Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Genre Bending with HarperCollins Debut Author Jordan Dane

Romance is the New Black

Now that I will be a debut author for Avon HarperCollins in April 2008, I’ve looked back on my first novel, NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM, to reflect upon my first published novel and what it took to sell it. Of course, using hindsight makes it appear as if I knew exactly what I was doing, but that wasn’t the case. Aspiring authors at mystery, romance, and crime fiction conferences ask me—if I want to be an author, how do I decide what to write? To answer that question, it helped me to consider where I began in 2003.

Being an avid reader, I decided the best course of action to pick the genre I wanted to write was to look at my bookshelves and see what I loved to read. Espionage thrillers and various crime fiction books held the biggest sway, so after that revelation I had a basis to start. Then I did my research on what was selling and romance with all its sub-genres held a significant share of the marketplace. Now at the time, I had romances in my collection, but not nearly as many as I do now. I made the decision to learn more about the genre and joined the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and my local chapter. They taught me the basics of writing and I found that RWA offered many useful resources to the beginning author. And I have to say that although romance added depth to my stories, writing it wasn’t easy. It was a challenge, but something was still missing for me personally. Where had my passion for thrillers and crime fiction gone?

I wasn’t sure there was a place in the pure romance genre (as I understood it) for my idea of a thriller or a crime fiction novel. But in the end I made my way, ignoring the perceived rules and what others told me I had to do to sell. I listened to my own voice, electing to write the type of story I wanted to read and incorporate what I’d learned thus far. Any new story would have mystery and action and there’d be a blend of pace and a complex plot to challenge me. I also added forensics and police procedure to taste. And since I’m a fan of subtle humor, I drizzled that into my crime scenes and the sardonic wit of my characters too. Fold in the romantic elements I’d picked up and I finally felt as if I had a concoction worth peddling. And in June 2006, when my first series sold in auction, I’d taken my first step toward discovering who I was as a working author.

But I soon realized I had only scratched the surface of defining where I wanted to be. Thinking out of the box required me to know what the box looked like and I had to understand what boundaries should stay and what I could change. And with each new manuscript, I pushed the boundaries to see where it took me. The exploration has thrilled and challenged me as a writer. Every new project excites me from start to end.

And regarding cross genre stories, I’d like to make another point. The publishing industry works hard at categorizing types of books to make it easier for booksellers to classify the book and shelve it for the reading public. And as authors keeping up with trends, we learn the lingo, but some books defy a strict definition. And it’s been my experience that most readers don’t make a distinction when it comes to the various sub-genres. On MySpace, for example, when I search for reader friends, I do it by looking for words like ‘avid reader’ or ‘mystery suspense’, even though I’m being marketed as romantic suspense or I consider my work to be romantic thrillers. It helps to think like a reader in this instance. If I queried on ‘romantic suspense’, I’d get other romance authors. For those of you making your way on the cyberspace super highway, try it and see what I’m saying.

Given what I’ve experienced, the vast majority of the reading public is eclectic in its reading preferences and that’s good. They also don’t seem to be picky on sub-genres, but I believe they know a good story when they read one—the bottom line. And there are enough readers to go around, enabling an author to cut a healthy slice of readership pie when his or her books are in print. So I like the idea that my books may fit into a number of slots. It makes me feel less guilty when I ask for a second helping of pie. I believe my cross genre stories give my publishing house greater flexibility to market my work. In today’s competitive marketplace, versatility has value.

And if an established mystery or crime fiction author has been thinking of revitalizing their story ideas to better fit today’s market and improve their sales, it may not be necessary to overhaul their entire way of thinking. Perhaps they should consider broadening their appeal to suit a larger segment of the book buying public—women. Compelling romantic elements add emotional depth. And a cross genre story infused with romance may just be the new black.


After Jordan Dane sold her first 3-books to Avon/HarperCollins in auction, her debut title – No One Heard Her Scream – held more significance. Everyone heard her scream! And that went double for the next 3-book thrillers she sold before having any books released. Prior to selling, Jordan received 33 national writing competition awards. Formerly an energy sales manager, she now is following her passion to write full time. Take a front row seat to suspense with Dane’s back to back releases in April through June 2008—No One Heard Her Scream, No One Left to Tell, & No One Lives Forever.

