I LOVE working with passionate entrepreneurs who have a dream that they are pursuing and want to share it with the world.
Tracy came to me to help her market online. She’s an author and had already written a few books including one that had won first place in the Nonfiction History category of the Ohio Professional Writers Association’s 2012 competition.
Her main goal however, was to find a publisher for a new book she was writing.
Tracy Lawson is one of those energetic people you marvel at. Her energy and enthusiasm for life are contagious. When I heard about all the amazing things she’s done and continues to do in her life I couldn’t help but become a better person myself!
So, now Tracy is getting ready to share her PUBLISHED book with the world.
I still get goose bumps when I think about this because this is a dream come true for Tracy – a dream SHE MADE COME TRUE by believing in herself, others and by keeping on keeping on…
Here’s Tracy’s story in her own words:
Tracy, tell me a little bit about yourself – how did you become an author?
I always wanted to write books, but somehow, after college, life got in the way. I reached a point where I didn’t believe I had anything of value to say. Turns out, that wasn’t true at all—my whole adult life was building toward writing. I just needed to hang in there until the time was right and believe in myself. It took me twenty years to write my first nonfiction book—in fits and starts—but a lot of that time was spent on copious amounts of research, and then trying to figure out how best to present everything I’d discovered!
Counteract, the book that’s being published right now, is a coming-of-age novel aimed at older teens and twenty-somethings—but you’ve also written nonfiction books in the history genre. What’s the story behind the creation of Counteract?
I’d been mentoring a friend of my daughter’s—Chase wanted to be a writer, and I’d been working with him, editing his short stories, while my own nonfiction manuscript sat gathering dust.
I realized I was being a coward—it was fine to critique the efforts of a sixteen year-old kid, but I was afraid to put myself out there for the same kind of criticism! Not cool. So I got tough, submitted that manuscript, and it was accepted by McDonald & Woodward Publishers in Granville, Ohio. Fips, Bots, Doggeries, and More was published in April, 2012.
But back to how Counteract began, back in November 2010. I had just signed the publishing contract for Fips and Bots, and we’d just finished working on one of Chase’s short stories. We were online, chatting, throwing out prompts for new writing ideas, and he wrote, “What if everyone were on LSD and all thoughts were communal?”
Wow. It was a thought provoking prompt, and we retreated to neutral corners to write, then share. He created Tommy and Eduardo. I responded with Careen. Soon we had a handful of disjointed scenes—and no plot.
We played around with the characters and story ideas off and on for a while, but when Chase started his senior year of high school, he bowed out of the project, citing the demands of varsity football, a girlfriend, and AP classes. I understood, and have always been grateful for the time we worked together. He pushed me to be a better writer and a better editor, because I had to keep up with him—and he’s a pretty sharp young man!
What do you like to do in your spare time and what other “careers” have you had if any?
I never lack for things to do! I love sports and the arts, so you might catch me at a Reds or Rangers game this summer (as we divide our time between Ohio and Texas), at a live music venue, or at the ballet! I taught tap dancing for twenty years, most of it at BalletMet Columbus, and I still choreograph the musicals for Bexley’s middle and high schools.
I also worked as an investigative analyst for the State of Florida, doing background checks on applicants to the Florida Bar. I learned a lot about research and investigative techniques at that job, and I even gave that experience as an investigative analyst to one of the characters in The Resistance Trilogy—but you have to wait until the second book to find out who!
What piece of advice can you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out with a dream?
Learn as much as you can. Ask for help as you’re learning. I took online webinars and read books about writing, sought the advice of published authors, and got rejected by a LOT of publishers. I had to learn not to take the rejections personally. I now understand that the manuscript was rejected because it wasn’t ready yet. I kept learning—and hired a professional editor! When the manuscript finally was ready, I had five different publishers interested!
Oh—and mentor a kid. I’m serious about that. Nothing will push you to surpass yourself like mentoring.
What’s been your biggest obstacle to success?
Fear and self-doubt. Writing takes you to extreme highs and lows—sometimes within a few hours. But now that I’m over the hurdle and know I can do it, new ideas keep coming. I look forward to writing more in the future.
Do you have any daily routines you use to keep yourself motivated and on track?
No! I write when the mood strikes, and sometimes when I’m in the zone I stay up all night, sleep until noon, and exist on diet Dr Pepper and sunflower seeds! Other days I don’t write at all.
Deadlines help keep me on track. Right now we’re doing the final edits on Counteract with my publisher. Resist, the second volume in the trilogy, is with my editor Susan. I’ll be submitting it to the publisher soon. I’ve got a pile of notes for Revolt, the final book, and I am getting antsy to get back to writing. I adore these characters, and writing means spending time with them.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I approached Kathy to help me build websites—one for my published books, and the other for Counteract, a year before I found a publisher.
I think the decision to invest the time, effort, and money into a website was crucial to finding the right publisher. It showed I was committed to the project, and that I’d go the extra mile to make the book stand out from the slush pile!
The Counteract website was a chance to be creative. We included things that would appeal to teens—the target audience—like playlists and quizzes. I also included some behind-the-scenes stuff, like how we came up with the idea for the book, and the photo shoot for the mock-up cover we created.
We also offered a free download of the first chapter to build a following and a fan base for the book.
I had so many ideas for what I wanted from the site that I think I scared her a bit at first. But she managed to include everything I wanted in the site. And she’s always there to help me with maintenance and updating.
Here is the official Trailer for her book!
Read more about Tracy Lawson and her book “Counteract” at TracyLawsonBooks.com