Janet here. Since Seekerville's inception seven years ago, one by one all the Seekers set sail from Unpubbed Island to the Mainland of Published Fiction. Our goal for Seekerville was to help others do the same by emphasizing the value of contests and sharing craft and inspiring posts. In those early days, 30 comments delighted us, and most of those were ours. LOL Now the blog has over 11,000 followers and almost a million and a half page reviews. God has grown Seekerville and all of us as we share the ups and downs of the writers’ journey.
To celebrate Seekerville’s 7th Birthday, I asked seven + Villagers, if they'd like to share how Seekerville helped them achieve their dream of publication. I got a resounding yes! So grab a cup of Helen's coffee and let's party with these lovely ladies!
When I dusted off my four-decade-long dream of being a writer, I had no idea what I was doing. I sat holed up in my office cranking out five lackluster stories in two years. Although my joy was abundant, my knowledge of craft was abysmal. All that changed when I finaled in the 2008 Golden Heart®. A wonderful woman named Tina Radcliffe found me and asked me to be a blog guest at Seekerville. Because I was a florescent green newbie writer and a technophobe, I had several questions for Tina. The first was, "what is a blog?" She answered that question and has answered many more since. I was warmly welcomed by all the Seekers and Seekervillagers and have learned oodles from you talented people. Ruthy was my Lighten Up 101 instructor and taught me how to make this writing gig a lot more fun. Missy, one of my contest judges, gave me a great idea on how to improve the story that became my debut novel. I won a critique from Julie, and she gave me awesome pointers on that same story's opening. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Seekerville rocks! Happy seventh birthday! Here's to another great year to come.
|Keli Gwyn and Janet|
I've always loved Seekerville for introducing me to great new authors, but as someone who just started writing, every day seems like an intensive writing course. I've learned so much in Seekerville! As for tangible help, I won a fancy printer during The New Year’s party one year. This was back when it seemed like most agents still wanted paper submissions. I had a terrible old printer that mostly ate paper and never printed anything legibly, so I was THRILLED to win. I sent out hundreds of queries and lots of partials with that printer! Then, I finaled in the Seekerville Query Contest with Melissa Endlich, and she requested full manuscripts from all of us winners. She called to say they wanted to acquire it in Nov 2011. I signed my first contract through Seekerville!
Sue Mason, Healing the Widower’s Heart, Love Inspired, February 2015
I most definitely credit the fabulous ladies of Seekerville with my success as a writer! It all started when I became a Golden Heart finalist in 2008. Tina Radcliffe tracked me down and invited me to share a little about my story on her blog. I had no idea who she was or even what a blog was, but I jumped on board. From then on, I became a faithful follower of Seekerville. Not only do they provide fantastic information about the craft of writing, they often feature agents and editors, and host contests. This was the case back in October 2012 when Love Inspired editor, Elizabeth Mazer, was featured in a post which included a First Page contest. I didn't plan to participate since my contemporary trilogy was on submission at White Rose Publishing, and my other stand-alone romance, Wyndermere House, (ironically my 2008 GH entry) had already been rejected by a different LI editor. Then Tina sent me an email pretty much ordering me to get something in to the contest! So I took another look at Wyndermere House, made a few adjustments, and sent it in! To make a long story short, I received a request from Elizabeth, and now 2 years later, my manuscript is being released as Healing the Widower’s Heart (February 2015). Without Tina (as well as all the encouragement and prayers from the wonderful women at Seekerville), I wouldn't be able to call myself a Love Inspired author! Thank you SO MUCH Seekerville!
|Ruth Tredway, Helen Gray, Sue Mason, Janet|
In 2007 I started my first manuscript with the intent of publication. As soon as I waded into the cyberworld of writers, I discovered Seekerville. A blog dedicated to helping writers on the path and a home for those who didn't know what they were doing (me!), the Seekers' posts on craft, contests, submission etiquette and encouragement soon had me hooked! Many of the Seekers still resided on Unpubbed Island. Thanks to their intelligent posts and loving personalities, I gained confidence in my ability to seek publication and to actually achieve it. They made traditional publication seem possible when many others said it was impossible.
I am so thankful I stumbled across the Seekerville years ago. Long Live the Seekers!
