More about Jeff:
Jeff Rivera is an author and inspirational media personality. He has appeared on national television, radio and print in such outlets as Forbes.com, The Boston Globe, Publishers Weekly, Right On! Magazine, Rotarian Magazine, TMZ, WABC, WNBC, WCBS, SITV, American Latino and NPR.
He also writes or has written for Entertainment Weekly, Mediabistro, GalleyCat, Publishing Perspectives, Digital Book World, Examiner, American Chronicle, School Library Journal and the Huffington Post and has been invited to speak and inspire groups all over the world from South Carolina to Nigeria. He has been on panel discussions for The Library Journal, Authors Guild, the Harlem Book Fair and many others.
He is known to have broken the news that Seth Godin was ditching traditional publishing which lead to mentions on hundreds of blogs and media outlets including The LA Times, Fast Company, and New York Observer. His news break that Jackie Collins would be self-publishing the US-version of her eBook lead to mentions in The Bookseller, The Guardian, USA Today and hundreds of other outlets.
His humble beginnings of living in American poverty on welfare and food stamps as the child of a single mother, to his days living in his car and final rise to becoming a published author, journalist and media personality have inspired many.
Rivera created a massive online following before the eBook revolution even existed. He was able to land an agent and a book deal with Warner Books (now known as Grand Central Publishing) within 7 days. He has used the knowledge he gained from this experience to help coach his clients on social media campaigns and has helped over 100 clients take the first step in landing an agent too.
Interview with Jeff Rivera:
When did you first start write? You know I used to write little stories about the kids in class when I was about 6-years-old. I was in the first grade. I wrote so many stories that this little girl in class (who I had a crush on at the time) told everybody, "You better watch out or he'll write a story about you!
Tell us a little about your current project? Well, my latest project is resurrecting my first novel, Forever My Lady. It was self-published, then acquired by Grand Central Publishing and they were gracious enough to let me have the rights back so that I could let the world know about it in the way that I thought they should. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to re-introduce new readers to the story. I think it's incredibly relevant right now.
Was it hard breaking into the publishing/screenwriting? Not really, looking back. I have the same challenges I did back then and that is, sitting my butt down and writing (not checking my email or Facebook a million times) I write incredibly fast when I sit down to do it. I can easily bang out about 10,000 words in about 3 or 4 hours tops.
What did you do to prepare yourself? Did you go to school or learn through outside workshops? The absolute best training I received was joining the Nevada Screenwriter's Association when I was 17-years-old, reading and critiquing more seasoned writers helped me tremendously and I applied the craft of storytelling to writing novels, years later.
What is the single most important thing you've learned about managing your career? That's such a great question. I think the thing I've learned recently is that it's all about the reader. It's not about agents or publishers, it's about that person to person connection you make with those who are investing time out of their busy schedule to read your stories. Focus on writing for and entertaining them and I think everything else falls into place.
How do you promote your work to readers? To publishers? To production companies? I think out of all the things I've tried just one on one connections work the fastest. Seems to take forever to Facebook private message people or to email them one at a time but I think it works best. And of course, writing the best story you can helps because then your readers become your biggest supporters and spread the word for you.
If you weren't writing as a career...what would you be doing? Probably teaching kids. Maybe like 2nd graders (then I'd skip middle school cause 'Them kids is bad') And I might consider teaching high school but I've actually been guest professor at a few colleges and universities and I absolutely loved that. My grandfather was a college professor.
What is the craziest thing you've done to research a story idea? Lord, you don't want to know. Let's not go there ... (Note from Lisa: Actually, I do. Don’t you, readers?)
They say you make your luck...what have you done in your career that has resulted in what other people might think of as being lucky? Another great question. I think one of the ways I made my own luck was just keeping in touch with people, staying on their radar a few times a year. And announcing when great things are happening like on my Facebook because when opportunities arise, you're the first one they go to.
Everyone always wants to know about a writer's writing space. What's yours like? Right now, I'm writing in my bed in my boxer briefs. Sometimes, I write in my home office, other times the living room but I get the most done at a cafe with pen and pad. But I always feel bad about staying there too long and you can only order so much coffee before you have to go to the bathroom.
Do you write every day? Every week? Odd times? I write every single day Monday-Thursday. Friday is my "work day" Saturday and Sunday I spend with my partner, Geovanny. (Now, if I can only get him to turn his cotton pickin' phone off)
When you get deep into a project, how do you balance your time between work and family? Well, for me it's not that hard because it's just me, Geovanny, our pet turtle and hedgehog but I do have siblings, parents and 12 nieces and nephews. One thing I started doing, besides keeping in touch on Facebook with my family regularly is marking my calendar once a week to be "family keep in touch day". The family we have here in Costa Rica I keep in touch with most often because they're right here but I wish they lived even closer to us. My dream is to buy an estate and make it a family compound.
What was the most exciting thing that has happened in your career so far? Don't limit it to a big sale. Did you meet someone spectacular who influenced you? Did you hit a particular bestsellers list? Recently, Forever My Lady became the #1 Teen Romance and #1 Contemporary Romance as well as the #4 book across all genres on Amazon and let me tell you after 10 years of trying make this story a success and catch on, that feels damn great! I'm so grateful. But I think my favorite moment in my life, besides meeting my partner Geovanny, was meeting Oprah when I was about 19-years-old at a cocktail party.
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