Thursday, July 28, 2016

How to Write Passive Characters

How to Write Passive Characters

Huh? you say. Nobody wants a passive character in their book because readers will be bored. Passive characters don’t act; they’re acted upon. They’re duds, not at all interesting or worth the time it takes to read about them.

They accept or allow what happens or what others do to them, without active response or resistance. Now that sounds mind-numbing.

That’s the conventional wisdom among writers. But wait a minute! Is that always right? Let’s see.

Most writers don’t start out creating passive characters on purpose. We try to create proactive, vibrant and vital people. We know that our heroes and heroines should be larger than life if they’re going to be interesting and memorable.

We design every hero or heroine with a strongly motivated goal. Our heroine wants something badly, sometimes for herself, sometimes for others, and she’s willing to struggle to get it. This push-pull causes tension, develops the character and keeps the reader whipping through the pages. So stick to the tried and true, ‘they’ say.

But once in a while we invent nice, ‘go along to get along’ characters they get caught up in terrible situations they didn’t create. We just know they’ll make great story people and we can’t let them go in favor of a more traditional character.

I think we can write an inherently passive character and make her fascinating.

Yet, in order to keep up the readers’ interest, the character (especially a hero /heroine) needs to change and become more assertive as the story progresses. She begins to react to her circumstances because she can’t find a way to remain the same as she’s always been. Inside she’ll still have her passive tendencies, but she becomes more reactive out of necessity.

Her conflict comes from external forces and also from the internal struggle. This can make a wonderful story because it comes from both character and plot.

How to create a compelling passive character:

Dig deeply into the character.
He cares about something, even if he doesn’t have a specific goal.

Interesting friends.
Get your passive character out of her head and out of the house. Let her meet fascinating people. They’ll add interest and pizazz to the story. Quirky, unusual secondary characters are a fun addition to every book, but especially to one with a passive hero or heroine.

Active writing.
Readers want to see what makes the character tick. So use active verbs and unique descriptions. Do your passive character a favor and stay away from passive words. The combination will put your readers to sleep.

Listen to the dialogue.
Bring out the thoughts of a passive character and make him thoughtful and articulate. Avoid useless chatter and add a dose of wisdom or humor because that will help the reader relate better.

Inciting incident.
Something provokes her and sets her into motion. This is where the story really begins. The inciting incident needs to be strong and powerful enough to jolt her into action.

She’ll soon start to change and we’ll see what’s deep inside of her and what she’s made of. But it will be a difficult struggle for a passive character to confront her situation head on. She’d rather avoid a direct conflict. Yet circumstances won’t let that happen.

Test her.
Put her under pressure and turn up the heat. See how she reacts. She’ll be uncomfortable and out of her element but that’s half the fun for the author and the reader.

Love, fear and anger can change her. She can’t stand in a corner and watch the drama from afar because she’s now part of the drama.

She changes because she’d forced to, yet often it’s temporary. When the pressure ends, she might revert to her old self. Still, she’s learned she can rise to the occasion and be the person she needs to be.

In my first novel, Love on a Dime, I created a semi-passive character named Lilly Westbrook. She’s a rich young woman who secretly writes dime novels which would scandalize her family and society if they knew. Her only goal is to keep on writing her books without getting exposed. Lilly’s motivation is stronger than her goal and very altruistic. She donates the proceeds of her books to a charity.

All goes well until Lilly discovers that her new publisher is her former suitor, Jack Grail. She does everything in her power to keep him in the dark since he wants to publicize her along with her dime novels. At the same time, Lilly and Jack fall in love all over again. These problems cause her great internal conflict that she can’t easily resolve.

To add to her problem, an unscrupulous reporter tries to blackmail her. Lilly is forced to take action, although she’d rather run away or bury her head in the sand.

She’s is an example of a character, passive by nature, who has to confront the problems in her life if she wants to keep herself and her family from social ruin.

Do you know of any passive characters in fiction who make memorable heroes or heroines?

If you’d like a chance to receive a $15.00 gift card from Starbucks, please leave your e-mail address.

Myra Johnson, Sandra Leesmith and I have written a contemporary novella collection called Love Will Find A Way.

