Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Continuing Ed

I will never be content with how well I write.

What I thought was good last year I know is not the best it can be this year.  So I spend a lot of time reading, talking, and practicing the writing craft.

I am about to devote 3 days to writing better.  I will attend the Romance1 Writers of America National Conference in Anaheim, California.  There will be amazing workshops, great speakers, and networking with my current and growing support group of writers.

It ought to be great.

1Romance: many readers do not know the industry definition of Romance. So here it is. A romance novel contains at least one romantic subplot and has a happy (or satisfying) ending. That's it to the definition. There are a lot of books out there that qualify as a romance.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Revisions, round one

The first round of revisions are called The Big Picture Edits.  That's where my editor tells me what the big problems are with the manuscript.  Then I fix the ones I agree with.  And I ignore the ones I don't agree with.  (Okay, so not really.  I negotiate with him.  Yeah.  Negotiate.)

He highlighted four major areas to fix.  Sigh.  He was right about 3 of the 4. I had always known those problems were there.  I was just really hoping no one noticed, because I didn't want to fix them.  My editor noticed.

I've made my best first  stab at getting three of the major problems better.  The fourth area is... under negotiation.

Rich asked for the edits to be in by July 15th.  I turned them in July 9th.  Three days ago.  Call me smug.

It may be a while before I hear back from him about round two.  That's okay, though.  I have a life to return to.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Presenting.... The Author Photo

My official photos showed up a week ago in email.  There were 20 or so proofs.

I puzzled over them for several days.  Which did I like best? Which seemed most professional?  Which screamed somebody's Mom least loudly? Which would appeal to the widest spectrum of my target market?

Friends and family weighed in.  There were differences of opinion--but a few began to stand out as having the greatest appeal.  I also asked the photographer, Aimee Elaine, for her recommendations.

Without further ado, here it is...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oh, how I love a small press - part 1

Writers are a strange bunch of people.

Even though we admit to hearing voices in our heads, we are not committed to institutions.  Indeed, we are paid good money1 to talk to and about imaginary people as if they were real.

I am friends with many writers.  It helps to keep me sane.  We cheer each other, help each other, and commiserate with each other.

We also complain.  A lot.

For many published authors, publishers bear the brunt of the complaints.  Publishing houses don't give authors a large enough percentage of the book's list price. They want authors to revise books too much.  They don't consult authors enough about cover art.  They expect authors to do too much promotion.

That's why I love Spencer Hill Press (SHP).  They haven't done anything for me to complain about.  At least, not so far :)

The day after I accepted their book offer, SHP's senior editor called me and asked what I wanted for cover art.  Yes, she did.  Tuesday, the cover designer/photographer (Coe) called me to discuss my thoughts about the cover, what the main characters looked like, and what clothes I envisioned them (the models!) wearing.  Coe knows many Revolutionary War re-enactors, so she doesn't anticipate any problems with finding a costume for my heroine.

We then spent time discussing the two protagonists' interactions with each other over the course of the book--to make sure the cover captures the essence of their relationship. (Sigh!)   Coe is going to generate some sketches of her ideas and send them to me.

I can't wait to see what she does.

Today, I received email from the PR specialist.  The book won't release for another sixteen months, and we are already talking about promotion opportunities.

I love this job.  So far :)

1 Contrary to public belief, the vast majority of writers cannot quit their day jobs.  We talk about royalties in terms of figures: four-figures ($0-$9999), five figures ($10k -< $100k), etc. It is rare for authors to get 6- or 7- figure sales for their books.  Trust me, the reading public has heard about every one of the 7-figure authors (all five of them :).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Thank you, Tom

Tom is my personal trainer.  But he's more than that.  He's my coach, cheerleader, spiritual guide, and friend.

For years, he's listened to me talk about my stories.  Then Whisper Falls came along. Since the book's hero is a seventeen-year-old mountain bike racer, I needed help. Tom became my story advisor.

Fortunately for me, Tom began playing sports at a young age. He understands what it's like to be a teen male athlete.  Tom volunteered (at least, that's the way I remember it. Yeah) to help me with my research. So I peppered him with questions, which he answered with patience and honesty. 

Mark--the male protagonist--is a better character, and Whisper Falls is a better book, because I have friends like Tom.