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Whoís Who in SFL: Jennifer McCord

By Sarah Bartlett For Seattle Free Lances

Jennifer McCord 1Seattle Free Lances member Jennifer McCord is a long-time lover of literature and writing. She has a passion for working with other writers to develop their creative instincts, which led her to foundJennifer McCord Associates LLC, offering everything from creativity coaching to project management and marketing.

Beginning as the manager of an independent book store, Jennifer became a Romance Fiction expert with Waldenbooks. She has served with the UW Extension Advisory Board, Antioch University, with the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and is a former president of Seattle Free Lances. Currently, she is an associate publisher with Coffeetown Press, where she shares her thoughts on creativity, romance novels, and the future of publishing.

When I asked Jennifer to do this interview, she was, as always, prompt and willing to help.

Q. How did you get into publishing?

A. I loved and still love reading books. My love of reading has been the main reason I have found publishing so very interesting and worthwhile. I was also a musician in my early years, and that creative endeavor gave me the discipline and focus to work in the publishing field.

Q. What does your own writing life look like?

A. I work at my career almost every day. I have learned that my best time for writing is to get a draft done early in the morning and then revise mid-afternoon. I like doing the laundry before I begin. I also listen to music, usually classical.

Q. Where did your passion for supporting writers come from?

A. As someone who was a former musician, having family, friends, mentors, etc., support me was invaluable. I wanted to lend my support to writers. I also like teaching about writing and publishing.

Q. What do you think is appealing to people about romance fiction?

A. There is a happy ending, and love is a universal emotion, regardless of time and place.

Q. What do you think makes a great romance fiction book?

A. Characters that readers can like or relate to and an inventive yet plausible story line. The author must have a unique voice that is suited to telling a love story. This means you can sense their emotional investment in the story and the characters.

Q. What are your favorite tips for writers suffering from writerís block?

A. Sit down and write, even if you feel the writing is not working. Or read an author that inspires you. Discover what renews your creative spark and spirit, such as visiting museums, walking in nature, listening to music or learning something new.

Q. What are the biggest mistakes that writers make in writing, editing, publishing, or marketing their books?

A. Not knowing the audience for their book. Not understanding how the bookselling and publishing business works. Having expectations that canít easily be met without a lot of work and then not being willing to do that work. Realizing and recognizing that although writing is a solitary business, it takes a community of readers, publishers, an agent, booksellers to sell a book. Writers can create partnerships and networks to further their writing careers.

Q. What are the big changes you have seen in the publishing industry since you first started?

A. There are so many that it would be hard to categorize them all. We are in a revolution due to new technology, which means that the publishing industry is changing all the time.

Q. How do you see publishing changing further in the next decade or so?

A. That is the question that everyone who works in publishing or writing asks themselves every day. No one can predict what changes will happen ten years from now. But I do see two trends that are interesting. People who have tried self-publishing are coming back to traditional publishing because of all the work and expense involved in creating a quality product. Reading has become fashionable again.

Q. What sets the Northwest writing community apart from others?

A. There are many readers, many voices from many writers here in the Northwest. Many successful ones. Writers who want to hear other writers speak about their writing life have a wealth of opportunities to take classes and attend readings and events in this area.

Q. What has been your role with Seattle Free Lances, and why is it an organization you enjoy working with?

A. I have been both treasurer and president of SFL. I have enjoyed being part of the writing community in the Northwest and feel honored to have a role in this well-established organization. It began in 1921 to encourage a writing community in the Pacific Northwest.

Q. What is the best trip/vacation you have ever taken?

A. This is a hard question, because I have been working a lot over the past years, and most of my travel is for business or family. Our family went on a trip to San Francisco years ago that we all enjoyed. The weather was sunny and warm and the food in the Bay area was splendid. Now that youíve got me thinking about it, Iím ready to plan my next vacation!

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