In my story, Staging a Romance, a home stager desperate to keep her job meets a handsome man she remembers from camping days years before. She has to convince him to let her decorate the camp he wants to sell. As they unexpectedly fall in love, they both begin to question their goals in life. They learn that solving the conflicts that keep them apart require much love and sacrifice.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tony Is A Pony: Making the Most of Your Writing Journey

Do you ever pause in your busy life to review the journey that brought you to today? I don’t mean looking back to bemoan lost opportunities or rehash disappointments from the past. There’s little value in that. But rather to recognize how far you’ve come and perhaps, how the seed of a talent, maybe a dream you were given, has blossomed over time.
Recently I was paging through my K-12 school “scrapbook” that my mom so creatively put together in a big binder of top-loading plastic sheets--a condensed collection of my drawings, poems, and stories. A compilation of my growing up years as evidenced on paper.
I was especially amused by kindergarten and first grade attempts to draw people and horses--my “Tony Is A Pony.” Amused, too, by how in my “child mind” those crayoned images really looked like horses and people looked. But honestly? I can truly say I’ve never seen a real-life horse like my early artistic renderings. (Thank goodness!)
Yet, what JOY I took in drawing--the freedom of filling a blank page with colorful depictions of the world around me. Being unconfined by the lines in a printed coloring book. By the time I reached junior high my drawings had evolved considerably. Perfect? No. Clearly, though, I’d further honed my fledgling talents. I can’t help but wonder where those unpolished efforts may have led had I persisted in developing my artistic skills.
During those same growing up years, however, a stronger dream emerged alongside my crayons, sketch pads and water colors--a dream to write stories. Just as with my attempts at art, my writing, too, began with the lowliest of beginner basics.  And again I experienced the JOY of filling a blank piece of paper--this time with a growing repertoire of words fueled by my imagination and the love of Story.
The journey to publication was a long one for me…I had to pass through many seasons in my life when I optimistically wrote with the dream fresh and alive in my heart…and through just as many others where I wrote very little and the dream lay dormant, gathering dust.
So, what IS making the most of your writing journey right where you are all about?
Yes, it’s making an effort to steadily improve your craft—grammar, punctuation, usage, formatting. To learn to apply deep point of view, goal/motivation/conflict, character arcs, effective dialogue and to put emotion on the page. To become knowledgeable about genres and industry trends. Yes, it’s hard work, and all these things are important. We can help you in Seekerville to increase your chances of mastering the nuts and bolts. We can cheer you on.
But making the most of your journey is all about your choice--a choice not to give up. A choice to enjoy where you're at on the way to where you're going.
It’s about keeping the dream alive, even when going through seasons when circumstances and life’s blows attempt to convince you that you’ll never attain--or retain--the dream. When little voices in your head tell you you’re not as talented as so-and-so. You’re too young. You’re too old. It will take too much time, too much effort--so what’s the point in trying?
It’s about looking back and celebrating how far you’ve come--not beating yourself up along the road. How foolish it would have been for me to stop drawing in first grade because I couldn’t sketch like a college art major! Or to have put down my pencil and lined paper early on because self-talk--and feedback--said what I was writing at the time was far from publishable.
Making the most of where you’re at now is about letting your imagination soar. Feeding your creativity. Looking to God for strength to set aside your fears even if you’re still in the “Tony Is A Pony” stage. It’s focusing on the fun and the JOY of writing wherever you are on the writing journey. Making the most of TODAY.
Has your dream gone dormant--or lost its momentum? Even if you’re a published writer, you need dreams to move toward in order to keep things fresh. Is it time to brush off the dust and prayerfully revive or revise that dream?
Where are you on your writing (or other) journey today? Share with us the dream that tugs at your heart--and what you believe may be holding you back from making it a goal, a plan and, perhaps eventually, a reality. What one thing can you do right now to renew your dream and make the most of where you’re at in this current phase of your journey?
If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a Kindle copy of Susan May Warren’s informative guide “How to Write a Brilliant Romance,” mention it in the comment section, then check the Weekend Edition to see if you’re a winner!
GLYNNA KAYE treasures memories of growing up in small Midwestern towns--and vacations spent with the Texan side of the family. She traces her love of storytelling to the times a houseful of great-aunts and great-uncles gathered with her grandma to share candid, heartwarming, poignant and often humorous tales of their youth and young adulthood. Her Love Inspired books--Pine Country Cowboy and High Country Holiday--won first and second place, respectively, in the 2015 RWA Faith, Hope & Love Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards. Her November release, The Pastor’s Christmas Courtship, is available for pre-order! (click here)
Her Holiday Homecoming.  Jodi Thorpe’s childhood vacation cabin seems the perfect place for her to heal her broken heart…and avoid Christmas cheer. After twelve years, nothing in Hunter Ridge has changed--except Garrett McCrae. The bad boy who was once her secret crush is now the town minister. And Garrett won’t let her miss out on all the hope and joy the holiday brings.  With every day he’s drawn to the vulnerable woman Jodi’s become, even as he’s about to leave for a mission halfway around the world.  But as they grow closer, their plans begin to change. Can Garrett make it a season to remember, with a love they can’t forget?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Polishing, Primping and Pimping Your Prose Like a Pro!

