I’m a romance writer. Most people seem to think that’s a fun and frivolous habit.
Sure, writing a “real” book is hard, but romance novels are written by flighty, slightly perverted women who live in silly dream worlds. We sit down, pick out a pair of ridiculous names for our wildly attractive couple and tap out a fantasy.
And because romance novels “are all the same”, we can submit our work to any publisher we choose, and bam, two months later, have a racy cover sitting on our coffee table.
This is a crazy cut-throat business. And it is a business. Each publisher has very specific requirements, requiring an author to carefully identify the imprints that most closely align with their story. (I found this trope list with over 50 variations! So much for all being alike.)
Once we’ve picked our publishers, we have to twist our writing into very specific pretzels to meet their submission guidelines. This requires an amazing amount of organization, making sure each publisher gets the three or four uniquely crafted pieces they’ve requested. For example, when I submitted Catching a Pixie this weekend, I had to develop a:
- 4-sentence blurb
- 200-word summary of book
- 2-page synopsis
- full synopsis, including ending
- query letter listing the trope the book will satisfy
- first 3 chapters
- 1000 words capturing the best scene
- full manuscript
- marketing plan
- social media experience
- publishing history
- summary of future books in the series
Imagine trying to condense 37,000 words down to 200. Or picking one scene that conveys the heart of the book, the emotion, the humor, the creativity, while still making sense when it is read completely out of context. Gah!
Hopefully, I got all the right pieces to all the right places. And it dazzles the publishers so much that they start a bidding war and I wind up making millions!
But I’ll settle for one email, saying “Hey, we’d like to work with you. Give us a call.” Then I can jump into the rest of the 397 steps to getting published.
Frivolous habit? Definitely not. But fun? ABSOLUTELY!