Posts tagged Romance industry
Digging Out of Distraction: Learning to Pivot in Author World

Romancelandia has been very noisy during the last several weeks. Many negative things have happened which have made sitting down to write words difficult. Romance authors have taken a lot of hits, myself included, and I bet most of us are questioning why we're even doing this anymore. I know I have questioned sitting down for hours alone in a room to write stories which, quite frankly, are part of an ocean of romances that are underpriced and many of us are struggling to sell a book for less than a high priced mocha latte. 

The biggest hit to my career was Amazon's sudden announcement that they were closing down Kindle Worlds in July 2018. This came out of nowhere (I had just blogged about how much I loved writing romantic suspense in this world less than a month ago) and the World Author owners along with the many writers who contributed to these worlds are still trying to figure out what to do. I was ready to start working on my third story for Elle James' Brotherhood Protectors' Kindle World, but decided to park until my wonderful leader, Elle, made some decisions about what to do next. We all love the world. We all adore Elle. There is good news on the horizon, but that's a blog post for another day.

I had to pivot away from my stories that I'd planned and refocus my energy in a new direction. What would I work on after I finished my current boxset novella for the Royal & Reckless Boxset? And where did I want to put my energy for the next several years to come if Romancelandia continues to become more difficult to navigate? 

The first thing I did was reevaluate my strengths and what I loved doing the most. I love writing, editing, and encouraging/motivating people. Deep content editing as a Drill Sargeant at Bootcamp Edits along with story coaching gives me the opportunity to encourage and motivate romance novelists to improve their craft and stories. Writing my romances fulfills me and I love creating new worlds with new people. Exploring how two people grow to be the perfect people for each other despite their flaws and developing their journey toward their happily ever afters is something I enjoy despite how much work goes into the process.

Because these stories aren't easy to write. They're hard work. Every book presents a different challenge. The same process goes into developing a well-crafted long romance as into a short romance. The only difference is the number of words required to complete the story. Add to that I have become 100% independently published. I'm all Indie all the way. This means getting my own work to editors, hiring cover artists, formatting, and uploading every book I write myself along with marketing the books prior to and after publishing. I wear a LOT of hats. I say NO to a lot of things because I wear a lot of hats. 

Every cut into my income stream impacts how and when and what I can do for my stories. I also want to deliver quality love stories to my readers. To be honest, I'd love some help with marketing these books because it's not really in my wheelhouse to check algorithms and make perfect Facebook Ads (I don't even try anymore where that's concerned) and doing the marketing stuff kills my creative brain as quick as a person stepping on a bug.

I'm pivoting and dancing along the writing road to my own beat with my own rules. 

I'm pivoting and dancing along the writing road to my own beat with my own rules. 

But I am trying some new things, out of the box things, that might reach readers in a different way. Hopefully, these methods will translate into more sales and more reach via using a strength that is in my wheelhouse: connecting one-on-one with people in real life and via other media outlets. 

However, for now, I have to get back to where do I need to focus my energy today so I can sustain a lifelong career as an author? First, I gave myself a little Royal Wedding Break, then gave myself permission to take a break from writing romances during the month of July. I've got a non-fiction project I want to work on instead. My dad's memoir about his life which includes being interred in a Japanese Concentration camp during most of his adolescence. So that's what I'm going to do and I'm thrilled to dig into this project. And, fun fact, I alluded to this memoir in TEMPTING THE HEARTBREAKER: Hollywood Heartbreakers Book 1.

Then, as I waited to hear about what would happen regarding my Kindle World books' future, I continued working on my fun, sexy Reckless & Royal story and made plans to revise another story for an October/November release this year. I also dusted off a story I'd written last year that was going to be part of a small town series I had in mind for future publication. 

A funny thing happened along the Brainstorming Trail. An older idea I had for the small town series began bubbling to the surface and wouldn't stop pinging me. I let the idea continue to germinate and opened my mind to ALL the possibilities. Voila! A new, different, fun, exciting series is being discovered. This is GOLD! Platinum. The best part is I don't have to rush it. Because I've decided to pivot in another way which is the polar opposite of what I'm "supposed" to do in Indie Romancelandia.

I'm taking my time. I'm not rushing this series. I'm thinking long term. I'm still writing some standalone romance novels and going to participate in other cool romance writing projects, but this series is going to carry me through a lot of years if I remain focused on the end game. Best of all, I'm very excited to work on this ongoing project/series.