Ruthy here, ready to do a little tear down and build up of your old clunker, AKA: your proposal!

Here's the set-up: You come back from RWA, psyched and with TWO REQUESTS for the same proposal!

Yay!!! You're happy dancing, sharing the news, doing shout-outs on facebook and tweeting everyone you can think of. Next step, book auction, and Easy Street!!!! SUHWEET!

And then you read a really good blog by literary agent Steve Laube entitled "Five Reasons Why You Might Never Get Published" and you realize you're in deep trouble. Why? Well, read Steve's blog, but here are some possible reasons, my beloveds!

1. You don't like change.
2. You don't like criticism.
3. You're brilliant but unappreciated.
4. Someone else beat you to the punch with your idea.

FIRST: If you're stiff-necked and inflexible, this is not the business for you. Successful authors revise, re-write, resubmit and swallow their pride on a regular basis. It takes guts and patience and endurance... and you only get one chance to make a great first impression! And that chance is now.

So let's break it down: Parts of a Proposal:

1. Cover letter

2. Three full chapters

3. Synopsis

First, your chapters. Because without solid chapters you're going nowhere.


Be anal. This is about the only time I will give you permission to be that particular, because you don't want their first glance to be their last.

Hook them on the opening page. Better yet, the opening paragraph. Steve Laube once said, "If I'm not gripped or provoked or laughing over the opening paragraphs, I'm done. That might sound harsh, but it's true."

Consider that. You might have one paragraph to make that impression. Make that paragraph work for you. Impact them with your words and clarity. Make them laugh, cry, or at least think as they envision the images created by your words.

"The sharp metallic click meant one thing.

Someone had a gun pointed in Colt Stafford’s general direction."   
                                                                        (Back in the Saddle, Waterbrook Press, 3/16)

Polish each paragraph. Make sure you're really ready. (Most of us don't do this and send things in pre-brilliance, GUILTY HAND  IN AIR, and agents and editors forgave me because I kept on working and polishing. Perseverance and tenacity are huge in this business. Nora once said something like "It's not always the most talented that get published. There are lots of talented, unpublished people out there. It's the ones who don't quit.")

"Suitcase. Laptop. Purse. Emergency supply bag. Lack of chocolate noted. Remedy situation ASAP.                                                                       (Silent Night, Star-lit Night, St. Martin's Press, 10/16)

The Town Square, Haywood, Oregon.... at Christmas
And if you think this changes as an established author, let me assure you it does not. Maybe for Stephen and The Nora... but not for us normals. We go through the very same process you're facing and compete against you... and every other published author out there, so it doesn't get easier, but it does become just part of the job. And that's okay.

For romance, are you using both points of view? Have you described the hero and heroine through each other's eyes? If they have a past, have you painted the emotions to grab the reader without a backstory dump? Remember, backstory does not sell books. Emotion does. If they've never met, is the conflict of their meeting enough to turn pages? Are you using too many big words?

 Do the chapters move the story forward emotionally and physically? Are there scene breaks and/or opposing pov's in each chapter? Or in alternating chapters? Back in the day it would be fine to have back-and-forths and expect the reader to follow along, and we did... Now clean povs are the mode of the day, so make sure you're balanced.

In Women's Fiction, are you totally depressing the audience on page one? Because that's potential manuscript suicide right there, and this can be problematic. Sure, you may have a hope-stirring ending, but if the editor has thrown the manuscript into the reject pile before finishing page one, you'll never know unless you indie publish it and get hammered by readers. Ouch. That's a rough way to learn a lesson.

The Cover Letter:

Write in the same voice/style as your featured genre. If your manuscript is funny and engaging romance (Mary Connealy), write the letter in that voice.

If your work is of more serious nature (Myra Johnson), write the cover in that voice.

