Monday, November 29, 2010

Another new publisher on the block

The following submission call has gone out:

New Dawning Bookfair, a progressive, new publisher welcomes submissions from published and non-published authors. If you are a non-published author, we are very interested in finding undiscovered talent.

Please start the process by filling out the form on our submission page. Tell us a little about yourself and give us a brief description of your book. If interested, we will send a submission package including an overview of the
company and request the manuscript.

Published authors, simply follow the instructions in the submission guidelines. Click on the link on the submission page.

Our beautiful website is live and we hope to have a grand opening in sixty days. If your book is accepted it could be published with the grand opening. Visit our website:

Thank you for considering us, VG Fox

New Dawning International Bookfair
Bookstore to the World

* * *

A personal note from Romy: Before you submit, don't forget to do your homework. A new publisher also means an untried publisher without a history, so be careful what you sign up for and read all the fine print.
That said, new publishers also mean new avenues for writers to sell their work - and that can only be a good thing for publishing in general. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wild Roses Christmas Blog Tour

My alter ego (Rae Summers) is participating in a blog tour with nine other authors from The Wild Rose Press for the next four Wednesdays. Please visit my blog and support me on the tour.

The tour is Christmas-themed so you'll be able to get holiday ideas, recipes, as well as pick up some new holiday reads. Each blog is also running a tour contest, which means that you have ten chances to win!

For more information on the participating authors, the prizes they're offering, and who is visiting where and when, click here:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inkspill Magazine Short Story Contest

UK-based Inkspill magazine is currently running a short story contest, so if you have short stories of 3,000 words or less, take a look here. The deadline is end of December 2010. There is a small entry fee, but the prize money isn't bad and best of all they guarantee feedback on entries.

Inkspill is a literary magazine that is looking for articles and short stories for publication, so check out their submission guidelines if you're interested in this market.

Monday, November 15, 2010

After the Sale - Mistakes without Regret

I was so not prepared, mentally or any other way, for my first sale. You'd think after dreaming about this moment for years, I would be, but then it happens and all carefully laid plans take a speedboat to China,lol. The basic rule of submitting is: carry on writing. This should be (and probably is) the basic rule for acceptance. It's what I'd intended.

But then came the bubbly, the blog, the website, author loops, twitter, FB... sound hectic? Yes, suddenly I had to vamp up my online presence and learn to use twitter (all in between five rounds of edits) But many hours/days/weeks were totally wasted by me basking in that dream where I was actually, finally going to be published.

I didn't start writing again until a month after my release date - I had four chapters and about 4 months more work, my publisher's production lead-time is currently 7-9 months and that meant that including the 6 weeks initial submission time, I was going to go over into a two year gap between books (and that's if they actually wanted my new story) Not a good scenario. So I put my historical wip on hold, pulled out an old romantic comedy story, stripped it to the bone and rewrote it in a month, subbed it, and two weeks ago got the fabulous news that Carina Press loved it and wants it. Even so, its release date will be fall next year, which is still a large gap in the epubbing business.

Was it a mistake to wallow in the mudbath of success for so long without getting down to the business of writing? Definitely. Do I regret it? No, I'd do it over exactly the same. It took almost 10 years of hard work, anguish, screaming, doubting and undulating hills of hope and dashed dreams to get to that point, I guess I deserved a little downtime to enjoy the view from the top of the rocky cliff.

Next to actually writing the book, marketing is the next most important thing. And this is where some people have a natural ability to excel. Me? Not so much. My first blog tour was a little dour, each visit was purely about my book, excerts, etc. Mistake? Not sure, but I like the way some other authors bring diversity into their blog tour, sometimes they don't even mention their book (but there's always an image and buy link). Regrets? I don't think I had the time to dream up 20 wonderful and unique topics, but I'll see what I can do next time round. I'd probably spread the tour over two months as well to give me space and keep the interest going longer. With an ebook, there's no reason to cram everything into your release month.

Carina Press makes all their books available at NetGalley for a few months, this is a site where book bloggers and reviewers can request books for review. Basically, the reviewers come to you instead of the other way around. Great for business. I got reviews from sites I never knew existed. I didn't feel comfortable commenting on those sites, but in some cases the reviewer started following me on twitter and I did respond to them there, thanking them for the review. I also try to retweet their other reviews when I come across them, for which they're always know what they say about spreading the love.

I did personally email a few review sites where I wanted to reviewed, about half of them have done the review, other may or may not, once again it's a case of wait and see. Sending out my book for review swept me straight back into the whole submit and rejection circle. Not even the bad reviews were as terrible as the one response I got that said, 'Thanks, but no thanks.'

Reviews are critical, however, and there were some of the more acerbic sites I cowered from sending to. These sites also tend to have high traffic, so this was probably a mistake. Being a debut author, however, each review was an emotional rollercoaster. No matter how much I schooled myself about personal likes and dislikes, no matter how many times I reminded myself that you can't please everyone, each review was personal and there were days when I snapped my laptop shut and believed I sucked. So how can I regret sparing myself from being shredded to pieces? Having my next book contract, though, has been a massive confidence boost and, I hope, I'll be braver next time. I will have to wait and see, lol.

