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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Taking the plunge!

Well, you've all read it here first. I'm taking the indy-publishing plunge! My pros and cons list was so heavily weighted toward the self-publishing side, I thought, why didn't I do this before?

 Terror, mainly. Self-promotion is my least favorite part of trying to get published, but it is a necessary component to the process whether I am traditionally published or whether I join the growing numbers of newbie and previously published writers who are taking control of their careers. No longer taken as a sign that we're not good enough to get a 'real' contract, many writers are finding great success in the world of self-publishing. I think I can be one of those people. The bottom line for me is that I love to write and I want to share my work with others. Getting paid for it would be a bonus.

The main comment I get in rejection letters is that my stories don't 'fit the market'. Publishers have very specific types of stories they are looking for and anything that falls outside of that model will probably never be picked up. I've done well in contests and I'm now capable of producing a decent book in about 3-5 months. I have six books in the hopper so to speak, so if I publish them a few months apart, my back list should grow pretty steadily from there.

I've spent the last few months researching and pondering and I feel like this is the best fit for me. I'm already self-employed and have a good head for business. I have a husband who is incredibly tech savvy and has agreed to help with formatting and designing professional book covers. I have a person available for proof-reading and editing, and my step-son who produces for TV, is willing to create book trailers for me. So now I have a staff! Better yet, they are all willing to work for food and massages.

If I can pull it all together my first release date will be September. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What do teens know about romance, and what's the difference between Adult and YA?

The obvious difference between Adult and Teen romance novels is the level of graphic sexuality--although the steaminess level of YA books has gone up considerably. Teen readers are curious. They want to know what real relationships are and what to expect when they find one. I know when I was a teenager, I thought a lot about boys, kissing, etc. I was consumed with fantasizing about that hunky hockey player or what it might be like to kiss that cute kid collecting movie tickets at the local theatre. Like most girls, I obsessed on romance--though I didn't know the first thing about what romance was outside of Happily Ever After fairy tales.

Needless to say, I had unrealistic expectations and no frame of reference based on the  rocky relationships I viewed all around me. It didn't seem to me like couples were very happy. My parents, after seven children, barely spoke to each other about anything other than dinner, money, or who's turn it was to clean the toilet. I was exposed to the dating rituals of four older sisters, but this wasn't all that helpful either since I was sent to my room every time someone started smooching. So like most young women, I had to figure it out on my own, and I have to say--it was disasterous.

I won't get into the gorey details, but I had many bad experiences, a severely broken heart, and still no idea what a happy relationship involved. It took me twenty years or so, but I finally figured it out, got lucky with the right guy, and discovered what romance is all about--RESPECT, TRUST, AND CONSIDERATION. Oh, and let me tell you now, that the Happily Ever After is an illusive little bugger, because nothing is perfect and if that is what you are expecting, you will eventually be disappointed.

I prefer to believe in Hopefully Ever After. This is how all of my stories end--with a positive outlook on life and the promise of a hopeful future. This is the best we can expect from any romance.

What do you think Romance is?

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Learning Curve

As a lifelong student of new and exciting ventures, I feel blessed to have a zest for learning and life. Whether it's taking continuing education courses for my Massage Therapy or personal training business, or on-line writing workshops and writing conferences where I can hone my skills as a fiction writer, I've come to the conclusion that I am hooked on the learning curve.

We all learn in different ways and at our own pace. I'm clearly enamoured with the process and all that goes with it. Sometimes there is frustration--will I ever be able to write a synopsis without gritting my teeth and yanking out my hair? I hope so. (I'm taking a workshop this month to teach me how to do just that.) Other times, it seems like I'll never quite grasp a new concept (show,don't tell--really?) or be able to keep up with technology. But then I breathe and relax and take pleasure in the little successes. Like getting my web site going or starting this blog (or learning how to download music to my new HTC Thunderbolt.)

Thanks to my parents, I have a great work ethic. And thanks to the school of hard knocks, I've learned to consider consequences. These lessons have served me better in some ways than any amount of education ever could, but when applied to learning a new skill or mastering a passionate pursuit, self-discipline and practice make the journey a series of experiences that lead to ultimate success. Along the way, I learn about myself and grow stronger, hopefully wiser, and get the opportunity to experience as much of life as I can fit into this one existence.

What have you learned lately that has enhanced your life experience or helped you to grow?