What can I say about Seekerville? Four years ago, my journey to publication started with a vague idea of a story, a thirty-year-old bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, and twenty-some years of homeschooling and raising children under my belt. Then I stumbled upon Seekerville while looking for tips on how to write. Well, I say I “stumbled upon” this blog, but I know God led me here. From the beginning I knew I was facing a huge learning curve, but the gracious ladies on Unpubbed Island made gentle suggestions and offered enthusiastic encouragement. I entered contests, developed writing goals and discipline, and watched my word count grow. I entered more contests – including the great ones here on Seekerville that led to my first book landing on a Love Inspired editor’s desk and led to signing with an agent. And the Seekers cheered every step of the way. I listened to their advice, learned from their blog posts, and kept working. I signed my first contract with Love Inspired in April, 2012, and this summer signed a three book contract with Revell. My publication journey may have been possible without the Seekers, but I can’t imagine how long I would have struggled in my writing cave without their wisdom and encouragement opening doors I didn’t even know existed. I look forward to many, many more years of being a Seekervillager. Happy Birthday, Seekerville!
Helen Gray, OzarkWedding, Heartsong Presents, September, 2014
My profile says I've been hanging around Seekerville since November, 2009, but I was “Anonymous” for a few months before that, until I learned how to set up an account. During those years I have printed and utilized a lot of How-To craft tips, and I've never been allowed to feel lonely at ACFW conferences. I've also benefited from Seeker critiques. Of the series I had release this year, Mary critiqued the first chapter of book one, Tina critiqued the first chapter of book two, and Grammar Queen edited the first chapter of book three. And I lived to tell about it! In addition to all that, they drink my virtual coffee, even though I have no idea how to make the stuff in reality.
SEEKERVILLE, first, happy birthday!
Second, I wouldn't be where I am today without you. It was during your birthday in 2011 I received a request from Emily Rodmell at Love Inspired. In 2012 I received the call! I can't say thank you enough for the continued support and encouragement as I travel beyond the island.
Mary Curry, writing as Cate Nolan, will debut her Christmas book in October, 2015,
identified seven reasons she’s thankful for having the Seekers in my life.
Friends - Some of my dearest writing friends are people I've met through Seekerville. We all know how lonely a writer's life can be, but the Seekers bring a light of friendship into that loneliness. I thank them for their friendship.
Faith - Through word, deed and prayer, the Seekers live their faith and inspire us to be the best we can be. Through prayers I've requested and prayers I didn't know about until afterward, I've been lifted so often by these lovely women. I thank them for their shared faith.
Craft - Seekerville is like one endless graduate course on how to write a book. It's the university from which we never want to graduate. The shared wisdom of the Seekers and their friends helps us strive and never settle for average. I thank them for sharing their knowledge.
Fun - It's not all serious! The one thing you know you can count on is that a day spent in Seekerville will be a day of happiness. From the New Year's Eve bash to the month long birthday party, Seekerville is a cheerful refuge. I thank the Seekers for the joy they bring each day.
Family or Community - I remember the first time I visited Seekerville. I feared it was some "in club" that I would forever watch from the outskirts. Little did I know that Seekerville is chock full of warmth and legendary hospitality. There are no strangers in Seekerville, only the friends we haven't gotten to know yet. I thank the Seekers for inviting us in and making us feel welcome.
|Lynette Eason, Patty Smith Hall, Debby, Missy, Jessica Nelson|
Prizes - Not to seem mercenary, ;) but seriously! The Seekers are so generous with prizes offering so many free books, gift cards, and treats. I still drink my tea from the mug Tina sent as my very first newbie villager prize. I thank you for your generosity.
Hope and Support - "And the greatest of these is love." Through their love for God, each other, and the villagers, the Seekers show by example how to be a love-driven, faith-based community. They never stint on time or effort, advice or prizes ;) Whether it's brandishing a whip or offering candy, the Seekers have our backs and I hope they know we have theirs. They make this journey seem possible and when you reach your goal, there's no better place to celebrate than Seekerville! I thank the Seekers for years of support and celebration and for being the best kind of community a writer could yearn for.
Years ago, before all the Seekers had made it off unpubbed island, I'd written this "book" and had no idea what I was supposed to do next. Praise the Lord for Google and Seekerville. From the first post I read there, I felt like I'd come home to a place I'd never been before. I jumped in right away and soaked up information like a Persian rug does spilled wine. There was so much to learn but when I began commenting, these "real authors" took an interest in the "new person" and were so welcoming. Encouraging. That sense of home and belonging deepened as I continued to make my daily Seekerville stop for the next two years. I say with honesty Seekerville is where I learned about half of what I know about the craft of fiction and marketing. I made so many friends there and am blessed to have maintained those friendships even though life as a published author no longer affords me the time to spend in Seekerville I once did. I will always be grateful for the Seekers, and their continuing mission to support and encourage the up and coming author as much as the multi-published. I am published today with a very successful Indie debut, and mentoring an up-and-coming author, thanks largely to that early learning and shared community here in Seekerville. Thank you Seekers, for seven years and counting.
