humorous thought. This August I am celebrating another 29th birthday and I intend
to do it in style. Itís also the month when my new action adventure, Meet
Phoenix will be in the stores. This fast paced tale is set in Tibet and
I am not at all embarrassed to admit that I fell in love with my hero. He is everything
I like in a man.
that my heroine is a woman to turn your nose up at. My heroines are usually all
strong, capable women that take no guff. Phoenix, my heroine, is true to form.
She is used to holding her own in a male dominated world, and is commissioned
by the Tibetan government to restore a priceless Buddha. Phoenixís independence
has created conflict in the past with her lover. Now Damon is back and with her
in Tibet. Can the two resolve their differences and work peaceably to clear her
fatherís name? Be sure to pick up a copy of Meet Phoenix to find
What else is
going on in my world? I leave for San Francisco and the Romance Writersí annual
conference in just a few days. A trip to wine country is also on my calendar.
By the time you receive my next newsletter Iíll have lots to tell you.
keep laughing! Laughter heals.
Editor -- Romantically Yours
Conrad is a Waldenbooks Best Seller and a frequent contributor to Marciaís Romantically
Yours. This popular romance writer is one of the savviest business people I know.
Writing is a business and youíre as good as your last sale. With almost thirty
books to her credit itís safe to say Linda has mastered the art of the business.
Read below for tips on how to pitch your manuscript to an agent/editor. For more
about Linda log onto http://www.lindaconrad.com/
The fine art of getting your prose published by selling it in person
Youíve spent many
months (or years) getting your novel finished, only to discover the hard work
has just begun. Now you must find and convince a publisher that your manuscript
is worth putting into print. Huh?
The truth is, even though you are the one in a thousand who actually manages to
complete a manuscript, your novel still may never have a chance to appear on the
editor from a publishing company has to actually read your work, agree that it
fits with her companyís guidelines and then offer you a contract for it. But editors
are some of the busiest professionals around and many refuse to accept unsolicited
manuscripts. Mailing them a copy of your book only means they probably will return
it unread. So what do you do?
have to learn to be a salesman, selling your own work. In the romance industry
itís called pitching your book.
a book means you may be selling your manuscript either in person or on paper.
And you may be selling to either an editor or an agent, or to both.
you are pitching on paper, itís called a Query Letter. Thereís been lots written
on the subject of how best to write a Query. Here I will simply advise that a
Query letter is to be in business language and should never be more than one single-spaced
in person is the subject of this article. We are the lucky ones in the romance
writing world in that we have a myriad of opportunities to attend local conferences
and workshops where publishers send their editors. These editors are specifically
looking for new authors. So, if you see that the editor or agent you would like
to target will be attending a nearby conference, find out if the conference will
be offering appointments. Most do. Get your name on the list for an appointment
I know you
are thinking that you are not a salesman, and how will you ever convince anyone
to buy your book. But that is just the point. You will never convince anyone to
publish your book. Instead, your wonderful book will do the convincing for you.
Your job during a
Ďpitchí is to convince an agent or editor to read your manuscript. Thatís all.
The only thing you want to accomplish during an appointment is for the editor
to say the magic words; Send me your manuscript. @
recently attended a conference where unpublished authors were discouraged when
they learned their appointments with a certain editor were going to be held in
a group. They knew by the time allotted for the entire group appointment that
they would never get a chance to tell their individual stories to the editor.
Actually, they were very lucky. The appointment had been scheduled for late in
the day and the editor was exhausted. She came in, introduced herself and then
told everyone to send her their synopsis and the first three chapters. No one
had to talk at all. They automatically got what they came for. A little advice
for pitching in person; prepare in advance. You do not want to stand out in the
editor or agentís mind as the one who was unprepared and rambled on. More on rambling
on in a moment.
some time before the conference to write down a few succinct sentences about your
book on a note card. Every one is nervous, and no editor would mind if you read
a couple of lines on the bookís premise rather than droned on and on from memory.