If your proposal is kind of in-your-face-reality (raises hand), write the cover letter reflecting that.

If your proposal is historical, use historical points or whimsy to woo the editor/agent.

I use a blend of conversational English and lyrical prose in my work. What does that mean? It means I want my characters to sound normal and somewhat distinctive (secondary characters with a unique "voice" add depth to your work, but only one or two of them, like adding salt to chocolate. A little goes a long way)... while using a sprinkling of poetry in either mention or description. The two offset one another, and because I'm a poet at heart with a side of "snark", it works.


That link features the cover letter I used for my first Love Inspired book "Winter's End"... Hey, it worked! :)

The Synopsis:

1. Ditch the creative hat.

2. Wash your hands.

3. Don technical writer cap.

4. Stash of chocolate or nuts nearby.

5. Get to work.

I always start my synopses (and I've written at least 60 of them over the years) with the one-to-three-line blurb encapsulating the story. Why? Well, you need one for marketing, so why not do it now? That one-liner can grab the editor's/agent's attention more quickly than the five ensuing pages.

Example: Former beauty queen Emily Gallagher came home to lick her broken marriage wounds and help run her mother's event business while her beloved father fought a life-threatening disease. Grant McCarthy and his twins had been kicked to the curb by the one beautiful woman who should love them most... and didn't. He can't trust beauty and she's not willing to chance the anger within him... but as the needs of two precious children come into play, can they open their hearts once more, in time to embrace "Her Unexpected Family"?

Then I tell the backstory. This isn't the book, I want the professional to see the reasoning behind the story. Is it balanced? Believable? Thought-provoking? I use present tense and alternate hero and heroine backstories for balance. This may be a page or two long because it's critical. I don't know if everyone does it this way, but it works for me.

And then I morph into: "The story begins when..." or "This is where the story begins, when both protagonists have everything to lose and nowhere to turn..."

Once I'm into the actual story I use a chronological re-telling of basic story points. I don't try to spell everything out, I'm a pantser, so that would never work because the actual story might not go that way. But... I know the emotions of the story. I know the timeline. I know the essence.

A three-to-five page synopsis is fine. Stick to the points, be clear and concise, this is not the place for my poetry or your clever wording. Just the facts, ma'am. Just the facts.

At this stage, you're done. There will be much bigger proposals later, but this is the basic one that editors and agents are looking for when they say.... send me a proposal.

So let me offer you congratulations if you got a request... and if you're flying blind, hey... I did that, too! And my first contract came when Melissa Endlich was the final judge for the Finally a Bride contest from OKRWA... and the rest is history.

So let's dive in and chat this up. I'll answer questions and I'll give away copies of "Her Unexpected Family" and one writer will get a Ruthy critique of either their chapters or synopsis or cover letter, your choice.... But you have to tell me you want it in the comments, or I'll mess up and pull some sweet reader's name and she's going to say, "Ruthy! I want a book!!!"

Coffee's on, and peach pie is awaiting!

Let's do this!

Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne loves writing sweet books, playing with cute kids and hanging out with people.... She loves God, her family, her country, chocolate, coffee and cookies.... and romance! You can find her hanging around on facebook at Ruth Logan Herne (duh...) and on twitter @RuthLoganHerne or on her website

Monday, July 25, 2016

Writing Tight: How to Make Every Word Count

with guest Amanda Barratt.

Hey there, Seekerville! I’m sooo happy to be hanging out with y’all today and chatting about a topic near and dear to my heart—novellas and how to write them brilliantly.  

Novellas are like the new girl in high school who is crowned Homecoming Queen three years after moving to town. When I first entered the writing world, they were being published, people read them, but they didn’t have the popularity or the…shall, I say, sparkle, that they do today. Back then, I rarely read them. Today, I cannot help but read them. So many talented authors have jumped on the novella bandwagon, and you might be considering becoming one of them.

But to write a novella, a stand-out, sigh-worthy, stay-up-till-one a.m. flipping pages, kind of story takes an entirely different skill set than penning a masterfully written 100’000 word epic. 

And that’s where tight writing comes in.

So without further delay, here are five points to help you trim your prose and make every word do double duty.