Patty Smith Hall, "Christmas Lessons," Christmas Traditions, October, 2014.
Many will talk about how Seekerville has helped them to realize their dream of being a published writer, and they'd be correct. Cheryl Wyatt's post on scene development back in 2008 changed the way I wrote, and gave me the push I needed to finish my first published novel, Hearts in Flight.
But it is the kindness of the Seekers that has touched my heart and made Seekerville feel like a second home. In early 2012, the doctors told me my spine could no longer support me and I would need surgery. The recovery period was anywhere from six months to a year, most which would be spent in a brace and on my back. Within days of my hospital release, I received my first card from one of the Seekers, then another and another. Every couple of days for the next few months, there would be a card or two waiting in my mailbox, encouraging me, letting know they were praying for my recovery. Those cards, and the notes written within, helped me through those first hard days of my recovery, and encouraged me to lean on God and to keep writing. A small kindness that still touches me today.
Thank you, ladies--and Happy Birthday, Seekerville!
Janet again. Thanks, ladies! Your sweet words bless and encourage us. Your success is such fun to celebrate! And offers hope to those working hard, who haven't yet received The Call.
For breakfast I brought orange juice, crisp bacon and crunchy French toast dusted with powdered sugar and warm maple syrup. And of course there's birthday cakes with layers of chocolate, strawberry and yellow to nibble on all day. Leave a comment for a chance to win one of these author's books in either eBook or hard copy, author’s choice (we'll discuss your options) and a $10 Amazon gift card.
Welcome to the start of week FOUR of our 7th Birthday Celebration. During the month of October we blog every single day. We will be giving away a $50 gift card from various online retailers each Sunday in October. We will also be collecting names (not numbers of comments) for the drawing for our grand prize-an iPad mini. Winner announced on Saturday, November 1st.
This week's $50 gift card will come from Amazon.com
We Have Winners
Be sure to contact us if you are a winner (send an email to email@example.com with your snail mail address unless email is specified). We don't have time to track you down. Do let us know if you don't receive your prize in 6-8 weeks. Rules are located on our legal page.
Did you claim your prizes from Week One & Week Two?
The Week Three $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card goes to Mary Hicks! Congratulations!
On Monday,Love Inspired author Missy Tippens shared "7 Things I've Learned Over the Last 7 Years." Jackie Layton is the winner of either a phone or email chat (winner's choice) to one entrant--which goes hand-in-hand with the #1 thing she's learned!
Tuesday, Seeker and award-winning author Myra Johnson shared her top seven writing resources and why they made it to her favorites list. Winner of a hot-off-the-press copy of Myra's latest release, Every Tear a Memory, book 3 in her Till We Meet Again historical romance series from Abingdon Press is Janet Ferguson. Winner of free enrollment in Myra and Dora Heir's November Night Class, Creating Characters That Come Alive, is Stephanie Ludwig.
In celebration of Seekerville's Seventh Birthday, Debby Giusti invited fellow authors Susan Sleeman and Jodie Bailey to join her on Wednesday Each author shared writing "secrets" in the blog, "Seven Secrets of Success from Three Successful Authors!" Be sure to stop by and see what each of them has to say. Leave a comment to be entered in three drawings for Holiday Defenders, a Love Inspired Suspense Christmas anthology, which features "Mission: Christmas Rescue," by Debby Giusti, "Special Ops Christmas," by Susan Sleeman, and "Homefront Holiday Hero," by Jodie Bailey. Along with the book, each winner also receives a $7 gift card from Starbucks! Congrats to Debby, Susan and Jodie’s winners: Jana Vanderslice, bonton (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Mark Abel.
Bethany House Fiction Publicist Amy Green stopped by on Thursday and shared "Four Tips for Marketing Like a Storyteller." Amy, who also runs the blog Bethany Fiction, is giving away all four historical releases from Bethany House this month. The winners of the Bethany books, to be sent randomly... Tried and True by Mary Connealy, The River by Beverly Lewis, Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer, & A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears are: Caryl Kane, Rose Ross Zediker, Tyrean Martiinson and Eva Marie Hamilton.