I'm not pivoting to chase the next "this is what's hot in romance now" stories. I'm pivoting to create a series that'll sustain my creativity and my writing soul while actively pursuing other projects and enjoying my personal life too.

 

 

Digging Out of Distraction: Rediscovering the Fun in Writing

Long ago, in The Land Before Publication, I blogged regularly about my writing life. The ups, downs, in-betweens... conquering the demons of Doubt & Despair despite ongoing rejections and a host of other roadblocks to selling my first novel. I wrote about craft, developing stories, my daily life. I also celebrated the writers who sold their first books in a regular feature. DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION kept me going, brought me friends from all over the world, and eventually, after I sold my first novel THE MAVERICK'S RED HOT REUNION to Entangled Publishing, I compiled many of those posts and self-published them in a book by the same title along with developing an interactive workshop that I've presented to local writing chapters, at regional conferences and at the Romance Writers of America's annual conference. You could say... "you've come a long way, Christine." BUT... I haven't. I still struggle with the same distractions, the same doubts and fears, and battle the ongoing noise in my post-publication world. 

Photo by  Nick Morrison  on  Unsplash

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Fast forward from what we in writerly world like to say THE CALL. Or in my case, THE EMAIL from my future editor at Entangled Publishing. I sold! Woohoo! I freaked out about delivering my first ever novella after that but I did it! I wrote more words, but I wasn't gaining traction. THERE WAS SO MUCH TO LEARN about publishing after I published. Before I published was a lot like before I had the Career Girl. Exciting. A time to plan. Decorating a baby's room. Baby showers. Reading How To Books. Then along came my girl... and it was a whole new world and a lot of what I thought I knew about raising a child had to be revamped. Personally, I think she raised me... forced me to grow and change in so many ways. And I'm so glad! 

That's what selling and publishing a book is like to me. It hasn't been a Jackpot score at the casino experience. It's more like pulling the slot lever at a penny arcade and not getting too many lucky sevens in a row. The first two years out were tough. But I learned. I grew. I discovered marketing and how much I totally stink at it LOL. But I keep trying to learn how to do it. I self-published a few books, then decided to go all Indie to gain control over my time two years ago. 

I busted my tush. But you know... I started feeling like it wasn't fun. The constant chasing of the trends, the evaporating money (that's a blog for another day), and the loss of real connections with people I trusted in real time began to take a toll on my happy writer heart.

I wanted to have fun again! Writing was a chore, not a passion I pursued. Yes. I know... this is my career... really, it's a business without a real business model because who knows why some people have breakout hits while most of us keep plodding along? At first, I thought I'd missed the friends I'd made along the way. We're all busy, most of us are published which means we're working even harder now than before, and the opportunities to gather and meet have dwindled. But it wasn't just that... I missed the fun of crafting stories because I was too busy figuring out where they'd fit and who might actually spend money to read them.

Then I got invited into a cool Kindle World featuring bodyguards and suspense and everything changed thanks to Elle James and THE BROTHERHOOD PROTECTORS. I stepped out of my comfort zone. My critique partners, Pam Mantovani and Carmen Falcone, helped me get through the struggle of finessing a suspense plot into a romance.

I'd never done that kind of writing before. The challenge was daunting, scary... could I pull out a bodyguard story with a suspense hook all in under 30,000 words? And you know what happened as I finagled this story and wrestled with the problems I had crafting it? I rediscovered the fun in writing! 

I released my first romantic suspense FALLING FOR HER BODYGUARD January 11, 2018. It's my 10th book and a milestone for me. But more than that, it's a book that saved my writing soul. Truly saved it. What's my takeaway? Well, if you want to have fun writing in this crazy business, try something new and don't worry about marketing and all the other competitive, ugly noises out there. I'm definitely going to write more bodyguard stories. 

I'm also revamping DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION. This will primarily be for my writer peeps, but I know there are readers out there who might be curious about what goes on in a writer's head... well at least this writer's head.

XX 

Christine

THE MOVIE STAR'S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING #ModernRomance #Empowering #Sexy #FREE

Recently, a Washington Post interview pulled a quote from Hillary Rodham Clinton that painted romance novels in an unflattering light. And given the #metoo #enough movements along with the recent sexual misconduct allegations against many men in power, I feel that it's important to address this topic. I'm a romance author. Before I became a romance writer, I was a huge fan of romance novels. They gave me hope and a belief that I could achieve anything I set my heart on doing and that I deserved to be treated with dignity and respect by my life partner. 

