Category Archives: Romantic Comedy

Getting Wylde!

Hi, Scribe fans! We have a special treat for you today. I recently discovered Irish author Anya Wylde and now I can’t get enough of her zany historical romantic romps. Anya will be here at some point today to answer your questions. And if you don’t have questions, just say hi to our new friend across the pond.

71c+uk4cOLL._SL1200_[1]Tell us a little about yourself, Anya.

I live in Dublin, Ireland with my husband and poodle. I try and write ridiculous books in an attempt to tickle the funny bone which I strongly believe is good for health.

Tell us a little about your latest book, Penelope.

Penelope is a madcap romantic comedy where a clumsy country bumpkin is plunged into a glitzy London society. Along the way people attempt to groom her, help her and try and find a husband for her. What follows is a series of misadventures, love affairs, moonlit balls, fake moustaches, highwaymen, sneering beauties, and the wrath of a devilishly handsome duke.

Are you surprised by how well Penelope and your first book, The Wicked Wager, are selling? To what do you attribute your fantastic sales (other than having written a couple of great books)?

I am stunned. When I published The Wicked Wager I thought only seven of my family and friends would buy the book and thereafter it would languish. They still haven’t bought it but a whole lot of other people have. I think the main reasons it has done well are the low price point, a nice cover and good blurb. Also my husband has been a big help.

Do you have any marketing advice for our readers?

I think bloggers are a great help in getting the word out .Also pricing the book right, having a nice cover and a good blurb.

AnyaWylde_TheWickedWager_2500px[1]What made you want to write historicals? Who are some of your favorite authors?

I wrote historical because I enjoy reading them. The first romance book I ever read was Pride and Prejudice and since then the Regency era has become the most romantic time period in my mind. Apart from Jane Austen I love reading Julia Quinn, Wodehouse, Robert Jordan, Agatha Christie, Roald Dahl and so many more.

On this side of the pond there is a fascination with Ireland—and not just on St. Patrick’s Day either! Why do you think there is such a mystique about Ireland?

I am not sure. From where I am standing Ireland has no mystery whatsoever. Now, New York and LA are full of mystique, glamour and Hollywood magic.

How do you battle the Doubt Monster? We define the Doubt Monster as: the nagging feeling that your prose is terrible, your plot is silly, your characters are insipid, and no one in her right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.

I am convinced that my prose is terrible, the plot silly and the characters insipid. I don’t battle the doubt monster. I have come to accept him.

Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.

I have an adorable black poodle called Portia. She used to be fat and then we put her on diet and it seems to have worked (sort of). She is still lazy though, can’t do anything about that.

What’s your junk food of choice?

Chocolate éclairs, profiteroles and home-made caramel popcorn.

What are you working on now? When can we expect it to be out?

I am working on another romantic comedy. It is a sort of follow up of Penelope but this time it is her sister Celine who arrives at the Blackthorne mansion in search of love.

Anya Wylde lives in Ireland along with her husband and a fat French poodle (now on a diet). She can cook a mean curry, and her idea of exercise is occasionally stretching her toes. She holds a degree in English literature and adores reading and writing. You can connect with Anya here:


The Unlocked Secret of the Niche Market.

So what is Niche Marketing? Wickepedia says, “A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing.” Really, Wickie? Who wrote that? Is that the best you’ve got? Of course they go on to explain further with words like demographics, market shares, and some other marketing terms and examples that didn’t do much to help me figure out how to define where my books might land on the book shelves.

The first question a professional marketer asks is, “Who is your target audience?” Truly understanding this question is probably the number one best marketing tool a writer can have. We’d all like to say, “everyone, of course.” And while that may be sort of true that many different demographics might enjoy your book, it’s more likely and infinitely easier to reach a smaller group of readers specifically interested in your genre, subject matter, and characters. Think “low lying fruit.”

Targeting “your” readers may be easier if your book falls into a specific genre. If you’ve written a cozy mystery about a librarian who is a quilter turned amateur sleuth, you might consider marketing your book to librarians and quilters, a pretty small “niche” market that might be easier than trying to reach “everyone.” This is why agents and editors want to know what “genre” you are writing. So they can determine the marketability of your book based on their experience with that particular readership and their understanding of where the market is currently trending. Women 30-55 years old are the greatest book-buying demographic that marketers are competing for. Publishing houses are trying to meet that supply. So sending a query for your “Sci-fi/ Historical, Inspirational/ Regency might be a tough sell.

