Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Have a Plan

Recently, a new member of Savvy Authors posted a question that many of us ask at one point in our writing career:

“I’ve written my book, what do I do next?”

It’s not a complicated question, but it did make me stop and think. Where should she go next? Then it hit me – she needs a plan. However, that isn’t something I can work out for her. Having a book plan is something each of us needs to sit down and figure out on our own. Yes, just like you write out a synopsis and a chapter outline, you need to have a written book plan as well. I keep mine posted on the bulletin board in front of my computer to remind me how often I’m ignoring the plan I’ve set out for myself!

Here are a few thoughts on how I think a book plan should go:

Step No. 1 – If you have just finished your book – Congrats! Half the work is finished. Now you need to revise, rewrite and find a critique partner to give you critical feedback so you can revise and rewrite again.

Step No. 2 – Research agents and publishers. If you didn’t have a clue as to where your book was targeted when you first wrote it, now is the time to really sit and think about it. As far as agents are concerned, I love using the Association of Authors’ Representatives website. It will give details on which agents are looking for what, and how to submit.


Many publishers do not accept unsolicited works, but you won’t know this until you research their websites and find out the criteria. Take the time to figure this out and then make a list of where you want your work to go.

Step No. 3 – Put together a simple spreadsheet with the name of your book, where you are sending it, the date it was sent and if you received a confirmation email or not.

Step No. 4 – Give yourself a deadline. By _____ date, I will have submitted to 6 agents. Then give yourself another deadline and another after that. Hold yourself accountable for meeting these deadlines.

Step No. 5 – Write that beautiful synopsis, polish your first three chaps and get that baby out the door. No excuses, no whining – out the door.

Not too long ago at a local RWA chapter meeting, an astonishing statistic was given:

Only 25% of writers who start a novel finish it. Only 25% of those writers actually submit.

Step No. 6 – While waiting to hear back from agents and publishers, start your next book. You want to have something more to offer them, don’t you? Yes!!

Like I said, those are just a few of my thoughts on how to put together a book plan.

If any of you have additional thoughts on book planning – please share!

Good luck All!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I just love a good challenge.

I’m not a very competitive person, but I find myself surrounded by challenges lately. Some I initiated, and others I’m running into blindly.

But what makes a good writing challenge? Should you move forward with writing on a subject even if it’s leaps and bounds outside of your comfort zone?

Rhetorical question my dear friends! Of course you should. Well, that’s what accepting a challenge means, doesn’t it? Pushing past the unfamiliar and doing the required research and reading to pull off a piece successfully.

Recently I left my comfort zone and it paid off in a big way. I submitted a synopsis and first chapter to the Mills & Boon Mid-Summer Madness Medical Fast-Track. This was a romance line I’d never considered before. Sure, I watch a good amount of medical drama on T.V., but how would that translate into a highly emotional romance good enough to catch the eye of an editor at Mills & Boon. I instantly realized I didn’t want to go at this challenge alone. So I posted for my critique group (the amazing 9 of Chapter By Chapter, to whom I owe more gratitude than I could ever convey) to write and send in submissions along with me. Four of them said yes. What did we have to lose?

Turns out, going outside the box was just what I needed. I got a partial request. But, things are never that simple. What I really got was a “revise your first chapter keeping these points in mind, then send in your partial” request. No complaining, I’m honored and will take a request anyway I can get it. So, for me the challenge continues. Again, I must push past my comfort zone and produce a piece that will sell.

That’s not the only challenge I have going on. Today I am entering the Battle of the Sexes Suspense Blog contest at Romance in the Backseat. Eight of us will face off against each other to write on a prompt in the POV of the hero or heroine for the readers to vote on. I only thought writing a medical was outside my narrow little box. Putting my work out there for the world to vote on – this truly turns my insides. I have yet to develop the thick skin an author needs to handle rejection. And should I lose after the first round, it will be a very public rejection.

As if all the above isn’t enough – Angela James, Carina editor extraordinaire - is taking blog pitches at Savvy Authors. Yep, you guessed it. I’m going to submit a three line pitch for a short story I wrote at the beginning of the year – by September 18th. Better get busy, huh?

But, if I don’t push through my insecurities and outside of my writing box, what would that say about me as an aspiring author?

What kind of author do you want to be?

I’ll leave you with that question swirling through your mind.


What I’m reading – One Tough Marine by Paula Graves
What I’m writing – Chaps Two and Three to my Medical, Suspense Challenge, and polishing my short story.
What I’m watching – Nothing, don’t have time. Oh, Being Human how I miss you.
Who I’m loving – My Twinkies (no not the food!)