February’s Meeting with Kimberla Lawson Roby

Kimberla Lawson Roby
Kimberla Lawson Roby

“Most of my writer friends knew as kids that they wanted to write,” said Kimberla Lawson Roby, “I liked to write, but I saw what writers got paid and decided to pursue business instead.”

However, after a series of jobs that left her feeling unfulfilled, Kimberla decided to try her hand at writing. She wrote every night, four hours a night, and finished her first book after seven months of work.

“I sent it out to fourteen literary agents,” she said. “I got fourteen rejections.” She sent it directly to eight publishing houses and got eight more rejections. However, Kimberla used her business experience to start her own publishing company – Lenox Press – in 1996, and printed up three thousand copies of her first novel, Behind Closed Doors.

“I was scared, but it was too late to do anything but go forward.”

When her first reception hosted five hundred people, she decided to make the jump and become a full-time writer. She put together a marketing plan, followed up personally with three hundred independent bookstores around the country and got into the habit of answering all of her readers directly.

She credits her direct connection to readers with helping her books hit the New York Times bestselling list. She maintained a mailing list and sent out postcards with the release date of the book. Kimberla also credits her readers with keeping her inspired to write.  Her 21st book – A House Divided – comes out in May.