What I Look for in a Publisher

Pippa Jay Author PicHi, I’m Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. Die-hard Whovian, Scaper, and Sith-in-training, and mum to three redhaired little monsters. I’ve not been published three years yet, but I’ve learnt a lot in that time – some of it the hard way, lol. One thing I have is a list of things I hope for from a publisher, and I thought I’d share some of the reasons I choose a particular publisher to submit to.

  1. Covers. Some might think going for a publisher with pretty covers is shallow. WRONG! As authors we know how important that cover is. It’s the first impression a potential reader gets. It’s the first thing to catch their eye. There are over 10 million books on Amazon, and more published every day. If you don’t have a cover that grabs a reader on a casual glance while browsing (and you may well be competing against favourites that reader already has), you’ve probably lost that person before you’ve had any chance to hook them. So if an author’s book or a publisher’s website full of covers grabs your attention, that’s a good start.
  2. Social media presence. I like to see that a publisher has one, and relatively active. Most publishers will expect their authors to do so – I expect the same from a publisher. Twitter is my favourite platform (BTW, that’s the best place to find me if you want to chat and hang out) so I’ll often find and follow a publisher there, and any links they post will lead me elsewhere. An active blog and FB presence is also good, plus engagement with their readers. It shows they’re committed to promoting their books and their authors.
  3. A good sales site. Something that not only looks good but is easy to use. These days people want gratification of some kind straight away, so being able to find and buy what they want with a click or two is necessary.
  4. Editing. All authors need editing, no matter how good they are. As an author I take great care in putting out the absolutely best book that I can, and a publisher that provides a good level of editing is essential. It also shows they’re just as committed to putting out a polished project as the author. I’d also advise reading a few books by a publisher that you’re interested in to get a feel for what they’re looking for and what their work is like after publication.
  5. Happy authors. You can check out Absolute Write and Preditors and Editors for any warnings or happenings with publishers, but it doesn’t hurt to talk to a few of the authors too (I know for a fact that one disgruntled author can make a publisher look bad when the other 99% of the authors are very happy there, and that ‘bad’ publishers may not get a mention on either site). Most authors will be willing to answer your questions if you approach them politely, or you can get involved with a few author groups where they discuss the publishing industry.
  6. Clear guidelines. Always, always read the guidelines carefully and follow them, otherwise you’re wasting your time and theirs. Most will answer questions if something isn’t clear, but I avoid publishers where the guidelines leave me with more questions than answers.

I look for all of these things before I submit, and I tend to follow a publisher and some of its authors around for a while beforehand. Like everything else, ALWAYS do your research! Do you have anything else you look for from a publisher?

Website: http://pippajay.co.uk

Blog: http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk

NOANGEL_200x300Blurb:

How far would you fall for love?

Centuries ago, guardian angel Lucien committed a terrible sin. He gave into his own desires and revealed himself to the mortal woman he’d been charged to protect. By kissing her, he condemned himself. Torn of his wings and his angelic powers, thrown down into the City Below, Lucien now serves Satan as an incubus who claims souls for his master from the City Above, and who feeds on the energy stolen from his mortal lovers. Dark, sexy and charming, he’s been top of his league for decades uncounted.

Until His Infernal Highness decides to send Lucien looking for a lost angel. Lucien has no idea what he did to deserve such a punishment, and the touch of an angel could destroy him. Yet the challenge and the potential kudos of seducing one of his former heavenly kin leads him on.

But when he finds the angel, he learns he still has more to lose than his already forsaken soul.

Buy: No Angel

Please add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE, or sign up HERE for my no-spam newsletter for special previews on cover reveals, new releases, the latest giveaways and discounts, and upcoming news.

Excerpt:

A new burning consumed his body. He wanted to reach out and hold her. Wrap his arms around her, and drown in her kiss. But even as he took one shaky step toward her, the light and goodness within her scorched him and he staggered back a step, one arm thrown up to shield himself.

“Lucien.” Her voice washed over him like a sweetly scented summer breeze. He dared to drop his arm and look at her again.

