Day 16 Lisa Renee Jones – Dare to Believe in Romance (and Yourself)

Romancing Storage Wars and Indie Publishing

My real life STORAGE WARS story, and how confidence and indie publishing changed my life….

Back in Austin, Texas my husband was going to school while I had left the corporate world behind. The Physical Therapy No In BetweenClinic he was a PT at had gone under and we both knew to chase our dreams (his to be a doctor and me to keep writing) we had to find another way to make money.  Keep in mind this was YEARS before the Storage War type shows. So, I stumbled onto an article about buying and selling storage auctions. So hubby decided to go for it and so it began for us….

Hubby (Diego) bought a unit and I just knew he paid too much.  I was furious. We were broke. How could he spend that kind of money? Oh yes. We had a battle. It was an icy afternoon at our house. Well, he was right and I was wrong. Turns out we netted great money from that unit in two weeks. We were lucky and we needed that money desperately at the time. All units are not that good though and surely not that good that fast. Needless to say, he was hooked and we dug into the biz. Thus the joys of leaving a corporate CEO job like I did to chase a dream. And it’s dirty work these storage units. Really dirty. You go through these units and find disgusting things and try to figure out what is worth money. Well, we ended up with our house and garage filled to the rim constantly.

One unit came along when Diego was feeling sick. So he stumbled onto a journal in a box and snuggled onto the couch while I was writing. From there it was pretty funny. He’d sit up suddenly and say ‘Someone died next door and the police are there!’. Then later, ‘Oh my God, she’s pregnant again.’ We did a lot of laughing. Well, Diego decided I HAD to write a story about a storage unit with a mystery. He bugged me for YEARS to do it. Well, finally I wrote a proposal. The proposal was loved by one of my editors but her boss had to read it. It took a year and though her boss liked it — the line it would fit was closing. So that left me with a decision. What to do? I I belong to youended up talking to a couple of editors I knew and one who I quite like a lot offered me a deal. I really felt I clicked with this editor but…it didn’t feel like the right deal. There were changes talked about and despite a very fast release date I just didn’t feel good about the changes. It was also a low offer and I had been making a lot of money in indie. Since indie had been kind to me, I felt I had a good grip on how to reach out to readers and share with them a story that was special to me. So that’s how it became self-published. I dared to say — I’m going on my own.

From there I sought out an agent who had a strong foreign rights department to help me sell those rights. Louise Fury read the story and immediately asked if she could take it to some top people in publishing. I agreed but I’d planned a August 24th release and advertised and spent money on promotion. We agreed I’d go ahead and release. Before I did we had interest but the deal wasn’t closed as we had numerous publishers involved. So I released on my own August 24th and the talks with multiple houses continued. We closed verbally ten days after release and they took over not long after that. The offer was about 500 times the offers I declined before going indie.

Louise had already gotten the book to the film/TV agent so that process moved quickly since she also really was (is) behind the series. We then had movie interest that went far enough to have talks with producers but the TV deal we ended up with is what worked for this series. Had I not believed in myself and taken that first deal I do not believe I would have ended up where I am now. The changes would have changed the very thing the TV folks love about the series. I can also say that having an agent/s passionate about this project made all the difference in the world. My advice to writers is find that shared passion with an agent and find an agent who is ambitious and savvy.

And there you have it. My real life Story War story!

Read all about the TV deal and INSIDE OUT SERIES HERE.

Recommendations:

I adore Karen Marie Moning. She writes such depth in her characters and her world building is amazing. Love her alpha men.

Lauren Hawkeye is an indie author who also writes for NY as Lauren Jameson. I love her characters and her range.

Galen Foley writes beautiful historicals with the most amazing prose.


 Questions for the Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

I went to a Swingers Club in Paris when I’m SO far from that it’s like a kid in a tofu factory. It was research and the good thing about this was I could write my characters genuine shock when she’s tricked into entering very realistically.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

I started out acting but life got in the way. When I decided I was crazy for leaving my dreams behind I started acting again, and ended up doing some script writing. That inspired me to write a book, since I am a huge reader, and love books.