Friday we were excited to welcome Love Inspired, Assistant Editor, Emily Krupin with "Submit these Seven Themes to the Love Inspired Lines." Thanks to Emily and Seekerville, we have a birthday box filled with books to give away. The following commenters won two-pack book prizes: Mary Curry, Cindy W, CathyAnn40, Tracey Hagwood, Wilani Wahl, Hope Toler Doughtery, Debbie H, Karen K, Dawn Leonard, Deb H, Edwina, Kelly Bridgewater &Terri Weldon.
For those of you who missed it, Emily Krupin said in the comments: "By the way, I’m very eager to acquire my first brand new author, so please feel free to submit directly to me!"
Seekerville was happy to welcome Love Inspired, White Rose Publishing and Bethany House Publishing author, Susan Anne Mason to Seekerville on Saturday, with her inspiring post, "Persistence and Those Little ‘God Nudges’ — The Key to Success!" Winner of a digital copy of Betrayed Hearts is Kav!
Next Week In Seekerville
Monday:Today Love Inspired Historical author Janet Dean will share "Seven + Villager Success Stories." Leave a comment for a chance to win a book in either eBook or hard copy, author’s choice (we'll discuss your options), and a $10 Amazon gift card.
Tuesday: Let's give a huge, happy, no holds barred Seekerville welcome to Heartwarming Senior Editor Victoria Curran! Harlequin's move into these 70-75K sweeter stories follows today's reader trends, providing another option for Seekerville authors and readers! Victoria will be talking about the line, what they're looking for and what she likes... and we'll have a host of fun book options as giveaways to celebrate our time with her!
Wednesday: Oh my goodness! We have the Suspense Sisters with us today! Stop by for "3 Sisters on Writing: 7 Simple Strategies for Making the Dream a Reality,"with Love Inspired Suspense writers (and sisters) Shirlee McCoy, Sara K. Parker and Mary Ellen Porter. They have an amazing prize giveaway too!
Thursday: Another treat today as we welcome back Virginia Carmichael, (aka Mary Jane Hathaway )with her post, "The Joy of Rejection." She has a HUGE prize package for today's visitors. Don't miss it!
Friday: Seekerville is delighted to welcome back our pal, Erica Vetsch with her post "Seven Things That Will Make Your Editor Happy." Stop by. Chat. You could win a copy of Sagebrush Knights.
Saturday: Today we welcome Worthy Publishing author Brandy Vallance with her post, "Seven Essentials For Powerful Fiction." Stop by to meet Brandy and you could win a copy of her debut release, The Covered Deep. Two winners!
More from The 12 Brides of Christmas! Pam Hillman's ebook novella THE EVERGREEN BRIDE releases Monday, October 20th and is available for pre-order.
Amazon | B&N | CBD
#3: The Evergreen Bride
Mississippian Annabelle Denson dreams of visiting cousins in Illinois and seeing a white Christmas. In the face of her excitement, Samuel Frazier hides his growing affection for her behind a quiet smile and a carpenter’s lathe. Samuel starts to worry that if she goes, Annabelle won’t return. Can he convince her to stay?
Free this weekend! Spread the word and grab your e-copy if you haven't already done so because Ruth Logan Herne's highly rated, top-selling indie novel "Running on Empty" is FREE this weekend, and we all know how much we love free stuff! Follow THIS LINK to Amazon and download your free copy and yes... tell your friends! The more the merrier!
Debby Giusti will sign copies of HOLIDAY DEFENDERS, which features her novella, “Mission: Christmas Rescue,” on Wed, OCT 22, from 4-6:30 PM, at Omega Book Center, 100 North Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree City. Proceeds from the signing will benefit Wounded Warriors at Atlanta’s Shepherd Spinal Center, in conjunction with their SHARE Military Initiative. The event is open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. Orders can also be phoned in at 770-487-3977, and autographed copies can be held for pickup or mailed.
Congratulations to Debby Giusti, Holiday Defenders: Mission: Christmas came in at #38 on the
Nielsen Bookscan Top 100 Bestselling Romances List for the week ending 10/12/14!!
On Monday, October 20, Seeker Myra Johnson celebrates the release of her newest novel, Every Tear a Memory, as she visits with Dorothy Adamek on the Ink Dots blog. Stop in for some never-before-revealed glimpses into Myra's life! (Don't let your imagination run wild. This is Myra we're talking about here!)
Then hop over to author Sarah Sundin's blog on Wednesday, October 22, for more about Myra's latest release!