The problem for many authors is that our stories don’t always fall into one genre. Diana Gabaldon had difficulty getting OUTLANDER published at first because she couldn’t clearly define it as a romance, a historical, a science fiction/fantasy, or a time travel novel. Of course it’s all of those, but it was so fabulously written that some smarty-pants publisher decided that they would take a chance and market the book to readers across multiple genres, essentially including “everyone,” and the series took off.

It worked out well for her, but most of us aren’t so lucky. In most cases, if your book falls outside of a specific proven market, agents and editors don’t want to touch it. Most of my rejection letters a few years back were because my manuscripts didn’t “fit the market.”

Now that I’m self-publishing, I see their dilemma. When I put my books up on Amazon, BN, and Smashwords, I have to pick categories that best describe them so that they are listed where my target audience would find them (good old search engine optimization-SEO). The frustrating part is that the choices are limited to the old model of publishing and haven’t caught up with new trends. “Teen/YA fiction” refers to books with protagonists ages 14-17 and are a subcategory of “children’s fiction”. But the books coming out these days for teens are arguably for a much more mature audience, and the demographic isn’t so clear-cut. Ideally, they should be much more delineated. There should be choices that would target older teens and adults who enjoy reading about that all-important transition from teen life to adult experiences. I had no idea when I chose my categories that some sites would lump my books into “Children’s fiction” because I labeled it a YA. They aren’t likely to find a readership there!

So what’s a writer to do? Well, you can choose to write for a particular market, ie; cozy mystery, romantic suspense, thriller, or romantic comedy. This is a very viable approach and is the most likely road to becoming traditionally published if you do your research and watch what’s selling and who’s selling it, and target your agent/editor query appropriately. But if you consistently find your stories falling into “genre no-man’s land,” you can join the new age of genre-bending authors who have literally created new markets by taking risks and writing what they want to write, self-publishing, and then finding their readers by focusing on certain niche markets and using that SEO to their advantage.

Whether traditional or indie-published, when it comes time to market your books and find your readership, look at who your target audience really is. Be creative and look at it from all angles and try different approaches. If you aren’t reaching readers by promoting the book to one segment of the population, try another. My book ON THIN ICE could be marketed to ice skaters, teens who become pregnant, sufferers of eating disorders, or teens experiencing the grief of losing a parent. Over time, I can market this book to several different niche markets, keeping it relevant as long as I can keep reaching new readers and targeting new niche audiences who might not otherwise have found the book. That’s why SEO is so important. And why creating whole new genres may be the best way for your target audience to find you.

Heaven is for Heroes 72 dpi 600x900 WEBSITE USEFor instance, I’ve been promoting HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES as a “Contemporary YA Romance.” But the story deals with the tragedies of war, overcoming loss, and the determination of one seventeen year old girl to find the truth—pretty mature themes that 14-17 year-old readers wouldn’t necessarily be looking to read about. Because of the protagonist’s age, the book falls into the YA market, but our hero is a nineteen-year-old Marine Veteran struggling with a difficult recovery, which changes the demographic for this story. Because the focus of the book is a tenuous teen romance with the underlying plot of a family’s search for peace in time of war, HIFH will appeal to adult readers as well as older young adults, but listed as a YA, it may never reach those adults who might enjoy the book.

The hero’s age and the subject matter make it fit more appropriately into the New Adult genre—a relatively new niche market targeting 19-23 year-old readers previously forced to read “teen” novels or jump right into “adult” romances. This segment of readers wants more than the typical high school experience, but they may not be ready for the white-picket-fence-via-total-abandonment-to-love-and-sex that rules the adult romance world. They are looking for relatable characters faced with real life issues that they themselves might be facing; such as leaving home, going off to college, or dealing with friends coming back from war.

Filled with moments of poignant reality, hard lessons, and the angst and sexual tension of first love, HIFH combines family drama and the relationship between childhood sweethearts, Jordie Dunn and Alex Cooper, who must overcome some pretty “grown-up” obstacles to find their way to a hopefully ever after ending.In Savage Cinderella, Brinn is eighteen and Justin is twenty-three. Add the subject matter and this book clearly falls into the New Adult category rather than YA. I might have tried marketing my books as Mainstream fiction and put them up against books from authors like Nicolas Sparks and Jodi Piccoult, but that would again put me in a very large pool with some very big fish, and without publisher backing, it’s tough to swim in that pond. Literary fiction is an even tougher sell than genre fiction.

