Meet Stacy Juba, Author, Freelance Editor, and Writing Instructor
How I Went From Newbie Writer to Helping Authors Strengthen Their Novels. . .
Before I published ten books, made bestseller lists, served on conference panels, or worked as a freelance editor. . . there was an introverted young writer desperate to achieve publishing success.
An Emotional Rollercoaster
If I had known pursuing my dream would be such an emotional rollercoaster ride. . .honestly, I probably would’ve done it, anyway!
I didn’t choose to write. It chose me. I started writing fiction in third grade and never stopped. When the call beckoned, I’d get a nagging pull to write a story. It distracted me from the chaos of the real world and gave an introverted girl a voice.
Writing truly has given me everything; I met my husband while working as a newspaper reporter, and we now have two children. Becoming an author, freelance editor, online writing instructor, and freelance journalist has allowed me to stay home with my kids. I don’t know who I’d be without writing in my life. However, it wasn’t an easy path.
At times, I questioned whether my book publishing dreams were worth the blood, sweat, and tears. Family and friends suggested making it a hobby rather than a career, but that just didn’t feel right.
When I look back, it’s mind boggling to reflect on the highs and lows of my writing journey.
* Selling my young adult book Face-Off at age eighteen, doing book signings, and getting fan mail from kids.
* Winning the Malice Domestic Grant for my mystery-in-progress, attending the Agatha Awards Banquet in Maryland, and meeting one of my closest friends, the other grant winner. I used the grant money to take my first online course, a class on writing mysteries.
* Selling my mystery/romantic suspense novel Twenty-Five Years Ago Today to a publisher 15 years after the publication of my first book.
* Earning over $3,000 in royalties after an ad campaign. I remember the excitement of checking my Kindle and Nook sales every ten minutes (okay, every five minutes!) and seeing the numbers rise at an amazing speed.
* Publishing each future book brought more highs such as collaborating with my dad on The Flag Keeper; writing ‘The End’ on Fooling Around With Cinderella, a project I’d put aside for a year during a stressful time; hearing my books performed as Audible audiobooks; making bestseller lists; and finally writing and publishing the sequel to Face-Off—25 years later.
* Struggling as a teenager to do the rewrites on my first published novel so it would be worthy of the $5,000 advance. The editorial director kept sending it back for more rewrites, and I feared losing the contract.
* All the rejection letters over the years. The worst was when an editor wrote that she’d seen enough of my work and that I should stop submitting to her. Ouch!
* When I got my hopes up after a Pub Committee at a major house passed on my book to the Mass Market division. It sat on a desk for a year despite my agent’s gentle nudges and finally got rejected. During that year, when the editor couldn’t take the time to read my book, I had a baby. (The baby did cheer me up!)
* When the perfect book editor quit the business. She and her Pub Committee loved my YA paranormal thriller and said they would be seriously interested if I did some rewrites. When I submitted the rewrite, my editor contact had left publishing. Meanwhile, her replacement shut down the YA paranormal line. He returned my manuscript to me, unread, the day it arrived.
* Getting a moment of stage fright when speaking on my first author panel. I stumbled over my words, blushing, until Sue Grafton made eye contact and gave me a slight nod. I wasn’t exactly smooth, but I got through it.
Guiding Writers Through Overwhelm
What a crazy business, right? Exhilarating highs and disappointing lows.
That’s why we writers have to stick together. It’s funny, back in 1992 when I got Face-Off published, I never would have dreamed that I’d become an editor someday. My first editorial letter intimidated the heck out of me. And over the years, I was on the receiving end of many other scary letters.
I got into editing as a way to make extra money while I stayed home with my two girls. It was rewarding passing on the tips that took me decades to accumulate and seeing my clients’ manuscripts improve with each new draft.
After all the years of ups and downs, here is a snapshot of my world today.
* Telling stories is an absolute necessity.
* Voices in my head are 100 percent normal.
* Shopping for colored pens and fancy notebooks is always a fantastic idea.
* Going to work means mentoring authors and reading future bestsellers in my pajamas.
* A stack of books on my nightstand and 500 titles on my Kindle are mandatory.
* Listening to Eye of the Tiger before writing a big scene or while driving to a book signing is totally reasonable.
* Clients and students are my friends. They’re creative dreamers and doers with amazing stories and a weird Google search history.
* In a complicated world, I strive for simplicity and systems.
* Giving up is never an option.
* I always find a better way and inspire others to do the same.
With the growth of e-books and indie publishing, you have so many more options than I did when I was starting out. You still need a guide though, someone who can show you how to develop your ideas, polish your writing, and save time and money during the editing process. That’s where I come in.
To date, I’ve written more than 3,000 articles for newspapers and magazines and published ten books. I’ve had novels ranked as #5 and #11 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List, made lists including GalleyCat’s Barnes & Noble Bestsellers, GalleyCat’s Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers, and Best Books for Young Teen Readers Grades 7-10, and won over a dozen writing awards.
As a freelance editor, I’ve helped hundreds of authors with their projects, working with beginning writers and those with contracts at large publishing houses.
I’ve also taught workshops for organizations including Savvy Authors, Sisters in Crime, and numerous Romance Writer of America chapters, and been a panelist and guest critiquer at the New England Crime Bake conference sponsored by Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.
As someone who has been in the book publishing trenches since my teens, going through many ups and downs while I fine-tuned my craft, I’d be honored to help you on your writing journey.
Over the years, as a freelance editor I’ve developed a reputation for being honest, friendly, organized, and thorough. My editing clients have given testimonials like these:
“She has made the editing process much easier than I ever thought possible.” Courtney Kristel, romantic suspense writer
“You are a true professional and obviously an authority at your craft.”Kevin Schwartz, suspense writer
“Stacy was a pleasant person to communicate with, and I enjoy how she talks to me like we’ve known each other for years!”Kimberly Gruenbacher, YA fantasy writer
“I’ve learned so much and am so glad I’m on a good track as I’m getting back into writing again.”Marty Rayne, romance author
“You are the best editor out there! I really admire your attention to detail.” Nicole Kuruszko, historical author