Writer Wednesday – The importance of options

Since starting my Agent Quest at the beginning of September, I’ve sent out 11 queries and received 5 rejections and 1 No response (although the website said if I don’t hear from them in 3 weeks, it was considered a pass).   I’ve only had one agent request a partial, all others have been rejected simply on Query or the first few pages. I currently have 5 queries out there and am prepping another letter to send off, as I like to have 6 queries out at once, since this is a time-consuming process. 

I admit I wish I was getting more feedback, like “we aren’t searching for a Steampunk Romance”, or “No one is looking for this,” or “You’re writing needs work specifically in these areas.”   Unfortunately most have simply been, “we are going to pass on this project.”   

“Why?  Why are you passing?” I wonder. 

Last week, I talked about my looking for Beta Readers and this is why.  So I can find out if its something in my writing that isn’t working.   My concern is that the writing is fine, and I’ve missed the market on Steampunk.  If that’s the case, even if I decide to go direct to the publishers, I may have a difficult time finding a home for this manuscript.   It makes me question if I should write something saleable for NaNoWriMo or work on the next book in this Steampunk series.   

I have been researching Indie publishing for the very concerns I listed above regarding the market for Steampunk.  I personally love the genre mixed with romance and feel there aren’t enough books, but maybe I’m in the minority on this one.  Although by all accounts, this seems to be a loyal fan base if you get “it” right, and there is a significant amount of self-published (indie) books in the genre.  I feel if I did go the self-published (Indie) route that I’d at least have a chance to succeed (or fail) based on readers. 

But I digress as this post was about Options.   Even though this process has been long and tiresome, I do still have a good portion of my agent list to work through and then after that my editor list.  I’ve decided to give my agent search until January and then I’ll be querying publishers directly.  That list is pretty long too. 

To give myself options when I go to find either an agent or publisher I make an excel spreadsheet of what they are looking for and what is important to me, so I can expedite the list, so really when I can the rejection I’m not so dejected. 

I admit my experience with publishers (especially digital presses) is that they know exactly what they want and the turn around on query, and usually the manuscript is much faster.   Many publishers now take the full manuscript so there is very little waiting.  

Well I should write that next query letter, so I can hurry up and wait. 🙂 

~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Writer Wednesday – Query Letters

I sent off my first query for The Courtesan of Constantinople on September 1st to an agent.  I’ve done Query Letters before to publishers, but this was a bit different.

It still had the blurb portion and writing credits, but the letter doesn’t contain the hard sell that I would have in a query to publishers.

When querying publishers, I’m aiming for a specific line, so I’m very specific in my query of how my book will fit into the publisher’s line.  I’m selling them my product.

When querying agents, I’m selling me and my brand.  It’s a bit more of a soft sell.  I’m telling them what I write so the agent can decide if we will be a good fit.

I’ll be sending off more queries, along with sample chapters and the Synopsis.  How I hate the Synopsis-Its such a struggle for me.  Digital publishers usually take a query and the complete manuscript, so I’ve been a bit spoiled. I haven’t had to write one since my very first, “The Pilot and the Pinup” story was published.   I’m sure there will be some learnings ahead.

Until next time be naughty ~Tina

Sunday Submission – Call from LSB

From the desk of Acquistitions Editor Georgia Woods at Liquid Silver Books:
 
“I Need a HeroWhen you think of classic romance, what stories stick in your mind? What do all the best-loved stories have in common? We think that special something is a Hero.

Liquid Silver Books is looking for stories that feature Heroes. Whether these Heroes are on the nightly news, or unnoticed, or hidden as they go about their work, they all deserve that one person who’s not only their perfect partner, but who also brings them a very special “happily ever after.”

These stories’ protagonists must be strong and capable, but should not be perfect – they should feel real, complex, with normal faults and problems, and they should learn important lessons about themselves as they fight to overcome the odds. There can be strong secondary characters, but the building relationship between the protagonists while they battle an intense and gripping conflict or villain must be the main thrust of the story.

Heroes stories can fall within any heat level, fitting our Platinum, Sterling, Liquid, or Molten guidelines – see www.liquidsilverbooks.com/guidelines.htm for more information on our heat levels. But they are romance stories, not erotica – there must be a strong and compelling story linking everything together, not a series of sex scenes. They must be 15K or longer, and can take place in any setting, from small town America to the vast light years of outer space. They can include paranormal elements, such as shifters or alternate worlds, but the underlying Heroes theme must ring true.

Do you have a larger-than-life Hero fighting against all odds in your latest manuscript? If so, we want to see it. We think strong ethics and leadership are in greater need today than ever, and we want to tell stories that showcase these qualities and entice our readers to add new books to their list of favorites.

If you have any questions, drop me an email – Georgia at liquidsilverbooks.com . ”

 
Here’s a link to the LSB website:
 
 
Good Luck!
 