“ … a dynamite debut … Dane’s smooth style, believable characters and intense pacing will remind readers of Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner and Tami Hoag. While Dane’s debut is being marketed as romantic suspense, it crosses over into plain thriller country: the tight plotting and the male characters are exceptional, bad guys and good.” –Publisher’s Weekly 12/10/07


Tina M. Russo said...

Good Morning, JORDAN!!

Now if you get time today please share your sale story. It is a whopper!!

Welcome to Seekerville. THRILLED AND KILLED to have you here.

Anonymous said...

Hey You--How's my fine friend this morning?

I like to tell people that I sacrificed a body part to write my debut novel--an aspiring author who'd go to ANY lengths to sell. LOL

I was home on medical leave from major surgery and wrote NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM during that 6 week period (for the most part). But after I finished it, I knew it was special and that it might be THE ONE.

But my FIRST SALE story really had more to do with author Sharon Sala's amazing generosity. Our chapter OK RWA has a Finish the Book Incenttive program and every year Sharon offers to read a full mystery/suspense novel and provide a light critique. And I took her up on that offer. One afternoon, she called me (breathless) saying "Honey, where do you have this?" And the rest is history.

She called her editor and agent and pitched me to them. In no time, I had her agent as mine. And in a 2 wk period, I had an auction going for my debut series. I now write for Avon Harpercollins.

Sharon has since read many many more manuscripts for our chapter and gotten other authors an agent. You talk about an angel walking the earth--that's our Sharon.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jordan, usually when Tina blows an author's horn I yawn, stretch and say, "Oh, yeah. Another one of Tina's friends..."

Not today. Your post shows an intuitive ear and eye for meshing a story that most of us would kill to have.


I'd kill.

The rest of these gals are probably too nice.

Except Tina.

And Camy.

Oops, and Mary, except that she's got so many contracts right now that she'll probably just nod in understanding.

Jordan, the sale story is great, and you've got me chomping at the bit, wishing I could have major surgery so that I could write a six-week killer book.

Pun firmly intended.

Tell us, did the next three sell on proposal or were they works you had in progress?

Sign me,

Slightly Jealous Author in the Company of Greatness

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jordan! Welcome to Seekerville. Great post! I especially love your story of Sharon opening doors that led to an auction, every author's dream. I met Sharon when I opened her workshop at RWA. I was totally impressed. And love her writing. I definitely want to read your books!


Julie Lessman said...

Welcome, Jordon, and WOW, what a publishing story!! And, gosh, you even have the perfect name for a thriller author ... Jordan Dane!!

Really enjoyed your post.


Anonymous said...

Hey there Janet--Great to hear from you. I saw your name on Tina's blog and wondered if you'd be here. Hope all is going fabulous for you.

Yes, Ruth, I consider myself a friend of Tina's--and I openly admit it. I love her writing and her sense of the business too. And Sharon also helped Tina get her agent--one we share. Sharon and I are a big believers in this girl.

To answer your question, Ruth, I had 2 out of the 3 first series completed with 6 chaps into the final book also done. And when I was looking at almost 2 years for my books to be released (we needed to find a spot for the back to back releases), I knew I'd be twindling my thumbs without a contract to be writing for. And I was worried that anything I wrote might not fit what they wanted. (All of us are insecure, aren't we?)

So I drafted a proposal for a romantic thriller series - The Sweet Justice series - based on my take of my editor's idea of a Charlie's Angels concept. (If you knew me better, you'd be chuckling to think I'd do a straight Charlie's Angel thing.) But I put my darker twist onto it and updated the story concept and my editor loved it. We did another 3-book deal and I'm writing those stories now. Not one of them had been done.

The proposal was amazingly sparse too. I'm such an impatient writer. I sold on a 1-page synopsis of the first book and a cover letter with sketchy ideas on how the 3 books would fall together. In a nut shell, I had no idea what the hell I was doing--and now I'm writing it. LOL

I turned in the first book of that series on Jan 2 and both my agent and editor loved it. Whew!


Anonymous said...

Hey Julie--Good morning! Grab some coffee and pull up a chair.

My perfect writer name is a pen name. Avon wanted a more sound bite friendly name for advertising and my real name is always misspelled and mispronounced so it made sense that if they were spending marketing dollars on me, I could come up with a cool writer name.

