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Debra Webb | Writer’s Independence Day
Tell us your story and win! Two Chances!


July 4th is most always associated with independence.  It’s an important day in American history and has been the subject of many novels and movies.  Since today is July 4th I hope that all are enjoying this national holiday with family and friends. My family is coming together for the annual cookout and just some plain old fun and relaxation.

Since Fresh Fiction was so kind to allow me the opportunity to talk to you today, I decided that it was important to reflect on “Independence Day.”  As writers, most folks believe we have this incredible freedom to do as we please. Work when we please, write what we please, etc.  But that’s not entirely true.  Like any other job/career, we not only have immensely high standards to keep, we have schedules, deadlines, reader and market expectations just like any other retail/entertainment business.  The business of staying employed as a writer can get pretty darned stressful despite the seeming “independence” we have from the usual career routines of going to the office or annual job performance evaluations.  And, like numerous other aspects of business today, writers have not been immune to the less-than-optimal economy.

I wanted to focus on one aspect of what we do, true “independence.”  Because we love to tell our stories (love to be paid to write them and then see them in print too), it’s very easy to end up in a frightening financial situation.  I remember when I first leaped into this business and I heard many authors talk about not giving up your day job too soon.  That remains a very valid point and one which all authors otherwise employed should consider carefully before changing.  I’ll take this advice one more step: DO NOT CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE (new car, house, etc) TOO SOON!  This is a monumental mistake and can cause immense stress.  I know this from experience.  Since I was very fortune right from the beginning and had the opportunity to write many books (number 72 is out this month after only 10 years!), I got caught up in the “I can certainly afford this now syndrome.”  Big mistake.  One which required much self-discipline and many hard choices to rectify.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting that new monster TV, or a newer, better vehicle, or even a bigger house as long as it doesn’t put you in a position to make a quota--in this case to write a certain number of books and/or get a certain number of contracts each year.  This is a trap of your own making and can snuff the fun right out of what you love to do: Write.

The publishing industry is always evolving, just like every other aspect of our culture.  There is no immunity to the downturn in trends or the economy in this business.  Trends come and go and the popularity of all genres fluctuate.  Protecting our “independence” so that our writing is about what we love to do versus what we must do, is so very important.  I’ve been touting this recently because now more than ever I fully understand the importance of making good choices in my career.  Twenty years ago, well before I started trying to do what I loved most, I never worried about job security because there were plenty of jobs.  Most folks I knew could go to work in a factory or an office and fully expect to retire with that employer.  That is not the case today.  There are no guarantees in ANY business.

This is not a forecast of doom, on the contrary, romance novels as a whole are rising above the drooping economy!  Bravo!  This is merely a caution to keep the work about your love of writing and nothing else.  Keep your choices simple.  If you’re going to give up that day job and make writing your only means of support, take the necessary precautions in your decision-making.  I know, I know, the new car or house looks so good.  And it will still look good a few years down the road when you’ve saved up the money to make the purchase fit into your finances without tipping the ledger too far into the debt zone.

So, continue to love what you do and maintain that wonderful, warm independence in the ratio of income to debt.  You will be so glad you did!  And feel free to ask me the hard questions, I’m all yours today!  Don’t forget to rush out and buy a copy (or three) of EVERYWHERE SHE TURNS!  The  characters in this story must not only face the past but they have some tough decisions to make--if they want to stay alive!

Debra Webb

Special Prizes: an autographed copy of EVERYWHERE SHE TURNS And the complete summer Colby Agency trilogy to a writer to share their own personal story of making the hard choices in today's economy! So comment below and happy Independence's Day USA!




61 comments posted.

Re: Debra Webb | Writer’s Independence Day
Tell us your story and win! Two Chances!