“Miranda.” Her name came out as a growl, and he cursed himself for it.

Her frown deepened. “Lucien, what’s happened to you?” She took a step closer and he shied away. No matter how she’d come to him, welcomed him, her angelic powers could still be deadly. “Oh, my love, what have you become?”

My love. The words cut him as deeply as the priest’s forgiveness. The pain stirred his resentment. She had been the cause of his fall. The reason for his torment. And now she was scolding him for it?

“What I am is what you helped turn me in to.” He raised his head, glared at her. “What I am is because of you.”

She shook her head. “Is that really what you think? That it’s all my fault?” Tears glimmered in her eyes. “I’ve watched you for a long time now. Waiting for the right time to come to you. I’ve seen how your existence has come to trouble you more in the last decades. How the tasks set to you have crushed what remains of your soul.”

Lucien snorted. “My soul? I lost that with my heart. And my wings.”

“No. You didn’t. You hate what you do. You sealed your heart in stone to protect yourself, but you can’t bring yourself to fully give into the darkness, no matter what.”

Lucien shuddered. “You’re wrong.”

“You know I’m not.” She took another step toward him, and though he tried to back away he found himself trapped against the brick wall. She put up her hand, palm outward, as if to touch him. His breath stalled in his chest and his whole body might just as well have become stone. He couldn’t move.

Buy: No Angel

Review: Romance Abroad by Annie Seaton

romance abroadReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Please make sure to read the letter from the author. She reminds us that sometimes we forget that authors started out as readers just like us. She also reminds us how diverse other countries are – which is something I tend to forget. I also love to find out that I have a connection with the person writing the stories I have read. In this case, Annie loves the ocean.

Holiday Affair
ISBN: 9781622669066
Date: March 12, 2012
Pages: 133 pages

Melissa “Lissy” McIntyre is on a sailing adventure – I’d be jealous if I didn’t always get seasick. Right off the bat, Annie puts in some women’s fantasy about being hit upon by a sexy sailor – but then again it is just a fantasy. Dominic “Nick” Richards is a real ladies man. Right here is where Annie had me hooked.

Bad news is that I started to read it on my lunch hour and found I didn’t want to put it down – something I don’t think the boss would understand. Our author puts in a twist that will have you figuring out what’s going to happen to Lissy before she does. I wish I could see it in person but then that’s what’s so great about our imagination.

What a great book to start this bundle off with. The reader is kept guessing about Lissy and Nick almost to the very end. This is a great lead into the second affair. You will also find that all the Richards’ men are brothers. Got to love a series where family connects the stories.

Italian Affair
ISBN: 9781622661374
Date: June 10, 2013
Pages: 142 pages

Brianna Ballantyne has an inheritance with a strange stipulation. Tomas Richards is at the airport waiting for his flight to be called. The first impression I get about Tomas is he’s a real stuffed shirt. And Brianna seems to be a woman who’s a little flighty. And these two polar opposites are lucky enough to be sitting next to each other on a long flight.

This story shows that you don’t necessarily need to know each other a long time in order to fall in love. Sometimes you don’t realize that you’re in love until it’s too late. But our author adds in a couple of twists – you’ll just have to get the bundle, or book, in order to find out what happens when they are revealed. It’s another one that I had a hard time putting down once I got started.

Outback Affair
ISBN: 9781622663217
Date: October 14, 2013
Pages: 172 pages

Jessica Trent is looking to get a job at a magazine. And she’s not off to a good start. Alex Richards is trying to fight the rain so he can finish making his deliveries. The meeting of these two was very interesting and they both have things to hide. They also end up traveling together – I think we need a little traveling music. A movie that comes to mind while reading was “Crocodile Dundee”.

I can almost picture a younger Paul Hogan in the part of Alex – their personalities just seem so similar. Of the three books, this seems to be the funniest. So make sure to pay close attention to the car trip they take. Ending the series on a funny note is perfect. If you need something to make you smile, then make sure to read this one. A place mentioned in this story is Cockatoo Springs and Annie has me wanting to visit. This is one bundle that if I ever went to Australia, I would take this with me.