I now go by JD for most things and some people only know me by this name. As a new author with a growing brand, I feel it's important to stick to it in my formative years. :)

Jordan (whoever the hell she is)

Anonymous said...

Janet--It was funny about Sharon. She was THRILLED to be involved with my sale story and loved getting the updates from me. But after I sold, she got antsy and wanted to do the same for others. She made an announcement on our loop that she'd read anyone's MS and proceeded to do just that. Another pubbed historical author - Georgina Gentry - did the same and everyone in our chapter got a boost of support. I think Sharon got 3 more authors an agent and she got involved with another chaptermate and is working that now too. (I'm involved too. Helping this friend figure out what my editor wants at Avon. My editor Lucia Macro is a dream come true.)

When I tried to thank Sharon by sending her some orchids, she replied, "Honey, did you know these were orchids?" And she also asked me not to try and thank her--to just do it for someone else when I have the clout to do it. The pay it forward concept is a great way to pay back. Don't you think that's a way to live your life?


CrystalGB said...

Good to see you here. Your book sounds interesting. Great publishing post.

Anonymous said...

Hey there Crystal--I belong to a number of professional orgs now--for mystery, crime fiction, and thrillers. And so many don't give romance its due. Romance adds depth of emotion to a story. And it's an added complexity to think about as you write the story.

But it's funny. Many of these other writers admit that romance sells and that it's doing better than other genres that are having a low point. I've noticed they've added romance panels to their conferences. Although the thriller writers call it SEX panels. LOL

There is a certain redemption quality to romance that satisfies readers and women make up a huge part of the reading market. I;ve converted some of my thriller friends and they are now coming to San Francisco for RWA to see what it's all about.


Anonymous said...

Do any of you write a cross genre story? Or do you have to follow strict guidelines within your respective houses?

So far, I've had plenty of flexibility from Avon and I keep stretching. I find I need that to keep ME interested.


Hannah said...

just reading that makes me want to read her book now! i've never heard of jordan dane before...

Anonymous said...

Hello Hannah--What types of books do you like to read? And how much romance satisfies you in a plot?


Tina M. Russo said...

I wonder what or if there is a difference between cross genre writing and not having a clue where your book will fit in the market niche, lol.

You don't write to the trends which is brave and trail blazing and scary in some regards. Only a really excellent writer can do that. But then again I know that you learned the rules before you thought about or subconsciously broke them.

What is your next series about? New lead characters?

Tina M. Russo said...

I think quite a few Seekers are genre benders. Camy Tang introducted Asian Chic lit to the inspirational market. Total trail blazing there.

Julie Lessman has really stretched the perceived RULES on relationships and reality in inspirational romance..stretched them so they reflect reality.

Ruth is an oddball..he he. She really does genre bend and is a bit of a stone soup writer in a very exciting way.

I think I write ethnic light mystery, romantic comedy and while I have gotten category attention I can tell they do not know what to do with me. HA!!

Anonymous said...

I KNOW you write out of the box, T. And I also know you feel like I do that sacrificing your voice and story ideas is not worth it. My heart wouldn't be in it if I had to write to a formula or follow "rules" to be pubbed.

Yeah, I did know the rules before I broke them, choosing to stay the course and keep plugging away with my type of book. I had a day job and felt like the worst that could happen was that I never got pubbed. But I had decided that writing was something I'd do even if I never got pubbed. It had become too much a part of me.

My next series is mind boggling. I'm soooo excited about it. It's my Sweet Justice series and a 3-book romantic thriller series. Let me look for the official plug and I'll post that plus more. Just a sec



Mary Connealy said...

Jordan, the idea of looking at your bookshelf to decide what genre to write in is perfect. I read avidly (okay, compulsively) and I mainly love suspenseful romantic comedy. So that's what I write.
And Barbour is being so great about letting me write in different genres. My long books are all historical, suspenseful, romantic comedies. But I'm writing for their cozy mystery line Heartsong Mysteries and their sweet romance line Heartsong Presents, and those are both contemporary (at least my books are)

Anonymous said...

