Tag Archives: Nora Roberts

Why You Want to be Traditionally Published

During my relatively short time in the publishing industry I have become friendly with quite a few writers. Self published, small press, digital only, and big 5/6 authors. Everybody has to decide what path is best for them. And I make no judgements on which path one chooses. Each path has it’s up and downs and it’s share of hard work, but recently I have seen some authors on social media bashing the hell out of the traditional model. I mean beating it with a big club until it’s bloody and crippled. They have nothing nice to say about it and in turn are convincing hordes of writers that the New York model of publishing is going to die and that they are only out to rip off new authors and take all their money.

That’s not true. New York publishing has gotten the rep that it’s a big soulless, faceless institution that’s only out for itself. Here’s some of the things I keep hearing about it lately.

Myth: You have no control over anything when you publish traditionally.

Fact: You do have control. More than most people think. In the end publishers would cease to exist without writers and they do not want unhappy writers.

Let’s talk about covers.For my very first cover for Dangerous Curves Ahead I thought my heroine was a little too slender. I wasn’t in love with the font for my title and I let them know that. They fixed it immediately. I got the original cover on Friday, but Monday I had a brand new one waiting for me. It’s like that for every step of the process.

Same goes with editing. If I disagree with what my editor says we have a discussion about it. I’ve never had anybody tell me what or how to write. They’ve asked me to do things. Like add a dog into my second book, which I did, but I didn’t have to. I never felt pressured to do it. I’ve worked with two editors so far and having a professional there to have thoughtful conversations about my writing has made me a better writer.

Myth: You have no control over release date.

In some cases that is true. In most actually. But I was contracted for a series. Going in I knew I was going to have a book come out every six months. I happen to write fairly quickly so that wasn’t going to be a problem for me. But I know other authors who have their releases scheduled nine months to a year apart because they need the time. Your publisher will work with you. Of course if you miss your mutually agreed upon deadlines there will be consequences just like any other job. No you won’t get to pick your exact release date but for most of us that isn’t a problem.

The only thing I really don’t have any control over is price point. But keep in mind just because you can price a book at $2.99 doesn’t mean it’s going to sell better than books priced at $7.99. Especially if it’s not a well written book. Readers are no longer going to excuse poorly edited books. I have found that if people really love an author they don’t care how much their newest release costs. If people really love a book they’ll tell their friends.

Myth: Most writers won’t make a lot of money with the traditional model.

Fact: That’s BS. You can make money. You can make buckets of money. And if you want to know the truth most writers aren’t making buckets of money no matter which way they choose to publish. For every Amanda Hocking there are two thousand Ms. Mary Nobodys out there. Yes, it takes a long long time for your advances to come in and most big publishers only pay royalties twice a year. And if that just doesn’t sit right with you then find another way to bring your books to the world.But the great thing about advances is that you get money up front! I got paid for books I hadn’t written yet.

But if you are going into writing solely for the money you are doing it for the wrong reasons. You have to have some kind of love for it or I believe you’ll never truly be successful at it.

Myth: Print books are going to die.

I highly doubt this. In my first five days of sales I sold TWICE as many print books as I did digital. And not on Amazon either. People are still buying books at bookstores and drugstores and supermarkets. A reader told me she found my book in an airport. Libraries buy books. Print is still powerful. There are soooo many ebooks out there. So many new authors that readers become inundated. I can spend hours on Amazon searching through books by new to me authors and not buy one because I simply don’t want to spend money (no matter how little it is) on a book that might disappoint me. Other readers are the same way, much more likely to try a new author if they see their book sitting on the shelf, if they get to hold in their hands and feel the pages beneath their fingers.

So let’s recap.

REASONS WHY YOU WANT TO BE TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED

1. You have a team behind you. Editing, formatting, cover design, marketing, proofreading, publicity is all done for you. I don’t care how great of a marketer you think you are having a team behind you to help you is awesome. (Really, I’m not sure how self pubbers find time to get ALL that stuff done on their own and work. I have a hard time keeping up with a team.)

2. You can make money. Large stupid amounts of money. Ask Nora Roberts.

3. You do have control. I’m a control freak and I have never once felt stifled by my publishers.

3. You can see your book in the bookstore and at the airport and in CVS and Walmart and Stop and Shop. And that right there is better than all the ads and blog tours in the world.

4. Publisher parties. Harlequin throws a damn good party. And there’s free booze and dancing romance writers. And socks! I love my pink Harlequin socks.

So there are my reasons why being traditionally published is pretty cool. If it’s not for you then it’s not for you. Just don’t go around bashing it.

RWA 2013 Wrap Up

I’m back from my first RWA conference and I’m EXHAUSTED! But I’m feeling invigorated too. I’m excited to write again. I’ve been so busy with life that writing began to feel like a chore. But five days in a hotel with 2500 romance writers and I feel like I’m ready to charge ahead and push myself to write the best damn book possible.

Here’s a recap of my week. (WARNING: Some serious name dropping is about to happen.)

I arrive on Tuesday. Not much is going on. Most of the writers are just arriving. The place to hang out is the bar. Alcohol and romance writers. Yes, please. Of course I’m there with my lovely CTRWA chaptermates. Suddenly I look up and see Nora. NORA. Do I even have to give a last name? Nora Roberts. J.D Robb. Holy shit. I’m star struck. I stare at her. STARE. Because I can’t take my eyes off of her. Romance writers are my rock stars. And there Nora was sitting with a group of friends and her publicist that never leaves her side. She looks rich and fabulous and  famous. Like she’s the queen of romance. And to me that’s pretty damn cool.

