Above a photo I took at White Mountains National State Park (NH), a great stop while navigating to the Hobo Railroad, even in the pouring rain :)!
Good morning to all! Hope your weekend is as wonderful as the weather in the Northeastern US!
A quick aside since we talked about accountability, fitness and lifestyle changes last week (or the week before–I lose track): After close to four weeks of skipping my weight workout due to a fall, I’m happy to report I started up again yesterday and so far I’m feeling really good. I did, however, have to make that ‘choice’ and push myself back into the routine.
Tomorrow, join me as I share about my vacation in the gorgeous scenery of mountainous and currently very-green New Hampshire and a very special visit to my favorite place in the US (that I know of anyway, The Inn at East Hill Farm.)
Now I welcome and introduce to you best-selling author Rebecca Savage. In her own words, she presents her story. (A comment left will garner one lucky winner an e-copy of one of Rebecca’s titles. Make yourselves heard, folks!)
An avid reader can become a prolific writer. Such is the case with me. I started out in my teens reading Louis L’Amour. I have one hundred ninety of his paperbacks and fifteen of his books bound in leather. I read them all, loved them and saved them. I only read one romance during my teens, The Daring Deception.
I never read another romance until 2003 when I graduated with a Masters in History and decided to read something for fun.
I borrowed a couple of books from a friend and the rest is history. I was hooked.I read books from August 2003 until May 2004. One day I thought, “What would I write if I wrote a book?” I like action movies that make you think, a story with a good plot with a hero and heroine trying to figure out what’s affecting their lives, bringing them together, and pulling them apart. I started there.
I read all kinds of romance, but only write contemporary suspense/intrigue. I had a top secret clearance in the Air Force when I served as a Morse Code operator/ supervisor, so I seldom have to research, yet. I’ve done a bit of digging to confirm things I already suspected to be true, but mostly I write from experience or imagination and stick to the facts as much as possible. I hope I’m a good writer. Only time and sales will tell.
Joining professional organizations taught me so much. My first meeting I learned writing is a business and how to write a query/synopsis. I had no idea there were such things. I also learned how extreme the competition is. I had no idea so many writers existed and wanted to be published or what a game it is. I learned it’s all about persistence and taking the steps to get there. I also learned about me: I’m a fly by the seat of my pants, character-driven writer, not a plotter. (Hear, hear!)
I went back to those first six novels and began self-editing based on things I learned about craft: voice, passive, throw away words, POV, etc. I started submitting to agents, editors, and publishers. I took any and all advice from the rejection letters and fixed anything I was told was wrong.
I didn’t start working with critique partners or judging or reviewing for magazines until this year(2007). I wasn’t ready, even though I thought I was. I had to climb the ladder. I had to learn craft and even technical programs. I had no idea what track changes on Microsoft word was. I know. Seems silly, huh? Like everyone should know these things. (There’s no substitute for learning by doing, is there?)
My background was foreign to what most successful writers have under their belts, but that didn’t stop me. I just kept plugging along. I had no idea how long it’d take. I thought I’d submit and get published. End of story. Boy, what an eye opener the past few years have been.
I landed in a few writers’ woes and pitfalls along the way, but my writer friends have shown me the right way to do things. I submitted to an online agency, and it turned out to be bogus. I paid eighty dollars for my stuff to be looked at, and they tried to weasel me out of more. (A great way to stay out of that pitfall is to think: money should always flow toward the writer.)
So my first pitfall was a hoax agency, and then I contracted with an e-publisher that went out of business, but just kept my work and didn’t tell me anything. I was allowed to pull my work from their company and resubmit elsewhere. I did. I got a contract for the trilogy I penned in 2005. I signed with The Wild Rose Press: Fueled By Instinct, Cloaked In Assassination, and Destination Ever After.
My other trilogy, Coincidence, Combustion, and Consequences, wasn’t ready yet. It was my first attempt at writing, and it took a lot more tweaking to ready it. Now I’ve published it with Champagne Books. The first book released in January 2009 and made the bestseller list for February 2009. It is listed as Best Book.
I submitted another story to Harlequin and was asked for a full manuscript (ms). The editor liked it, but not enough. I sent that story to an agent, along with a note saying Harlequin asked for a full. When Harlequin rejected, she did, too, but she asked to meet with me in Dallas at nationals.
I wrote another book after RWA nationals and submitted it to her. She liked it and asked for me to fix a couple of things. I made the changes and resubmitted. She asked for one more thing. I fixed that, too. She asked for one more thing, and I’m in the process of doing those changes now and will resubmit soon.
In other words, it’s all about not giving up. I suppose there’s a time to quit, but as long as a writer is not at a stand still – work on something else while going through the process of one edit – then it’s not a bad thing to take while working and dealing with a possible agent/publisher.
“Never let anything hold you down. Rise above it.”
Excellent thoughts to live by, Rebecca. I’d like to add to that a little bit. Being flexible and willing to work with an editor or agent is a huge part of this business. I’ve learned a lot from listening to other authors discuss their issues with the various companies with whom they contract. That me helps avoid situations in which I feel my work may be compromised by the changes a given contract might insist I make. Some contracts are more negotiable than others, especially if an agent is involved. Others are not, and sometimes, I’ve seen that listed at the pub-house/agent website.
Thank you, Rebecca, for joining us today and sharing your story. Please feel free to open up a discussion here via comments or e-mail Rebecca directly at any of the addresses below. And to purchase any of Rebecca’s books, please contact her directly!
Pen Name: Rebecca Savage
Best Selling Author of the Year: 2009!
Author of Contemporary Romantic Suspense