I sold three more books to Avon in May 2007 and I just finished the first book in that romantic thriller series. I’m so excited about it. Here is a sneak peek of the first book and at the thriller series:

“An illusive web of imposters on the Internet lures a deluded teen from her Alaskan home and launches a chain reaction collision course with an unlikely tangle of heroes. This is the initial driver to a new 3-book series from suspense author Jordan Dane and Avon HarperCollins. With an international setting, these romantic thrillers will focus on the lives and loves of three women—a bounty hunter operating outside the law, an ambitious vice cop, and a former international operative with a mysterious past.”

I used to live in Alaska (10 years) and I love that the story weaves in and out of that setting. And I really think I’ve hit a break through in my writing with this book (#4) that I’m tentatively calling EVIL WITHOUT A FACE. It’s an ambitious plot and very fast paced, based on a real crime that happened in 2004 in Florida. My cast of characters are amazing and fun to write. I love being in their world. I’m writing book#5 THE WRONG SIDE OF DEAD—feeling like I’ve come home to old friends. This series electrifies me.

And my favorite character in this series is Jessica Beckett, my Fugitive Recovery Agent. She’s much braver than I’d ever be and she’s scarred both physically and mentally by her past, yet her inner strength is so resilient. Her scars are the imperfections in us all. But one of her most endearing traits is that she’s a real smart-ass. (Imagine me writing someone like that.) Normally, I fall in love with my male characters, but this woman has stolen my heart on so many levels.


Mary Connealy said...

And I consider that I almost invented my genre, too.
When I finished Petticoat Ranch I was looking for books like it, for marketing purposes, as in to say to an editor, "See How Successful this book is? There is definitely a market for my book."
But I couldn't find any. I mean literally, a historical western, suspense, romantic comedy, inspirational.

There are actually more of them out there now so maybe I caught a wave.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mary---It totally amazes me how an author can write multiple genres and for some authors--to more than one house. I don't know how you write the many voices you do.

(see me on my knees saying, "I;m not worthy...not worthy.)

And I love unexpected humor in my stories too. I tried romantic comedies and loved them, but my brand of humor is very subtle and dry so it works better as a thread to dialogue or inserting it into strange moments in my suspense.

Do you find it hard to build a brand in any particular genre? And how do you carve out your time to write in hte multiple voices? That's what boggles my mind. Kudos to you, Mary.


Anonymous said...

Oh and Tina--Book#4 is the one your dear sweet hubby helped with my Internet/computer questions. He's going into the acknowledgements.

One of the secondary characters, Seth Harper, is a young computer genius with a mysterious backstory that no one knows but him. Every time he was on the page, I wrote him with more elements of mystery (kind of like the TV show LOST--all questions and no answers). He does his thing and helps a young girl find her way home, but at the end of the book, he disappears too. And the book I'm writing now, goes more into his story.

But he turned out to be a real surprise. Since I don't plot ahead of time, I fell in love with his character and so did my agent. After she read it, she called me the next day and asked about him right off. She cracks me up.


Betty S said...

Hello Jordan,
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Hopefully you aren't still sacrificing body parts for every manuscript. Although, that would be a heck of a weight loss program.

Betty Sanders

Anonymous said...

Yeah Betty!!! Thanks for hanging out here with us.

It's funny, my agent and I joked about what other body parts I could spare. Anything for the cause.

I am a complete pantser. I wish I could be better organized, but my impatience gets the better of me and I just want to write. But I do have a hybrid way of plotting.

Before I sold, I would write the first 3 chaps and then a synopsis of 5-7 pgs. That would be my general outline. But after I sold, and with Avon, I don't necessarily need a synopsis any more. Not all houses are like this.

But I tend to think about my plot ahead of time and come up with my 'big ticket' items--action start, black moment, climactic ending and other elements--then I work them into the storyline as I go. With crime fiction and mystery elements, I weave them into the story and sometimes have to go back through my previous pages to bolster plot points, but when you are writing full time, it's easier to do that.

I have many articles on writing and update them often on my website at in the FOR WRITERS section. As I do speaking engagements or articles for blogs/magazines etc, I add to those. I love networking with other authors and readers.


Anonymous said...

As for my writing process, Betty, I see books in my head like a movie unfolding. When I first discovered that I didn't need the storyline to be linear, I really got excited about that. So like the movies or TV, I leap from scene to scene with the essence of the plot moving forward. It's all about pace.