I remember working on a script and the next day I was in an airport and grabbed a book. I thought — THIS is how I can express myself without having to relocate.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

Two answers:

WHO MOVED MY CHEESE —  it talks about how you have to continue to grow and change to evolve or you’ll self destruct. It tells the story in a fun, laughable way and it’s a profound message told in a simple way.

IF I WERE YOU — It’s book 1 of my series that has changed my writing life and is in development for cable TV. It changed my life.

Lisa is generously giving away a complete set of print INSIDE OUT novels for U.S. readers (entry form below) and a set of ebooks for International readers (enter here).


 

lrj smNew York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, now in development for a cable television show, to be produced by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland). In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists.

Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.

Prior to publishing, Lisa owned a multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing woman-owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.

Buy Lisa Renee’s Books:

availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo

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  • Hannah B

    Thanks for sharing your real life storage wars! I always enjoy your books, thanks for the giveaway.

  • Stephanie Stevens Chalbeck

    Wow! What a great story of your storage wars.

  • Debbie Oxier

    Thank you, Lisa!

  • Emmel

    OK, I’ve heard a lot of ways that writers have gotten into this field in my many, many years of reading romance. But if someone had told me to imagine a way, I would never have thought “buying and selling storage units.” Thank you for reminding me that the approaches to romance are limitless!

  • Patty Vasquez

    You followed your instincts and great things are happening. What a great example for emerging authors. Congratulations on your success!

  • Laura Z

    Love hearing about the different ways that authors come up with ideas and their success stories. I have added your books to my TBR pile, I can’t believe I havent read any of them before. Now I have to go back and check

  • Tammy H

    I’m glad your husband encouraged you to write the book!

  • Debbie Fuller

    Loved your comments. I have added your books to my TBR list.

  • Diana Morgan Byron

    Love your books… So glad you started writing!! 🙂

  • Martha Lawton

    Thanks for the storage unit start that allowed you to write!

  • Kim

    That’s interesting that valuable things can be found in storage units. I can’t imagine how people just stop paying the fees on the units and lose the items.

  • TrishJ

    I love going thru old books and boxes. The things people save amaze me. But it is fun. I do love storage finds.

  • Ren

    Love this series

  • Kim

    I love this series!! I’m so excited to see where the series goes after No In Between and My Control!

  • I can’t wait to see the TV series based on your book. I think romance series make great inspiration for a TV show.

  • catlover415

    Now this is exciting news. I’m anxiously awaiting the Starz series, it cannot come soon enough for me.

  • Shannon Courtney

    This is so exciting.

  • Mel Buggy

    I love Lisa Renee Jones, even more now that she said she enjoys KMM!

  • Loraine Oliver

    what an awesome giveaway Lisa, you are so generous every single day and this is just over the top! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Jennifer Grimm

    The Inside Out Series is the best!

  • Melissa Brzycki-Willard

    Thank you for a chance , your an amazing person!

  • Shan Brown

    Awesome giveaway

  • Gaele Hi

    Oh – I only knew part of this story – I love knowing where things start and come from for ideas….. ty for sharing

  • Cassandra Smith

    I’m glad you follow your dreams and got back into writing. This Looks like great series

  • Jean Rhyner

    I love Lisa Renee and the inside out series

  • Lori Mitchell

    I love this series!!

  • Janet

    I hope the tv series is as good as the books!

  • Rose

    Thank you so much for this opportunity

  • Elaine Rodriguez

    I really love this series and I can’t wait any more. I love Lisa’s work, not only the Inside out series, everything she write it’s awesome. I think this TV series it’s gonna be explosive.

  • Alina Duffer

    I love her books and can’t wait to read these!!!

  • KellyMae Helfrich

    This is a pretty amazing giveaway! Thank you

  • Lorie Glowania

    Lisa Renee Jones is a truly gifted author this series Rocks!!

  • Loni Flowers

    I’ve been wanting to read this series for a while. Would be great to have a set.

  • April

    I love this series! I can’t wait for the next book, and to see the books come to life on the big screen.

