This week was a great week for breathing in and breathing out.
On Thursday, my good friend Kristen Painter and I jumped in the car and took a little ride across the state for the Novelists, Inc. (or NINC) conference in St. Petersburg. There, the focus was on breathing in—or taking in—information about the explosive growth in electronic publishing and what that means to the average writer. From every side we heard that change is coming and traditional print publishers are struggling to adapt to a digital marketplace. Industry professionals listed areas where publishers needed to make changes: Make books available in both print and e-formats; release back lists in e-formats; train authors to use social media tools, like Facebook and Twitter. I have to admit, as a Harlequin author I felt some warm fuzzies when Donna Hayes, CEO of Harlequin Enterprises, repeatedly said, “We already do that.” Check, check and double-check.
On Saturday, it was time to breathe out—this time sharing the story of my road to publication at the monthly meeting of First Coast Romance Writers in Jacksonville, FL. Let’s face it, selling a manuscript to a major publisher can be a daunting task. According to the statistics, less than one in a thousand writers makes the leap from “aspiring” to “published” author. We all get discouraged along the way, but why can’t you be the one who makes it? I did, and if my story inspires just one promising author to stick with it, then a three-hundred mile car trip is worth the effort. From what I heard and saw at FCRW this weekend, quite a few of their members are ready to make that leap.
By the way, FCRW’s annual contest, Beacon, is short on entries and has extended its deadline until Friday, October 15th. For more information on this all-electronic contest, go to: http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com/contest_un.htm.
Contests are a great place to test your work, and finaling in one is a short-cut to getting your work before an acquiring editor or agent. Or in the Beacon’s case, both.