Please hop over and join Missy Tippens at Trish Perry's blog, Reading, Writing, and The Stuff In-Between on Monday! There will be an interview as well as a giveaway of Missy's new release from Love Inspired, The Guy Next Door.
In honor of Julie Lessman’s latest release, Surprised by Love, her publisher has put the two prior books in the "Heart of San Francisco" series on sale as well, at savings of 66% for Dare to Love Again to 80% for Love at Any Cost, so take advantage!! Here are the links:
LOVE AT ANY COST (Book 1):AMAZON-BARNES & NOBLE-CBD-LIFEWAY
DARE TO LOVE AGAIN (Book 2):AMAZON-BARNES & NOBLE-CBD-LIFEWAY
Join Julie Lessman on the following blogs for an interview and giveaway of winner's choice of any of her books, including her latest release, Surprised by Love!
October 20 - NOVEMBER 8, 2014: Creative Madness Mama Blog at http://creativemadnessmama.com/
October 20-23, 2014: Novel Crossing Blog at http://www.novelcrossing.com/
October, 2014 (actual date TBA): Relz Reviews Blog at http://relzreviewz.com/
Several of the Seekers are singing holiday songs already and are sharing their Christmas Novella's!
Hope for the Holidays: Contemporary and Historical Collections. Now available for pre-order!
Contemporary, featuring Mary Connealy, Audra Harders, Ruth Logan Herne, Sandra Leesmith, Tina Radcliffe and Missy Tippens.
Historical, featuring Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Myra Johnson and Julie Lessman.
Random News & Information
If you haven't, please consider nominating Seekerville for the 17th Annual Writer’s Digest 101 Best Website for Writer’s Award. Send an email to email@example.com with “101 Websites” in the subject line. We are an Inspirational Romance Writing Community.
Your friends at Seekervill
Are Publisher Advances Truly Critical? (Digitial Reader)
Waiting for the pundits to vote on Amazon's new 'Kindle Scout' (Future Book)
How To Be Successful In Self-Publishing (the creative PENN)
Eavesdropping for story ideas and other tips from a veteran novelist (The Book Deal)
Engagement ring prices linked to divorce rates (Fox News)
Book Marketing the Old Way Versus the Way That Works Today—Part 1: Book Reviews (DBW)
Mystery Writers of America and Minotaur Books have teamed up once again to sponsor their 2015 Best First Crime Novel Competition. Writers over the age of 18 who have never had a novel published (in any genre) may enter the contest. Manuscripts must be 65,000 words or longer and must feature murder or another serious crime at the heart of the story.The winner will receive a publishing contract from Minotaur books (an imprint of St. Martin’s Press) and a $10,000 advance against royalties. The deadline to enter is December 15, 2014. For more details, go here.(Cindi Myers Market News's Blog)
Anatomy of a Cowboy Hero (eHarlequin.com)
That's it! Have a great reading and writing day!
with guest Susan Anne Mason.
Hi everyone! So happy to be here as part of Seekerville’s birthday month celebration! I am honored that Tina asked me to share a little about my writing journey with you. So hang on to your hats, and let’s go for a ride!
Although I had dabbled in writing as a child, I stopped for many years when life got in the way—university, a full-time job, marriage, and then babies took up most of my time, and it wasn’t until sometime after my 40th birthday that I got the urge to write again.
I started scribbling on note pads whenever I had a few minutes. My first book (one hot mess!) took me over 2 years to finish—not including typing out the manuscript when my hubby wasn’t using our one computer. I wrote another secular romance after that with no idea how to plot a story.
My first ‘God nudge’ came one Sunday in church (yes, I was daydreaming about writing during a sermon—LOL!). This very distinct voice in my head told me to try writing inspirational romance. I listened to this sage advice and once I did, I knew I’d found my home. In fact, my very first inspirational, Wyndermere House, became a finalist in the 2008 Golden Heart contest. Being so new at the writing game, I didn’t realize what an honor this was—not even when someone named Tina Radcliffe tracked me down and recruited me to write a piece for a blog called Seekerville! Though I wasn’t really sure what a blog was, I blithely jumped in with both feet! Little did I know how important the wonderful Seeker ladies would become—both as friends and mentors.
I didn’t win the Golden Heart, and my book got rejected by Steeple Hill (Love Inspired), but I went on valiantly to write a 3-book series. [Note: huge example of persistence here!] The first book in the Rainbow Falls series, Threads of a Tapestry, met with both successes and failures, but was ultimately rejected by Love Inspired. Finally, I followed another God nudge and submitted it to White Rose Publishing, where it finally caught the attention of a wonderful editor who was willing to work with me to turn it into a book worth publishing. In October 2013, I signed a two-book contract with White Rose, and Threads of a Tapestry released this past August as Betrayed Hearts!