If you have never read any of Annie’s books before, why not start with this series. You can read all three of these books on the same day. Or maybe you only have a little time each day in which to read, then you could read the books one at a time. If you’ve never been to Australia, this just may give you the push you need to put a trip on your bucket list. It’s also a great series to read in the wintertime, you’ll be warm in no time.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Romance Abroad Bundle

How to Write a Query Letter

Kara Leigh MillerGuest Blog by Kara Leigh Miller, author of Death of a Waterfall (The Hayden Falls Saga)

Ah, the dreaded query. It’s the bane of every author’s existence. A great query can grab the editors or agents attention and get them to ask you for your full manuscript. A bad query, however, can get you rejected quickly. So, what’s an author to do? How do you condense a 60,000+ word novel down into a single page? I’m not going to lie. It can be difficult. And I’m no expert on query letters, but I will tell you my method for writing a query.

After I finished my first novel, it was time to start querying, but like most new authors, I had no idea where to start. So, I asked a friend who is a fellow author and has a Masters in English. She taught college level English courses and more specifically, business correspondence. She gave me some advice that has always stuck with me. She said, “Approach it like you would any other professional business letter.” Then she broke it down like this for me:

  • Paragraph One: Introduce yourself and state why you are writing.
  • Paragraph Two: Pitch your story.
  • Paragraph Three: Pitch your story.
  • Paragraph Four: Provide your credentials, accomplishments, contact information, and thank them for their time.

It seemed so simple. I figured I give it a shot. So, I did. And it worked! Here’s the actual query I wrote for my newest novel, Death of a Waterfall.

My name is Kara Leigh Miller, and I’m writing to query you regarding my contemporary romance novel. Set in the fictional small town of Hayden Falls, California, Death of a Waterfall is approximately a 60,000 word contemporary romance and the first book in the Hayden Falls Trilogy. 

Twenty year old, college freshman, Teghan Jacobs didn’t think anything could be worse than learning she’s pregnant by a man she’s been dating less than six months. Boy was she wrong. Her mother, whose drowning in the river of denial, refuses to take a side on the issue. Teghan is lying to all of her friends for fear of being ostracized by them. And her overbearing, manipulative father threatens to disown her and cut her off from her trust fund if she doesn’t have an abortion.

Donnie Marks couldn’t be happier. The woman he loves, the woman he fought so hard to be with, is going to have his baby. For him, life has never been better. But when she shows up in his dorm room, sobbing and heartbroken, he learns the horrible truth of what happened to her and his child. He vows to get revenge on the man who’s responsible: Teghan’s father.

Currently I’ve had my short story “Kamalia” published in July 2012 in Temptation Magazine Online. Love by Number: The Aurora Island Resort Series, an erotic novella, was published in September 2012 by Cobblestone Press. The second and third books in this series are currently under contract with Cobblestone Press as well. Never Date a Cop, an erotic novella, was published by Books to Go Now in October 2012.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my novel and I eagerly await hearing from you. I can be reached by email at: karaleighmiller@yahoo.com.

Is my method the best one? I don’t know. But it works for me, and I’m a firm believer that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. I’m curious, how do all of you approach the query letter? Do you have a formula you use?

AUTHOR WEBSITE: www.karaleighmiller.com

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KaraLeighMiller

Twitter: www.twitter.com/KaraLeighMille1

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/KaraLeighMiller

TOUR WIDE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

EBOOK - DeathOfAWaterfall_KaraLeighMiller-MEDIUMBOOK BLURB: Teghan Jacobs didn’t think anything could be worse than learning she’s pregnant by a man she’s been dating less than six months. Boy, was she wrong. Her mother, whose drowning in the river of denial, refuses to take a side on the issue. And her overbearing, manipulative father threatens to disown her and cut her off from her trust fund if she doesn’t have an abortion.

