Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Five Things You Can Do Now to Make Life Easier After Contract

by Historical Author Kristi Ann Hunter.

Kristi Ann Hunter here, honored to be sharing with my fellow Seekers for the first time. As you stand on the beach of Unpubbed Island, looking through your binoculars at the shores of success, it’s easy to forget the waves crashing between the two places. Most of us want it so badly we would happily wade into the waters with little more than our completed manuscripts and a couple of arm floaties, ready to build a raft as we go.

When I signed my contract with Bethany House, I plunged in with a giddiness normally reserved for three year olds and puppies. Or maybe a three year old with a puppy. I knew my book was ready. I knew I was ready.

I was so wrong. The book was ready, but I certainly wasn’t. I discovered so many things I suddenly had to do differently. In some ways I felt like I was starting anew learning how to write all over again. Some of it was fun, but it was also difficult.

My Seekerville Unpubbed Island sand with the very first
copy of A Noble Masquerade. Dreams do come true!
The beauty of lessons learned, though, is that sometimes we have the opportunity to impart those lessons to others. So today, for my fellow Seekers, I want to share five things you can start doing now that will make your life abundantly easier when that glorious contract comes around.

1. Set Deadlines and Schedules 
Before you link up with a publisher, your writing time is your own. If it takes you a year to do edits, no one is going to call you on it.

Once you sell your book it’s a different story. Change requests will come and you’ll have a matter of weeks to complete them. If they contract you for more than one book, you’ll have to write under deadline, while editing the first book and determining your marketing plan.

Life doesn’t get simpler with a contract. Do yourself a favor and regiment yourself now, so that scheduling doesn’t add to your stress later. Use contests, critique groups, agents, and beta readers as deadlines if you aren’t disciplined enough to hold yourself to a set goal.

2. Determine your manuscript's Must-Haves and let go of the rest. 
This is perhaps the hardest thing to do, but if you are going down the path of traditional publishing there are going to be other people who have a say in your book.

During the edits of A Noble Masquerade, there was one particular scene that my editor kept coming back to. I was in love with this scene. I had worked it and blocked it and to me it was fabulous. Not so much to them. After three rounds of edits, we scrapped the scene and I wrote one from scratch that we were all pleased with.

Look at your story now and decide what elements you’re willing to fight for. Then consider the rest of it fair game. Your editor has a vested interest in your book doing well. They’re going to give it deeper attention than your average freelance editor. The sooner you recognize that semblance of joint ownership, the sooner you’ll work out a product both you and your editor are happy about.

3. Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
If you’re a fan of Pinterest you might do this already, but everyone needs to take the time to gather relevant pictures as you write your book. Even if you aren’t a visual person, there’s a very, very important member of your team that is.

Your cover designer.

Graphics teams don’t have the time to read every book the publishing house puts out, particularly if you sign with a larger press. They rely on information given to them by you and the editors when they make your cover.

The more information you can give them, the better. Don’t just send them covers of books you like and expect them to copy that concept. Show them outfits, furniture, eye color, settings, cars, buildings, etc. I send 5-6 page documents filled with pictures that include facial expressions, significant story symbols, and sometimes even still shots from movies that are similar to particular scenes in my book.

By and large your art team is made up of pictorial thinkers – hence the career in graphics. Communicate with them in the best way you can and you’re more likely to get a cover you love.

4. Pay Attention to Other Launches. 
The day you sign your contract will be a day of celebration and untold excitement. Possibly even the most exciting one you can remember.

Until the day your book comes out, that is.

After months of work, countless exposures of your innermost emotions, and endless nervous anticipation, your book will be released into the world. The amount of fanfare accompanying that release is frequently up to you.

Take the time now to notice how other people are handling (or not handling) the launch of their book. What do you like or not like about what they’re doing? What elements could you use? Which ones could you replace? Do you want a Facebook party, a bookstore gathering, or are you going to just quietly slip it in with a twitter mention and a change of your Facebook cover image? Who has the best give-a-ways?

Having an idea of what you want to do makes conversations with your publicist and publishing house much smoother and saves you the panic of wondering what to do as the time draws closer.

5. Know what you want to write next. 
This summer, I was eagerly awaiting the release of my free prequel novella, A Lady of Esteem. While preparing for the novella’s launch, I received the manuscript galleys for A Noble Masquerade. In the meantime, my deadline for the next book was looming.

Most traditional publishers build a decent sized lead time into their schedule. I turn in a book roughly a year before it comes out. This provides time to fix any snafus as well as get the book to the appropriate early readers and set up promotion.