I met my real life hero a long time ago. He isn't perfect. Neither am I. But we are strong together and we support each other through good times and bad. He is why I believe in love even with all the bumps in the road and having to come back to the table a few times to reset our commitment to each other. 

A lot has changed in the romance industry since I started reading and writing these novels. One thing I know about my own books is my heroes are honorable alpha males. Why? Because they don't believe in coercing a woman to do anything she is not comfortable doing even though they are physically attracted to them. And they often hold back because they don't want to take advantage of the heroines' vulnerability. They want the heroine to find a man she deserves and he mistakenly believes he can't be that man. Together, they learn they deserve each other. And certainly, that is the case in THE MOVE STAR'S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING

Blake Johnston, AKA Hollywood Hottie and Action Hero Quinn Sawyer knows Jessie Sullivan is wounded inside and out. So when her mother asks him to help her prepare for her grueling fire academy's application, he agrees. When he first meets Jessie, he's attracted to her. But he's not going to act on that attraction because he knows he's leaving in a few weeks and he doesn't want to hurt her. But surprise--Jessie's attracted to him too. And when the first kiss happens, it is at HER request, not because he pushed himself on her. That is an honorable, good man who also happens to be sexy, hot, and delicious. 

Here's a sneak peek from THE MOVIE STAR'S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING

Jessie was special. She deserved someone who wouldn’t leave her behind. All he could offer her was a temporary fling. And he refused to engage in a shallow holiday affair no matter how much his hormones said to pull the trigger and go for it...

Later, after Jessie confesses what's bottling up inside her heart, she says...“I’m tired of doctors and hospitals and well-meaning, encouraging words. I don’t want to be treated like a specimen in a petri dish. I don’t want people poking and probing and prodding me anymore. I want...” She closed her eyes and two rebel tears traveled down her cheek, dampening his fingers.

The rustling of the trees, the heat of the sun on his back, and the mountains in the distance evaporated. There was only this time. This space. And this woman standing before him with the strength of a warrior, but with her heart vulnerable and exposed and anticipating.

“What do you want?” he asked.

She opened her beautiful gray-blue eyes and tears glistened on her black-as-night lashes. “I want someone to hold me,” she said. “Not because I’m wounded. Not because I’m alive. But because I’m me.”

Something shifted inside Blake.A fierce desire to protect Jessie, to offer her more than the comfort of his arms around her, rushed through him. He fought to suppress the force of his attraction and contain the forbidden, emerging emotions.

This proud, obstinate, and fiery woman deserved a worthy man. It wasn’t him.

With his life at a crossroads, he couldn’t offer her more than a brief escape. But damn it all to hell, he couldn’t deny her, or himself, any longer. Not when she’d flayed her soul.

His heart punched him in the solar plexus. She’d called him a hero. Though he was wrong for her, and he shouldn’t act on his attraction, Blake wanted to be the man who lived up to her expectations. At least for now.

He pulled her to him, wrapped his arms around her shoulders. “I’ve got you, Jessie.” Blake kissed the top of her head, inhaled her unique scent, felt the spasm of sorrow travel through her slender frame.

Her arms coiled around his waist. “Don’t let go.”

The sound of her soft keening, the desperation of her grip on him, undid him. “I won’t.” He tilted her face upward and swiped the tears from her cheeks. Her chin wobbled, and her breath misted the air between them.
 

Time slowed. He heard every rough beat of his heart, felt the fire building in his groin, and the desire he’d banked roared to life. “I couldn’t stop even if I tried.” He lowered his lips to touch hers and tasted the salt of her sorrow.

Blake is a real hero. And he's perfect for Jessie. And she's the perfect woman for him. They'll get their happily ever after ... and you can read their story for FREE. Get your copy from one of these fine online booksellers TODAY!!

Amazon Kobo Apple GooglePlay Nook

THE MOVIE STAR'S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING is FEATURED as a SPOTLIGHT BOOK on ENTANGLED PUBLISHING's website,  December 12, 2017. Check it out and all the other fabulous FREE holiday books available this month from ENTANGLED PUBLISHING! 

You can get all these FREE Entangled Holiday books from NOOK!! Check them out on the special Sales Page on Nook TODAY!

