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.


Post a Comment

I love reading comments! Please do.