If you wait for the entire cycle to complete on one book before writing the next, you’ll have an excruciatingly long distance between books. Some fans won’t care, but you’ll lose a lot of others. Know what you want to write next. If you can sell it to the house early enough, your book releases can be put on a bit of a pattern, helping you maintain momentum with readers.

Remember that you aren’t simply writing a story, you’re creating a book that will be the foundation for a career. The more good habits you can start now, the better off you’ll be when you leave the shores of Unpubbed Island.

Win an early copy of A Noble Masquerade
A Noble Masquerade doesn't officially release until September, but one lucky commenter will win it before then, receiving one of my author copies hot off the press.

If you don't win, take heart! Everyone can download the prequel novella, A Lady of Esteem for free from most eBook retailers, including Amazon.

About A Noble Masquerade:
Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother's old school friend, a duke--with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she's heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother's new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned. 

When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men--one she's never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda's heart is far from all that's at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

About Kristi Ann Hunter:
Kristi graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science, but always knew she wanted to write. She is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner , an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. Currently she lives in Georgia with her husband, children, and three lively pet rocks. She believes in the power of stories and the way they allow people to communicate. Find out more about Kristi and her books at her website,


Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome, Kristi Ann! You have Seeker sand!!! Whoa, I forgot all about Seeker sand. How cool is that. And you sold to a wonderful publisher! Congratulations!

Tina Radcliffe said...

And you obviously did a fantastic job of conveying your cover inspiration as yours is gorgeous!!!

More information on your prequel pretty please??

Cindy W. said...

Congratulations Kristi Ann on your release of your debut novel! How exciting!

The cover of your book is beautiful! The story has drawn my attention and I would love to win a copy. Thank you for your generosity!

Have a blessed day!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Good morning, Kristi Ann! Thank you so much for being here, and as I read your points, I nodded at each and every one, but especially the one about preparation for timing: Using contests, et al to create deadlines if you don't have enough self-discipline to do it on your own. Such a good point, and crazy helpful.

Recreating the timeline/schedule of a published author helps us to prepare for when that call comes! You are crazy smart!

I brought Napoleans this morning to share, mostly because I haven't had one since last year about this time... and they're soooo good!

Kristi, also, the use of a love triangle... I don't see that often anymore, and that takes some skillful handling! GO YOU!!!!

Piper Huguley said...

Great reminders, Kristi Ann. It's good to let folks know about #2 especially--these copyeditors have been letting me have it....sigh. Congrats on all of your success and I look forward to your book launch!

Jackie said...

Congratulations, Kristi Ann!

Thanks so much for sharing these tips.

Yesterday Dan Balow said in his post on Steve Laube we need to have a website, not just a blog. Can anybody recommend an easy way to start this? As in 'user friendly?"

Thanks so much!

Tracey Hagwood said...

Hi Kristi,
I have your novella on my kindle and will be reading it next week while on vacation at the beach. I love the cover of your new book, but the title is what has me intrigued. I'm drawn to books with titles such as yours that hint at the contents without revealing all.

I hope your new release exceeds all your wildest writing dreams!

Debby Giusti said...

Morning all and a huge welcome to Kristi! I had the honor of judging her work a few years back. After the first few lines, I knew she was an outstanding writer who would have a wonderful career in publishing. She's so talented!

In honor of Kristi, I've brought an egg and sausage casserole, assorted rolls and pastries, fresh fruit and grits. The coffee's hot. Tea is also available. Enjoy!

Debby Giusti said...

Agreeing with Tina...Kristi's cover is beautiful!

Debby Giusti said...

Cindy, seems we're all drawn to the cover. I know the story will be equally as inticing. Can't wait to read.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Wow! So much love so early in the morning. It's better than caffeine.

Tina, I'm the second owner of that particular bottle of Seeker sand. I was very blessed to have it passed on to me.

The best thing about the prequel is that it's free! Woohoo! The title is A Lady of Esteem and you can get details and buy links on my website or just look for it wherever you buy eBooks.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Ruth, I know contests were a huge help in motivating me to finish things. I don't have the discipline to hold myself to my own deadlines!

Debby Giusti said...

Morning Ruthy!
So true about the importance of writing toward a deadline, which always moves me along. Setting your own before the first contract is a great learning tool.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Jackie, I use for my website, though my email and domain name are through 1&1. You don't need any technical savvy to set up a Wix site, so that might be a good place to start.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Tracie, I hope you enjoy A Lady of Esteem!

