Archive for July, 2010

Update: Progress Report, Blood of Eden and The Contest.

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

First, I’m thrilled to report I am ALMOST FINISHED with the first draft of Blood of Eden (yayyyyyy!) It isn’t due until September first, so I will have a full month to edit, edit, edit. That’s exactly how I like it!

And now, the news I’m sure everyone has been waiting for…

First, the title that received the most votes:  A Dark Skye Novel, which narrowly beat out A Sloan Skye Novel.

And the winner of my Pick a Series Title Contest (selected by a random number generator) is….

Congratulations to the winner! And thank you all for your suggestions!

Please check back often! I’ll be running a new contest soon!

My alter ego, Tawny Taylor, is guest blogging today!

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Check out my guest blog post on the Smutketeers! There’s a prize up for grabs!

Times, they are a-changin’

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

What am I talking about? Book publishing, of course.

If you receive any kind of e-newspaper/magazine, you may have read that book industry is seeing a swift shift from its old (wasteful) system of distributing paperback and hardback books to one that is lean, green and much more profitable. We’re talking about eBooks. Depending upon the source, you might hear that anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of books sold and purchased in the US will be ebooks within as few as ten years. For readers, that’s great news. I’m seeing more books published, in a broader variety, thanks to lower cost (aka lower risk) to publishers. However, it may come at a dear price. The days of wandering your local Borders bookstore, inhaling the scent of freshly-printed books may soon come to an end.

If you don’t believe me, check out this article,

E-Books Top Hardcovers at Amazon,

published by The New York Times.According to the article’s author, ebooks are now selling at a rate of 143 Kindle ebooks for every 100 hardcovers. And Kindle’s bookstore has only been open for 33 months.At this point, paperback sales still outnumber eBooks. But for how long?

By the way, for all you hardcover enthusiasts out there, this doesn’t mean hardcovers are dead…yet. Sales industry-wide increased 22% this year, according to the American Publishers Association.

Want to read the entire article? You can find it here:

New Publishing Industry Blog

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Are you a writer? If so, do you enjoy blogs written by industry professionals–agents, editors, etc? If so, you might enjoy Steven Zacharius’ new blog, The Publishing Insider. For those who don’t know, Steven Zacharius is the CEO of Kensington Publishing. I have never been fortunate enough to hear Mr. Zacharius speak, but I’ve heard wonderful things about him. I expect his blog will be as candid and informative as his presentations.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Authors: Habit Seven

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Hello again! Well here we are, the last habit. I hope this series has been helpful to you. It’s the most detailed and time-consuming non-fiction article I’ve written to date. It’s been both fun and an enormous challenge.

A quick review of numbers one through six before we get to the final habit.

Highly Effective Authors…

1. Write every day.

2. Understand the business side of publishing.

3. Learn how to take criticism.

4. Set goals and meet them.

5. Learn how to self edit their work.

6. Read books both in their genre and outside.

And finally, Highly Effective Authors submit their work.

Yes, to some of you this may seem like a no-brainer. You can’t sell a book if you don’t submit it. Of course. But others will understand exactly what I’m saying.

First, some writers get caught up in the trap of trying to make their work perfect before they’ll send it out. They polish. They send it to CP’s, gather a bunch of suggestions on improving it and then dig into edits and revisions. They tweak. Fuss. Tweak some more. They send it to contests for more feedback and then tweak and fuss and change again.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with polishing your manuscript and making sure that what you submit is your very best work. But, Highly Effective Authors know when to say “Enough” and put the work out there.

Something to consider: Most often, a manuscript is rejected because there is something wrong with the story, not with the writing. Lack of conflict. A subgenre that is over-bought. A plot full of clichés. The biggest challenge of writing is learning to craft a compelling, marketable story, not learning to produce clean writing. A compelling page-turner will sell, even if the writing isn’t the world’s most well-crafted. Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of today’s best sellers.

Second, Highly Effective Authors know the proper etiquette for submitting work.

They understand and follow industry standards. White paper. Black ink. Clear, readable font (Times New Roman or Courier New). 12 point. Double spaced. One inch margins. One page query letter, professionally written (which is a whole ‘nother subject), a synopsis that details the goals, motivation, and conflict of the main characters and includes the resolution of all main threads. No binding on sample pages. No glitter. No chocolate bribery…or any bribery. They understand agents/editors aren’t out to “steal” their work, and don’t include warnings or withhold pages to protect their stories from possible theft.

Third, Highly Effective Authors follow publishers’/agents’ submission guidelines very carefully.

Many houses and agencies have submission guidelines posted on their web sites. Before submitting anything, a Highly Effective Author will do his/her homework, checking the agency/publisher’s site to make sure he/she is submitting the correct material in the correct format. Many publishers and agents have moved to electronic submissions. Some want writers to fill out detailed forms and then paste sample pages into it. Others want an email, with a specific form of attachment. And yet others want hard copies via snail mail. It is vital a writer check for submission guidelines and follow them to the letter.

Finally, Highly Effective Authors know that selling isn’t easy. That rejections are going to come. And that they’re going to hear a lot of no’s before they’ll hear a yes.

Publishing is a competitive, sometimes harsh world that is shaped and influenced by subjective editors, analytical bean counters, and publishers’ marketing departments. Not to mention the book buyers, who are heavily influenced by other media–movies, TV, the internet. Publishers are always trying to guess what the next big thing will be–vampires, warriors from outer space, reality television, erotic romance. When something hits, they all jump in. When the market becomes saturated and sales fall off, they all get out. A Highly Effective Author realizes that sometimes it’s simply a matter of having the right story at the right time.

But all these challenges and frustrations don’t stop the Highly Effective Author from sending out those submissions and collecting those rejections. Dozens. Hundreds. They may be at it for one year before they get their first request for a full, let alone a contract. Or it could take five years. Twenty. They always keep that goal in sight, whether it’s their first, fifth or tenth contract. And nothing will stop them from reaching it.

Good luck! And may you all be Highly Effective Authors.

10 Paranormal Romance novels on my Keeper Shelf

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

This past week, I joined Goodreads under my erotic penname, Tawny Taylor. After taking care of the basics, I spent hours inputting my list of fave reads. It is a time-consuming process, tedious. But it did bring back memories of all the great books I’ve read and enjoyed. Today I thought I’d list the top ten on my keeper shelf (arranged in no particular order). Maybe you’ve read them; maybe not. If not, I hope you’ll discover a great new-to-you author! Without further ado…

My Top Ten Paranormal Romance Keepers

1. JR Ward’s Dark Lover

2. MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead and Unwed

3. Katie MacAlister’s You Slay Me

4. Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Night

5. Katie MacAlister’s A Girl’s Guide to Vampires

6. Kresley Cole’s A Hunger Like No Other

7. Nalini Singh’s Slave to Sensation

8. Michele Bardsley’s I’m the Vampire, That’s Why

9. Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking

10. Julie Kenner’s Carpe Demon