Advertising is both expensive and addictive. I decided on very low cost adverts because, let's face it, I don't expect to make my fortune quite yet and didn't want to end up spending more than my eventual royalties. I did a few banners, then seeing my book out there got into my blood and I paid for a main-page cover...I was lucky to get it thanks to a cancellation, one needs to book these slots months in advance. There is suprisingly cheap advertising options out there, and surpisingly expensive ones. No surprise, the pricier sites have more traffic, so it's a balance game of where you want to be seen and how much you're prepared to pay. Most sites will let you put up an advert for a fee, and it can be kinda fun trawling through the web to see where you'd like to be.

Thankfully, Carina Press did a lot of advertising for us as well, which took some of the burden from me. It was an amazing surprise to find my book advertised on bigger sites that I hadn't known about. As this part of their launch campaign, I'm not expecting personal ads next time round, but as a publisher they still do a lot of advertising all over the place.

Does advertising work? I looked long and hard for the answer to this without success. It's not easy to link in stats for advertising to sales. Not even a click-thru rate is dependable. Some of my adverts linked straight to my book on the Carina Press site, so I couldn't monitor this. Of the ads that I linked to my author web site, the click rate wasn't fantastic. To be honest, I spend a lot of time on these various romance sites and, being bombarded with their ads from all sides, seldom click through myself unless I spot something totally awesome or, more likely, a reminder of an author I already love who has a new release.

BUT, as a debut author, one has to get your name out there and I do believe that adverts are one of the main methods of doing this beside reviews. It doesn't matter that people don't click through. It's good enough for them to see my cover everytime they go to that page and hopefully something sticks. Hopefully, the next time they're browsing an online store and my book comes up, the memory will trigger familiarity, enough so for them to click and read a little more instead of their eyes just rolling over my lonely title. So, was it a mistake to go the low cost option instead of splashing out big? Probably, considering I do think advertising pays and the more you spend, the more you get back. Any regrets? None except the reality that I'm not a millionare and had a restricted budget, lol. We do only what we can.

I'm not sure my ramblings here are actually of any help or even relevant to any other author, it's very much a case of what works for you as an individual and what you're able to cram into your day. But this is a recounting of the start of my journey, a journey I hope I still have a very long road to travel on before it's over.

I'd love to hear comments and/or advise from everyone

Friday, November 12, 2010

Submission Call from The Wild Rose Press

The Wild Rose Press has put out the following submission call to its authors, which I quote here with permission from editor-in-chief Rhonda Penders:

Holiday Stories
Holiday stories are rolling out and we've lowered our prices to help with sales of our older holiday releases as well.  If you ever had a holiday story in your head and wanted to get one released start working on it now.  March is our deadline for submissions across all the lines.  A quick tip - holiday short stories always sell much better and faster than a full length novel.  If you are a writer who can't write unless you are in the "mood" now is the time to get that holiday story penned for the 2011 season. 

Of course its never too early to start working on those hot summer reads either - what better way to warm up during the cold months than to pen a beach read!

Series and Call for Submissions
We have several series starting up in early 2011 - we'll put out a call for submissions once we get through the holidays.  A sneak peek is a new series coming to Yellow Rose which will involved a local honky tonk and the couples who meet there.  The Historical team is putting the finishing touches on a series that will involved Love Letters and I've heard rumors of a few more across the other lines.  The Flower Basket - still going strong in Sweetheart Rose could use some submissions and if you were thinking of writing that Class of '85 reunion story you better get moving as submissions will close soon on that line. 

Short Story Needs
Our quest continues to find and publish good solid short stories.  Scarlet Rose is the only line right now that has a good supply.  Tell your fellow writers that we are seriously looking for some great short stories.  I know some of you think you can't write short, but trust me, you can.  Take that full length that isn't going anywhere and rip it apart and shorten it up.  I know you can do it, you are after all TWRP Roses which means you are good.  

You can find out more about TWRP's submission guidelines here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do you love Jane Austen? Do you write short stories?

Well then this competition is for you! Pop on over to the Chawton House web site where you can find out more about the short story competition they're running for aspiring authors who have a penchant for Jane Austen. You'll find them here.

It's only 2,000 - 2,500 words you need to write and the theme is "the heroes and villains in Jane Austen's novels".

You get some lovely GBP if you're placed in the top 20 and you'll be published in their anthology! So ... what are you waiting for? Men in tight breeches? :-)

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Yahoo Group

No matter where you are in South Africa (or if you’re a South African living abroad), please come join our Yahoo group. It’s a great place to meet and chat with like-minded individuals, to ask questions, share stories and make friends.

You can find us at

Just click on the blue “Join This Group” button. You’ll be presented with a box asking why you want to join. Feel free to say “because I want to” or better yet “because I dream of being a published romance writer” and voila, one of the moderators will approve your membership. Yahoo will then send you an email explaining how you can access the group via email and the internet.

If you’re struggling to get access or have any other Yahoo related questions, feel free to leave a message for us in the comments section below, and we’ll get one of our techno savvy authors onto it.