Today we’d like to introduce you to Jan Sikes.
Jan, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I often openly admit that I never set out in life to be an author. But I had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. You simply can’t make this stuff up. It all happened. I thought for many years that someone else would write the story, but I awoke one morning to the realization that if they did, I’d have to tell them the whole thing. So, it was that day I decided it was my job to write it. I took several creative writing classes both at the Collin County Community College and the Arapahoe Community College in Denver, Colorado and went to work.
Because it was easier to disconnect from such a personal story, I chose to create fictitious characters to tell the story through and they bring the intricately woven tale to life in a creative and entertaining way. Each of the books has won first place awards in various writing competitions both locally, statewide and internationally.
I published these books as an Indie Author reviving and revitalizing a music publishing company I and my late husband had, RiJan Publishing.
Now that the story is told, I can’t find a way to put down the pen. I continue to write fiction and have published ten short stories with a series of novels waiting in the wings. I am also working on a non-fiction book that I hope to publish by early 2020. I am a member of the Texas Association of Authors, The Writer’s League of Texas, the RWISA (Rave Writers – Int’l Society of Authors) Executive Committee and hosts the monthly RAVE WAVES blog talk radio show, Aspire to Inspire.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
If anyone says writing a book is easy, it’s only because they’ve never done it. Ernest Hemingway said there is nothing to it, you just sit down at your typewriter (of course, no one uses them anymore) and bleed.
Also, if anyone decides to write a book thinking they are going to get rich, they are sadly disillusioned. There are over a million authors out there putting out books. The odds of your book making it to the “big time” is about like winning the lottery – pretty slim.
It took me approximately eight months to write each of the four true stories. And that was by working every single day. You go through periods of self-doubt about yourself and your story. You struggle with funds to get a professional editor when you’re finished with the manuscript, create a cover and get it formatted. And that’s all before looking at any kind of marketing budget.
So, yes, it’s hard. You have to have a passion for telling a story to follow through and see it completed from the first word to sitting on the shelf.
RiJan Publishing – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As I said earlier, I revived a music publishing company my late husband and I had for several years. When I decided to publish as an Indie, I needed an imprint. So, I revitalized the music publishing company and expanded it to literary. I could publish books for other authors, but I have not sought outside work. I only use it to publish my own.
The name is unique in that it is a combination of mine and my late husband’s name (Rick and Jan) RiJan Publishing.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To me, success is when my stories touch someone else’s life. When I get feedback from readers that tell me how moved they were by the story, or how it helped them deal with something in their own life, I consider myself and my efforts a success.
I have a good amount of reviews on Amazon for each of my books and they are all positive. That’s my marker. If reviewers are loving the stories, they are a smashing success.
Of course, it would be great to see the monetary side of success as well, but the reality is, that for an Indie author, that rarely comes.
- Each print book in paperback is $12.95 to $14.95 and when ordered through my website, are discounted
- Kindle and eBooks are priced from 99 cents to $3.99
- Hardback copies of my poetry and art book is $24.95
- Website: http://www.jansikes.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sikesjan/
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks
- Other: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com
Darleen McAdams, Tara Bone