Well, I don't really have a story to tell, just wnated to let you know that I was lucky enough to get my copy of Everywhere She Turns earlier tonight at the Wal-Mart store!!Woo-Hoo!! Can't wait to read it. I LOVE your books. Have a happy and safe 4th.
(Martha Lawson 12:24pm July 4, 2009)

Intrigues are my favorite Harlequin
series. I have quite a few of yours. I
have been following The Colby Agency
stories for years. I know they will
always be good. We aren't really
cutting back a lot. It is always the
small businesses that get hurt and
they can least afford it. We continue
to patronize the businesses we always
have. We have two reunions this year
- our 45th High School reunion in
August in Upstate New York (we
haven't had one since our 15th) and an
Air Force unit reunion in Ft. Worth, TX
in October. They are both going to be
more expensive than I would like, but
they are important to us. We'll just
have to economize on the trip best we
can and hope gas doesn't go out of
sight. The one advantage of our
taking vacation time is our daughter
gets to work more. She and my
husband are part time clerks at the
same post office. When we are gone,
she gets more hours. She is young
and has a family and can certainly use
the extra money.
(Patricia Barraclough 12:43pm July 4, 2009)

Martha! Hey! Great to hear from you! Wow, the book is in Wal-Mart? That's great to know. I wasn't sure!
(Debra Webb 10:00am July 4, 2009)

Patricia, I'm so glad you're enjoying the Colby Agency. Books 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36 come out this year! Don't miss the November HQN, NASCAR Holiday. It's a Colby story too! Enjoy your reunions!
(Debra Webb 10:02am July 4, 2009)

happy 4th of July and I hope this counts in the contest . I sure feel lucky today..we have so much to be thankful for today and always. Love your books and sure would be nice to win . I will keep my fingers crossed. ha ha
(Susan Leech 10:19am July 4, 2009)

I've always tried to think out of the box to assure I wouldn't get caught off guard. I've been on my own since I was 16, finishing school and making a living to survive. When you have no-one or anything to fall back on you can only afford so many risk in your life.

So when I was offered a chance to co-author a book with an already established published writer). I had to ask myself if I was ready to take a chance on life. I did the project is still ongoing.

We started out with an idea for a short story, which turned into a book and now we may be looking at a series. I'm on the biggest high I've ever had.

It's hard work and it's not so much the money (we all know how well first time authors make). It's just the joy of finding something I love, that feels so ingrained in me.

So what was the choice? Taking a chance on life, writing in an economy that isn't exactly promising with publishers tightening their belts.

One more addition to this life story, I went deaf 4 years ago. Thanks! Indigo
(Indigo Ravenwood 10:31am July 4, 2009)

I have read many of your books, and they are consistently some of my favorites. Tried to get Everywhere She Turns at my local store and it was already gone! Will be getting it asap. Thanks for the great stories.
(Kara Conrad 11:09am July 4, 2009)

Susan, thanks for stopping by! I'm so glad you're enjoying the books!
(Debra Webb 11:11am July 4, 2009)

Indigo! Wow! What a story. I'm so glad you took the risk. If writing is your love, it's hard to say no! I have a heroine, Merrilee Walters, I created in my Silent series for Bombshell who went deaf in her mid-twenties. I loved writing her and showing the challenge of pursuing life without the aid of sound.
(Debra Webb 11:15am July 4, 2009)

Hi, Deb!! I'm not a writer, but I can so relate to this story. I'm actually an autoworker, have worked at Ford for 17 yrs. For the first 14 years, I could work as many hours as I wanted, and most weeks had at least 50 hours under my belt. I learned to live on that 50 hr paycheck, and got used to having the extra money all the time. Fast forward to today, where we are LUCKY if we get 40 hrs, have spent many, many weeks on layoff in the past 2 years, and have lost OT pay in certain ways, lost our raises, etc. WOW. It was a HUGE adjustment when this first started happening. It was like what the heck?? I've always had money for everything, and now suddenly I don't?? It took me while to adjust, and train myself to be on a budget. It's hard, lol.
I think this is a trap we can all fall into.
Great advice!!
(Melissa Bradley 11:15am July 4, 2009)

Kara, yay! Thanks for the wonderful compliment! I hope you enjoy Everywhere She Turns!
(Debra Webb 11:16am July 4, 2009)

Melissa, you're so right. I know this is a very difficult time for you and many, many others. It took me two years to pull it back together after facing the reality of living beyond what my true financial expectations should have been. A wake up call for sure! Good luck and hang in there! We will survive!
(Debra Webb 11:18am July 4, 2009)

