Monday, July 14, 2014

Journey to Published Romance Writer

Posted by Susan J Berger on 11:23:00 AM with 27 comments
On October 28th, 2009, I wrote my first post for Pen and Ink, November is Officially Write a Novel Month. 
Pen and Ink Blog is the Blog I share with the other three members of my children's book writing critique group.
In order to get the information to write it, I had to register for the 2009 NanoWriMo . I had no intention of joining that year's marathon. But my inner voice kept nagging me. You signed up for it. The least you can do is try. So on Monday, November 2nd, 2009 I sat down at my computer with not an idea in my head. On November 30th I finished the first draft of an adult time travel romance, Second Chances.

I couldn't wait to show it off. But, of course it wasn't in any shape to be seen. In April 2010 I showed it to my sister, Kelly, who is my biggest fan and she loved it.

In May, 2010, I bid on a critique of the first forty pages of a manuscript from Kelley Armstrong, one of my favorite authors, in Brenda Novak's On-line Auction for Diabetes Research and won it.
Then I got sidelined by unexpected open heart surgery. I finally got the manuscript to Kelley in August. Her critique was both kind and blunt. I had a lot of work to do.
In 2011, two rewrites later, I ran it by a few agents. No response.

At the 2012 Brenda Novak's On-line Auction for Diabetes Research, I bid on a critique from Soul Mate Publishing and didn't win it. But I like the sound of the company.

So I got Soul Mate's  submission guidelines and queried them.
By this time, I was sure I needed an eBook publisher. There is a logic problem if two women in their sixties time travel back to 1969, and it's published later than 2014
I got a request from Cheryl Yeko asking for a more complete synopsis. I revised the synopsis and sent it to her with hope in my heart. She replied requesting the full manuscript. Needless to say, I was over the moon.I sent her the manuscript and four days later I get a letter from her detailing revisions to be made before they could offer a contract.

Now I had joined RWA, but I didn't have a romance critique group, and I felt odd sending it through Pen and Ink because it's a children's book writers critique group and Lupe's a guy and I was afraid his eyes would bleed. But Pen and Ink said send it.

So I did and, chapter by chapter, Kris and Hilde and Lupe helped make the manuscript so much better. I sent it back through one more time for a full read. I also sent it to Nancy Stewart, a fellow GAP writer who returned it with a fabulous line edit.
June, 2013 I sent the heavily revised manuscript to Cheryl. Four days later I got a contract offer. After an email shout of joy to my critique group and family, I printed out and read the contract. I emailed back my questions and Deborah Gilbert, founder and senior editor answered them. I signed the contract.

Soul Mate Publishing  is an eBook publisher that publishes all genres under the huge umbrella labled Romance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The First Soul Mate novel I read was by Linda Bennett Pennell  Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel

The name and the cover intrigued me.  Soul Mate uses Amazon's "Look Inside" feature. I read the first chapter and got hooked.





The second, The Nun and the Narc  by Catherine Castle just won the 2014 RONE award in the Inspirational Romance category.


Since then I've read and enjoyed many Soul Mate Romances, including a few by my editor, Cheryl Yeko, who I will be hosting soon.

I just bought her latest book, The Notary.



After five or six rounds of revision and a change of name. (Publisher Debby Gilbert, said there were way too many books called Second Chances. She was right) Time and Forever received a beautiful cover and hit Amazon on January 29th, 2014.

  The next part of an author's job is promotion.
 Requesting reviews: I've a spreadsheet which I use to keep up with review requests. So far I have 33 good reviews on Amazon with an average 4.9 rating. One is from a reviewing site. Many are from strangers, which thrills my author heart.
Establishing a web presence. I was already on twitter as an actor and Children's book writer. I decided to keep the same twitter: @susanjberger.
I established an Facebook Author page for Susan B James.

But it wasn't enough. I need to have a blog where I can host other authors and do giveaways and other fun author things. So welcome and I hope to add more interesting content.

One of the interview questions I want to ask everyone is about their first sale. This is such a golden moment in an author's life. I'm linking you here to a post on Dear Author by Nora Roberts on her first sale. No one details a scene like Nora. I felt I shared her moment and I want to share others.

 NB: The RWA National Convention convenes in San Antonio July 23rd through July 26th. Soul Mate's editors are accepting pitching appointments at the convention. Soul Mate has been in business less than three years. They will be listed on the RWA publisher list in 2015. If any of you also write in this genre, you should check out their website for their individual preferences.

27 comments :

  1. Congrats on your release. That's a solid "origin" story you have there for the book, and a lovely cover.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're off to a great start; this first page of your new blog is super interesting. I love to hear about 'first sale' stories too. My blog is only a few months old. elizabethpreston.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, Susan, terrific description of your journey! It's not an easy one, is it? Your drive and talent show through at every turn. Thanks for sharing.

    p.s., my blog is www.katieoboyle.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your journey to publication sounds very similar to mine. I struggle with my blog but time is a big factor with me. There's never enough of it. Congrats!
    www.larynnford.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting Larynn. I added your blog.

      Delete
  5. Hi, Susan. Very nice blog.

    -Cheryl :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Chreyl. Looking forwar to hosting you.

      Delete
  6. Hi Susan, Congrats on a great-looking blog. Enjoyed reading about your writing journey. Joanne :)

    http://joanneguidoccio.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Joanne. I will have a post to you this week.

      Delete
  7. Hi Susan,
    Congratulations on your new blog! Don't know how you do it all, but keep up the good work!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I forgot to mention I've added your new blog to my Great Blogs for Readers and Writers Twitter list that I run about once per month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, I want to add you, but I can't find your blog.

      Delete
  9. Hearty congrats on the sale and the blog launch!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Very nice blog, Susan. I enjoyed hearing about your writing journey. Congratulations on the release of Time and Forever. I'm enjoying your trip down memory lane (1969) and should have a review up on Amazon real soon. : )
    MY BLOG @ www.robenagrant.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Having read your book and thoroughly enjoyed it, I liked hearing your road to publication story. Yeah, getting published is hard work!
    Congratulations on a job well done.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "Sidelined by unexpected open heart surgery." THAT's a pretty major sideline. Good on you for not staying sidelined, and continuing your writing journey. Congratulations on Time and Again, and your new blog!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey Susan, awesome blog. I followed and can't wait to read more form you. I'm at www.sophiakimble.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting. I'm following you.

      Delete
  14. Love the blog, loved the book - so glad you're here! Hugs hon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Christine. Loved your review!

      Delete
  15. A fun, exciting journey like most of us. I LOVED the letter about Nora Roberts' first sale. I may have to include that on my blog as well. Thanks for the info and congrats.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I enjoyed reading about your journey, Susan. So many of us are on the same road, just staying at different inns for the night. I'm following you on Twitter, so be sure to tweet about any new posts and I'll stop by again. I have two sites, two FB pages, two Twitters...geesh, you'd think I was building a cyber-ark and expecting a flood, right?

    You can find me at www.KadeeMcDonald.com *and* at www.ValaKaye.com.

    By the way, I've been in touch on FB with one of your fellow authors at Soul Mate for a while now, Collette Cameron, since we both write Regency and are in the online Beau Monde chapter of RWA. I hosted her on the Kadee McDonald site last year when she first published.

    Talk to you again soon!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Susan, Welcome to the blogging world, and thanks for reading my book. What a nice surprise to see it on your post. BTW, I love the new title of your book. Wishing you lots of luck with sales.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you,Lynne, Robena, Kate, Kadee, Beth, Catherine,
      I've followed you, and I appreciate he comments

      Delete

I love reading comments! Please do.