Try to narrow your
bookís plot down to one or two lines. Sounds impossible? Pick up a Sunday newspaper
TV listing or the TV Guide magazine. Those little two line blurbs are good examples
of how it can be done for shows and movies. Do that for your own book. You will
probably only have five minutes at an editor appointment and being able to tell
her the set-up for your story in two lines will be invaluable.
is one I used: My book is a short contemporary of 50,000 words, featuring an amnesiac
undercover agent hero turned cowboy on a Texas ranch B with a hidden baby.
look at that line again. What are the most important points? The most important
point in the editorís viewpoint was the fact that the book was a short contemporary.
Immediately, she knew how it might fit in at her publishing house. The most important
point in my viewpoint was letting her know that I knew the value of a romance
After that one
line, I just shut up and waited to see what she would say. What do you think was
the one and only question she asked me? Is the book complete?
it was. I sent it in and it became my first published novel.
when the big day comes, how do you start? With a smile.
am constantly amazed at how long editors and agents will remember a face from
an appointment that may have happened years earlier. And whose faces do you think
they remember the most? The smiling ones.
right in, smile and introduce yourself. Another good idea I've learned along the
way is to make up a few business cards before you show up at the conference. They
are fairly easy to do yourself with a computer and a set of ready-to-make cards.
Just your name, address and telephone number are sufficient. On the back, in big
bold letters, print the title of the book you will be pitching.
so how should the appointment really go? After you have smiled, introduced yourself
and given her your card, say something like: Iím very nervous. But I have written
a 50,000 word short contemporary novel that would be perfect for your Silhouette
Desire line. May I tell you the premise?
off the bat you have: 1) placed the editor on your side (everyone feels sympathy
with being nervous) and 2) you have established yourself as someone who knows
what type of books the editor may be looking for, and you have done your homework
by reading the line and matching your novel to their guidelines.
on pitching in person: Dress as conservatively as your wardrobe will allow (no
jeans, shorts or costumes) Be cordial and enthusiastic but never interrupt or
presume the editor or agent wants to speak to you outside of the appointment itself.
Do not get so nervous that you forget to listen to what she is saying.
the whole point of the appointment is for the editor or agent to say, ďSend me
your manuscript (or proposal.)Ē When that happens, thank her and leave. Do not
un-sell your book. Unfortunately, I have seen people so bent on telling their
whole story (which is not at all appropriate for these appointments) that they
totally miss the fact that within two minutes, they got what they came for. Once
you hear the magic words, stop talking. The over-worked editor or agent will thank
you for it and remember you kindly when they are reading your book.
final thing: Editors and agents complain that most of the time when they have
asked to see a manuscript in an appointment setting, the writers never send it
to them. Really!
waste your big opportunity. Have your work ready to send out before the appointment
and then be sure to mail it with the words: REQUESTED MATERIAL on the front of
luck! And Iíll look forward to reading your book when it hits the stands!
Beverly Jenkins is our
guest author this month. This popular down to earth bestseller arrived on the
scene fourteen years ago. In a short time she made the world aware of the contributions
African Americans made to our history. Beverly is considered a historical writer
but has written contemporary romantic suspense novels as well. For more about
Beverly log onto BeverlyJenkins.net. Now sit back and enjoy her interview.
Interview with Beverly Jenkins:
you say being a journalism and English Literature major helped in your quest to
BJ: I believe being an avid reader helped
me more than anything else. Iím of the philosophy that the writer who reads the
most wins, especially if you read across genres.
are some of your favorite authors and what impact did they have on your writing?
BJ: I read everything. Presently, Iím hooked on Jim Butcher
whose Dreden series is amazing. Iíve also discovered Rick Riordan. His Percy Jackson
and the Olympians series is looking to be the next Harry Potter. Iíve also just
discovered Judith Smith ĖLevin. She writes about a Black female homicide detective
named Starletta Duvall. Reading outside of the romance genre keeps the muse fresh.
many books have you written to date? Which is your favorite so far and why?
BJ: Gosh. 22? I think.
of the many awards youíve won meant the most to you? Why?