And today's suspense reader (in general) is similar to the blockbuster movie audience. You've got to get their attention fast and keep moving. So early on, I dabbled with the 9-Act structure for screenplays when I thought about plot. This is on my webpage too under the FOR WRITERS section. It's similar to the hero's journey.


Betty S said...

I'm actually at work, stealthily following the blog. Stealth is not a finely honed skill for me, so we'll see how this goes.

How has your writing schedule and process changed since you've switched to writing as a full-time career?


Audra Elizabeth said...

Awesome story Jordan!

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Great article. Thanks, Tina for scooping her up!


Cheryl Wyatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Betty's Question:

How has your writing schedule and process changed since you've switched to writing as a full-time career?

Quite frankly, I wonder how I ever did it before--working a full time job with travel and writing full time too. Back then, I wrote an MS in 6-7 months doing it mainly 3 hrs every night and longer on weekends. I had no life, but still don't LOL

But I do find that I have more quality time with my characters and it showed in this last story. That story was very complex to write--multiple points of view, many characters, plenty of action and mystery, with a thriller pace. It turned out to be 128,000 words and the longest story I had written but when I was done, I was soooo excited about it.

I also spend way to much time on the business side of things. My main job right now is to write. I've pushed back on some promo stuff--letting my house take over with their big marketing efforts--and focused on my writing. It's what I love anyway. And I've got a publicist to pick up the slack too.


Anonymous said...

Hey Cheryl--It's been a long time since I'd chatted with you on contests at your Squirrel blog. How's it been going for you?


Kathy Bacus said...

Hi Jordan!

You already know I think your 'sale' story is the stuff dreams are made of, girl--and also richly deserved. I am continually amazed at the collective support and selfless giving found in the writing community as your story--and you--reflect.

I know what you mean about genre bending. The spines of my books tell the tale. My first two Calamity Jayne books were classified as contemporary romances. With the third, the spine changed to 'romantic mystery'. Basically, though, they're mystery hybrids: an element of this and an element of that.

You have so many exciting projects coming up. Do you work on more than one project at the same time or devote your writing time exclusively to one project through to its completion?


Anonymous said...


>>>I mean literally, a historical western, suspense, romantic comedy, inspirational.

Your comment cracked me up. But doesn't a good story matter most? I say let the publishing industry figure out where to shelve you.

After my editor read my last story, she wanted to have one of those great conversation you have with your editor on your future. It was amazing. But she had no idea I was doing promo of my work in the crime fiction, mystery & thriller worlds and getting well received there. Avon is marketing me as romantic suspense, but my books have other elements too. I figure that gives me more flex in a tight market.

So I think my editor has her thinking cap on and pondering where else I can go with my work. Hmmmmm


Melanie Dickerson said...

That's it. I'm moving to Oklahoma.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kathy--Great to see you here. This feels like home now.

And yes, I know your work too. Cross genre is very much what you do and with your law enforcement background, I'd love to see you what you can do with a suspense plot. That would be awesome!!

>>>You have so many exciting projects coming up. Do you work on more than one project at the same time or devote your writing time exclusively to one project through to its completion?<<<<

Unlike you, my dear, I have tunnel vision and only like to work one project at a time. As a pantser, it keeps me plugged into my characters more and I love probing all their little idiosyncracies and motivations to make for a deeper emotional element. For me to pull away to write another story--or something with humor or a lighter touch--I'd go insane. (well, more insane)


Anonymous said...


We do have a wonderful chapter. I feel blessed to have moved here. Being originally from San Antonio, I never thought I'd be north of the Red River, but now I'm smack dab in the middle of Okieville and loving it.

But our chapter of Okie Outlaws is amazing. And our new program director--Donnell Epperson--talented author--has ramped up our meetings with real substance for all of us. The aspiring authors are loving it.

We have long distance members, like Tina here, but it really is special to BE here.


Anonymous said...

Hey Audra--What do you write? I noticed you're age and I love that fact you are writing. I did too. But I set my passion aside thinking I could never make a living at it. HA!!!!!

Keep up the good work, girl. You never know...


Anonymous said...

What a world we live in...