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

I'm so glad everyone likes the cover. I have to tell you I just saw the concept for my next cover and it's even more gorgeous. I danced it around the living room. Hopefully I'll have a final version in a few weeks that I can share with all of you.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Piper, best of luck on those edits! As difficult as they are they are completely worth it.

Debby Giusti said...

Kristi, love that Seeker sand was passed on to you! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Waving to Piper! See you at M&M? Hope so.

Piper Huguley said...

It's all over now...I'm just whining about it in hindsight. :) Have a great day!

Debby Giusti said...

Jackie, I'm interested in what folks say about websites. My first was a Go Daddy that I created. Easy and not much expense.

Piper Huguley said...

Hey Debby!

Waving back! No M&M for me. I went to three conferences this year and I'm all tapped out! So good to see you in New York though!

Debby Giusti said...

Tracy, enjoy your vaca and Kristi's story!

Debby Giusti said...

Piper, I didn't see you enough in NYC! We were all so busy. Will miss you at M&M. I'm not going to ACFW this year and opted for the Writers Police Academy instead. Will hate not seeing everyone in Dallas.

J. Hilton Steele said...

The one about next things is one I've really been thinking about. I'm always thinking series. But this is a good reminder in all you list about the pros and cons of traditional and indie pubs. Thanks for starting my day with pondering.

Blessings on your release.

Peace, Julie

Mz.ZeyZey said...

Love all the information in this post! It definitely gives us unpublished writers something to think about while we are waiting to hear back on submissions--er, writing the next book. I've only done two and a half of the things on this list, so I must get busy.

Love the sound of your debut! Please enter me in the drawing to win an author copy!

Jill Weatherholt said...

Congratulations on your release, Kristi! The cover is absolutely stunning.
Your post couldn't have come at a better time for me. On Monday, I received "the call"...unfortunately my phone was at the bottom of my purse, but eventually I answered. This is great information, thank you so much. Now my stomach feels as though I've been caught in a storm at sea. :)

Janet Dean said...

Kristi Ann, Welcome to Seekerville! Thanks for sharing your savvy advice for those waiting on Unpubbed Island and for us published writers.

Love your cover! The story blurb is intriguing.

Grinning at the bottle of Seekerville sand and tickled it was passé on to you.

Did you decide to do the prequel novella or did Bethany House ask you to do it?


Kav said...

Ohhhhhhh -- this is why I love Seekerville so much. Always introducing us to new authors!!!! Thank you so much! I'm uber excited over A Noble Masquerade! Love the cover too and the story sounds fantastic.

This is an interesting list -- wouldn't have thought about the pictures at all. I'm not someone who goes hunting down images of her hero and heroine...mind you I'm also not someone who remembers to describe them either. Obviously there's a connection there so I'm adopting picture collecting as my takeaway homework today!

kaybee said...

Kristi Ann, I LOVE THIS! Good practical advice for things we don't think about.
This doesn't work for everybody, but I'm writing the sequel to my "first" novel while I shop it around. I want to be ready, as Seeker Mary Connealy frequently exhorts us. (Well, maybe not so frequently, but it's one thing I've taken away from her blogs.) When I place my first novel, I'll have the sequel ready to go, or at least a serviceable draft so the editor can see where I'm going. I am also working on a (very early) draft of the sequel to my other "first" novel, so I can offer a package when that one sells. I don't want to be caught short.
I also have self-imposed deadlines. It makes sense even at this stage of my career (as unpublished as you can get), because IF I DON'T WRITE I DON'T WRITE. I organize by project and chunks of time rather than daily or weekly. For example, I gave myself until September to finish the draft I'm working on, and I'm on target for that. Then I'll give myself Sept. and Oct. to do edits on another story, finishing up in time for a NANO project.
The place I really fall down is in marketing and social media. I do go on social media (OBVIOIUSLY, I'm here today), but I find it hard to market when I've got nothing to market!
I haven't done anything with the visual images and I really need to get on that, also to get my daughter to show me How To Use Pinterest. Sigh. I have the pictures in my mind of what things and people look like, but I need to ramp it up for other people.
Contests are a huge motivator for me because most of them require a finished book.
Thank you for a real nuts-and-bolts post.
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

DEBBY, thank you for a great breakfast.

Carolyne Aarsen said...

Dear Kristi Ann, Toasting you with my mug of Earl Grey tea from The Great White North. Thanks so much for such a good post. Lots of helpful information here for writers unpublished and published. I really want to emphasize #5 - Know what you want to write next - and I'm glad you brought it up. So many writers I've met pour everything into that first book and don't think past that so when they get a contract they are scrambling to write, in a few month's time, what took them years the first time. Or, an editor will look at the first book, give it a pass but ask what else you might have. "Nothing" is not the right answer. So, yeah, write that second book, or third. Each book teaches you something. I also want to emphasize that your editor is your partner, not your adversary. So when you get corrections back he or she is not slapping you on the wrist. They are doing their job just like you are doing yours.