  • Ange Hall

    Thanks for the chance 🙂

  • Briana Gurrola

    I never win these, but I’m still hopeful! This would be so great!!!

  • Karen Henderson

    Awesome giveaway great series

  • Zandalee

    Loved this post! I never knew Lisa started out acting so that was interesting to learn! Her writing is amazing and this series is one I always recommend to people. 🙂

  • Kelly Johnson

    Keeping my fingers crossed for this one 🙂

  • Shelby Forbes

    I just finished book 1 and love, love, love the storyline!

  • Txmx Prince

    Love her books!

  • iliana roman

    Love the books! They are great. Have all the other nurses reading them as well. Thank you!

  • Linda Brennan

    I love how this series got started! It’s amazing the way one thing can change a person’s course in life. Thanks for the chance to win!!

  • Danielle W

    Excited to read your books! Love 50 shades and pll!

  • mom2nickncam

    I love all of Lisa’s books! I have read almost every one of them.

  • Jodie Rector

    Love Romance! Thank you!

  • Ginger Andrews

    Love Lisa Renee Jones and this is an amazing giveaway.. thank you 🙂

  • Melissa J

    Love this series!

  • Jennifer Diaz

    It’s always nice to get the insight of an Author and get a glimpse of who they are as a person. Lovely post!

  • Debbie Szabo

    Love her! Great giveaway!

  • Kristy Petree

    That was a great post; Lisa has led an interesting life! I am really keeping my fingers crossed for this giveaway. It’s just so great! I follow Lisa on facebook and she is pretty entertaining! She posts book stuff of course, but she posts some other stuff too. She and Diego are a hoot on youtube as well. Great giveaway, thanks!

  • Tina Kimber Lowndes

    I love to have the actual books instead of kindle when I really love a series so this would be awesome to win!

  • Corissa Palfrey

    Lisa is an amazing author! Always nice to learn more about my favorite authors. Thanks for the blog post and for the chance to win.

  • Kimberly Plummer

    Lisa is amazing! Thank you for the chance!

  • Robin K. Carter

    I love Lisa’s books and this is a great blog 🙂

  • Sammy

    Great post 🙂 Love this series!

  • Suzanne Zvalaren Schneider

    Great series! !!!

  • cboitson1973

    OMG!! Lisa Renee is awesome! I love hearing authors discuss their books and even more when you hear how their real life experiences led to this series or how it blossomed into what it is today! I also admire LRJ for how open she is with her fans. When watching her Youtube videos I feel like I am connecting with a great friend I haven’t seen in a while. I love seeing her personality shine through. So many times that is lost with books since I don’t have to “see” them to understand or like their books. Thanks for the contest and great interview. 🙂

  • Sue G.

    What a fun thing! I love watching Storage Wars! I can’t imagine going through all the stuff but I bet in some ways it is really interesting. Nice write up!

  • Natasha Haman

    I absolutely love the inspiration from where your story came from. I always feel like those types make for the best stories (hence I absolutely love the inside out series). I love how you share these kind of things with your fans, it allows us to see not only you as an author but you as a person. Thanks for a chance at an amazing giveaway.

  • Debra Edwards Nielsen

    Love all your books, Lisa.

  • Elizabeth Wright

    Great post!

  • Laura Dooley

    Love this series! Can’t wait for it on Starz!

  • Sara Underhill

    Lisa, thanks for the giveaway! I haven’t read your books before, but we have some favorite authors in common, so I suspect I’d enjoy them 🙂

  • Brenda E

    What a fantastic story, and I never realized you were a Texas gal. (Me too.) So now I’m curious if you hubby ever went back to PT work?

  • Gina Burgos

    Loved your post, Lisa. You were missed at this year’s 2014 Book Bash in Orlando, FL!

  • Jennifer Taylor

    Great post. Thank you.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I am amazed at your journey and loved your post. I’m not sure I would have the self confidence you’ve exhibited.

  • Wendy M

    Love this series, one of my all time favorites

  • Jen B.

    I love that Diego’s love of buying storage units helped to create the world of Sarah, Chris and Mark.

