I’ve been musing over how much this blog should cross over the line from review blog to author blog. Things have been proceeding apace with Carina Press, and I’m just bursting with stuff to say, but my efforts to get a newsletter installed on this blog has met with failure. So I’ll just write stuff here, for now.
Edits Received and Returned, and Received and Returned Again. And Again
I’ve been working hard on revisions. They’ve taken up almost all my spare time, but I learned a great deal from them. One lesson was that I needed to stop using the manuscript formatting guidelines that I used in the 90s. Double-spacing is still good, but Alissa Davis, my editor, had laboriously replaced all my straight quotes and straight apostrophes with smartquotes. She also replaced my # scene breaks with ***, and replaced my broken dashes (–) with formatted dashes. Ugh. I felt ancient.
I learned that I am overly fond of several phrases. I had a lot of people staring at each other during pauses in dialog. When they’re not staring, they’re gaping. I don’t know why this was invisible to me before, but the editorial pen made it obvious. Other problems?. Modern turns of phrases were excised, as were overly archaic phrases. Motivations were questioned. Awkward sentences weak flagged. And weak character development was exposed.
I also got to write my acknowledgments! All edits are now complete.
More Fairytale Retellings in the Works
I’ve never been one to wait around for things to happen to me. I always say, if I do this, what’s the worst that can happen? And usually, I can’t think of anything bad at all, except being told no. I can’t help it; I’m an optimist. So I went ahead and emailed the editor of Carina Press, Angela James, and asked what she thought of some other ideas I have for fairy tale retellings.
Good things come from being bold. She wrote back, saying that they were hoping I would want to write more “reimagined fairy tales”, so I’m writing away!
One story is about Snow White, and the other is about Cinderella. Wish me luck with them!
Contract Received and Returned
For some reason, this all didn’t seem real to me until I received the Harlequin contract. It was much more interesting than I expected. It was also tremendously detailed, but easy to understand, for the most part. I had to ask about a few things, and I went to an author mentor for advice.
I also did some research on the Internet about the contract and came across this lengthy article about foreign rights:
It has some very good things to say about the way Harlequin handles foreign rights, specifically:
When does it make sense to keep your foreign rights, rather than grant them to your publisher? “Agents almost always want to keep foreign rights (with some exceptions – see below),” [agent Kristen] Nelson says. “In most cases there is more money to be made in separate sales than giving the publisher those rights. For example, recently one of my clients received over 20k in extra advances from the separate foreign sales on top of a very handsome U.S. advance.
“The exceptions: 1) If a book is a particularly American topic, foreign rights are not such a big deal since very few foreign publishers will be interested in buying the book. 2) For brand new romance writers, sometimes it is better to sell world rights to the publisher because big romance houses (such as Harlequin) have terrific overseas counterparts who can release the book there and start building an overseas readership…”
Okaaay, so I haven’t been thinking a lot about an overseas readership; I’ve mainly been focused on making that first sale. I read on. This is further down:
“Harlequin holds all foreign rights to their series books,” says Kristin Hardy, who writes for Harlequin’s Blaze line (The Sex and Supper Club, Blaze, 08/04). “As far as I’m concerned, that’s just dandy. They have an extremely effective foreign sales program. My Blaze books have so far been published in Swedish, Danish, Polish, Czech, Italian, French, and Spanish, as well as in special English-language editions for the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. The reach is amazing, especially for a new author, and the royalties add up.”
So who knows what might happen? Carina Press isn’t a Harlequin series romance, but it is part of Harlequin and Harlequin isn’t exactly in the habit of thinking small. So I’m optimistic. There’s lot more to this article, so if you’re seriously marketing a first romance novel, then read the rest of it; it’s really worth your time.
Joined Romance Writers of America
I write in a wide variety of genres, romance one of them, although the stories I usually write–The Sevenfold Spell included–are usually of some other genre with strong romantic elements. Therefore, I’ve decided to expand my network by joining Romance Writers of America. My first meeting with my local chapter was in June, and Sandra McDonald gave an excellent speech on Middles.
And most exciting of all! I have my cover! With my name on it! It’s lovely! I don’t know if I can post it yet, so I’ve asked. I was thrilled with how much of my opinion they wanted–I was under the impression that authors generally aren’t consulted on covers. But they used a lot of elements that I suggested, plus they came up with a great continuity element that could be used with any future fairy tale retellings.
As you can imagine, this has been a very exciting time for me, all the more so because it was twenty-three years in the making, with my writing put on hold more times than I’d care to count. (And if I hadn’t sold any fiction by my next birthday, it was going to go on hold once again.) I’m thrilled and grateful to meet this milestone at last. Thank you for taking this journey with me.