There can never be too many Colby Agency books for me!
As far as the I can afford this now - my parents grew up during the depression and instilled in my brother and me the fact that you MUST be able to pay for it before you buy. My husband and I pay our credit card bills off each month. Our daughter, however, seems to believe that 'somehow' 'someday' it will get paid because the money just keeps coming in!
(Karin Tillotson 11:32am July 4, 2009)

Karin! Can you hear the applause? I agree wholeheartedly, wait until you can truly afford to buy it. Sometimes that's difficult when it comes to a car or house but buy within your means and always factor in the what-if-everything-goes-to-$h!+ element!
(Debra Webb 11:46am July 4, 2009)

What can I say - have been furloughed from my job since 9/2008. Reading a good book has been a "great take me away from reality" moment.

Thanks for the opportunity to enter this contest!

Happy 4th!
(Katherine Reese 1:34pm July 4, 2009)

Happy July 4th. Everyone is making sacrifices in these uncertain times. We're doing okay despite cutting back on expenses. We're grateful for not having to worry about putting food on our table.
(Jane Cheung 1:36pm July 4, 2009)

Kathy, you're absolutely right reading a good book is a perfect and inexpensive escape! Good luck!
(Debra Webb 1:49pm July 4, 2009)

Jane, that is something to be thankful for. I feel blessed to have a roof over my head and food on the table. Everything else is gravy!
(Debra Webb 1:51pm July 4, 2009)

No real comment, just a stupid story. I went to a bookstore today and saw your new book.
Didn't buy it because I had a coupon for Borders. Got to Borders, and totally blanked out
on who I was looking for! I hadn't realized the book was out. Then came home to see
this blog,and was like that's the book I wanted! Now I either have to be lucky enough to
win, or I have to hit Amazon!

Thanks for taking time out of your holiday to post here today.
(Sandi Shilhanek 4:23pm July 4, 2009)

It was interesting to read more about what authors have to go through especially now with the economy the way it was. Enjoyed reading the blog.
(Larena Hubble 4:49pm July 4, 2009)

It's tough yet a necessity to rein in spending and live more simply if you pursue creative endeavors like art, drama, writing, music and dance. Starving artists are wise to find other secondary jobs while spending time with their passions in off-hours. I call this time-stacking while others call it crosstraining. Even most athletes have more than one way to make a living, because their prime time peaks and switching taps into alternate means for keeping afloat and not sinking too low.
(Alyson Widen 7:51pm July 4, 2009)

Hey Sandi! What a story! I do the same thing at the grocery store!
(Debra Webb 7:53pm July 4, 2009)

Thanks! If I can help prevent anyone else going through a "hard" time I'm happy to share!
(Debra Webb 7:54pm July 4, 2009)

Alyson, agreed! Never give up the day job until you're deep into a secure financial situation.
(Debra Webb 7:56pm July 4, 2009)

I had to learn to save for a rainy day when I became unable to work. Mind you, I have always been a careful spender, something "inbred" in me when my parents, brother and I first came to Canada. But I'd buy a book, chocolate bar or an ice-cream cone whenever I felt like it. I certainly can't do that anymore. I've run out of room and money for books and and out of health and money for sweets.

The other problem with independence and freedom is: when does our freedom end up conflicting with another person's. Is our freedom then more important? ;)
(Sigrun Schulz 8:59pm July 4, 2009)

Sigrun, I hear you! All we can do is be prepared to the best of our ability.
(Debra Webb 9:55pm July 4, 2009)

I lost my job a while back, but then had the opportunity to take care of my niece who is now two during the day. And while I no longer make anywhere near the money I used to, I have never been happier. I no longer buy just because I can and find that I don't really miss it at all. Have a great fourth!
(Carrie Divine 10:18pm July 4, 2009)

There's something to be said for simplifying. I for one have spent without much thought and have too much 'stuff'. However you can never have too many books :o)
(Sandy Miresse 10:25pm July 4, 2009)

Carrie, thanks for the story. It never ceases to amaze me how much we can "mindlessly" spend!
(Debra Webb 10:26pm July 4, 2009)

Sandy, many, many books is good! As I'm finally unpacking my "stuff" from my bigger house to settle into the smaller one we've just renovated, I can't believe how much "stuff" I bought that I could have done without!
(Debra Webb 10:28pm July 4, 2009)

