Sunday, October 10, 2010

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

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:
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.

Monday, October 4, 2010

If You Thing POV is an Economy Car...

So, I was talking with a couple of my writing pals about the mistakes we made as beginning writers, and I came up with this list of things every romance writer needs to know. Take a moment. Enjoy a laugh.

- If someone says “head hopping” and you think “rabbits,” you’re not ready to publish.

- If you think POV is a new kind of economy car, you’re not ready to publish.

- If your manuscript includes the phrases “swashbuckling hero” or “ripped bodice,” you’re out of touch with today's market.

- If you think goal and motivation are the same thing, you could use a workshop or two. By the same token, if you’ve never heard of Deb Dixon, you’re not ready to publish.

- If someone says your story needs GMC and you go looking for car dealerships, you’re not ready to publish.

- If you think a black moment has something to do with the stock exchange, you’re not ready to publish.

- If you think conflict is an argument, you’re not ready to publish.

- If you’re writing romantic suspense and don’t have a villian, you’re not ready to publish.

- If the hero of your series contemporary doesn’t appear before the third chapter, you’re not ready to publish.

- If you think HEA is a sexually transmitted disease, you’re not ready to publish.

- If your hero and heroine fall in love at first glance and lovingly hold hands right through their happily-ever-after moment, you need to join RWA and educate yourself on romance in today’s marketplace.

- If you chose to write romance because you thought it was easy, you’re not ready to publish.