Wednesday there are no workshops. Many of the writers and still filtering in through out the day. Registering. Getting the big bag of books and goodies that come with registration. There’s a mall connected to the hotel. Of course I go shopping with my chaptermates. We grab a cheap dinner in the food court. There is a Jill Shalvis sighting. I have to stop myself from yelling out to her. “Where’s Higgins?” Or “Do you have any extra cookies?” (You have to follow her on Facebook to understand what I’m talking about.) Later that night there was the HUGE literacy signing. Sixty thousand dollars was raised Wednesday. Our own Katy Lee was signing. I was so proud to see her. I then went to see Brenda Jackson. She just turned in her 100th book. 100 books! I look at her and I’m amazed. I totally embarrass myself. “I want to be you when I grow up,” I gush at her. “I think you are amazing!” Luckily she doesn’t call security on me and lets me take a picture with her. She’s so gracious and lovely. I wish I could be like her, but she has more poise in her little finger than I have in my whole body.

Me and Ms. Jackson

Katy Lee

Thursday was a big day for me. I went to some interesting workshops. My first was on avoiding cliche and then I went to Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson’s workshop on writing family saga’s. Me and sister scribe Viv really enjoyed the talk. and Beverly Jenkins is probably one of the most funny writers I have ever seen. “Keep your shit together,” is what I took away from that workshop. I needed to hear that from Ms. Jenkins. As writers we all need to hear that. I met with my editor Holly for the first time. I started working with her over a year ago and we have worked on three books so far, so it was great to see her in person and just chat. Later that day was the Keynote luncheon where Cathy Maxwell gave one hell of a rousing speech. She simultaneously made two thousand of us want to pick up our pens and jump back into our writing. Later that day I’m in the elevator with a couple of ladies, one of them was wearing an orange first timer ribbon like I was. The other woman, a sweet looking petite redhead, asked us how we were enjoying our conference. We had a nice chat on the way down to the lobby. Even after the elevator stopped the redhead and I kept talking as we walked out. And then she introduced herself. “I’m Jayne Krentz,” she says. Jayne Krentz. Jayne Ann Krentz. Also known as Sabrina Quick, author of so many amazing novels. I have read a half dozen of her New York Times bestselling novels. I stupidly say, “You’re Jayne Ann Krentz?” She kind of makes a vague gesture towards herself, as if to say, “Yeah, dummy. I’m just a normal person.”  She is a normal person and a very nice person. Later I go to her signing and she signed at book to me, “Thanks for the elevator ride that I’ll never forget.” I LOVE her.

Jamie and Viv

Friday was an amazing day. Kristan Higgins gave the awards luncheon speech. I don’t know how to put into words how freaking fantastic she was. I laughed and cried and got goose bumps. If you ever get the chance to listen to it please do. She showed us a side of herself that we don’t normally see. She spoke about bullying and loss and poverty and grief. And how reading romance helped her through the tough times in life. As a member of her chapter I was so proud to see her up there. And for the rest of the conference I was proudly telling the world that I was in The Kristan Higgins chapter. I also met with my Harlequin editor, Tara, that day. What I write for Harlequin is vastly different from what I write for St. Martins Press and we talked a little about how I was going market and build a new brand. Later that night I met up with Amelia Grey and Mary Jo Putney to head to SMP cocktail party. Amelia is a historical romance writer who wrote one of my favs, A Duke to Die For. And Mary Jo Putney… When I met her she was just introduced to me as Mary Jo. I didn’t realize she was the Mary Jo Putney. She’s a legend and she was the recipient of the 2013 lifetime achievement award for RWA. She’s also super quirky and funny. If you don’t know her, read her books. We walked the six or so blocks to the party together. I was wearing stupid high, strappy shoes that were not made for walking. By the time I got to the party my feet were hurting so bad I could barely stand. So I left that party early, went back to my room, put on flat shoes and headed out to the Harlequin party. They throw an awesome event and I was honored to be apart of it. Romance writers and the best dancers. And those inspirational romance writers really know how to party. It was great seeing everybody have so much fun.

Best Speech Ever

Saturday the exhaustion starts to kick in. I’m too tired to make it downstairs for any workshops. But I do manage to get my act together enough to mail the dozen or so books home that WILL NOT fit in my suitcase. Later that day I have my first on camera interview with Fresh Fiction TV. I was nervous as hell, but the people at Fresh Fiction are so nice they put me at ease and when I spoke about my book, DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD, I was actually coherent. After that I went to my very first book signing. St. Martins Press was kind enough to order fifty ARCs for me to sign. I didn’t think anybody was going to come to my line. I’m such a newbie and Cherry Adair was there! But all my books went and they went quickly and strangers were asking to take their picture with me. It was surreal and awesome and so much fun to meet and talk to all those people. I finally felt like an author. After countless rejections and years crippling doubt I finally felt like I had made it. It was a great feeling. And I want to thank all the CTRWAers who came out to the signing to encourage me! Your presence there really helped put a girl at ease.

author

Saturday night was the RITAs, the Oscars of the romance writing world. The event was fun we had great seats and I got to see some of my favorite authors take home that beautiful golden statue. It was a great way to end the conference. Being there that night gave me new goals. To win a RITA. I don’t care how long it takes. I’m going to keep writing the best damn possible books that I can until I get there. And my other goal is to publish 100 books whether it be through  the traditional model or self publishing. Buy the end of 2014 I’ll have 5 books and one novella in print. I’m on my way. And I’m going to keep writing until I can’t do it anymore.

You can probably tell by this long and rambling post that my brain is fried, but it’s a good kind of fried. How was your week? And what goals do you have for yourself.