And I LOVED the bottle of sand from Seekerville Island! Such a good reminder that yes, it does happen! Blessings to you on your writing career. I'm so intrigued by A Noble Masquerade I've put it on my To Read list. Sounds like a captivating story!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning KRISTI ANN, What great advice. There are so many things we can do ahead of publication so that we re primed and ready when you get that call. Thanks for the wonderful list.

And I know RUTHY is jumping for joy with your last piece of advice. Be ready to start that next novel. woo hoo.

Have fun today and thanks again for joining us here in Seekerville.

ps. Love the cover of your book.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

For those of you like Julie who are writing a series, take some time to wrap those series thoughts up in Series Proposal so that when your agent or publisher indicates an interest you'll be ready to present it. A Noble Masquerade is the first in a four book series (five if you include the prequel novella).

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Jill, congrats on getting "the call"! That's an exciting moment you'll always remember. I hope you have relatively smooth sailing over the next few months!

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Janet, the prequel novella had a very interesting life that could probably be a post in and of itself. It was my idea though, and was part of the initial proposal that I sent to Bethany House. A Lady of Esteem was the first story I ever finished and the one that convinced me to pursue writing. What you can download today, though, has very little resemblance to that first version, though, and it has had many revisions and rewrites along the way. At one point it was even a full length novel at 95,000 words.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Kav, it's great to meet you, too! :)

The gathering of pictures can definitely help you remember to describe things (and help you remember how you described them!) If you have space somewhere, consider putting the pictures relating to your current work on the wall so that the images are there to help you stay descriptive.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Kathy, I'm glad the post was helpful. Best of luck on your next round of contests! I am a contest baby myself so I completely believe in that route to publishing.

Wilani Wahl said...

Congratulations Kristi Ann! I love your cover and your book looks very interesting. I will be getting your Novella and would love an early copy of your book.

Hopefully one day I will be needing your tips. They will be very helpful even now as I prepare for that day.

DebH said...

Hi Kristi Ann. I am soooooooooooooo not ready to be published because I doubt I can hit any of the things you listed (well, except #3 - I'm a graphic artist so that comes easy). I'm worst at self-imposed deadlines. I appreciate you sharing what you've learned. A hearty CONGRATS on your debut book (with lovely cover, btw). I will wander over to Amazon for that freebie prequel (the price is right *grin*). I have a feeling it will whet my appetite for getting your book too. The authors who come through Seekerville tend to do that. I love getting introduced to new authors.

Thanks again for your insights. I know I appreciate the heads up.

Lyndee H said...

Hi Kristi Ann,
Thanks for the link to your prequel.

You've shared solid ideas. My adult daughter will LOVE that I am now motivated to become a member of Pintrest, thanks to your suggestion. The reason I've stayed away is I'm easily distracted. I will have to use my timer to limit my time there.

Myra Johnson said...

Welcome, Kristi Ann! Oh my, you are SO on target with all these points!

CAROLYNE said: "Or, an editor will look at the first book, give it a pass but ask what else you might have. 'Nothing' is not the right answer." Also very true!!! When you finish the first book, start on the next one as soon as you can. To gain a foothold in the publishing world, it's all about inventory!

Vince said...

Hi Kristi:

"If you want to be a successful writer you have to be willing to kill your children."

A speaker once started his talk with the above line. He meant: you have to be willing to kill some of your best writing because it is not right for the story you are writing. Sometimes this fact made F. Scott Fitzgerald so mad he'd take the deleted copy and write a Satruday Evening Post short story built around that deleted copy. He'd get $2,000 to $3,000 for the story and thumb his nose at Max Perkins! (Perhaps the best editor ever).

Talk about editing. Max Perkins spent almost a decade prodding F. Scott Fitzgerald to finish writing "Tender is the Night". Finally Scott sent two boxes of double-spaced typewritten pages to Max saying, "If you want it so bad, you edit it." Max did just that and that book looks like it! Just try reading that book.

Your wonderful advice given in this post is backed by everything I know. Great job!

I've had to do kill some of the best advertising copy I've ever written. It's hard but that is why there are editors.