With many of today’s YA books fitting more appropriately into the New Adult category, this niche market is catching on. Entangled Publishing, St. Martin’s Press and I believe even Harlequin Teen are adding New Adult titles to their acquisitions. Publishers are finally willing to recognize that yes, college students do read for pleasure in their limited time, and that they want more of what the New YA market has to offer. There are loads of twenty-something’s looking for books that go beyond the teen dramas focused on high school but who still want stories that deal with all of those wonderful (and hideous) firsts. Many of my readers fit into this category. If I had to guess, my average reader is between 19 and 33. That’s a pretty big demographic, but by listing my books as YA, I’m potentially focusing on the wrong group of readers. I don’t want to misrepresent the books by having them listed in the “Contemporary Romance” section either, since they definitely have a younger voice and reader expectation is important to consider.

Re-branding my work might take a bit of time and effort, but if it means reaching my target audience, I owe it to my books…and my readers to give it a shot.

Have you thought about who your target audience is, and what niche markets you might be missing?

So What’s Your Book About?

Last weekend was the first time I saw any of my extended family since the news I was going to be published came out. I knew in the back of my mind they would be curious about it. But I pushed those thoughts away hoping they would all enjoy the free alcohol too much to ask. I was wrong.

I’m not one to talk about my writing to people who aren’t writers. Because, frankly, they just don’t get it. In fact I was hesitant to start calling myself a writer unitl recently.Different people have different definitions of what WRITER means. For me it means being able to show what’ve I got to the world and get paid for it. But I digress. When my mother’s friend asked me about my road to publication I was fine. It was a fairly easy question to answer. Query letter→ Agent→ Contract. But then came the dreaded question….

What’s your book about? I’ve never been able to answer this question smoothly. When my father asked I actually said I DON’T KNOW.

“What do you mean you don’t know? You wrote it. Didn’t you?”

Of course I had written the book. It is something I labored over for five months. The characters are people I grew to love. So why couldn’t I share their story?

I’ve never pitched a book before even though I have lorded over the pitch sessions for two years at my local conference. I’m still amazed at how people do it. A few minutes to condense months of hard work into a few lines. I’m not suggesting that other people shouldn’t do if they find the thought terrifying. They should go for it. I just knew that I couldn’t. If I couldn’t eloquently tell my mother what it was about then I had no hope with an agent or editor. And thankfully I didn’t have to.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll ever get out pitching my book. The publishing process is full of pitches. Most importantly to the reader. I know I have to get better at this. My family party was my first chance. It was horribly pathetic. My first attempt went something like this.

“Um… It’s about a lawyer who um, quits her jobs, dumps her boyfriend and opens up a boutique and starts a blog.”

GAG! Even I wouldn’t buy that book. And while that generally is what the book is about there is so much more to it. It’s about body image. And the complicated relationships between sisters. It’s about being adopted and feeling like an outsider. It’s about self-worth and confidence and friendship and trust. And about learning to love yourself while falling in love. Throw in a father with Asperger’s and a hippie feminist man hating mother and a hunky cop and you’ve got yourself a book. Oh and did I mention it was funny. Or at least I think so. And it’s called FAT BOTTOM GIRL. At least for now. The publisher might want to change it.

Can you slap that on the back of a book? Probably not. But it’s the best I can do for now. I’m working on it. I promise.

And if anybody is remotely interested here are the first few lines from the book.

Big Fat Fattie and Other Words for Fat

Plus Sized













“Ellison? Is that you, honey?”

 Not today. Please not today. Ellis Garret shut her eyes and prayed hard as she stood in line at Hot Lava Java. Really, really hard. Maybe if she appeased the right god she would be spared the torture that was Mrs. Agatha Toomey.

Jesus? Buddha? Zeus? 

“Ellison? Yoo hoo!”

Are you there God? It’s me, Ellis. Can’t a girl get a miracle here?


Apparently not.

All she really wanted was a cookie and not just any cookie, but one of those super big Black and White cookies with the yummy icing and the oh-so-soft cake-like bottom. She knew she wasn’t supposed to be eating delicious giant cookies. It was only Tuesday. Cookies—any and all junk food were off-limits today. She was supposed to be good on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and everyday that didn’t start with a Sat or a Sun.  Thou shall not eat high-calorie snacks on weekdays.   

“Yes, Mrs. Toomey. It is me,” Ellis said, plastering a smile on her face that she hoped looked genuine. She turned to face the annoyingly slender woman holding a cup of green tea. Is that you? Mrs. Toomey asked the question as if she didn’t know. Well, duh. Ellis wasn’t one of those girls who was easy to miss.

 “I’m a little surprised to see you. What are you doing here?” Mrs. Toomey looked Ellis up and down with her judgmental eyes, seeming to know already why Ellis was there. Fat girls shouldn’t eat cookies.

Today I’m seeking advice. Help me to understand how to pitch my book. How to make it sound so great that people can’t help but to buy it. How do you do it? Like pitching? Hate pitching? Avoid it like the plague? Any and all comments are welcome.