  • Rebecca Carroll

    Thanks for this amazing giveaway!!! Goodluck everyone!!!

  • Lori Johnson

    Love this series! Lisa is an amazing author!

  • Nicole Lynn Emison

    Thank you for the chance! 🙂

  • M Kuxhaus

    Wow! What an awesome experience! Loved the essay.

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I’ve enjoyed quite a few of your books and I’m looking forward to reading the Inside Out series for sure! I love your story about your real life storage wars inspiration. I love reading how authors get their ideas and this is a pretty outstanding one! Can’t wait to read more from you and I have to agree with your Karen Marie Moning recommendation—love the Fever series! Thanks for all you do and great post today 🙂

  • Jenn Ficklefangirl Hudson

    <3 this series SO much! Can't wait til No In Between is released!

  • Rhonda Howard Caldwell

    I can’t wait to read the entire series!

  • Stephanie Fredrick

    That is so crazy how life works. Glad that you got to follow your dreams.
    My mother and I went to one of those auctions after watching the show. It was crazy and the amount of money that was going around was insane. I really am curious as to how often the units actually are money makers.

  • Isabel Vazquez

    Can’t wait for the TV series to be made. Loved “If I Were You” I am a HUGE fan of Lisa Renee Jones <3

  • Dawn Arnell

    Amazing!! Love your writing! Thanks for making life interesting!

  • Pam

    What a great story! Love this series!

  • Alyssa Champagne

    Love love love this series!!

  • jen dukes

    Love Everything by her…..

  • Shy

    I’ve read the first and adored it. I can’t wait to read the rest.

  • ceejay

    Looks really good

  • Nicole Newman

    What an Awesome Giveaway! Thank You for this wonderful opportunity.

  • Elise-Maria Barton

    I’m so late to the bandwagon! I just read what’s available of this series and I must say “Lovin’ it!” I’m looking forward to the next books rather impatiently. You’ve got a new fan Lisa!

  • Carrie

    Husband’s can be right sometimes 😉 I’m glad you listened to Diego and wrote the proposal.

  • rebecca moe

    Thanks for posting! It’s always interesting to see the path writers take to publication.

  • Terri

    Thanks for the giveaway

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for sharing the story of how you got started.

  • Gloria Herrera

    I love her books! I want more about Mark Compton.

  • Glenda

    Great Story War tale! IMO you have to be pretty brave to buy out storage units. Glad it worked out for you guys! 🙂

  • Martha B

    Whoo Hoo! Only two more days to wait for No In Between… (almost here).

  • donnas

    Great story behind the story. Looking forward to the TV show.

  • Gloria Landavazo

    I love this series!! Chris is MMMMM!!!

  • mariannewestrich

    Love to hear how it all started!

  • LisaVH

    Such a great series. I am excited for No In Between and yay for TV!!

  • Stephanie M.

    Just getting started on your Inside Out series. I’m a little confused on the reading order with so many novellas. Can you help me? I love Karen Marie Moning as well. Thanks for the other author recommendations.

  • I’d actually read about Lisa’s story regarding the storage unit and the journal before but it’s still fascinating.

  • MK

    What a fantastic back story to Rebecca’s journals!

  • Sara Johnson

    I love Lisa. That is such a great story!

  • Heidi D

    Going to a swingers club for research purposes…now that’s dedication! I’ve heard great things about this series.

  • Erin F

    WoW!! I’m impressed by the swingers club! I never would have had the courage to do that or spend the money to do the storage war thing. Good things happen to those who take risks 🙂

  • Jen C

    Thanks! I love to hear the behind-the-scenes stories!

  • Renery Gatpayat

    Thanks for the chance! 🙂

  • Karin Anderson

    This is such a great series! I can’t wait to read the next book.

  • flchen1

    Lisa, so exciting to see how many of your dreams have come to fruition, and I love knowing how you and Diego have really worked hard to make your own HEA! Continued blessings to you both!

  • Meredith Richeson Hillenbrand

    I’m intrigued! Now I really want to read this series! Thanks for the background.

  • Judy Goodnight

    Like the Storage Wars story!