It looks like your story is a Regency and the big question I always have with Regencies is: in which years does the story take place? I've read that Regency fans are the most picky and unforgiving in the romance genre. (And Janeists like me are sometimes the worst!:))

One of my favorite authors, who has published at least 100 romances, tried to write two Regencies and failed terribly. I always admire new authors who enter as Regency writers. Have you been a lifelong Regency fan? I'm going to get your novella today.

BTW: Are you going to the ACFW convention in Dallas? Today at noon central time is the last chance to enroll and save $100. For those with the luxury of being able to plan ahead, this is like a free $100. I can't plan more than a few days ahead but I'd love to go this year.

Please put me in the drawing if I can get a Kindle version. I don't do well reading most print books.


Barbara Scott said...

Kristi Ann, congrats on publishing with Bethany!!!! I'd frame that contract.

Even though my agent hasn't yet sold my series proposal, I'm taking the advice from one of the editors who declined. She suggested I set up my website and blog now. Since I'm rebooting my writing career after a 20-year hiatus and in a different genre, I was stumped.

But good friend and author buddy (also marketing genius) Sandie Bricker let me whine on her shoulder, and voila!, my website hopefully will go live soon. Yes, Virginia, you can start a website before you're published. Who knew?

I'd love a copy of A Noble Masquerade! Please throw my name into the Seekerville sand castle.

Debby Giusti said...

So excited about your good news!!! Whoo-hoo! Yes, the timing of this post is perfect for many of the Villagers.

Thanks for providing such great info, Kristi!

Debby Giusti said...

Kav, like you, I hadn't thought about pictures. Must rethink. I do description-lite, which you mentioned as well. Guess we're on the same track. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Kathy, glad you enjoyed breakfast! :)

Sounds as if you're doing everything right. Love that you're setting your own deadlines. And you have a sequel! Yay, you!

For social media, I vote for FB. Love interacting with folks, and I find it's a great way to make new friends. You don't have to have a new release to promote, just growing those friendships is important. Then, when you sell, you can announce your success, and they'll rejoice with you.

Like you, I need to get on Pinterest!

Debby Giusti said...

Lyndee, laughing along with you at the use of your timer. FB is my time drain. Not good when I'm on deadline.

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks for the info about the ACFW deadline, Vince! Are you planning to attend?

Jan Christiansen said...

What a great post! Thanks so much for the information.

Debby Giusti said...

Barbara, does Sandie create websites? Always good to have the name of a creative webmistress!

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Deb, I was also terrible with deadlines. Douglas Adams used to say he loved deadlines because he loved the whooshing sound they made as they flew by. The best thing I ever did to get me in the habit of making small deadlines and meeting them was join a critique group. The group didn't end up surviving, but because I had to have my stuff ready when it was my turn, it helped me form some better habits. You might could try something similar. Best of luck and whatever you do, keep writing!

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Lyndee, oh my goodness, yes Pinterest can absolutely suck your day away if you aren't careful.

Here's my free Pinterest tip for those of you looking to start boards with pictures for your book: You can make private boards. I have private boards for all of my books that I can then share with my editor and graphics department. Then when the book is published, I clean up the board and make it public so I can share it. (here's the A Lady of Esteem board: While I have physical inspirations on my private board, I do not put them on the public board because it messes up some people's internal idea of what the characters looked like. Hope that helps some of you!

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Vince, A Noble Masquerade is set in 1812-1813, so it's part of the actual Regency. Yes, it can be a bit daunting to right in that time period because as you say the readers are incredible knowledgeable of the history, but that also makes them so much fun to write for. I have always loved that time period because so much was going on and many things were entering a state of transition culturally, so you can make a story about almost anything.

Unfortunately I won't be at ACFW this year. I plan on going next year though.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

You're welcome, Jan. Glad you enjoyed the article.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

I'll be at M&M this year, Debby! I get to sign. I'm so excited!

Meghan Carver said...

Good morning, Kristi Ann! Your cover is gorgeous, and it sounds like a terrific story! Love your list. So many helpful points there. Thank you!

Debby Giusti said...

Yay, Kristi! Glad you'll be at the M&M...and sighing! Doesn't get any better than that!

BTW, to all those thinking about attending the M&M (Oct 2-4), the deadline is the end of AUG. Check it out at

M&M is a 250-300 person conference so it's not too large, but the programs are great, and it attracts a number of editors and agents. Plus the hotel and registration are both moderate, which means you get a good bang for your buck!

Kathryn Barker said...

Kristi Ann,

Happy congratulations with your first...wishing you many more...and thanks for the link to your prequel!