Tina

AuThursday – JL Wilson

JL Wilson also writes for Resplendence Publishing.  Let’s get down to it shall we:

Q: How long have you been writing?

I’m a professional technical writer and I’ve been doing that for almost 30 years. As to fiction, I started to seriously write in 2004 and I sold my first book in 2006.

Q:  What books have most influenced your life most?

Different books influenced me at different times. My mother served on the Library Board in my town, so she was a buyer and she let me help select books (what a fun time that was!) She encouraged me to read outside my age group, and I did so, reading a lot of mysteries and science fiction when I was young.

In high school I read a lot of classics. Then I went to college and majored in English and I fell in love with William Dean Howells, William and Henry James, and Scott Fitzgerald. Along the way, I read a lot of mysteries and science fiction: John Creasy, Anne Perry, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert.

I think three books that influenced me most are Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I had never read a romance novel before reading that, and it opened up realms of reading to me. I read that book in 2003 and I realized, as I read it, that she wrote exactly the book she wanted and she got published. Maybe there was hope for me.

Another book was …And Ladies of the Club. This was written by an elderly lady and is a charming novel about life at the turn of the last century. Again: she wrote exactly what she wanted, persevered, and got published.

And lastly is Frank Herbert’s Dune. It was such a richly developed world with such strong characters.

All three of those books taught me to follow my heart in my writing and to write the story that I want to read. If I do that, the book will appeal to others.

Q:  What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both? Do you use mood music, candles, no noise, when you write?

I fly by the seat of my pants, mostly. I usually start with the germ of an idea. Here’s what I’m working on now: a woman’s late husband, a firefighter, was killed in a fire. His ghost comes back to haunt her when the investigation into his death is reopened. She feels guilty because the last words she spoke to him were to tell him she wanted a divorce.

Now: where will the book go from there? Who will the hero be: the late husband? Or the ex-cop whose wife was also killed in the fire and the man who requested that the investigation be re-opened. Where will it take place? When (spring? Summer? Fall?) Who’s the bad guy? Why was he killed?

What is her motivation for finding his killer? How will she manage her guilt? What kind of person is she? What are her habits, her loves, her dislikes?

Somehow, by the time I’m done, I’ve created the people, answered the questions, and had a lot of fun writing the book.

Q:  Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I tend to get sloppy when I have an idea I want to get on the page. I repeat words, phrases, or my characters will often sound alike. I have to go back through and tweak it, looking for my ‘bads’ – I keep a list of words handy and I search for those to change them. And I make sure to read each character’s dialog separately from other dialog, so I can be sure it sounds true to the character.

Q:  Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I don’t travel to do research, but a lot of what I see on my travels ends up in my books. I do travel, though, on book-related business because I attend several writing conferences a year, and frequently speak on panels and give talks.

Q:  How much research do you do for a book?

For my historical books (the History Patrol series) I do extensive research. Those books involve time travel so I have to make sure my details are correct.

For my contemporary mysteries, I have to do a moderate amount of research. I usually end up talking to someone in ‘the business’ – a firefighter, a cop, etc. And of course I love to search the Web and find details, etc. I keep all of that sort of information in a spiral notebook, one for each book and it goes with me wherever I go.

Q:  Do you have any advice for other writers?

I teach a writing class, and I try to stress that your writing should be enjoyable for you. It should never become a chore, because if it does, that will come out in your words. Enjoy what you do, make time for your writing every day (even if it’s just carving out a few minutes), and keep learning. You can always take online classes, talk with other writers, join a writing group – think of yourself as a Writer and act accordingly.

Q:  What are your current projects?

I had 11 books release in 2011 (see my web site, jayellwilson.com, for the complete list). Some were new releases, some were re-releases, and some were print versions of previously released digital books. So in 2012 I’ll be promoting those books.

I’m planning on a mid-year release in 2012 for Twistered, my Oz-as-mystery story.  I’m now working on using Winnie the Pooh as the basis for a murder mystery (yes, my mind works in odd ways). I’m also working on a new History Patrol novel, this one set in 1897 and it involves the assassin of John Wilkes’ Booth (the man who killed Booth—true story).

Q:  How did you come up with the idea for your “New Human” series?

The series began as a conclusion to a 6-book series I’ve been writing, off and on, for a year or more. That series is set in an alternate America, and when I mapped out the final book in the series, I thought, “What am I going to do with my villains?” There is a rival group vying for power on Earth and I couldn’t just kill them all off. So I sent them to a new planet—Delmorna.

Once I got them on the planet, so to speak, I had to decide what to do with them. That gave me an opportunity to address what I perceive as many social problems: racial inequality, law enforcement issues, and poverty. This was a whole new world I could design myself. And I had a lot of fun doing it!