Living on a retirement income I have to decide whether or not I really need something before I buy it. One thing I have stopped buying are clothes at least until I can no longer wear the ones I have left from when I was teaching. But the one thing I have not stopped buying are books.
(Ellen McDaniel 12:05pm July 5, 2009)

Hi Debra..I raised four children on what you might call a "shoe string budget" we made lots of soups to make a meal go a days this habit is a good idea again especially for large familes as it can go much further and still be healthly. I do alot still even tho all the kids are out on their own,,this gives me book money for my habit. ha
(Susan Leech 12:16pm July 5, 2009)

I am also living on a retirement income but will have to return to work next year. I
can not live on my pension because I have an extremely high book bill every month.
LOL No - no libraries! I used to read at least a book a day but am trying to cut back
so I can research and write.

But I did return to school to work on a Masters in New Media Study and concentrating
on writing especially for the web. Because I love both history and romance I am
hoping to write in both fields. And hopefully will be able to find a part time job to add
to the book kitty. I also will be writing the newsletter for the International Association
for the Study of Popular Romance as well as editing a journal for a western history
(Jackie Wilson 1:32am July 5, 2009)

(Rebecca Delio 7:18am July 5, 2009)

I have always bought what I need, not
what others have told me I can afford.
I was raised by people who had been
through the Great Depression and
knew what was important to life,
including a healthy family and
enjoying life. Even if we did not have
the money to buy books regularly, my
parents made sure that we always
lived near the public library. They
knew that even if you couldn't afford a
Caribbean cruise and lived in a small
crowded house, reading a book could
take you places that you could only
dream of.
(Mary Mccoy 10:29am July 5, 2009)

Most have a hard time differentiating between wants and needs. I worked my way thru college, 30 hours a week at work and going to college full time. Most people can live on alot less than they think they can.
(Vikki Parman 1:17pm July 5, 2009)

I chose to give up work despite finances. We recently adopted two children and, to give them the best start with us, decided time with me was more precious than money.
(Sarah Keery 1:23pm July 5, 2009)

Ellen! Good for you! Keep buying those books. I'm with you about the clothes. Only I keep putting off buying new ones because I want to lose weight.
(Debra Webb 1:30pm July 5, 2009)

Susan, I love soup! My husband and I are always looking for new recipes to try. It is a lot less expensive than trying to plan a three-course meal.
(Debra Webb 1:32pm July 5, 2009)

Jackie! Wow! What an amazing journey. Best of luck in all your ventures!
(Debra Webb 1:33pm July 5, 2009)

Rebecca, thank you so very much. That's such an honor. I truly do love writing the Colby stories. Bless your heart for continuing to buy the books despite your personal hardship. I know a little something about physical challenges. My oldest daughter was born with a debilitating physical challenge. She is 33 now and there is not a day that she doesn't defy that handicap! She is determined to live her life in spite of it. But it is very difficult and I sincerely understand what a person goes through when the simplest chore becomes a near overwhelming obstacle.
(Debra Webb 1:38pm July 5, 2009)

Mary, your parents were extremely smart people. I grew up on a farm and we were very poor by most any standards. We didn't have all the games and such that kids have now, but we always had stories. Though there was no library near by, we would sit around on the porch and make up stories to entertain ourselves. My grandmother was a marvelous storyteller!
(Debra Webb 1:40pm July 5, 2009)

Vikki, you got it exactly right. We live in such a "right now" society. Most have no appreciation for delayed gratification. When I was a kid birthdays and Christmas were wondrous events to look forward to. Now it's Christmas every day for far too many.
(Debra Webb 1:42pm July 5, 2009)

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! I am very picky on what I spend my money on... I always set aside for needs and then budget leftovers for wants. My Mother taught us to be smart with money...
(Colleen Conklin 1:42pm July 5, 2009)

Sarah, that is such an honorable sacrifice. I worked much of my first daughter's younger years, but was self-employed for most of my second daughter's and let me tell you there is nothing more precious than the time with our children. I wish I had been able to be at home more with my first. Cheers to you!
(Debra Webb 1:45pm July 5, 2009)