Great advice too!! Love Pinterest!! Not sure if it's relaxing or if I'm addicted!! But now I can tell myself I've been advised by experts to keep on pinning!! LOL

Contests are fun, but sometimes figuring out all the submission requirements takes LOTS of time for this old brain!!

Finishing my cuppa apricot-peach tea this morning...hoping to win a copy of A Noble Masquerade!!

Thanks for the helpful tips!!

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Meghan, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for stopping by!

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

I'm not sure what's funnier, that I'm now considered an expert or that I'm an enabler of your Pinterest addiction. ;)

Contests can be difficult, which is why I was always selective about which ones I entered. They take a lot of time but can have a significant return.

Enjoy your tea! Thanks for coming by.

Sandy Smith said...

Thanks for being here Kristi. I just downloaded A Lady of Esteem. Thanks for the advice which I will use if I ever get my book published. Of course, I have to finish writing it first. Making deadlines for myself is definitely something I need.

Please enter me in the drawing.


Chill N said...

Kristi Ann Hunter said...
While I have physical inspirations on my private board, I do not put them on the public board because it messes up some people's internal idea of what the characters looked like.

Thank you, thank you for that Kristi Ann! After reading the same book, friends and I sometimes have very different ideas about what characters look like even though the author provides plenty of info during the story. We all have strong imaginations, apparently :-)

Congratulations on your book release! May there be many, many more.

Nancy C

Julie Lessman said...


Excellent points, all, and invaluable to new authors and old (like moi) alike.

I downloaded A Lady of Esteem and look forward to reading it, along with your debut novel, of course. LOVE the cover, so I agree with Tina -- your input was obviously stellar!

Happy Launch Day and may your book fly off the shelves, both cyber and real!


Chill N said...

Jill! Congratulations on getting 'the call.' Thanks for sharing such terrific news.

Nancy C

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Thanks, Julie! I'm having a great time hanging out here today.

Heidi Robbins said...

Congratulations on your new release! I'm excited to read it and your novella! I love your advice about providing image research to the cover designer. It always bothers me a little when the cover doesn't match the vibe of the book or there is a discrepancy with how the author described something. And when a cover is just fabulous it makes me love the book even more :)
Please include me in the drawing!

Sally Shupe said...

Thanks for this great post! Congratulations on your new book. What was the scene that didn't make it into the book?

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Hey, Heidi. I am constantly amazed at how the graphics team at Bethany House keeps churning out such amazing covers. They really are lovely. Thanks for stopping by!

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Sally, it was a fight scene and it's still in the book, though in a completely different incarnation. The original was simply too complicated. The amount of time it took to show what was happening kept the book from moving forward. If I were making a movie, though, I'd have kept the original.

Debby Giusti said...

Kristi, fights scenes are hard. Glad you could rework yours. I'm sure both renditions took time to create.

You've started a run on Pinterest...and looks like lots of downloads of A Lady of Esteem. I'm headed to Amazon to get my copy. :)

Sarah Claucherty said...


I like using Wordpress for my sites! I have a blog (mostly book reviews) and a portfolio site via Wordpress, and I didn't have to do any coding or techie-whatnot. You can use a free theme provided by WP, or one you pay for from WP, or there are some website designers who will build you a site on WP for a fee. (Robin Lee Hatcher, another inspirational author, does this, for example.)

The nice thing about WP is your site can be a blog, a regular website, or a combination of both. There's a lot of flexibility and customization options available.

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Sarah, for the info about Wordpress.

Sarah Claucherty said...

Kristi, congratulations on the new book! I love the cover...that's my favorite pink! And regency inspirational fiction is one of my favorite eras :)

Sarah Claucherty said...

Anybody want some fresh homemade peach cobbler and French vanilla ice cream? Should be out of the oven soon! Mmm...sunny summer afternoons at home spent baking...

Sarah Claucherty said...


Great tips! I especially like the one about not sitting on your "I finished a book!" laurels and waiting till a book is completely published before starting the next project. As a writer and a reader, getting into a cycle is useful and more efficient, keeps your skills sharper, and keeps the readers happy! :)

Self-imposed deadlines can be difficult to stick to, but a calendar filled with the necessary timing and important dates helps me. Also, the occasional (bribe) incentive has been useful.

Or if all else fails, just ask Ruthy for a nudge! :)

Sarah Claucherty said...

Whoops! Kristi I almost forgot in the midst of raptures over your cover--please add my name to the drawing today!

Would love to win this novel!

Sally Shupe said...

So glad you could rework to make it fit. Thanks for sharing!

Cate Nolan said...

