out, promote only the, um, that's just how I feel from, from a market. I, I think it's overkill because we have interviewed authors who come out with one book a year, even two books a year. Yes. And, and you just lose track. When I read their, their titles, they're like, oh no, that was my book from six months ago. I just came out with one last week. And it's like, oh, uh, okay. And then, and then they'll promote their next book that's coming out in like three months after that. And it's like, this is, this is overkill. You know, why don't we just stick to one book?

Speaker 2 (00:14:21) - <laugh>. Yeah. I, I, I kind of tend to agree I, unless maybe, um, like I said, my friend, my friend who writes romance, like the, that market, um, those readers are hungry for, for at least a book or two a year. I, but yeah, for anything else, like I, I feel like this is enough and I don't want people to get sick of me <laugh>, frankly. Like, I don't wanna be on your show next talking about another book, you know, so, so yeah, I, I agree with you. I think I, I think the pace of this, um, feels right to me.

Speaker 1 (00:14:51) - And is it your publisher who's doing the marketing? Like you have a huge following, you're selling a lot of copies, you have a fan club, is it them or did you do anything on your own to develop your, your readership?

Speaker 2 (00:15:04) - Yeah, you know, it's funny, it's a little bit of everything. Um, my publisher's super supportive. They do a lot of marketing. Um, but I also, um, have a publicist that I, I decided to, you know, invest in myself. I, um, I do a lot of social media, but I, I've tried to balance that. I, I've pulled back a little bit from that, frankly, because I think the most important thing is the work, you know, is, is due in the, is is writing quality books and, and if you spend too much time on social media, you don't have enough time for writing. Um, but yeah, I mean, I think it, I I think the hustle in publishing in in is real. And, um, and I, I've really been blessed with, um, you know, I have a, I have some really wonderful readers who have become friends over the past six years, and, um, and that's been terrific. I also have a lot of really supportive libraries in the New England area. So I'm, I'm doing a lot of talks at different libraries and bookstores, a lot of, some really great independent bookstores. Um, so that's, that's been really fun too. And, and, and they've been super supportive. So I'm, I'm really blessed in that way.

Speaker 1 (00:16:09) - Jane Healy, thank you so much for joining us on The Work From Home Show. Check out her books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, wherever books are sold. She is a number one Washington Post bestselling author of The Secret Steelers, the Beantown Girls Saturday Evening Girls Club, and her new book, which is on the, the stands right now. Goodnight from Paris. The website is jane Healy is spelled H e a l e y Jane Jane Healy, any final thoughts you'd like to share with our listeners or anything else you want to promote?

Speaker 2 (00:16:48) - No, thank you so much. This has been a great conversation. I, you know, I, I feel like, um, you know, I didn't realize your background was a, as a writer as well, so it's always fun to talk to other writers about process and, and you know, where you're at with all of that. So it, this was a great conversation. Thank you.

Speaker 1 (00:17:05) - No, thank you Jane. It's been a pleasure. To Wal our listeners, check us out at work from home That's If you have any questions for us or comments, email us hello at work from home That's hello work from home Follow us on social media, we're on Twitter, we're on Facebook. Leave uss a review on whatever podcasting platform you use, iTunes, tune in Stitcher, et cetera. And until next week, keep on working from home.