1- You’re Writing a Movie, Not a Miniseries—First of all, I looove a good miniseries. There’s nothing I’d rather do than spend six hours viewing Pride and Prejudice or four watching North and South. I adore the winding plotlines and drawn-out conversations. But that’s not what we’re after in novellas. I like to think of a novella as the 90-minute flick you’ll watch when you want drama/romance/comedy in a hurry. The opening credits barely have time to roll before the story gets going. Right away, we’re introduced to our main character. Instantly, the music, scenery, and dialogue tell us what kind of film this is. No Shakespearian monologues allowed!

2- Pack a Punch With Powerful Description—This is a must for evoking emotion in the reader. As a novelist, you have the luxury of describing…and describing again. But in a novella, it’s once, and that once had better be good. Here’s an example from my novella, A Bride for a Bargain (part of The Most Eligible Bachelor Romance Collection).

Merciful heavens, this thing was a palace! Ada stared. And kept on staring. Did the rich actually think themselves too good for ordinary trains? Obviously. Grander than the interior of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the railcar’s front room was a vision of wood-paneled luxury. Thick velvet drapes blocked most of the light, save what a silk-shaded lamp provided. Plush carpets rustled against her feet, and decorative pillows cluttered a brocaded sofa. It even smelled good. Like scented candles and lemon oil. 
 She drew in a long, delighted breath.

Using words that instantly paint a picture in the reader’s mind (vision of wood-paneled luxury) and actions that add to the scene (plush carpets rustled against her feet) takes the reader and…bam, places them right in the midst of what the character is experiencing.

3- Minimalize Backstory—Plain and simple, we don’t need to know everything about the character. Of course, you, as the author should know the character’s backstory. But if it’s not important to the story or the hero’s development, leave it out. Since most novellas are genre fiction (romance, suspense, etc.) the focus needs to be on the elements of the story that tie into the genre—will the hero and heroine find love, will the criminal be caught? 

4- The Heroine Doesn’t Need a Second Cousin Once Removed (Keeping Your Cast Small)—This ties into the point above. A huge cast is unnecessary and wastes words needed elsewhere. Obviously, you don’t want to go to the other extreme and use only three people total, but keep in mind, the more characters you introduce, the more you need to follow through with. For my romance novellas, I usually have a cast of about eight to ten characters—including those who only have walk-on roles. 

5- Use the Same Studs You Built Your Mansion With to Construct Your Cabin— While I love novellas, I have read quite a few I thought were lackluster and just…blah. When I examined the “why” behind my dislike, I discovered it was primarily due to the plot. There was no defined beginning, middle, and end. I’m a big fan of the three act structure and of infusing each story with certain turning points--the Black Moment, Epiphany, etc. In the novellas I disliked, any semblance of these was woefully lacking. Sometimes, I was absolutely astonished that the hero and heroine were taking their relationship to the next level. They’d barely spent any time together, for goodness sake! All this to say, a novella is a different sort of fiction, but should be constructed using the same building blocks and outlining system as a full-length novel.

Hopefully, these points provide a “nuts and bolts” approach to writing a novella that will keep readers flipping pages and staying up until the wee hours. Then lining up in droves to buy your next story and many more after that.

Do you struggle to “write tight”? Have you written a novella, and if so, did you enjoy it? 

GIVEAWAY—I’m giving away a copy of The California Gold Rush Romance Collection (which includes my novella “The Price of Love”) to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition! 

Buy your copy here
Rush to California after the 1848 gold discovery alongside thousands of hopeful men and women. Meet news reporters, English gentry, miners, morticians, marriage brokers, bankers, fugitives, preachers, imposters, trail guides, map makers, cooks, missionaries, town builders, soiled doves, and more people who take advantage of the opportunities to make their fortunes in places where the population swelled overnight. But can faith and romance transform lives where gold is king?

Amanda Barratt

Amanda Barratt is the ECPA bestselling author of four novellas published by Barbour Publishing. She fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story - a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Since then, Amanda has penned novels set in Regency and Victorian England, and the Gilded Age. 

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, who kindly put up with the invisible people she calls characters.

These days, Amanda can be found reading way too many books, watching an eclectic mix of BBC dramas and romantic chick flicks, and trying to figure out a way to get on the first possible flight to England. 

You can connect with her at: and on Facebook at:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Weekend Edition

We're celebrating Ruth Logan Herne's release of Her Unexpected Family this weekend. We have three books to give away. Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy. Winners announced in the next Weekend Edition.

We Have Winners

 Giveaway rules can be found hereDrop us a line to claim your giveaway at Please allow us the 6-8 weeks per our legal page to get your prize sent out.  

