Thursday, October 23, 2014

You Decided to Pursue Your Writing Dreams. Now What? by Dora Hiers

So you just wasted hours reading a book, flipping pages because at any point it had to get better, right? Finally, you slammed the book closed, tempted to hurl it across the room.

Even you could have written that book better! your inner voice screamed.

Instead, you toss it on the table, dismissing the book, but the idea refuses to be squelched. Could you really? Write a book? And the more you try to let go of that thought —after all, you have a full time job, young children, piles of laundry that reach to the ceiling, and an endless to-do list demanding your attention— it persists. Starting as a tiny seed, the idea blossoms and expands until you’re reaching for your smart phone in the middle of the night to record scenes straight out of your dream. Perhaps you can even picture your name splashed across a perfectly designed book cover.

Do you see yourself here? Confession time. Waving my hand in the air. I was there.

So what do you do about it? Should you sit down at your laptop and start pounding out your story? You could, but what happens when you finish the manuscript? Will you send it directly to a publisher, and if so, which one? Many if not most publishing houses require submissions via a literary agent unless they have invited your submission, such as a result of a pitch during a writer’s conference. Does your target publisher require an agent? Do you even know your target publisher/s?

Hadn’t thought that far ahead, huh?

Before your fingers dance across that keyboard, do some hands-on research. Peruse your personal library of favorite books. Without peeking at the spine or inside the book, could you guess the publisher just by looking at the cover? Who published the majority of the books you enjoyed?

Every publisher has different submission guidelines, as well as various word count ranges and genres. Here are a few examples of publishers within the inspirational romance genre that accept unagented submissions: (in no particular order, well, OK, I did list my publisher first :) )

Pelican Book Group: At some point during the story, their protagonists must eventually “realize that faith is a cornerstone of love.” Books must contain a faith element that doesn’t come off preachy, and no profanity. No explicit love scenes, but natural sexual tension is acceptable and sensitive topics are not off limits. They accept stories ranging from 10-80k words.

Harlequin's Love Inspired: Community and family are major elements within the LI lines, and their heroes and heroines are expected to meet as early as possible in the book. Romance is all about emotional intimacy, and authors must integrate a faith element that “shows rather than tells.” Their books range between 55-60k words.

Desert Breeze Publishing: They would like to see inspirational stories with “real world flair,” acknowledging the challenges of being a Christian in today’s society. They prefer a sexual tension buildup minus the details. They accept manuscripts from 25-100+k words, but prefer 55-80k.

So you decided to pursue your writing dreams.
What will your first step be? If you're further along on your journey, we'd love to hear how you started. Was your goal to catch an agent's interest first or did you submit directly to a publisher?

Ever since you took my hand, I’m on the right way. ~Ps 16:11 The Message

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Police Officer Winter Evan and Navy SEAL Tanner Random are wrong for each other. Winter fears the water. Tanner skims through seas for a living. So four years ago, Winter convinced herself she’d be better off not worrying about his months at sea and his increased cajoling for physical intimacy.

But when she walked away, she lost a giant chunk of her heart.

Now Tanner’s back in town to care for his abandoned niece. No longer a SEAL, he’s sticking to the safety of the North Carolina mountains as a paramedic. Should Winter risk losing her heart all over again? Will God help them build what started years ago into something solid and secure? When love triumphs...

When Love Triumphs releases in November with Pelican Book Group as part of their newly launched Pure Amore line. One Pure Amore sweet romance releases each month with a paid subscription. Subscriptions start as low as $48 (that includes one book a month for an entire year), and you may choose digital, print, or a combination of formats. Check out all twelve gorgeous covers and intriguing blurbs here

Dora Hiers is a multi-published author of Heart Racing, God-Gracing romances. She’s a member of RWA, ACFW, and the Treasurer for ACFW-Charlotte Chapter. Connect with her here on Seriously Write, her personal blogTwitterFacebook or Pinterest.