Good afternoon, Kristi,

Thanks for sharing such great tips. I was really lucky because I had well over a year from sale to my debut in October. Because they held the book for the holidays, it made it all the more leisurely for me, but that's deceptive too.

You said this -

"Ruth, I know contests were a huge help in motivating me to finish things."

They're also a great way of meeting other writers. Kristi and I "met" by seeking each other out when we were finalists together in a contest - I think it was Duel on the Delta.

Congrats on the release. I already have the novella, but please count me in for the drawing for A Noble Masquerade.


Cate Nolan said...

Oh - and for the website question, Jackie - I used Weebly. It was pretty easy and I'm still using the free version. I can upgrade if I choose, but I don't see a need to yet.

Debby Giusti said...

Mary Cate, I'm still dreaming of that beautiful ocean scene you posted on FB this morning. I'm so there...and evidently not at my computer! :)

Loraine Nunley said...

Hi Kristi Ann! Your cover is beautiful and I am looking forward to reading your book. Congrats on your contract. I love Pinterest and I use it for my blogs and my non-fiction work, but haven't used it much for my fictional work. I will have to re-evaluate that. Thanks for the advice and the giveaway!

Barbara Scott said...

DEBBIE, yes, if you want something simple, but relevant to your genre and tasteful, Sandie knows how to construct a great website (even a slideshow). It won't have the flash bang of designers that charge you a boatload of money, but frankly, I didn't want something I couldn't take care of myself. And she does it for a good price! Also she does a terrific job with Animoto promos, but since I don't have a published book yet, that comes later. When the site finally goes live, my address will be, so you can watch for it to see how you like it. Sandie's far more techie and visually creative than I am. You can always contact her through Facebook. :)

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Mary, I don't think I ever entered Duel on the Delta, but I entered a lot of contests over the last few years, so I might've forgotten! But yes, contests are a great way to build camaraderie. So glad you came by today!

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

As a reader I really appreciate when some of my favorite writers get on a cycle so I can count on their books coming. One of my favorite authors got off cycle a couple of years ago and it made me really sad that I had to wait an additional three months for her book! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Barbara! Be sure to announce when your site goes live.

Barbara Scott said...

Will do, Debby!!

Sherida Stewart said...

Congratulations on A Noble Masquerade, Kristi, and thank you for the download of A Lady of Esteem. Was it your idea to write a prequel or did Bethany House suggest this?

What a whirlwind there must be after the contract signing party. Thanks for your post about how to be prepared.

Your sailing trip off Unpublished Island is cause for celebration, as is the launching of your beautiful book. Enjoy the fun!

Missy Tippens said...

Kristi, welcome!!! I'm so excited to see you here. It's been ages since I've been to an ACFW chapter meeting and I've missed seeing you. I hope to be back soon now that my youngest is going off to college. :)

Great post!! I agree with everything you said. I felt overwhelmed a lot in the beginning too. :)

Missy Tippens said...

BTW, the reason I'm here so late is that I've been clomping around (in a boot for my stress fractured foot) all day trying to get said child ready for college. Y'all will have to console me after this weekend. It'll be empty nest.

Bettie said...

Congratulations to Kristi Ann and Jill. Loved your article. Is having pet rocks anything like having pet basset hounds? Looking forward to reading the prequel. ..please enter me in the drawing.

Debby Giusti said...

Missy, I know it's hard to see your last child go off to college! Sending hugs and love!

Janet Dean said...

Kristi Ann, wow, I've heard of cutting word count... LOL

Congratulations for seeing the value of promoting your release with a prequel. And for having the skill to take the nuggets from your first story and spinning them into the prequel. I'm impressed!


Janet Dean said...

Missy, we'll hold your hand and make you laugh. But, there will be good days ahead with your youngest in college. I promise.


CatMom said...

Hi Kristi! I'm later stopping by today (been at dental appointment - ugh).
But wanted to say thank you for this wonderful post - - it's going in my Keeper File (am unpubbed as yet).
I met you at RWA 2013 in Atlanta (we stood in the RITA line near each other) and we discovered we're practically neighbors (unless you've moved, LOL).
Congratulations on your new release - - YAY!! :)
Hugs, Patti Jo

Jackie said...

