Stacey Jay, author of dozens of erotic romance and young adult novels, gave a presentation March 4 entitled “Confessions of a Hack” in Thompson Hall.
Jay spoke about hacks, which are mediocre writers who write many books a year and write whatever it takes to make money. She also talked about what it takes to sell novels and make a living off of writing, which she said is not an easy thing to do.
Jay, who has written under multiple pen names including Anna J. Evans and Annaliese Evans, lives in Maumelle, Ark. and has been a full-time writer for five years.
Jay explained that when she first started writing erotic romance novels she used a pen name because she was afraid that men might read her novels and become obsessive or stalk her.
When she started writing young adult fiction, Jay used a different pen name so her young readers would not stumble upon her mature-audience erotic romance novels.
Creative writing professor Robin Becker said of Jay: “She likes blood, guts and gore.”
In addition to writing erotic romance and young adult fiction, Jay also enjoys writing about zombies. Jay said there was a time in her life when she was living off oatmeal and eggs and she didn’t want to do that again; therefore, she used her artistic and creative ability to make money.
Jay shared her experience of becoming a writer to encourage young creative writers and to give them helpful tips for success.
“I don’t make a ton of money or win literary awards,” Jay said, “but I make enough money to support my family.”
She said she had a young son to support so she decided to write erotic romance novels, which is a successful market because a lot of people read the novels. The books generate the largest share in the consumer romance genre.
“I decided the best way to make money was by writing for a genre that was opening up and had opportunity,” Jay said.
To become a successful hack, Jay said, a writer must have a basic enthusiasm for the genre. Jay said she had enthusiasm for romance, which is why she was able to become a successful writer in that genre and then move on to writing young adult fiction, which allowed her to do what she loved doing: telling stories.
“If you want to sell your books, it has got to be good. Writers keep raising the bar,” Jay said.
She said every writer needs to establish a code of what they are willing to do and sacrifice to become successful, and when the erotic romance genre got to the point where she no longer got to tell stories, she began writing young adult novels.
Jay attributes much of her success to the fact that she is so hard working. She writes between 2,000 and 4,000 words a day. “
I may not be the best writer in the world, but they know I can write a new book every nine months and they can count on me,” she said.