** Effective 5/31/16 all winners are required to submit their address and phone number to verify their identity even if they win an e-prize. This is due to scammers attempting to claim prizes. ***

All prizes not claimed in 8 weeks go back into the prize vault. We wish we could contact all our winners individually, but we'd rather write books!

Last Weekend End Winners:
Phyllis Wheeler : Hope for the Holidays Historical
Kathryn Barker: Hope for the Holidays Historical
Becky B: Hope for the Holidays Historical
Trixi: Hope for the Holidays Historical
Cindy W: Home for Christmas Historical
Deanna Stevens: Holiday Collection of Choice
Rhonda Starnes: Holiday Collection of Choice

Multi-published author Jordyn Redwood debuted her first Love Inspired Suspense, Fractured Memory and shared her post "What I Would Change in Publishing," on Monday. Sally Shupe, Connie Queen and Bettie are winners of print copies of Fractured Memory.

Tuesday Tina Radcliffe brought you a "Foreshadowing, Telegraphing, Red Herrings & the Rule of Three in Fiction." Winner's of their choice of Seeker Book of Choice, as available on Amazon or winner's choice of any movie mentioned Tuesday, as available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble for DVD are Jeanne T and Cynthia Herron.

Wednesday Janet Dean was your hostess with her post, "Put Meat, Not Fat, On the Bones of Your Setting."  Barbara Scott is the winner of a Seeker Book of Choice.

Next Week in Seekerville

Monday: Amanda Barratt returns to Seekerville with her post, "Writing Tight: Making Every Word Count." And Amanda brought a terrific giveaway. Stop by!

Tuesday: Just in time to prep those requests you brought back from RWA 16 "San Diego", join Ruth Logan Herne as she tells us how to "Polish, Primp and Pimp Your Prose Like a Pro"... because you only have one chance to make a great first impression, and when it comes to submissions: That chance might be ONE PARAGRAPH LONG. Meet me here and we'll chat it up and turn clunkers into spiffed up sweet rides while Ruthy celebrates the release of Her Unexpected Family  with a FIVE BOOK GIVEAWAY... and coffee!

Wednesday:  Seeker Glynna Kaye will chat with us about “Tony Is A Pony: Making the Most of Your Writing Journey Right Where You’re At.”  She’ll be giving away to one lucky winner a Kindle copy of Susan May Warren’s informative guide, “How to Write A Brilliant Romance,” AND she’ll be sharing the cover of her Christmas-themed Love Inspired November release.

Thursday: Cara Lynn James is your hostess today. Stop by to chat with Cara!

Friday: Best of the Archives:"Story Arc in a Nutshell" with Janet Dean. Friday's comments are closed to allow us more writing and reading time.

Seeker Sightings

THIS JUST IN!  The Sweetest Rain by Myra Langley Johnson is on sale for Kindle $.99,

This is the last week for our Christmas in July sale!! Enjoy! 

Hope for the Holidays Contemporary Collection

Hope for the Holidays Historical Collection

A Heart Full of Christmas Contemporary Collection

Home for Christmas Historical Collection
Her Unexpected Family
Random News and Information

Thanks to everyone who sent us links!

17 Gorgeous Wedding Dresses All Book Lovers Will Adore (BuzzFeed) 

PW Starts a New Column Called Religion Book Deals (PW) 

For the Love of a Library (Writers in the Storm) 

  The Truth About the New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists (Tim Grahl)**

2016 Romance Writers of America RWA PAN Presentation (Author Earnings)**

Ask the Agent: What is the Formula for Making a Living at Writing? (MacGregor Literary)

The Anatomy of a Bestselling Book: INFOGRAPHIC (GalleyCat)

How Indie Authors Should Price a Book for Optimal Success (DBW)**

3 Tips to Help Increase Writing Output (Jody Hedlund)**

What To Do With a Bad Review (The Write Conversation)

The Synergy of the First Draft, Whether You Trim or Embellish (Writer Unboxed)**

Internal Dialogue: The Greatest Tool for Gaining Reader Confidence (Jane Friedman)

Short on time? Check out these links ** now and and come back later for the rest!

That's it! Have a great reading and writing weekend!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Best of the Archives: Publishing Road Trip

This post first appeared in Seekerville on May 23, 2012. Comments are closed today so we can reach our reading and writing goals!