A Little Bit About Author Advances…

I might be a little happy.

I’m getting published! In a three book deal! By St. Martins Press! SQEEEEEEE! My first book is due out sometime in the Fall of 2013. If anybody is still on the fence about what a good agent can do for you talk to me. Authors alone, especially new ones, cannot make deals like this by themselves. And even though this all happened relatively quickly I learned a lot. A LOT about everything. But the thing I zoned in on the most was how publishers pay authors. Here’s a couple of things I learned these past couple of weeks.

Most big six publishers will not look at your work unless it is submitted by an agent. UNLESS they request a manuscript from a contest or a live pitch.

Okay, so you probably knew that. But here are a few things to consider.

  1. If you do get a request from a contest or a pitch be prepared to wait. Editors feel obligated to respond to submissions made by agents first. They work with them on a daily basis and rely on them to find talent. Plus they see them at all those cool industry events like BEA (Book Expo of America) and at conferences. And a good agent will hound an editor to make sure that they are reading and responding to your book. Six months on a full request is average. Some editors might take up to a year.
  2. I’m sorry all you contest junkies (and I was surprised to hear this one) but many editors and agents just aren’t impressed by contest wins. Unless they are big ones like the Golden Heart. The reason being is that there are so many contests out there. The scoring is subjective and often done by untrained judges. They all say it’s a great way to get feedback but not to put all your hopes and dreams on them.
  3. If you somehow can stand the wait and do get an offer, be prepared for a lower advance if you don’t have an agent. Publishers tend to pay between $1,500- $6,000. And you may not get things like world rights and other stuff that as a new author you just don’t understand.
  4. The other thing about not going the agent route is less of a chance for multiple submissions. An agent can have six editors reading your book at the same time. Which means there is more likely a chance that more than one of them will like it and then fight over it and that means you get more money!
  5. But also be aware that just because you have an agent doesn’t mean your book is going to get sold.  I’m not embarrassed to tell you that I was rejected by Harlequin, Bantam, Hachette, and Pocket before my offers came in. Not everybody is going to like your book and the sooner you learn that the better.
Don’t plan on quitting your day job.
I think we all dream of making a living by our writing alone but that doesn’t happen quickly.
  1. The average advance for a newbie author from a big six publisher( and lets throw Harlequin in there, but not their category lines) is $10,000.
  2. The average royalty rate for a new author is 8%. Which means that the publisher gets to keep 92% of the profits from your book. (Now you see why some people self publish. 70% compared to 8% plus absolute editorial control.)
  3. You won’t get paid for a very long time. Apparently it may take a few months for a publisher to generate a contract. Granted there are dozens of little things in it that need to be hammered out but still, the process is glacial compared to publishing yourself.
  4. Also consider that you will not see all that money at once. You will get some on signing. Some on acceptance of your manuscript by the publisher and some on publication.
  5. It takes about a year for a debut author’s book to come out and after that you have to earn back your advance.So if you don’t sell many books don’t count on seeing any more money. And even if you do sell a lot of books you’ll have to wait until the publisher is ready to pay you. Some pay quarterly. Some pay twice a year. Either way you are in for a wait.

Smaller publishers will work for you too!

  1. Kensington and Sourcebooks are not huge publishers but just because they don’t have millions to throw at you doesn’t mean they can’t do big things for your career. Fern Micheals is currently with Kensington.Even Jill Shalvis has books coming out with them this fall. Those ladies are big New York Times selling authors. And sometimes going smaller means getting more attention. It may mean the people there will spend more time with you helping you build your brand as an author.
  2. But don’t expect big money from them. They offer brand new authors an average advance of $2,500. But they can get your book into Walmart! And isn’t that everybody’s dream.
  3. You also don’t need an agent, a pitch or a contest win to submit to them. Check out the guidelines on their websites and submit away!

Most E pubs don’t offer advances.

  1. But Entangled is doing big things for their authors. One of them got a royalty check for over three hundred thousand dollars and her book is racing up the bestseller charts.
  2. Samhain and Ellora’s Cave also boast happy authors. The point is that there isn’t just one way. Just find the way that is right for you.

I know for most of us it’s not about the money. It’s about getting our work out there, connecting with readers and doing what we all love to do which is write.

 I hope I didn’t ramble. Anybody have any questions? Comments? Suggestions? Were things different in your experience? Have something to share with the group?

Lessons I Learned In The Woods by Becky Wade

Hello, Katy Lee here, along with the wonderful author of My Stubborn Heart. I was blessed to review a copy of this book a few weeks back, and when I finished I immediately invited the author to share the day with us. I’m so excited she said yes! But more than that, like any good storyteller, she came prepared with a story!

