for writers: faq

I often get asked writing related questions so I thought I’d make up a list of the most frequently asked.

These are my opinions alone. Nothing is written in stone – undertake your own research so you can make informed decisions and do what’s best for you.

Q: I’m just starting out writing – can you give me some advice?

A: My best advice is to write. Just write. Write with all your heart, with everything in you that hungers to tell this story. Finish a short story, a novella, a novel, whatever resonates most with you – but finish it. Then write some more. Exercise those writing muscles until they get itchy if you don’t use them every day.

I truly believe that the only way to get better is to practise. And be ready for the day when the magic happens and you get a story that grips you by the throat and refuses to let go.

Q: Can you tell me what publisher I should submit to?

A: One word: Research.

There is a ton of information on the internet alone about publishers. Find out who publishes work like yours, check their guidelines to see how they like to receive submissions, and go from there.

Also, make sure the publisher you choose is reputable. Again this involves research. One of the resources many writers use is the Preditors & Editors website.

Q: Will you read my manuscript and give me feedback?

No, I’m afraid not. (Please don’t send me any material as it’ll get deleted unread.)

I suggest finding a good writing group or critique partner if you want feedback on your work. Another option is to enter your work in reputable writing contests that offer detailed
feedback. (Some contests only give a numerical score, so if feedback is your goal, that’s something you should check beforehand.)

Q: Do you work with a critique partner?

A: No. I prefer to work on my own, though I do have people to bounce ideas off and/or do beta reads if necessary.

This doesn’t mean I don’t see the value of critique partners – friends who work with critique partners tell me a good one is worth his or her weight in gold. It’s simply something that doesn’t work for me.

Q:  Did you have an agent when you sold your first book?

A: No. I sold Desert Warrior to Silhouette Desire through their normal submissions process, a.k.a. the slush pile. Not all publishers accept unagented submissions so check the submission guidelines for the one you want to submit to.

Q: Did you have a completed manuscript when you sold Slave to Sensation?

A: Yes. I couldn’t stop writing StS – I wanted to finish it before anything.

But in terms of selling StS, I really think it was a good idea to have a complete manuscript because though I was published, I was moving from short contemporary romances to single title paranormals, a big change.

Q: Did you get an agent then?

A: Yes. I signed with my agent after finishing Slave to Sensation.

Q: How did you get an agent?

A: I followed the guidelines on the agency’s website and sent in a query letter. They asked for the full manuscript and voila!

I will say that it probably helped that I had several sales under my belt when I submitted, but I was moving into a completely different sub-genre of romance, and Slave to Sensation was the book the agency looked at. So in the end, it comes down to the work.

Q: I have a great idea – will you write the book and then we’ll split the proceeds?

A: No, thanks, I’m happy writing my own books. But good luck with your idea!

Q: Do you give cover blurbs?

A: Because of the number of requests I receive to read books to see if I’ll blurb them, I only consider requests that come through either my editor or my agent.