Seekerville's motto is all about writing as a journey, because it is a journey and often we forget about what fun a Road Trip really is when you prepare.

In order to reach your goal, you must have a map. You know what they say. Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail. It's true. Come on. When was the last time you got in a car for a road trip without checking the oil, the tires, gassing up and buying a map?

 (Oh, my, this reminds me of the Ruthy, Tina road trip. After several intense therapy sessions, I can now get into automobiles without crying. )


You are here but where do you want to be? What's your goal for this month, this year? Where do you want to be in five years? (Kansas is not an appropriate answer.)

Keep all your mementos from the trip. 

Every rejection should be lovingly saved in a folder because it proves you had the guts to submit. It proves You Are A Writer.  I have a thick folder of rejections to my credit. I'm proud of them. Because they prove I never gave up. (It could prove other things, but I like to be eternally optimistic.) 

What about you?

Every single contest certificate, be it Honorable Mention or First Place should be hanging in your writing space to as a souvenir of this part of the trip. As an Unpublished author,  I've got 66 contest placements to my creditI also have 92 that I didn't place in. So you bet I cherish those I won or finaled in.  

What about you?

You should be tracking every submission to an editor, and/ or agent, every contest entry on some sort of spreadsheet. Track the response as well. Voo-doo dolls don't count nor should they be included in in your spreadsheet, though I applaud your creativity. Tracking not only keep things organized but it's your graph of your publishing road trip.

How To Deal With Road Closures:

Road closures come in many forms.

  • Your editor leaves the line.
  • The lines close.
  • You're rejected by the agent of your dreams.
  •  You don't sell the book you've been polishing for 3 years to the publisher you wrote it for.
  • The publisher finds out you are coming to town and moves to another location, and so on and so on.

 Always have a detour plan.  Seekers have made first sales thanks to our very own Plan B. 

What's your plan B?

 Remember, you are camping outside the Promised Land. You can just sit there in your little VW Camper forever staring at the fence with a silly expression of longing on your face, or you can rev the engine and go in and take the land!

Sometimes you have to be brave and veer off your map to try new and scary routes. Go outside the lines and try a road you've never done before. No guts, no glory!

Final Lessons for the Road

1. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug. (It doesn't get any simpler than that, dude.)

2. Don't drive in circles. Ask directions. (Be brave, ask someone to read your pages, enter a contest or stalk a Seeker -preferably Mary or Ruthy.)

3.  Always be prepared. (Have a query, a partial, a full ready for that impromptu opportunity or contest. I keep chocolate in my bag for bribes and am not ashamed to say I have used it at editor appointments at conferences.)

4.  Road kill will haunt you, slow down and don't run anyone over. (Make friends and play nice, everyone is a potential book reviewer.)

5. Don't keep driving from Point A to Point B and wondering why the scenery is always the same.  (Stop revising the same manuscript over and over. Start something new. Do this over and over again until you have a stack of them.)

6. When the road ahead looks dark and scary and impossible, KEEP DRIVING. You'll only get to your destination if you keep driving. 

7. It's always good to have a copilot. (besides God). Someone to hold the map and remind you to turn right, or to slow down in Kansas. A copilot is an accountability buddy.

8. Everyone's map is different. Don't try to find success on someone else's map. I wrote down all the possible ways to reach goals on the publishing journey and came up with over twenty...and yet there are still more roads that I don't even know about.

9. The road to publication is long, full of bumps, potholes, traffic tickets and it never ends. The good news is, the further you get on the journey the more you learn to enjoy bugs in your teeth and you make a lot of friends on the road.

10. Savor the journey. Keep a journal or a scrapbook and enjoy every single step of the way.

Okay, get your sunglasses, your beverage and a snack of choice. Get in the car and let's get this trip going. (I'm easy going but please, seatbelts at all times, no back seat drivers, absolutely no feet out the window and please keep your wrappers in a trash receptacle!)

This post comes to you from Seeker Tina Radcliffe who lives in a cave in the Arizona and spends a lot of time dieting so she can fit into her crime-fighting outfit.  

And don't forget, only a short time longer to get these romantic holiday novellas on sale!

Hope for the Holidays Contemporary Collection

Hope for the Holidays Historical Collection

A Heart Full of Christmas Contemporary Collection

Home for Christmas Historical Collection

All of these holiday favorites are available for .99 from July 1- July 31.