So, Becky Wade, take it away! 

Imagine a princess who set off on a journey toward a pink and glittering castle.  She’d fallen in love with the castle through her recurring dreams of it and so she worked for years to reach her destination, overcoming obstacles, honing her navigation skills. 

At last — finally, joyfully — she arrived!  She lived in the castle for a few years, enjoying its splendor.  But on one fateful afternoon, the owners of the castle came for her, politely escorted her across the moat, and raised the drawbridge against her.

Bitterly confused and disappointed at her banishment, the princess settled into a cottage in the village.  A benevolent town Elder gave her a miniature pony as a gift.  The Princess adored the pony, so she decided to pour all her heart and attention into the care and raising of miniature ponies.  She tucked away her dreams of castles.Years passed. 

The town Elder paid her another visit.  He showed the princess a beautiful drawing of a castle constructed entirely of flashing diamonds.  He spun enchanting stories about the place.

Her old hopes stirred.  She wanted, down deep within herself, to see the diamond castle.  But she knew firsthand how perilous and difficult the expedition would be and how disappointing the destination might prove.

The Elder reassured her. He promised to walk beside her and to help her across every mile of their joint quest.  All that He required of her?  To expend the effort the trip would demand.

So, taking her ponies and her frayed courage in hand, the princess set off into the woods behind the Elder in pursuit of a castle of diamonds.


Princess: Me.  (Don’t you love being a writer?  One can give oneself the role of Princess!)

Pink Castle: Publication of historical romance novels for the general market.

Elder: God.

Ponies: My kids.

Diamond Castle: Completion of a manuscript for the Christian market.


The above tale is, in a nutshell, how I found my niche in the world of books and publishing.  I first set out on my writing journey eighteen years ago and, as you can see, I took a circuitous route!  Here are a few of the lessons I learned in the woods….

  • The first time I chased the dream of publication I took a traveled road.  I studied the craft.  I joined writer’s organizations and local chapters.  I was desperate for someone to read my work, so I enlisted critique partners and entered contests.  I traveled to conferences.  I practiced hard by churning out one manuscript after another.  Lesson #1: The traveled road is one route to publication.
  • I never felt right about some of the content in my secular romance novels, yet I managed to rationalize my concerns away.  Well, God Himself eventually stepped in and closed that door firmly.  Lesson #2: If you don’t feel 100% right about some facet of your work and/or have to rationalize away concerns — you’re headed in the wrong direction.  Stop and reassess.
  • The second time I set out, this time with the goal of writing a novel for the Christian market, my instincts directed me to veer off the traveled road and to follow instead a narrow pathway. I wrote the book in a solitary way, just me and God.  No organizations, no critiques, no contests, no deadlines.  Lesson #3: Follow your instincts because God speaks to you through them.  Narrow pathways can also lead to publication.
  • Since I only had an audience of One to please, I wrote the book of my heart, the way that I loved it, and exactly as I wanted it to be.  I stumbled backwards into a modern setting, which turned out to offer a great backdrop for humor, which turned out to suit a quirky, casual, wry author’s voice I’d never known I possessed.  Even better, though?  The writing brought me such joy!  The most joy I’d ever encountered in a project.  Lesson #4: The real blessing isn’t in the destination of publication or happy readers or career success.  The real blessing is the satisfaction that’s found en route, in the doing of the work. So choose a trek that deeply delights you.

What have your instincts told you about your writing journey in the past?  Or what are they telling you now?  Have you made any wrong turns along the way?  Or have you reached a goal only to find you might have been slightly off-course the whole time?


And let me just add my two cents, Becky…I totally felt your joy in writing this story! It came through perfectly on every page. And readers, it’s got a hot hockey player in it…what’s not to like?!

My Stubborn Heart is available now from Bethany House Publishers and you can purchase it here through Amazon!

A Sensational CBA Debut in Contemporary Romance!  This summer author Becky Wade makes her CBA debut with a fun — and funny — contemporary romance.  Amidst the light-hearted banter and laugh-out-loud moments is a compelling spiritual journey of one woman’s choice to listen to God and wait on him.  Filled with humor and authentic romance, My Stubborn Heart is shaping up to be the hit of the summer.

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate’s grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house.  Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded — hiding from people, from God, and from his past.  Kate can’t help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light… whether he likes it or not.
Becky Wade makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her diamond castle (an inspirational contemporary romance titled My Stubborn Heart has just been released by Bethany House.
Readers: We would love to hear your comments and questions, but first, I’m going to through the first question out there…Becky, what is next for you? Spill it!