I think that’s why it appeals to people—they see a lot of our current problems ‘solved’ but other problems crop up along the way. I think it gives people hope that by working together, the big problems can be resolved.

Q:  Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My web site is a good place to start since it has pointed to other spots: http://www.jayellwilson.com.

Or readers can find me at Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jayellwilson ) or Twitter (@JLwriter).

Double Trouble Tuesday!

Welcome to the first Double Trouble Tuesday!  This is where I compare two items that are similar in this case it’s book trailers with something in common.

Alien Sex 101 by Allie Ritch

Over My Undead Body by Debbie Cairo

Join me for more Double Trouble next Tuesday!

Love,

Tina

Overcoming your FEARS to get published

From the Evanston Writer’s Workshop

Have you finished a manuscript and have no idea where to shop it? Do you wish you could just type THE END? FEARS is an acronym for Finish, Edit, Analyze, Research, Submit. Tina will talk about tricks to overcome writers block, Basic Editing, Analyze your manuscript and Research where it fits in the market. Finally she will show you how to write a kick-butt query letter and the needs of a basic submission package.

Class is free to EWW Members and $35 for non members. To learn more about EWW go here:

www.evanstonwritersworkshop.org

Hope to see you there,

Tina

AuThursday – Mia Watts

Q:  Where are you from?

I guess that depends on where you qualify “from”. I’m “from” Minneapolis, Minnesota. I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The abundance of snow wasn’t enough. I needed to go with a wet-cold and lots of gloomy skies to be truly at home.

Q: How long have you been writing?

Ever since middle school. I kept a journal, but decided that every day events were either far too embarrassing, or far too boring. I don’t think it was a conscious decision. My personal journal became a series of badly written short stories where I was the avenging heroine that every man fell in love with. Ahhh. Those were the days.

Q:  Tell us your latest news?

There’s so much to tell! I have a ton of irons in the fire. I just signed Faking Perfection (and a series of Men of the Cloth) to DreamSpinner Press, and Wrong Number, Right Guy (and a series about Celebrities finding love) to Amber Quill Press. I’m still actively writing for my current houses, and I’m taking on a new identity.

You can find my other work under the name Katie Blu. Katie will write strictly male/female and ménage books and Mia Watts will stick to male/male and male ménage works in the future. No more confusion! I’m excited about the update. Expect to see work out of Katie this year, too.

Q:  Do you have a specific writing style?

Nope. I’m all over the place. That’s either considered diverse or majorly schizophrenic. Half full, half empty, your call.

 Q:  What advice do you have for other writers?

It’s lame but true: never give up. Never let someone’s “no” be your “no”.

 Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception in erotic romance fiction?

That it’s porn. Porn is sex for the sake of sex and getting off. Erotic romance is ROMANCE with a plot, happy ending, and if you get a little hot reading it, go with it.

Q:  Which one of your covers is your favorite and why?

It’s not out yet, but Unchaste. It releases from Resplendence on March 1st and that cover…well, it makes a girl drool. Dark covers, a hint of lightening, male on male on male torsos. It’s just eye candy at its best. Les Byerley did a fantastic job!

Q: I see you write for multiple publishing houses.  How do you juggle that?

 Well, I absolutely favor one, Resplendence. There isn’t a publishing house out there like RP. I love them with every loyal fiber in my being. When I first started, I pitched stand alones. Some of those became series after the fact and those release dates pretty much dictate which book I write next.

 For example, my most recent Boys in Blue book (Knight’s Fall) came out in December, so I won’t rush to write the last book in that series.

Faerily Imperfect, however, has stretched wide over a year’s time and I’ve pushed the release dates on those books for personal reasons.  I’m urgently writing those now (Boiling Point comes out January 26th). The last book in that series is scheduled for June. 

I have time, so I’m working on some Katie material once I finish Unchaste.

Juggling is absolutely the right word for it. It gets chaotic and I find that my participation on group lists takes a nose dive as a result. I’m always here, occasionally checking the loops, but always online writing.

Q:  What books can we expect to see in the near future?

Boiling Point, January 26th at RP.  Unchaste, March 1 at RP.

Faking Perfection, unknown but soon at DSP.

Wrong Number, Right Guy, unknown but soon at AQP.

Horny, Hard, and Hare-y, May 3rd at RP.   Hitched, June at RP.

 Those are absolute. There are another ten books I’m working on which aren’t yet spoken for, or titled.

 This is an awesome interview. Thank you, Tina!

Thanks, just one last Question:  Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Just about anywhere. LOL! www.MiaWatts.com, www.MiaWatts.blogspot.com, Tuesdays at www.WritersEvolution.blogspot.com, Twitter (MiaWatts), Facebook (Mia Watts).

Join me on Saturday when Mia shares and excerpt from her upcoming story, Faking Perfection coming out at DreamSpinner Press.

Tina