If you have always
believed your fantasies worthy of being read by millions, now is the time
to start using your runaway imagination to your benefit. With thousands
of romance novels being published each year, it is easier to get
published today than it has ever been in the past.
A career in romance
writing allows you to work from home, at your own pace, and during the
hours you prefer. Romance writing generally pays better than other genres
of fiction, so you can make more money, or work fewer hours,
whichever you prefer. Finally, this line of work lets you truly touch the
hearts of your readers, and give them the confidence to seek love and happiness
in their own lives.
No special education
or experience is necessary to break into this career. Successful romance
writers merely require independence, creativity, and a determination to
succeed. If this sounds like you, follow these ten steps based on the
Guide to Become a Romance Writer to make your mark in this
field. Who knows, you may be the next rising star!
Do some reading
If you already
love to read romance novels, you are likely an ideal candidate for writing
them. If you are unfamiliar with this type of novel, you will want to start
off by exploring the genre. If you haven't read a romance lately, you might
be surprised at the new trends within the industry. Try reading a variety
of genres to get an idea of what you would enjoy writing, and to familiarize
yourself with the conventions of each.
Develop your skills
Many of the skills
you need to write will be developed as you practice, so keep those pens
moving. Keep in mind that becoming a writer is an ongoing process. If you
need some feedback, a local or online writers critique group can also help
you further hone your writing skills. If you find yourself stuck for ideas,
there are creativity exercises you can learn, and if your grammar needs
some help, brush up with a book or quick course.
Get some experience
So you want to
list publishing credits to help your chances of selling, but you can't
list those without selling, and it's hard to sell without the credits.
Sound like a Catch-22? It is. Fortunately, you can get your feet wet publishing
articles and short stories in magazines and ezines. Make sure you are familiar
with the writers' guidelines and the publication itself before you submit.
You may even consider accepting a couple of non-paying assignments in order
to build your credentials.
Your proposal package
It is important
to create a professional image when you submit your work to an agent or
editor, since editors are often swamped with submissions and will only
read those that follow their guidelines. Most publishers want to receive
a 'proposal,' which consists of the first three chapters, a synopsis of
the plot and a cover letter. Send them whatever their guidelines indicate,
and don't forget to include a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) for
a reply or return of your manuscript.
Target a publisher
If you have read
widely in the romance genre, you will have an idea of which publishers
will be most interested in your style of writing. In addition to the major
publishers (Harlequin, Kensington, etc.) be aware that there are thousands
of smaller and electronic presses that initially may be more receptive.
You will want to send them your proposal package, addressed to the current
editor. Directories and the
fabjob.com Guide to Become a Romance Writer
are useful for finding contact
information of publishers to submit to.
What if your book
is so cutting edge that even the small presses don't feel comfortable taking
it on? If you have shopped your book around and not received a positive
response, self-publishing may be the route for you. Digital printing now
allows for the cost-effective printing of as few as one copy of your book
at a time, so you can set up your novel for around $100 and have it available
to the public within a few weeks.
Get an agent
If you've got
your sights set on the large publishing houses, or are terrified of negotiating,
you may consider getting an agent to help you find a home for your book.
Once you have found an agent you'd like to work with, ensure that he or
she has a good reputation in the industry. Bear in mind that an agent will
take about 10-15% of everything you earn on your book.
Dealing with editors
to have a good relationship with someone you hope to be dealing with on
an ongoing basis, so once you have interest from an editor, establish and
maintain a professional relationship with him or her. Allow three to six
months for them to consider novel proposals, and don't pester them with
phone calls. Once they have expressed interest, be business-like, and make
changes to your work as requested. A little respect goes a long way in
writing workshops and conventions are wonderful places to meet fellow authors,
editors, agents and publicists. Many are even set up to allow writers to
meet on a one-to-one basis with agents and editors. Not only are these
situations great for networking, but just joining a national or local writers
organization can bring you knowledge from the workshops and conferences
Building a readership
and increasing book sales are two of the most important things authors
can do to promote their careers. If hiring a publicist isn't in your budget
(and you may be surprised to find it is) there are a number of things you
can do to promote yourself, such as getting media attention, creating a
website, and doing book signings. Be creative, and be persistent…it can
only benefit you in the long run.