Interview with JAN LAZO-DAVIS, Writer

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I’ve become acquainted with Jan Lazo-Davis through Heart of America Christian Writers Conferences held in Kansas City. This week I asked Jan several questions. Her answers are like sitting in a workshop. Take a few minutes to read her answers and connect her article to your facebook and your blogs.
Kat: Tell us a bit about yourself, when did you begin writing?
Jan: I’ve written most of my life, as long as I can remember. However, my writing for publication began in 1992 when I looked at my husband and said “I’ve experienced so much stuff during our battle with infertility…I could write a book!” The feeling never went away. In 2004 Infertility’s Anguish…Everyone else is pregnant, why not Us! was released, co-written with my husband.  

We’d submitted to agents in 1999 and received interest—but no takers—from three out of the first ten agents we queried. In 2004 it was hard to self-publish because you did not have the internet, barely had Amazon, and couldn’t get into the book store distribution system where most books were sold. But that is what we did because we looked at our competition and all the books were written from a clinical POV. No one addressed the man’s POV, and no one addressed the deep emotional stress like we wanted, being touched so intimately because of our own story. Our book was compiled from over 100 interviews of couples. God sent them to me to talk and we got permission to write their stories, in anonymous format. We wanted artistic control and that meant self-publishing. We wanted people to know they could cry, they could grieve, they could throw the book across the room in anger because they hurt.
I am talking so much about this book because although it was self-published, it began my writing career, my publishing & consulting company  (Second Star Creations ), and my need to understand how to find an audience. How do you market to infertile couples when they believe they will have a child…so they don’t buy books? If there are infertility books on the book store shelves they are in the “Parenting Section.” So how do you get an infertile couple to purchase a book on emotional healing from a journey denied them? How do you get them to buy a book when they have to look for it among books like “How to parent your infant?.”

That is ultimately what began my thinking about my company RYA Solutions—Reach Your Audience Solutions. Through perseverance we found a market and our book Infertility’s Anguish was successful. Our market was on the internet and through Amazon, among women and a few men, who needed to vent. In the safety and security of their home, individuals of a website—childlessnotbychoice—which has now been shut down, were able to ask questions and I spent many hours talking to people helping them grieve their loss. Many of these women bought our book and told their friends.
Kat: I met you at Heart of America Christian Writers Conference. How long have you been a member of HACWN and what do you find the most beneficial?
Jan:  I joined HACWN in 2007. I became a board member in 2010 so I could spearhead the direction and rebuilding of the website www.HACWN.org. Most beneficial to me are the connections I make at the conference and the chance to Give Back to others as God has given to me. Each year I attend the November conference of HACWN I feel the Holy Spirit strongly. I see people connect, new writers given direction, and everyone learn some new facet of this writing business in which we are connected and which is changing yearly.
Kat: Your business card says, “Reach Your Audience in a Distracted World?” How did you come up with the idea?
The biggest problem for any author is to find who will buy their book(s). We live in a world where people are bombarded with information resulting in overload and the need to focus.
Before a book is ever written I believe the author should ask three very important questions: “Who is my audience? What do they want from me—the author? Where does my audience hang out?”
An author can’t really answer these questions until they determine who their audience is and where they hang out. Do they use the computer? Do they love to attend Christian Women’s Conferences. Are they in elementary schools? Do they reside in a retirement center? What types of media do they read? The list of where people hang out is long.
YouTubeVideos…Websites…Newspapers…Magazines…Billboards…

Facebook…Cookbooks…Clubs…HealthSpas…ETC.

The question of who your audience is can be quite difficult to answer and takes serious thought for writers. If you don’t know who your audience is and how you will reach them, there is no marketing plan you can create which will be successful.
Before any major publisher considers a book, they review this question. It is a requirement of ever book proposal. Each publisher has a following of individuals and groups who seek their content. If a book doesn’t fit their typical content production, they have no need for the book, no matter how well it’s written.
To circle back to the question, in the marketing of Infertility’s Anguish we looked at who needed this information and why they needed it. (infertilitys anguish website) We asked ourselves where did our buyers hang out and how could we reach them. It is from this and other books that my publishing company—Second Star Creations—has published that the idea of a separate company Reach Your Audience Solutions (RYA Solutions) came from.
The focus of RYA Solutions is to design inexpensive websites and create Social Media Marketing platforms for writers to market themselves and their material.
Kat: I read through your www.ryasolutions.com  and found myself grinning on your post titled:

Connecting With Your Audience Once You Find Them.  I’ve been both personalities that enjoyed coffee together that day. If you were to give a workshop on how to network, what are the first three tips that come to mind?

Jan:
#1 BE REAL!!! People know when someone is fake. It comes across as self-serving and shallow.
#2 Smile and be sincere. Don’t have expectations that this will be the contact of the century. Enjoy learning about your new friend.
#3 When you network keep in mind that you are a talented professional. You have value and to know you is to like you. People are drawn to self-assurance that isn’t prideful or arrogant.
Kat: With a logo like yours, how do you find your audience?
Jan: I find my audience by:
          – Being REAL
          – By networking through various on-line medias.
          – By being the consummate professional, being honest, and giving more than is expected.
Kat: Do you set goals and if so, what are they for 2013.
Jan: I believe success requires goals. For 2013 my goals are:
1) Continue the website management I currently handle for a local business.
2) Develop three to five more websites this year.
3) Finish my advanced photoshop class (to further my knowledge of presenting a company or individual to the public brilliantly) and consider taking an In-Design class or two.
Kat: Thanks Jan for sharing with us, and if you have anything personal you wish to share we’d love to pray for you and yours. 
Jan:  I covet your prayers. Please pray for me to be obedient to God’s calling upon my life. To seek Him above all others, and to minister to those God sends to me.

Dan and Jan Davis 


Stop by Jan’s website Reach Your Audience Solutions

One thought on “Interview with JAN LAZO-DAVIS, Writer

  1. Great interview, Kit. Informative and interesting!
    Thank you for sharing this story, Jan.
    Kit, I love the name chosen for your group – 'Wordsowers.' I am so encouraged to sow my own words and pursue God's path for me! =) Love your enthusiasm.

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