Donnie Marks couldn’t be happier. The woman he loves, the woman he fought so hard to be with, is going to have his baby. Life has never been better. But when she shows up in his dorm room, sobbing and heartbroken, he learns the horrible truth of what happened. He vows to get revenge on the man who’s responsible: Teghan’s father.

Buy: Death of a Waterfall

EXCERPT:

Teghan walked to the door and opened it. “Get out.”

He approached her. “I’m not leaving.” They stared at each other in a silent battle of wills. “I know I broke a promise to you and I’m sorry, but I come here to fess up, to make things right and I find you with another guy. I’m the one who should be angry here, Teghan, not you.” He crossed his arms over his chest. There was no way in hell he was leaving when he knew she was so angry with him–all though he still didn’t know why she was so pissed.

“Fine.” She swung the door closed.

Donnie hated the way her voice had flattened. “We can get through this,” he said.

She faced him. “You wanna know the best part of Alex’s message?”

He cringed. God only knows what Alex said. “No.” He really didn’t want to know, but knew he had to hear it.

“Alex said he still loves me, and that’s why he made that bet with you. The one where you two bet me over a basketball game. You know the one I’m talking about, don’t you, Donnie?”

Donnie looked at her, stunned. “What?” Of everything Alex could’ve told her, Donnie hadn’t expected Alex to tell her that. Why had he? Surely it didn’t look good for Alex either.

“Don’t play dumb. I want to know what the bet was,” she said.

“Does it really matter?”

“Yes.” Teghan folded her arms across her chest and leaned up against the door.

Donnie sighed. “Alex and I bet on a basketball game. I win and I get to take you out. Alex wins and I walk away from you for good. It was just a stupid bet, Teghan. It didn’t mean anything. We were drinking and…”

“Who won?” Donnie looked down at the floor. “Who won?” she repeated.

Buy: Death of a Waterfall

AUTHOR BIO: Born and raised in the small town of Mexico, New York, Kara was an only child who was forced to find ways to entertain herself. Playing make believe with her Barbie dolls and stuffed animals was her first real taste of storytelling before she became old enough to develop a love affair with the written word. In early 2010, Kara picked up her very first erotic romance novel, and she was instantly hooked. She loves to write contemporary romance, erotica, and young adult romance.

She’s the author of several erotic novellas, The Georgia Corbins, a YA romance, and a handful of short stories. Kara is an active member of the CNY Writers Haven and the CNY Romance Writers. In addition, she’s an Associate Editor at Entranced Publishing.

Today, Kara resides in New Haven, New York with her husband, five kids, three cats, and two puppies. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s thinking about reading and writing. And when she’s not doing that, she’s spending time with her family and friends.

Buy: Death of a Waterfall

Dealing With Rejection

Guest blog by Adrienne Giordano, author of Relentless Pursuit

Rejection.

It’s a nasty little word isn’t it? As writers, we face it. A lot. I personally have never gotten comfortable with it. Silly me, I thought once I’d found an agent and reached the ranks of published author, the rejections would somehow miraculously be easier to take. Not so much. The biggest difference is the rejections get filtered through my agent now instead of coming directly to me. That being said, rejections no longer send me wilting to the floor in tears.

A few years ago, a writer friend told me an agent “chose to resist” her work and it was an aha moment for me.

Chose to resist.

How fabulous is that?

So much better than rejected. Now, when I receive one of those dreaded rejections, I allow myself a pity party for the remainder of the day. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or late at night, I allow myself to feel horrible until I go to sleep. For me, anything beyond that is counter-productive and suppresses my creativity.

And I hate that.

So, let’s talk about an action plan for when someone chooses to resist your work.

Step 1

Feel awful about it, but set a deadline. You cannot make it open-ended or your creativity will be zapped. Even if you have to write it down, force yourself to set a time limit. Repeat after me, “For the next (insert however many hours) I am going to allow myself to feel really crappy about this agent/editor choosing to resist my work.”