The ones that mean the most are the Emmas given at Romance Slam Jam mainly because
the awards are FUBU Ė for us, by us.
do you prepare yourself to write? Do you need music and a quiet place? Whatís
BJ:I wish I did have a set routine, but
I donít. I simply write either when the spirit moves me or because Iím on a deadline.
Deadlines are the best motivators out there. My children are grown and gone so
my daughterís old bedroom is now my office and the silence is great. I prefer
classic rock when I write: Zeppelin, Hendrix, Joplin etc because of the energy
and Iím old rocker. Love R&B as well but canít write to it. Tried it early
in my career then realized Iíd written the lyrics to the Luther song I was listening
to as opposed to the story. So I had to back away from the R&B.
there a particular story youíve been dying to write? Can you share it with us?
BJ: Iím dying to write Rhine Fontaineís story. Heís the
brother of my heroine from Through the Storm. Heís so angered and frustrated by
the limitations put on men of color after the Civil War that he decides to pass
for White in an effort to help the race.
you have a favorite kind of hero or heroine? Why?
my women strong and my men supportive because in my world thatís the way a relationship
done an incredible job of educating the reader as to the role blacks played in
American history? Why was sharing our history so important to you?
Because the more we know about each other the better off this country can be.
The US built its economic clout on the blood, sweat and backs of African captives
Ė roughly 3.5 million when the civil war began. The race both slave and free played
a significant role in this nationís formation and progress from colonial times
on but history books rarely reflect that. My books offer a unique way of learning
about those missing pieces of the multi-cultural quilt that is American history.
Beverly Jenkins wasnít writing what would she be doing?
Working in a library. I LOVE books.
encouragement would you give to pre-published writers?
Finish the book. Stop talking about the being a writer and be a writer.
do you stay motivated in a business where youíre as good as your last sales numbers?
BJ:The incredible numbers of stories inside me. Even if
I wasnít being published I would still write.
you had three adjectives to describe a successful writer what would they be?
BJ: 1. Well read. 2. Determined. 3. Thick- skinned. One has to
be #3 to deal with the myriad of folks posing and posturing as critics.
you have a publicist? If so what benefits can a publicist provide? How can fans
BJ:I do not employ a publicist. I rely on the
great folks at Harper/Collins, my fans and myself to get the word out. Readers
can contact me at: mailto:email@example.com
with Gayle Wilson
Date: September 27, 2008
Sponsor: Vancouver Island Chapter
Location: Dunsmuir Lodge, Sidney, BC, Canada
Fee: $ 75.00
Date: October 3-5, 2008
Sponsor: Georgia Romance Writers
Location: Hilton Atlanta Northeast, Norcross, GA
City Writers Conference
Date: October 10-12, 2008
Sponsor: Greater Seattle
Location: Bellevue Hilton, Bellevue, WA
Fee: $229 (early bird discount)
Keynote: Julia Quinn
Star Writers Conference
Date: October 25, 2008
Sponsor: NW Houston RWA
Location: Spring, TX
Speaker: Patricia Kay
newest Harlequin Imprint is looking for African American Romances. Stories should
not exceed 70,000 words. Kimani is looking for character driven stories that are
hip and hot. Unpredictable plots and satisfying endings will get you noticed.
c/o Kelli Martin, Senior Editor
233 Broadway, Suite 1001
New York, NY 10279
the newest member of the Harlequin family.
Word length - 10,000 Ė 15,000
Format - e book.
Senior Editor- Linda Fildew
High level of
Submit complete manuscripts via e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Did You Know?
& Boon celebrates its 100th birthday this year. I grew up on Mills & Boon
so that makes me older than dirt. These books are published in 94 countries and
translated into more than two dozen languages. Mills and Boon publishes 60 romance
novels a month and employs 1300 writers.
Birthday Mills & Boon! Thank you for your many years of providing satisfying
ABOUT Marciaís ROMANTICALLY YOURS *
Yours is a FREE monthly newsletter. I would love to hear from you. Please send
comments, news, research, or story ideas directly to Marcia King-Gamble at email@example.com