This, my friends, is only the beginning of my amazing journey to publication.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Seekerville was hosting a First Page contest to be judged by Elizabeth Mazer, an editor with Love Inspired. I didn’t plan to enter anything since my trilogy was on submission at White Rose and my only other contemporary (I was writing a couple of historicals at this point) was Wyndermere House which—just to recap—had already been rejected by LI. Once again I received a God nudge (not so subtle this time) in the form of one Tina Radcliffe (remember her?) who sent me a personal email—pretty much ordering me to get my butt in gear and submit something to the contest. So at the last minute, I polished up the first page of Wyndermere House and sent it in. Elizabeth ended up requesting the first three chapters and a synopsis!
Meanwhile back at the historical ranch, I followed another God nudge, again at the eleventh hour, and entered my historical romance, Irish Meadows, in a contest I had never heard of—solely for the reason that Dave Long, an editor at Bethany House, was one of the finalist judges. I thought it would be great to have his feedback on my entry, and sent it off on a wing and a prayer. (This was about a month before I was offered my contract with White Rose so I was still eligible to enter).
In March of this year—literally within a week of each other—I was offered a three-book deal with Bethany House for Irish Meadows AND a contract for Wyndermere House from Elizabeth Mazer at Love Inspired. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement! Another God nudge led me to Sue Brower, an agent with the Natasha Kern agency, who took me on instantly to help negotiate the tricky waters of these overlapping contracts!
So, almost 14 years after I started writing, I achieved my dream, not only of being a published author, but a multi-published author with 3 different publishers!
|Signing the Bethany House Publishing contract.|
Looking back, I can admit that if I had won the Golden Heart back in 2008 and been offered a contract with Love Inspired, I would not have been ready—not in the level of my writing, nor in my own confidence as a writer. God in His great wisdom knew this! I believe the turning point for me was in realizing that my fear of the pressures of publication was holding me back. I needed to let go of the fear and get clear about what I wanted. That done, I set my intent to trust God and his plan for my life, and sure enough, in God’s perfect timing, He answered my wish to become a published author—not once, but threefold!
God can dream a bigger dream for us than we can ever imagine! So don’t give up! Persistence and prayer are key! So is following those all important ‘God nudges’.
Have any of you noticed ‘God nudges’ in your life—writing or otherwise?
I am offering a digital copy of Betrayed Hearts to one ‘persistent’ commenter! Here’s the blurb about the book:
Desperate and alone, Lily Draper comes to Rainbow Falls in search of her biological sister, the only blood relative she has left. Emotionally scarred by her father, Lily avoids religion at all cost. Her new landlord, an aspiring minister, soon has her questioning her views. Can she learn to trust Nick's heart or will her sordid past destroy their love?
Betrayed Hearts is available now through the Pelican Book Group/White Rose Publishing and on Amazon.
Links to my book:
White Rose: http://tinyurl.com/lxslxb9
The second book in the Rainbow Falls series, Wayward Hearts, comes out in early December. Wyndermere House (now called Healing the Widower’s Heart) releases with Love Inspired in February 2015, and Irish Meadows releases with Bethany House in the summer of 2015.
Susan Anne Mason lives in a suburb near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she works part-time as a church secretary. She is a wife and the mother of two amazing kids, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). In addition to writing, she likes to scrapbook and to research her family history on-line. You can connect with her on Facebook or on her website www.susanannemason.com.
SUBMIT THESE SEVEN THEMES TO THE LOVE INSPIRED LINES by Emily Krupin, Assistant Editor for Love Inspired Suspense and Historical
Happy 7thBirthday, Seekerville! Thanks so much for inviting me to guest blog during the big celebration. To keep with the trend, I want to give you the inside scoop on “seven” themes I’d like to continue seeing in Love Inspired Suspense and Historical.
Editors are often asked what type of stories we’d like to see in our inboxes. When diving into a submission, I tend to focus on the connection I feel with main characters and the dramatic conflict between the hero and heroine. But which story ideas will have me racing to draft up your contract?
