Monday, August 1, 2011

Please Welcome My Guest - Mystery Author, Nancy Lynn Jarvis

I'm a 63 year old boomer who at 60 decided I needed to reinvent myself after twenty plus years as a Realtor.

My husband and I own a small real estate company which we have wound down because the market is so difficult. Our plan was to declare ourselves retired until the real estate market got better. Our original plan was to travel but, while we are fine for day to day expenses, our investments aren't generating enough income to let us do what we planned. With so much time on my hands I got bored, so I decided to start killing people instead of selling houses.

I set up a micro publishing company, took my real estate experiences, used them for background, and began writing a mystery with a Realtor protagonist. The new company was what you would call, "very carefully" self funded. Initial costs were $35 to copyright a company name and logo and $35 for a printer set-up fee. I could have purchased an ISBN number for one book for $55, but they are cheaper in bulk and I had plans, so I purchased a bank of them for $250. We have discovered how to find free or almost free graphics for book covers and books are print-on-demand so I order a minimal number and return profits to order more books so we are never out of pocket too much.

It's good we took this route for a couple of reasons. It turns out it is almost impossible to become a non-celebrity first time author after the age of fifty; we older individuals are not considered to have the stamina for promoting our books. Other older writers have started approaching us about publishing their books, (we now own which is also going to be fun.

My writing-as-a-game has become a book series: the fourth book in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries was just released. I've never had so much fun in my life, and I've enjoyed a variety of jobs. I never aspired to be a writer, this is a newly discovered passion, something I will do as I age, in retirement, as long as it's fun and I sell books.

Writing hasn't produced an income anything like being a Realtor in the good times and I don't expect this adventure will never make me rich, but we are making money and I wake up every morning excited about what the day may bring. I've had adventures I would never have had otherwise and met people from all over the world I would never have known without promoting the books.

Our investments are doing better and we are talking about traveling again, but now we'll be taking books on the road and doing a booktour. It's going to be fun to have a focus for traveling and as an added bonus, I've discovered I enjoy public speaking. I'm getting better and better at free publicity, and that bank of ISBNs was a good investment, as it turns out.

You may read opening chapters of the books at Samples are free, and you can pick up a copy of the recipe for "Mysterious Chocolate Chip Cookies" while you are there. I created the recipe to go with the books. (We spunky seniors are so multi-talented;)"

Nancy Lynn Jarvis
The Death Contingency
Backyard Bones
Buying Murder
The Widow's Walk League


Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to Make Mine Mystery, Nancy. Your background in real estate is great for your unique series.

Morgan Mandel

WS Gager said...

Nancy: What a great story! I just finished working for a real estate office at the end of May. I worked there to feed my writing habit, literally. I worked there for five years and just published my third book. While there I met a lot of agents and it has been a tough time to be in real estate, no doubt. So glad you had a better plan. I love the 250 ISBNs.
My fourth book is all about a real estate deal and is in the rough draft stage. It has been fun. Will have to pick up one of yours. It sounds like a great read!
W.S. Gager

KH said...

I love your story! I think of writing not as a job, but as life! Best of luck.

Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...

Hi Morgan, Thanks for having me on your blog today. Wendy, I'm looking forward to reading your fourth book.

Kay, you are so right. It's a whole new and exciting world out there.

Mark Troy said...

That's a great story, Nancy. I'm sure you'll enjoy the book tour. Best of luck with your books.

Cheryl said...

Good for you. These sound like they would be wonderful books, and using your own years of experience as a realtor will make your characters and your stories more true to life.

Best of luck,


Anonymous said...

Nancy, had to laugh about starting older. At 75 I'm about to give up the book touring. It was one of the most fun things I did.
Loved your story and your books sound super. My favorites are suspense and murder, so I'll be taking a look.

jenny milchman said...

Congrats to you for doing it your way, Nancy! I have a feeling your audience will only widen--an awful lot of readers are gezzers :)

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Nancy,
Nice blog. Congratulations on the retirement, though it was short lived. My husband has just retired, brought forward by a few months because of ill-health, and I am planning to retire in a few months from now. We might take a leaf out of your book and start up some new venture together.
Best of luck with your projects



V.R. Leavitt said...

What a great story!! Good luck with all of your future endeavors. :-)

Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...

I just wanted to thank all of you who have sent good wishes. What a nice group of people read your blog, Morgan.

terri.forehand said...

I am 56 and reinventing myself as well. Been a critical care nurse for 35 years and although I love it, I really just want to write. My husband and I are still in need of the income so I still write only part time. I can't wait to read your books.Best of luck.

Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...

Hi Terri,
It sounds like we live in similar worlds, but you are much younger starting out, LOL.
I look forward to reading your first book.