While I'm chatting here, I noticed quite a few international hits on my website, especially a curious person from Germany. I sold my first series for German translation so it might be someone from there, but it reminds me of how the globe is a much more accessible space. Borders are non-existent on the internet--which is one of the premises of my book#4. The world can be exhilarating and scary at the same time--and if criminals can hide behind the blur of jurisdictional lines, then who is in the best position to pursue such criminals.

LOL The mind of a suspense author is very strange.


Tina M. Russo said...


This is so true. I catalogued your books at our library.They were in fiction. Then the one came out with mystery on the spine and we moved the entire bunch of them to the mystery section. :)

I like libraries that leave all the genres, subgenres and sub sub genres in with all the ha ha pure fiction. Because sometimes the label helps and often times it hinders a reader from trying something new.

Anonymous said...

In Australia, they are pushing to create a crime fiction section that would encompass all subgenres (noir, mystery, thriller, police procedural, etc). I'm thinking this might be a good idea for crime based books. The simpler the publishing world makes it for the reader, the better.

But I do wonder about romance suspense. If it got lumped into crime fiction, would that make it more difficult for readers to find these books?

How do we hear about new authors these days with book reviews going away from the newspaper?

I used to look for book selections from the bestsellers lists, but thank God I've found online resources & other places like Crimespace, for example, to give me resources that point me in the direction of new authors.


Tina M. Russo said...

This is why you should love a librarian. I can't tell you how many times patrons go to the desk and ask for a suggestion. Even if they have your book, go in and give them a few and tell them they can use them for library contest give aways. Give them your card and ask them to call if they need a speaker--or if they have a book group or a writers group that meets there. Most pay a modest honorarium too.

Mary Connealy said...

I have to insert here that "No One Heard Her Scream" is a lot better than my last title idea...

The Long and Winding Rodent

It's a large mouse story....

Anonymous said...

Libraries are great places to get connected to. As a kid, I loved being in a library too.

I've heard authors like the wonderful Merline Lovelace and others talk about it being a great place for a speaking gig. And if the crowd is large enough, you can get the help of a retail bookseller to transact for you as you sign afterwards.

I love libraries. :)


Mary Connealy said...

We love stealth bloggers at Seekerville, Betty.

Tina M. Russo said...

I am just cracking up...I mean more than usual.

Anonymous said...

Here's some sequels for you, Mary!!

Rats...the other white meat

A Sermon on Vermin

The Yellow Brick Rodent


Anonymous said...

Mary--There were other title ideas for my "No One" series.

At Christmas time, I sent out a family newsletter entitled



PS - There were others, but I'd be censored...

Anonymous said...

My poor old dog has to go outside to pee on a cold day like this...

Just think about doing that for your WHOLE LIFE...

Yet another reason to celebrate the life of Thomas Crapper.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Dying laughing here...

Tina, can we keep her? Huh? Please?

We'll be good, we promise!!!!!!!!

Jordan, I love your humor, dry, quick and to the point.

And Betty, I like your weight loss plan, just leave me heart and lungs, I think everything else must be extraneous...

For proper stealth blogging, just make sure you put an intelligent look on your face, as if you're studying something of great note on the monitor to enable you to do your job better.

No one will catch on, especially if you pretend to jot a note or two in longhand from time to time.


Anonymous said...

I'm practicing that studious look now, Ruthy. And making the occasional note...

so far, my dog and cats are not impressed.

Maybe if I did it with a steak behind my ear...


Mary Connealy said...

Yeah, but if someone reads her note and she had The Yellow Brick Rodent on it, she'll have some splaining to do.

Mary Connealy said...

I say let the industry figure out where to shelve you.

That's fine, Jordan, once you're published.

I'm picturing myself now, sitting in front of a potential editor at a writer's conference and she says, "How would you market your book? Are there other books out there like yours?"

I wave a lofty hand at her and say, "That is your job."

Oh, yeah, that's gonna sell.

Anonymous said...

Mary---I'm sure you'd find a much more diplomatic way of saying that. (Hopefully)

In actuality, any editor will fit you into their idea on how to market you--otherwise they wouldn't buy you in the first place. But you're right, once you are sold, then any added dimension to your work gives you that much more flex in marketing you and in promo.