Step 2

Pull out that chose-to-resist letter and see if there are any nuggets you can pull from it. I once received a rejection from an agent that said (and yes, this is verbatim because I still have the letter.): “I really, really loved all of your characters and thought your pacing and dialogue were working overall, but it just didn’t stand out enough in the already crowded romantic suspense subgenre. I think you are very talented and would be happy to look at other projects in the future.”

At the time, that letter sent me to my knees. When reading it, all I saw was that I’d done a good job and it still wasn’t good enough. Luckily, that very night I was having dinner with my critique partner and we had a joint pity party. I cried, I moaned, I felt sorry for myself. I had a martini. ;)

The next day, after my allotted pity time, I analyzed the letter. Yes, it was a rejection, but the agent talked about my strengths, told me I was talented and that she would look at future work. As rejections go, this was a darned fine one. A class-A rejection. I kept the letter on my desk for a long time. As other rejections—maybe not so nice ones—came in, I went back to the class-A one to remind myself that a top agent thought I had talent.

Bottom line here, find the nugget that will sustain you.

Just as an aside, the manuscript referenced in that class-A rejection letter eventually sold and wound up on the Barnes & Noble Top 100 list. I’ve learned rejections don’t mean it’s not a good book. It’s just not the right book, at the right time, for the right person.

And that’s what we writers need.

Right book.

Right time.

Right person.

Step 3

Keep writing. Take any nuggets you receive and build on them. If someone says your plotting is fabulous, try and improve it. Whatever it is you are good at, keep doing it and try to make it better. Conversely, if there are areas you need to improve on, work on them. Study craft books, reach out to writer friends for advice, do whatever you need to because if an agent or editor says your dialogue needs work, they’re helping you. They could be sending you a form letter, but they took the time to give you specifics and that means your writing connected with them on some level. Think about the vast number of queries agents and editors must receive. If you connect with them, you’ve done something right.

One thing I’ve learned about this step is to make changes judiciously. If I’d revised my manuscripts every time an agent or editor told me to, well, I would have had one hot mess. Not that the advice was bad, but I think we need to look at the suggestions and decide if we agree with the changes.

Step 4

Surround yourself with people who will support you through the tough times. I have the good fortune to have wonderful critique partners who are all too willing to talk me off ledges. And they have. When someone called one of my characters an a**hole, my critique partners were the first ones to tell me how much they loved him.

That character is the hero in Man Law, my romantic suspense that was released last year. That book saw its share of rejections, but some of them were promising rejections and they kept me motivated to find a home for my challenging hero.

So, you see, just because an editor or agent chooses to resist it doesn’t mean the book won’t get published. If you stay the course, improve where you need to, make adjustments as necessary, you will find the editor who loves your story.

Right book.

Right time.

Right person.

Readers, do you have any other tips for dealing with rejection?

Adrienne Giordano HeadshotBio: Adrienne Giordano is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction. For more information on Adrienne’s Private Protectors series please visit www.AdrienneGiordano.com. Adrienne can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AdrienneGiordanoAuthor and Twitter at http://twitter.com/AdriennGiordano.

Buy: Relentless Pursuit

From Aspiring Writer to Published Author

Escape to LoveGuest blog by Cher Green, author of Escape to Love

Beginning my journey years ago, I have encountered many obstacles, close encounters, and deathly blows along the road to publication.

When I decided to take my writing goals seriously, I went straight for a novel length project. Although the story never found completion, it was my classroom for the first couple of years.

I grabbed my new toolbox of skills, moved to short stories, and found the satisfaction of completion. In this new classroom, I discovered rejection, guidance, and more tools. I soon turned to another attempt at a novel, while continuously sending out my short stories, for more rejections and final acceptance.

The first acceptance was like a sigh in the wind, and the second a stir of excitement. More rejections followed, but with small triumphs come knowledge that you can do it.

The novel attempt, mentioned above, proved to be another failure, but it is a work destined to see the light of day, with a little more classroom work.

I moved from short stories to novella lengths and found further success. Escape to Love and Seduced by Darkness were produced by eTreasures Publishing in 2011, followed by their inclusion in two separate anthologies.

As I tackle another attempt at novel writing, I’m finding new tools and growing new skills.