1. Amnesia stories. A heroine is attacked and left for dead. When she recovers, she can’t remember who or why someone attacked her. Is she still in danger? Maybe a law enforcement hero can step in to help her find some answers. You can see how amnesia stories offer suspenseful, high-stakes plots. Another scenario is a character with dissociative amnesia—no memory of a past traumatic event. And perhaps remembering that past event could now save the character’s life…or help put a criminal behind bars. Amnesia stories will definitely catch my attention.
|I call this one: I LOVE COFFEE!!!
2. Secret/surprise baby plots. Not many can resist an adorable baby. If your manuscript includes a surprise baby on a doorstep, a hero or heroine suddenly taking guardianship of a child, or reveals a main character’s been caring for a secret infant, send it my way.
3. Amish town settings. It could be about a hero’s return to the Amish community—and former love—he left years ago. Or perhaps a heroine is desperate to uncover the truth about a relative’s murder in her Plain town. “Bonnet books,” as they’re sometimes called, combine the sense of family and faith we seek. The key is to write about the old-fashioned way of life with relevance to today’s readers.
4. Redemption stories. I love a compelling story of redemption. Whether it’s a character that has reformed her previous ways and now seeks a fresh start, or a hero righting the wrongs of his past, I’d like to read it.
|I call this one: 99% of my moving boxes are marked this way!|
5. Cowboys/ranchers taming the Wild West. I’m sure you’ve noticed we’re big fans of cowboys and ranchers in our Love Inspired Historical books. Well, I’ve got news for you—we can’t get enough of them! I’d like you to cowboy up and send in your stories of characters traveling and taming the Old West.
6. Holiday stories. Nothing escalates tension between clashing characters like the holidays. It can add a deadline to an already extreme timetable. Or make an impromptu proposal that much more romantic. I really enjoy the conflict of a character returning to his hometown for Christmas and being thrown together with the last person he’d want to see—his ex. Besides holiday reunion romances, I’d like to receive stories incorporating Thanksgiving, New Year’s and, of course, Christmas.
|And the fight is on!!! Killer Voices 2014!|
7. Something completely different! I challenge you to send in your heroes and heroines with quirky careers and fresh stories we haven’t even imagined. Maybe that means a lobsterman stumbling upon a crime ring. Maybe this means experimenting and writing a manuscript with college-age characters. As long as it follows our Love Inspired guidelines and centers on a growing romance between the hero and heroine as they work toward a common goal, I’d like to see your proposal.
Here are a few final notes about my manuscript wish list. Since I hail from a tiny town on Long Island, I always enjoy small town settings in our books. Although, I also appreciate when an author creates the sense of a tight-knit community in a city or foreign location. Give me a secret spy or Witness Protection story any day. And I love when an author can weave humor into a dramatic or emotional story. Most important, I want to read about your unforgettable characters!
Some themes lend themselves toward our Love Inspired Suspense line, and others to our Love Inspired Historical line. But if you write a new spin on a classic theme, by all means—surprise me! Send in that suspenseful cowboy story you’ve had on the backburner.
Thanks again for inviting me to celebrate your 7th birthday! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below and follow me on Twitter at @EmilyKrupin.
Ruthy here! FIRST!!!! Thank you Emily for coming on board and celebrating our seventh birthday with us! We love our editorial team(s) at Love Inspired and let me just remind everyone that Love Inspired offers opportunities very few publishers do these days, and that's to look at unsolicited and unagented manuscripts.... so keep writing! Finish the book! Learn the craft and we'll do all we can here in Seekerville to help you do just that.
We've got a slew of books to give away today, we'll be drawing over a dozen names from the cat dish for two-packs of books to wing their way to you! Stop by and leave a comment to have your name tossed into the cat dish (the cats are getting positively ANNOYED this month, but I just shrugged them off... Seekerville Rocks, Kitties! That's what I told 'em! :) Also your name will be put in for our weekly $50 drawing and our end-of-the-month-long celebration i-Pad mini!
Coffee's on and I brought a passel full of New York Bagels, cream cheese, toppings and we're throwin' in some dirty water dogs later. Nothin' like a dirty water dog walkin' along the seaport of Lower Manhattan!
|Amy Green - Fiction Publicist at Bethany House Publishing|
By Amy Green - Bethany House Fiction Publicist
If you’re like a lot of writers, the idea of self-marketing is either A. boring, B. uncomfortable, C. terrifying, or D. all of the above.
But here’s a secret—as a writer, you already have all the tools you need to be a good marketer.
A bunch of successful, completely-unrelated-to-fiction corporations are throwing around the buzzword “narrative marketing.” Fancy marketing gurus are realizing you can’t just shout, “Buy this! Click here! Give us your money!” But when people care about a product—when you build a story around it so it has meaning—the product sells. (For examples, see any commercial that tries to get an emotional response, whether that’s a laugh or an “Aww!” moment.)
