Monday, November 2, 2015

"Y'all Can Learn From Me" by Sandie Bricker

Author & Editor Sandra D. Bricker

You may know me as Sandra D. Bricker, author of Live-Out-Loud fiction for the inspirational market. Or maybe you recognize my name as the managing editor of Bling! Romance, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. In both of those capacities – writer or editor – I get to do something I truly love. How blessed am I?

Recently, while wearing my stylish editorial hat, I received an email reply to a rejection I'd sent a couple weeks prior.

“I guess you get so many books in your inbox that you don’t have time to read them all. I know this because, if you had really read my book, you’d have known that [Mary] **IS** a likeable character. It’s just a slow process to tell her story right. Also I already know the longer word count of 110k words isn’t what you ask for in your guidelines, but I think if a story is good enough the extra words will be worth it. I hope you heed this advice because y’all can learn from writers like me.

Her email made me think about my own writing journey and how grateful I am for those professionals I met along the way who gave it to me straight, told me how important it would be to attend conferences, take classes and workshops, network with other people in my field. I feel pretty certain from her email that this particular writer didn’t have the benefit of such guidance along the way.

From a very young age, I’ve known what I would do with my life. Storytelling was cited early by English teachers (and my parents) as a mixed blessing that seemed to be built into my character. I loved film and television more than books (don't hate!), and a good turn of phrase or dramatic execution always had me at Hello! My curiosity about storytelling evolved into the drive to write scripts … which morphed into passion that I couldn’t deny (much to my parents’ dismay).

Oh, I tried to deny it. I went to college and studied business. I worked in retail, customer service, as a secretary, a children’s photographer, an executive assistant. Despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t retain my focus on anything except that old writing dream. So I did what those famous hillbillies did, and I loaded up the truck (Ford Fiesta) and I moved to Bev-er-ly (Hollywood). That’s right. Swimmin’ pools and movie stars … and this Cincinnati Kid felt as out of my element as Jed and the gang did. Despite that, I pulled up my big girl panties, enrolled in film school, and studied ... and wrote and revised and wrote some more.

Cut from then to now. I’m still a storyteller, but these days my writing life consists of novels, both my own and those written by others. I spend a good amount of time mentoring aspiring writers, trying to offer helpful advice and guidance whenever I can. The sad truth, however, is that there are a lot of folks out there in the beginning stages of trying to start or build a career who are in such a hurry to do so that they miss out on the important foundational issues like learning their craft and getting to know the market. In the long run, their rush is the very thing that drives a much longer journey to the desired destination.

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” –Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT)

So young writers, the best and most basic advice I can give you (and I'm sort of borrowing it from a much greater Source) is to build that dream of yours on rock instead of sand. If you’re interested in submitting to Bling! (or any other publishing line), make the time to cruise for information. Read the guidelines. Get to know the kind of material we publish and decide if your project fits before writing your query letter.

Since I’m going to be here each month, do you have any topics you’d like to read about? I’d love to hear what new and aspiring authors want to learn, and I’ll do my best to use my own experience to guide, advise, and encourage!


SANDRA D. BRICKER was an entertainment publicist in Los Angeles for 15+ years where she attended school to learn screenwriting and eventually taught the craft for several semesters. When she put Hollywood in the rear view mirror and headed across the country to take care of her mom until she passed away, she traded her scripts for books, and a best-selling, award-winning author of Live-Out-Loud fiction for the inspirational market was born. Sandie is best known for her Another Emma Rae Creation and Jessie Stanton series for Abingdon Press, and she was also recently named ACFW’s Editor of the Year for her work as managing editor of Bling!, an edgy romance imprint for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. As an ovarian cancer survivor, Sandie also gears time and effort toward raising awareness and funds for research, diagnostics and a cure.  

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  1. Such great wisdom, Sandie! It's been a long journey to get here, but I'm praying there's now a strong foundation to build a career on. Thanks for giving it to us straight because we can learn a lot from writers like you.

    1. Candee, the way you've carefully approached and built your career shows in your writing ... and in your whole attitude toward getting published with us at Bling! You are an editor's dream author, and I'm proud to have a hand in getting you to the next level.

  2. I'm so thrilled you've joined Seriously Write as a regular contributor, Sandie. Welcome!! Love that you're here to share your wisdom with us. Great post!

    1. Thank you so much, Annette. I'm so happy to be here in such esteemed company!

  3. Welcome, Sandie! So glad to get to know another LPC member on Seriously Write! :)

  4. As a newbie author, I'd love to read more about your experience with query letters: what you read vs. roll your eyes at. ;) Also, I've read a lot of secular advice, which often terrifies me, and Godly council, which can feel very "wink and a prayer" so other than our driving force, how can we Christian writers set ourselves apart in the publishing world? Looking forward to reading more from you. Thank you!

  5. I love that you had so many experiences before you focused on writing novels. That makes them so much richer!
    And I love the little blurb at the end....Sandrad, huh? One little missing space!

    1. I blame copy/paste for that! LOL The space is there on my original.

  6. I loved this! Thank you for sharing. I'm soooo excited to be learning from you (and everyone else!) on this blog! :)

  7. Sandie, I'm thrilled you're going to be a regular contributor on Seriously Write. I look forward to learning from you. My all time favorite book of yours is Love Find You In Snowball Arkansas. I laughed out loud. So I would love a few lessons on humor writing.

  8. Sandie, that was fantastic! While that new writer's pride was pretty in-the-face, I think that it is so easy for new writers, like me, to underestimate just how much we don't know. Publishing feels like an iceberg - we can only see the tip of its influence and power. Thank goodness for experienced writers, like yourself, who are willing to share your knowledge and expertise with us. Looking forward to your next post!

  9. I would love to take the writer of that letter aside, sit her down and tell her the first word to learn when beginning this writing journey is to be teachable. And the second word to learn is to be flexible. Be ready to kill your darlings. I suspect some people have told her she is a wonderful writer and her story is amazing. Family and friends are like that LOL. I hope she finds a good mentor who knows fiction writing and the industry, and is willing to help her go at this crazy world of novel wiring and learn all she can. I started to share one of my my teachable moments here, but I'm saving it for my own blog post. LOL Great article Sandie!


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