What I THINK I know for sure. . .

~ By Kwana Jackson

For some, it’s flattering when they’re asked to do a guest post on a blog. I’ll admit for me it’s a little intimidating. Okay a lot. So when Melina asked me would I post something on The Chicklit chapter’s blog my first reaction was to do my usual and break out in a cold sweat thing. I know I should not have been scared. I have been a member of the Chicklit chapter since its inception way back when so I know I’m amongst friends here who won’t scoff at me when I speak plainly in my beloved 1st person narrative and roll my eyes in certain spots. You can insert your own eye rolls wherever you like.

Now, for some who know me from twitter or my own blog which I’ve had for years or from The Loft, the Macmillan twitter and FB pages which I moderate that may be surprising. I know you’re thinking, “How can this be? She never shuts up.” Oh, stop. But it’s different when you’re asked to be a guest and speak at someone else’s place. Being a guest poster brings with it a certain amount of expertise, and really what am I an expert at besides giving my opinion? I’m a writer who’s been writing and rewriting, agented and re-agented for over ten years and am about as close to being published as I was when I first started out all those years ago. Okay, maybe this (cut to me two fingers an inch apart) much closer.

Are you still with me or are you on your toolbar Googling Jenny Crusie’s blog. No? All right, I’ll continue with this rambling.

Here are some of the proposed topics the lovely Melina thought I could write about. I’ll tackle them as only I can, a lunatic neurotic mom trying to make her way in the publishing business while chiseling at the growing chip on her shoulder:

1. The importance of social networking for writers

2. The story of how you found your agent

3. Balancing writing life with family, day jobs, etc

Ok here I go:

Topic #1: The importance of social networking: This is a tough one to sum up quickly. I will say that I believe —and this is only my belief, from a person that loves twitter and is not a big fan of FB (no I don’t remember you from junior high. What did I eat yesterday?)— social networking will not get you a writing contract. *I’m putting this note here for all of you who say what about all the twitter books, books spawned by blogs such as The Pioneer Woman and such. Duly noted*

I also don’t think it will get you more readers, money or fame either.  I was washing dishes the other day (such a glam life I lead) and trying to figure out what I would post the next day on my super fab blog www.kwana.com where, let’s face it, my dog Jack is the star, not me and I was feeling stuck and frustrated and it was wearing on me when I thought, “Does Stephen King have a blog?”

But before you all go and say ‘Kwana says you don’t need blogs or social media’ let me add there is a plus to social networking and that goes into the story of how I found my agent, well both my agents really. They came through some form of social networking. It has been noted that fewer and fewer writers are being found from the slush piles. The statics are staggering. Enough to make you a weak or maybe a sane person would shut down her laptop for good. But if you do your part with research on blogs and with organizations like RWA and yes, on twitter, connections can be made though friends and your name can get out there. And in this business, like most businesses, you need folks to know your name.

Which leads me to topic #2: I met my current agent the fabulous Fury (I’m not kidding that’s her name Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Agency) by sitting in a chapter meeting and then becoming friends through attending monthly Lady Jane’s Salon romance reading events. We got on well. But all that didn’t mean a thing until she read my work and decided to take me on. The work is always key.

Now this is a nice segue into topic #3: Balancing writing life with family, day jobs, etc. Well my family is my day job and night job too. Any mother knows a family has a way of sucking up most brain matter 24/7. And now I have a freelance job on top of that, working the pages for The Loft where I have the fun job of being a social media coordinator talking woman’s fiction and romance. I like to think of myself as a book talk party starter.

But where does this leave time for writing? It’s frustrating, really. I’m not a fast writer. In my dreams, I’m a 2500 word a day wonder who can crank out 3 books a year and still have time for the gym, full make-up, the PTA and a little something for the hubby. That ain’t my reality. I’m a steal moments when I can writer who has more ideas than she can count and wishes like crazy to be able to slow down the hours between 9 and 2 because really they just go way too fast.  But what can I do that is my reality. The time in my house goes at the pace it goes so I just have to deal and precious writing moments when I can because they are precious and must be treated that way. Like I said above the work is the key and without the work no amount of networking is going to sell a blank page. So I will continue to write the words, be it 500 or 2500, because in the end they all add up.

And now to end this rambling diatribe (because really this post is way too long) I will know like any good Chicklit heroine that though my journey may not look as well mapped out or scenic as others if I keep moving forward I will make it to my destination.

Kwana Jackson is a writer of Women’s fiction and Young Adult. A former fashion designer, wife and a mother of teen twins who has a love of knitting and a strange obsession with “reality” TV. She lives in Westchester, N.Y. and is a member of Romance Writers of America, RWA/NYC and Chicklit Writers of The World. You find her daily at her site www.kwana.com