Thanks everybody for the suggestions on creating a website.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Sherida, the prequel was part of my original proposal to Bethany House for the series, so I guess it was my idea, though the Bethany House team put a lot of work into it as well. It's been great having that free book to promote and let people try my writing risk-free.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Missy, I've missed you, too! Hope you can make it to another meeting soon. In the meantime I'll be praying for a smooth transition this weekend. I'm the youngest in my family and my dad was struggling with my moving to college that he scheduled an international business trip that week and made my mom move me in. ;)

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Janet, I'm going to have to give some mad props to my editor at Bethany House on that editing of that prequel. I was only able to get it down to about half on my own and she came in and really worked with me to get it the rest of the way down. There are several elements that I was really sad to see cut, but I'm still pleased with the end result.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Patti Jo! Hi! I remember standing in that line. That very, very long line, made longer by standing in our heels. No I haven't moved, so we're still neighbors. I'll wave at you. ;)

Debby Giusti said...

Hi Patti Jo,
I didn't know you and Krista were neighbors! How nice.

Sorry about the dental appt. Never fun!

I'm packed for the Writers Police Academy and will be flying to WI tomorrow. Would appreciate prayers for travel safety! :)

Walt Mussell said...

Congrats, Kristi, and good luck on your launch.

On determining "Must Haves," I remember a comment I once got from a contest judge. The judge had apparently had seen my manuscript in a prior contest and complained about my having removed the opening scene, which the judge loved. In the thank you letter, I thanked the judge for his/her (assuming "her") kind words. I also explained that the reason I removed the scene the judge loved so much was that the scene was backstory and the my story didn't start there. I loved the scene, too, but I had to get rid if it.

Deanne said...

Congratulations on your contract with Bethany House. What a fine book publishing company. I've spent many hours reading their books by so many talents authors. You are definitely in excellent company there. I have downloaded your ebook and have been waiting for your book to relesase before I read the ebook. You have the right graphic artists , they have done an excellent job. I'll admit I am drawn to a book by it's cover then I'll look at the back cover and see if it sounds interesting. And yes, I am so excited to read your book. Woohoo, I CAN'T WAIT !
Please enter me for the book drawing, I am chomping at the bit to read this !

Deanne Patterson
Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

Patricia W said...

Congratulations, Kristi. A historical romance with intrigue. Sounds Like fun. Love your post.

Patricia W said...

Congratulations, Kristi. A historical romance with intrigue. Sounds Like fun. Love your post.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Walt, I've been there. The good news is that you can use those wonderful scenes as "bonus content" after your book is published. A Noble Masquerade actually had a different prologue initially that several judges commented on but we ended up removing in editing. I'll be putting it up my website sometime in September. So keep those precious deleted gems because they might be useful one day.

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Deanne, thank you! I am over the moon to be joining the Bethany House family. So many of my favorite books have come from that publisher and to be among them is a dream come true. I hope you enjoy A Lady of Esteem immensely and best of luck winning A Noble Masquerade. In case you don't, though, a little birdie has told me that Amazon is already shipping the print versions, so it might be showing up for sale a little sooner than planned. Happy reading!

Kristi Ann Hunter said...

Thanks for stopping by, Patricia! I hope you enjoy the book.

Natalie Monk said...

Love this! Thank you so much for sharing your words of wisdom with us Kristi!

Susan said...

Thanks for all the tips. The one about covers is very cool. I hope to be nipping at your heels on the road to publication, soon.

Crystal L Barnes said...

Thanks for sharing, Kristi. So happy for you and your new release! :)

Terri Wangard said...

Thanks for the tips, Kristi.I wish I'd known some of these things a few months ago! My debut comes out in January.

Sparks of Ember said...

Wonderful advice. Discipline is a tough one for me - I need to try some of those techniques! ;)

Digging for Pearls said...

Great tips, Kristi and your book sounds like a lot of fun. :)


Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Kristi,
Sorry I didn't get here yesterday, but I was up visiting my mother-in-law.
Great post and spot on accurate! It's been quite a challenge this past month-promoting the release of "Irish Meadows", working on revisions to book 2, "A Worthy Heart", and starting to write book 3!
Yikes. And with only 6 months between books, this has been daunting! But so far, I'm still going!
Best of luck with your book release!

Danielle Hull said...

Congrats on your book, Kristi! I'd love to win a copy!

The Artist Librarian said...

Your book sounds wonderful, Kristi! (You share names with one of my sisters!) ^_^ I love the premise --it sort of sounds like the summary of a general market YA novel that was mentioned in my summer YA lit. class: "To All the Boys I Loved Before" by Jenny Han. In that case though, the high school protagonist wrote letters (to ex-boyfriends post-breakup) that are accidentally sent and she has to deal with the repercussions of her venting. =)

I haven't done a lot of graphic design, but as a visual artist, I definitely agree with point 3! Especially if your cover artist doesn't have time to read your book, having visuals for the mood, setting, etc. you're going for will help!