But I've also seen authors pitch work that isn't selling well at the moment and you can see the editor or agent turning their mind off to it at that very moment. I would propose you pitch an aspect of your work that would be popular in today's market (an aspect that isn't a lie) and let them decide what you are when they read you.

I come from a long sales career. And from that experience I came away with a notion. Whenever I pitch, my main goal is to get them to take a proposal on a partial or full. I say enough to get that done. In some instances, less is more. Pick a strategy and pitch it. And read their body language to see if you've interested them or lost them. It's in their eyes.


Anonymous said...

>>"How would you market your book? Are there other books out there like yours?"<<

I know editors ask about how you would market your book, but seriously, that should be their job for the biggest part of any sales you'd have. If their distribution isn't broad enough, then they tend to ask what an author would be willing to do to sell their own books. And that's a whole 'nother topic too.

Any marketing strategy you'd develop would entail your online presence, website, blogs, memberships in professional orgs, willingness to attend conferences and do speaking gigs (if any) and that tends to satisfy them without you having to talk about how your genre fits into their line.

But it does make a difference in how much your house supports you marketing wise. It's been my experience that larger houses don't ask these questions, but it seems everyone is having to do promo these days to some extent--some more than others.


Kim said...

This was a great post, but these comments have been wonderfully entertaining! Some good information in there too! ;-)

I love suspenseful romance, so this author is one I'll be jotting on my "to be read" list!

And as for libraries? I have the BEST library in the world for such a small town! I am TIGHT with my librarians and they order any book I request! How's that for cool?


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kim! And having a great connection with your library is wonderful. A library is one of my favorite places to be. I'm addicted to the smell of books too...a fond memory from my youth.

And being able to remember that far back? Priceless...


Anonymous said...

Hey Tina--I'll be on a little later today to catch up on any later comments, but I really wanted to thank you for having me today. This was fun and it was great to see some familiar faces.

Happy writing and reading everyone!! Catch you later.


Lorna said...

I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long time! Jordan, I can so see why your story is sprinkled with humor and I certainly hope your sacrificing of body parts has come to end. That could get -- difficult. Thank you for taking to share your story!

Anonymous said...


Obviously you have not seen my tukus... :)


Carla Capshaw said...

Great blog, Jordan! I LOVE it when good people succeed as well as you have. I'm looking so forward to Scream. Can't wait!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Carla. It does take skill for any of us to write a manuscript, but part of my success took all the ability of me getting struck my 'auction' lightening. An Act of God...and plenty of good luck.

Getting in front of that one editor who will buy you requires guts to expose your work to criticism. It's not easy as many authors will tell you. And even after you get pubbed, you can still see rejections...or bad reviews. It never really stops.

Writing is risking your heart time and time again. But I found it's still a journey worth taking.


Janet Dean said...

Hey Jordan, I agree that paying it forward is a great way to live our lives, but do you have any idea how rare this is? Great to hear it's spreading in your chapter. :-)

It was great having you in Seekerville!

Another JD

Tina M. Russo said...

Thanks for being with us, JD.

Ausjenny said...

wow you ladies have been busy.
Jordan, i agree with the reading. i didn't know there were all the sub catagories in books till this past year. I didn't know chick lit was a catagory!
If i was asked what i like to read its a mixture. i have romance, histrical fiction and contempory.
(some of the histrical history is more for the history like Gilbert morris's books)
I like a bit of mystery also but not into suspense like Ted Dekker books. I like the chick lits also.

like that Australia is creating a broader catagory (but then im an aussie) but it could make it harder to find the romance books but then most christian fiction is mainly sold in christian book stores and the big ones here Word and Koorong put the books by author not in catagory. you have to search alphabeticly
I haven't seen alot of Christian fiction in the other bookshops (although i dont get to them much and when i go im normally looking for sports books) but even online i haven't seen much Christian fiction there.
I enjoyed the blog today

Missy Tippens said...

I'm a day late and a dollar short, as my mom always says. But I've enjoyed catching up and reading the comments. Thanks so much for being with us in Seekerville (yesterday), Jordan! Thanks especially for your "less is more" on pitching those book ideas. I like that! :)


Anonymous said...

It was my pleasure being here. You guys were great. And many of you contacted me through my website afterwards. This is such a fun group. Ask me back anytime.

Love ya, Tina!!!