To keep our independence from debt and be healthier our family has given up soda (drink water & Kool Aid, expensive snacks (we love pop corn) and eat at home more often. We still buy books but at yard sales or buy new at discount & trade w/neighboring book lover. We also rent movies at Red Box for $1 once a week instead of close to $5 at Blockbuster. To save money on gas we combine errands & hit food store sales that are in close proximity to each other.
(Donna Petrilla 2:31pm July 5, 2009)

If you scrimp and save on a lot of small things (only eat out when win gift certificates or a special occasion; do all the grocery shopping in one weekly long trip; have friends over often for meals instead of "outside" entertainment; etc.), then you are better able to afford the bigger things when you need/want them. We save for trips to visit relatives' weddings, etc. We sacrifice wall-to-wall carpeting that has not been changed in 28 years. Every time the carpeting comes to the top of the list, along comes something more urgent and necessary. That's okay, though. Friends and relatives are much more important than things!
(Elaine Seymour 4:47pm July 5, 2009)

My Grandma always used to say: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." This saying has never meant more to me than it does at this time ~ my husband lost his job at Christmas (no warning ~ no severance package). It came as a tremendous shock; our 27 year-old son-in-law had just passed away in his sleep 3 weeks earlier, my Mom just found out her breast cancer had metastasized to her spine and our daugher-in-law was diagnosed with graves disease.
Because of a heart condition I am not able to work outside of the home so the heavy load of being th sole provider has always been my husbands. Since I can't MAKE any money I have ALWAYS tried to save money. At this time we have the biggest and best garden we have ever had (and we are eating better and healthier too); I have been making most of the gifts we have to give or we have been giving gifts of service; I have been going with my husband when he goes to take resumes or for job interview and we pack a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches (we have become closer and look forward to our picnic lunches); his golf membership and dues were already paid up, so I ride in the cart with him and read while he golfs.
So far we are still unemployed (unless we want to move out of state, and I can't leave my Mom or granchildren at this time). But I feel blessed with my life and I am determined to appreciate and enjoy what we DO have.
(Christy Hawkes 5:45pm July 5, 2009)

(Jean Mess 9:21pm July 5, 2009)

I can't wait to read your new book Debra !!!
(Joeelle Jappissont 4:39am July 6, 2009)

Donna, excellent savings advice! Combining errands is my new favorite thing for saving gas!
(Debra Webb 10:49am July 6, 2009)

Elaine, you are so right. Friends and relatives are more important! We do the "list" too!
(Debra Webb 10:50am July 6, 2009)

Christy, how amazing that you've been through so much and still feel blessed. You are a true inspiration!
(Debra Webb 10:52am July 6, 2009)

Emmanuelle, thank you! I hope you enjoy it. Please email me and let me know!
(Debra Webb 10:52am July 6, 2009)

I'm hoping to get one of your books soon. I've heard nothing but good about your writing.
(Patsy Hagen 2:53pm July 7, 2009)

I'm having to make extremely difficult choices on what books I can afford to buy each month. I'm limiting myself to a certain amount of money and try and wait for sales. Have a great day.
(Roberta Harwell 9:10pm July 8, 2009)

Patsy, thank you so much. I hope you'll enjoy whichever book you pick!
(Debra Webb 10:02am July 10, 2009)

Roberta, I totally understand. Everyone's finances are tight right now. Thanks!
(Debra Webb 10:03am July 10, 2009)

i lOVE your writin for many years. thank you for all the interestin storys and intriue and your books rocks!
(Tami Bates 4:56pm July 10, 2009)

Tami! Thank you! I love, love writing the stories.
(Debra Webb 9:19am July 13, 2009)

I love your books including the Colby's, my sister Elaine and my cousin's Pearl and June also love your books, unfortunately we lost June last year. My son recently went through cancer surgery and so far he is doing well, my husband just went through major surgery and he is also doing well and I recently got out of the hospital for cellulitis which I do get frequently as I am a diabetic and any infection is like poison to me. Keep up the great work on your books, I have a great 4th coming up and I hope your's is great to.
(Rebecca Delio 8:04am April 30, 2011)

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