Wednesday, May 31, 2006
And I couldn't help thinking that if maintaining control of your destiny is a major thing for you, then perhaps writing is not the best career choice. Maybe it's just me, but I could lose weight, dye my hair, work out a whole bunch to fit some physical ideal, and it would happen a lot faster than it took to sell a book. And even beyond selling a book to the editor, there are a LOT of things that affect how your book sells once its published that I have almost zero control over. And I'm taking this list not just from my experience, but from other far more established authors who have hit bestseller lists and have still been burned. Here are a few I can think of off the top of my head:
- My cover
- How hard the sales team pushes my book to booksellers
- My reviews
- If there's glitch in shipping, causing my book to not show up in a major chain for the first 2 weeks it's out
- If my book comes out the third week of the month, after readers have already blown their budget on the other new releases in my genre
- If a bigger author gets moved into my month, thus eating up all the marketing $$
I'm sure you can all add to this list, just as I'm sure some of these things get a little more under your control as you get more established. My point though, is that while I'm trying to do what I can to steer my career in the right direction, there are so many things that you have no control over that can derail you. So I don't know, but I'm thinking a little diet, a little nip and tuck, maybe some botox, and I can be a beauty queen a hell of a lot faster than I can be a bestseller.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
That opening sentence
If she sat very still, the wolves ignored her, even now in the failing light of dusk.
Now, would that snag your interest? We shall see if it actually works or not, but damn, I love my job!
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Who Are You Calling a Bitch?
Then I went back and reflected on my other books, and realized that out of 5 novellas and 2 single titles, my favorite heroines are on the bitchier side.
We're all familiar with the reformed rake/uber-alpha/asshole hero, but what about the loveable bitch? Do you like reading or writing them? Has an author ever gone too far in creating either a bitch or an asshole and made you think he/she wasn't worthy of the other's love?
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Too Close to Home?
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my family in
Don't get me wrong, I have definitely known some sexy cowboys. But I have also known many who have breath that smells like Coors and
So my point/question (and I do have one) is this: are there any classic romance hero types - cop, special agent, military man, firefighter, etc - that you have trouble writing about because you can't screen out the reality of your own experience?
Saturday, May 06, 2006
So far I’ve been very lucky.
Both of my thumbs are way up for the cover of my recent release from Changeling Press. Sahara Kelly is the artist. Click on News and take a look at the cover of COSMIC COPS: Dark Pleasures and tell me what you think.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Lessons Learned From My Contest
But the contest also gave me something I did not expect to receive: A greater understanding of what agents and editors must go through. Oh, I’ve given lip-service to understanding, but now ... I really get it! Namely, the ...
Importance of a Great Opening. The night before it was time to announce the weekly finalist, I read all the entries I’d received that week. As such, if I wanted to get to bed at a reasonable hour, I didn’t have a lot of time. So the minute I lost interest in an entry, I filed it in my “No” folder and moved on to the next. (The number one thing that caused me to lose interest was opening scenes bogged down with narrative, introspection, backstory – in short, no action). Since the number of entries I read each week paled in comparison to an agent/editor’s volume, I imagine that they give submissions even less time than I did! This has made me revisit the first chapter in my WIPs to make sure it is as interesting as possible.
Great Writing – Overdone Plot. There were numerous entries where the writer had a unique voice, great writing style, etc. but the scene had been done a hundred times. Girlfriends having drinks together while bemoaning the lack of men in their lives is one example that comes to mind. This made me think of a rejection letter I received for my chick lit that opened with my heroine discovering her boyfriend’s infidelity. Maybe the agent’s polite comment, “Our readers did not feel that this material would get the attention of editors” was a nice way of telling me my opening scene was unoriginal. (On the other hand, maybe he just didn’t want to tell me my writing sucked. LOL
Mood of the Reader. One night, I was stressed out over my own writing deadline. As I went through the entries, I was not as ... forgiving as I had been in previous weeks. Entries that I had previously considered a “Maybe” were now a “No.” So maybe the agent who sent me the rejection form letter with her handwritten comment “You’re trying too hard” had just had a bad day. (Or, once again, maybe she just didn’t want to tell me my writing sucked. LOL
Empathy for the Writer. Some entries started out really strong – which had me cheering for the author. Then, when the story lost momentum, I got that sinking feeling in my stomach because I so wanted it to be good. This drove home the fact that, as a reader, I started out reading a story wanting it to be good -- and felt “bad” for the author when the story lost its steam.
This leads me to the real point of this observation: For every entry I did not pick as a finalist, I wanted to let the writer know why. But there was no way I had the time to let writers know. So maybe sometimes agents/editors send out form letters, even though they’d like to give an explanation. This makes the personal rejection letters that I’ve received that much more priceless.
Good Writing is ... Good Writing. Many of the entries I selected as finalists were not subgenres of romance that I typically read. But the openings were so compelling that they grabbed me and made me want to read more. This, once again, goes back to the first point – the importance of a gripping opening.
So, all in all, this has been a fabulous experience – for me and, hopefully, the contest entrants. Please stop by my site, check out the finalists, and cast your vote for the winning entry.