Today we have author Chistine Bell sharing with us the trials and tribulations of her journey!
And you can. Everyone who is reading this can. I firmly believe that with hard work and perseverance, our dreams are solidly within our reach. The thing is, they aren’t sitting right in our laps. And we can’t just sit around waiting for them to come to us. We can’t write willy-nilly, when we can spare the time, send out a couple of half-assed queries and hope someone is going to realize we’re the next Nora Roberts. Maybe that works for some people, but they’re as scarce as unicorn droppings (sorta like those girls that can eat whatever they want and never gain any weight). This career isn’t for the timid or faint of heart. If being a published author is your dream, you have to go out and GRAB it. Don’t be shy, it BELONGS to you.
Here’s the story of how I grabbed mine. (I should add that I’m not nearly done grabbing, lol. I have achieved parts One and Two of my dream. I still have three steps to go! And my fondest wish is that once I’ve completed those steps, two more will take their place, because without something to look forward to and work toward, life always feels a little less shiny to me).
After years of trying to find my niche in life, I realized that the thing I always came back to was writing. Although I had written short stories and newspaper articles, I couldn’t get the confidence up to imagine that I could write something longer than just a few pages. I decided to bite the bullet in December of 2009 and try to write a novella. I wrote a romance shifter story, Pray, during that month, and subbed it to Harlequin’s Nocturne Bites line. While I waited to hear, I wrote. A
In Feb. of 2010 I met some aspiring authors on the E-Harlequin forum The Write Stuff looking to form a crit group. Best. Move. Ever. I learned so much and we all really clicked. I quickly realized, with my CP’s help, that Pray (which was rejected by HQ) and all of my other works in progress had a lot of new author mistakes. Copious amounts of dialogue tags, “witty” adverbs, head hopping. Oh! And apparently my favorite word is “slowly”, because I made darn sure I used it at least 300 times per ms.
By June of 2010 I had completed six manuscripts and revamped Pray entirely. I got my first contract offer on July 4th, from Cobblestone Press for Pray and quickly sold the five I had submitted to various publishers in the interim (both under my name and under the pen name I use for erotic romance, Chloe Cole). From then on it’s been kind of a whirlwind. Including Undercover Lovers, a super sexy erotic romance anthology I wrote with authors Dee Carney, Cari Quinn and Dee Tenorio, I will have published 10 books with four different publishers.
Here are a few tips that I think helped me on my journey:1. Don’t quit. Tons of people have written half of a book. Tons of people have written a whole book even! Not so many have submitted and revised and written another and so on. The only way to get published is to put yourself out there and keep writing and writing and writing. Bottom line: Writer’s write, authors submit. You need to do both.
2. Find at least one crit partner who is at the same level as you are writing wise. It doesn’t matter what the genre is, or if they’re published and you’re not, but it DOES matter if they are three years into the process and write a pretty clean manuscript and you are just starting out, or vice versa. It won’t last if you aren’t.
3. Get Stephen King’s book, On Writing. Then read it.
4. Take an editing workshop, especially if you’re just starting out and have trouble with common issues like POV, tense, passive voice, adverbs etc.
5. Be willing to listen to constructive criticism. Once you’re published you will be hearing it ENDLESSLY.
6. When you do get catch the eye of a publisher, make sure you do whatever you can to create a great relationship with those you work with. You want them to WANT to work with you. If your editor has a pile of new submissions to read, you want her to pick yours first because she knows you will meet your deadlines, approach edits with an open mind, be willing to compromise when it comes to cover art, blurbs etc. Also be careful how you present yourself online. I joke around (A LOT), and may behave inappropriately (all in good fun) at times, but you will never see me publicly bash a publisher, editor or reviewer. That’s just bad business.
7. Remember that this is a business. Be accommodating, but don’t be a doormat. If a publisher offers you a contract, it’s because they believe that your story will make them money. They aren’t doing you a favor. As exciting as it is (and it is the most exciting thing EVER), never forget that. You are a commodity, and you and your work have value. Negotiating a contract or asking reasonable questions doesn’t make you a troublesome author, it makes you a savvy business person.
8. Did I say don’t quit? DON’T QUIT.
I think a big part of successful dream-grabbing is setting tangible goals. What are some of your short term goals? What about long term? I’m doing a giveaway today, so leave your email address and I’ll be giving two commenters a choice of any book off my backlist!
Now for a little bit about Undercover Lovers!
Four ultra-sexy stories by four great authors, with one theme.
Shane Madison – Dead sexy private eye posing as a Strippendale’s dancer
Tucker Lamb – Smooth as butter former conman posing as nerdy professor
Saffron Burton – Sensual food critic posing as just another customer
Katrina Killian – Brazenly sexual cop posing as a gang member
Come check out Chapter One of Undercover Lovers HERE!
Buy link: http://tiny.cc/dfqpd
Bio Christine Bell is one half of the happiest couple in the world. She and her handsome hubby currently reside in
with a four-pack of teenage boys and their two dogs, Gimli and Pug. If she gets time off from her duties as maid, chef, chauffeur, or therapist, she can be found reading just about anything she can get her hands on, from Young Adult novels to books on poker theory. She doesn’t like root beer, clowns or bugs (except ladybugs, on account of their cute outfits), but lurrves chocolate, going to the movies, the Pennsylvania New York Giants and playing Hold ‘Em. Writing is her passion, but if she had to pick another occupation, she would be a pirate…or, like, a ninja maybe. She loves writing fun and adventure-filled romance stories, and erotic romance as Chloe Cole, but also hopes to one day publish something her dad can read without wanting to dig his eyes out with rusty spoons. Texas