Notes from Christine's Writing Chair, #Romance #Giveaways

Holiday Shenanigans are Here!

Wow, we're gearing up to celebrate Thanksgiving in my house. It's been a whirlwind of activity--shopping for yummy food, enjoying our daughter's visit through the holiday, and decorating the house for Christmas. I love this time of year. Giving gifts and making people happy makes me happy too! I've started a brand new EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY Monthly Prize Package for MY NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS I've already sent the Thanksgiving Surprise Giveaway package to my lucky newsletter subscriber. And entries are filling up for the Surprise December Giveaway Prize Pack of swag and goodies from me and my author friends. There's still time for you to enter for a chance to win this exclusive newsletter subscriber prize package. Just join my NEWSLETTER TODAY to enter your information in my Google Doc online. 

ANOTHER GIVEAWAY!!

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Chasing Christmas Eve: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel (Kindle Edition) by one of my favorite authors--Jill Shalvis. You can enter for your chance to win one of 4 e-books on Amazon. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Dec 19, 2017 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules and hope you win one of these books! 

Notes from the Writer's Chair

I hope all my American readers have a fabulous Thanksgiving feast. I know I've got plenty of good food planned for the big eating day. And one of my favorite recipes, Pumpkin Dip will be featured in Entangled Publishing's blog in December. So I'll be sure to share that with you when it's live. I've been busy writing my new story for the next series, revising another tory, and I've got another release coming out in January. I'll send out ARC sign up forms in December for my very first bodyguard story FALLING FOR HER BODYGUARD. I can't wait for you to read Ethan and Delaney's love story! The cover reveal will be next month! Woohoo!! 

As always, I hope you are all well and that you are enjoying your family and friends. I can't wait to see who wins next month's prizes!! 

You can check out all my current releases on the following sites:

Amazon  iBooks Kobo Nook

XX

Christine
 

An Exciting New Adventure as an Editor!

★•**•★Surprise Announcement★•**•★

I’m thrilled to announce that Carmen Falcone and I have joined forces to provide editorial services with a unique twist. We specialize in deep content editing of romance fiction. We started this business because we know how frustrating it can be to find reliable freelance editors who maintain your voice while transforming a good story into a memorable one.

We also believe two heads think better than one. That’s why our commitment to you is to have every manuscript we read evaluated by the two of us. For an affordable rate, you get two fresh perspectives on your work and we ensure high quality.

We offer two unique perspectives that incorporate content editing, story development, characterization, checking emotional turning points, problem-solving, conflict, and plot evolution.

This will be included internally in the packages through track changes in word documents and an editorial letter.

Specializing in Romance Fiction*

  • Contemporary Romance/Short & Long
  • Erotic
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Paranormal
  • Historical
  • Sci-Fi
  • Fantasy

 

Package One:

One Pass/Two Editors–.005 per word

Package Two:

Two Passes/Two Editors–.007 per word

*We do not accept manuscripts with rape, incest, or bestiality themes.

For more information check out our website: Bootcamp Edits.

You can also visit our Facebook Page and give us a like here: Bootcamp Edits Facebook Page

Here's a little more about our backgrounds in the romance industry:

I have over 12 years experience in the romance publishing industry as an award winning writer, content/story critique editor, workshop presenter and as a multi-published author in contemporary romance. As an editor, I'll offer constructive advice and suggestions for developing strong emotional turning points, three-dimensional characters, and overall story development. 

Carmen Falcone is a multi-published author, translator, and editor. Ever since she achieved a certificate in Translation from New York University in 2010, editing and revising has been part of her daily life. RT Book Reviews called her debut romance “sexy, thrilling and suspenseful” that made readers “dizzy with anticipation to rush to the end.” USA Today bestselling author Amy Andrews said her writing style has a “trademark wit and sizzle”. She writes contemporary, erotic and romantic suspense. As an editor, Carmen is invested in helping the writer publish a page-turning, exciting read that will keep readers coming for more. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s online shopping, meeting friends for lunch and spending time with her husband and two kids.

I'll always put my own writing first, but over the years I've been encouraged multiple times to pursue a side career in editing deep content. Thanks to Carmen's support, I finally have decided to take the plunge. In addition to adding romance novel editor to my list of things to do, you'll be seeing more blogs about motivation, determination, and general writing information. If you'd like to know how I managed to put myself in the chair every day BEFORE I got published, you can read all about my journey in my book DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION from Amazon.