As fiction authors, you already have an advantage. Here are some ideas of how to apply it.
Know Your Characters’
This is How to Plot 101, right? As an author, you need to understand what your protagonists want and find ways to make that clear to the reader.
Your fans are like characters. You start out knowing very little about them, but they each have unique personalities, pet peeves, and wants. But by the end of the “story”—whether that’s a blog post or a book signing or a letter to librarians in your state asking them to order your book—you want to understand what these people want and do your best to create a happy ending by giving it to them.
On social media, you can’t go wrong by being your genuine, enthusiastic self—many readers want a personal connection with the authors whose pages they’ve “liked.” For in-person interaction, make it fun: have a giveaway, bring food, call your email sign-up a “guest book” and use a pen with a giant daisy on top. When writing that letter to librarians, think of the angle that would intrigue them—local author, a fresh look at state history, the lack of books for this age group or on this subject?
When you consider the people you’re talking to and their wants and needs instead of just what you want to say, it makes a much better experience for everyone.
In a really good story, the reason you keep turning pages into the weary, bleary-eyed hours of the night is because you absolutely must know the answer to the question: What is going to happen next?
With publishing, the answer to that is always the same: the next book is coming out! And you’re going to love it! But you won’t have a new book releasing every month, unless you’re some kind of superhuman. So, what to post in the in-between time? Here are some ideas:
· Have a dramatic cover reveal . . . and tell fans a few days ahead of time that it’ll be coming. Maybe even show a tiny bit of the cover along with the date of the full reveal. <---[endif]-->
· Give fans a sneak peek of the story. Whether that’s hints about a character, a few “teaser” quotes, or an exclusive excerpt for people who are a part of your email list, readers love to see what your story is going to be about. <---[endif]-->
· Host a contest a month or so before the official release date, with the prize being early copies of your book. Be creative—have readers guess what type of restaurant the heroine runs, tell them to caption the cover image with what a character is thinking, play Mad Libs with one of the scenes of the story . . . anything goes! <---[endif]-->
Show, Don’t Tell
Hopefully, you have a critique partner who spills red ink all over “telling” phrases like, “She was hurt by his unkind words” or “Suddenly, he felt very angry.”
It’s the same with marketing. Sure, you can just state things outright. But why would you? Here are some examples:
Showing: When it comes to book covers, what draws you in? What turns you off? Join the conversation on my blog.
Telling: My book is really great! You should all go give it a five-star review on Amazon!
Showing: Here are some of my favorite reviews so far—thanks to everyone who supported my book by leaving a review during release month!
Now, will there be times when there’s nothing more to say than a headline about a free ebook deal or a new release? Sure. And that’s just fine. But whenever you can, do more than just convey information. Tell a story.
Limit Your Subplots
Yes, subplots add depth and interest to the main story. But if your romance also has a railroad tycoon trying to shut down the orphanage and a maid struggling with a murder she witnessed, and the protagonist’s mother petitioning the city to allow women in the annual horserace while simultaneously trying to reunite with her prodigal daughter, and a troupe of circus performers seeking shelter from an incoming tornado . . . you may have a bit too much going on. (I got exhausted just writing that sentence.)
In the same way, there will probably be one or two main areas where you focus your marketing. Maybe you love writing guests posts for blogs. Maybe Facebook and Pinterest are both really fun for you. Maybe you see your website as being very important and update it often. That’s your main plot.
Feel free to add in subplots—use Twitter for announcements even if you’re more of a Facebook person, try writing for a few blogs during release month even if that’s not your normal strategy, get with some writing buddies at a conference and make a fun, chatty YouTube video. But don’t overwhelm yourself.
Here’s the bottom line, coming from an official publishing company marketer and everything: You don’t have to do it all.
Stick to your main plot for most of your self-promotion—take the thing you like best and learn more about it, get good at it, be consistent with it. Try out some new subplots from time to time, but don’t overwhelm yourself (and lose valuable writing time) by putting everything on your To-Do list at once.
Right now, everyone else in the marketing world is trying to apply the principles that you already know and use in your fiction writing every single day. Enjoy being on the cutting edge . . . and get out there and share those books with the world!
Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for all four historical releases from Bethany House this month. FOUR BOOKS-FOUR WINNERS
Tried and True by Mary Connealy,
The River by Beverly Lewis,
Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer,
A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears
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