The most important thing for new writers to know is writing is fun, but it is also a road of challenges, tests, and failures. At the end of the day, writing is a wonderful experience, but it comes with the bruises of any other job. Just keep moving forward, learning new things, and applying them to your work.

The road is long, but it is well worth the journey.

Escape to Love

Constance Spenser is no ordinary woman, and neither are her problems. Unhappy in her life, she seeks knowledge of the spiritual side of life, but what she finds is another world, a world where she has no place. She must gain the council’s trust and discover a way home, but in her attempt she finds herself falling for the enemy. Can she survive long enough to discover her destiny?

Lawrence Wilder, a member of an evil council, wants to break free, but one doesn’t walk away from the council alive. When a witch falls from the sky, hope returns to his life, and to his surprise love. In his world, together they cannot survive. Can he save them both, or will one have to be sacrificed for the other to live?

Author Bio:

Cher Green, born in Tennessee, lives in South Carolina with her significant other and her two feline companions. She writes in many genres, spanning from horror to romance, usually with a touch of paranormal.

For more information on this author, visit:

3 Steps to Get Through Manuscript Revisions

by Rayka Mennen, guest blogger and author of Enchanted Destiny

My new release Enchanted Destiny went through several revisions and I got to thinking about the editing process. My critique partner, Angela Foster, and I do what she calls ‘sweeps.’ So what’s a Sweep? Think of it as making an editing pass through your manuscript but with one specific issue in mind. Like a broom, you are sweeping through your scenes. Before Angela and I started using this method, we were going through our manuscripts looking for anything and everything to fix. It was confusing, I often missed something, and I felt like I was working on the same page for weeks. So each editing pass, or in our lingo ‘sweep,’ is done looking for specific issues. My sweeps may not work for you. Why? Because we write differently and have different strengths and weaknesses. So here’s a systematic way to think about making these editing sweeps relevant to you by following 3 essential steps.

Step 1: Make a list of Sweeps: Identify your weaknesses and give each of them a Sweep. It’s important to be self-aware, and if you’ve been writing for a while and have received feedback, you know you’re great at some things and others, not so much. Make a list of issues to identify in each sweep based on what you already know about your writing or the feedback you received from a critique partner or editor.

For example, I know I don’t do so well with emotion in my first couple of drafts. So one Sweep for me is to go through my manuscript looking for places where I can add emotional punches. Doing this in one protagonist’s POV scenes first, then another’s might help you stay in character. For example, your alpha male deals with emotion differently that your heroine (alpha or otherwise).  So depending on your book and your writing, you may end up with a list of 3 Sweeps or 8. It will be worth it.

Step 2: Time Line: Give yourself a time line. It’s easy to spend days and days doing edits. So my critique partner and I set up a schedule ahead of time. 2 days for Sweep 1; 1 day for Sweep 2, etc. Sometimes, you can combine a couple of issues into a sweep but for major ones, stick to one issue per sweep.

Step 3: Step away: Put the mouse down slowly, now step away from the computer. It’s okay, your baby’s not going anywhere. Some distance from your manuscript will help you come at it with fresh eyes. You’ll be amazed at the things you’ll notice that totally escaped you before.

Here’s how I made this work for me in in my new book, Enchanted Destiny, about destined soul mates and their journey to happiness. I went through four different editing sweeps.

Sweep 1: World building. (I have trouble with this because I assume the reader is in my head. What do you mean you don’t know magic comes with a price in this world?)

Sweep 2: Dialogue. Making sure that my main characters didn’t all talk like each other, use the same curse words, etc.

Sweep 3: Emotional hits. Where could I add a little more emotion or a visceral reaction to really show what my character is going through?

Sweep 4: Rhetorical devices. This one of the techniques I learned in Margie Lawson’s immersion master class on deep editing. It adds a rhythm to your writing, helps you emphasize a point – great tool.

Do you have special tricks that help you in the editing process?

You can find me at Facebook | Twitter | Website |

Buy: Enchanted Destiny