Friday, 24 August 2012

Robin Kaye guestpost and contest


Robin Kaye has a new book out named Call me Wild, and today she is visiting my blog. Stay tuned for a giveaway at the end.

What advice, tips or tricks have you learned from your writing that you wish you had known when you wrote your first book?

1. How to write. There’s a book I recommend to everyone—especially people new to writing toward publication. ON WRITING WELL by William Zinsser. I read it once a year just for a brush up. But it changed my life. You learn how to write active, strong and succinct sentences—which is the direct opposite of what most English teachers teach.  

2. Get a good critique group. Ideally three to five people, writing different genres and at different points in their career. A great critique group is worth its weight in plutonium, but they’re not easy to find. You might have to try a few before you find one that fits. Still, they’re worth the work involved in finding a good one.

3. Make sure you have enough conflict (both internal and external—and yes, you do need both) to carry your book. It’s the biggest failing in both my early work, and the work I see in contests. If there’s not enough conflict, then you have a sagging middle and a black moment that’s more gray than black. 

4. Network. I’m a great networker. It comes natural to me, but that’s not saying it’s easy. I think that getting to conferences and being seen is a huge help. The editors and agents see you at conferences and know you’re invested in your career. When I’m at conferences, I purposely sit with people I don’t know every chance I get. By doing this, I’ve gotten to know so many incredible giving writers, editors, and agents. 

I go to spotlights on the publishers I’ve targeted, or editor/agent panels, and sit in the front row and make eye contact. I’m engaged and they always notice. Later, I’ll see them around the conference and they approach me thinking that they know me from somewhere. It’s a great way to form a relationship. I don’t hit them with a pitch, I’ll just chat about whatever... but more often then not they’ll ask what I’m working on, and then I’ll pitch to them. 

Always be positive and professional. People are watching.

5. Go to workshops or get RWA National CDs. I have five or six years of RWA Nationals workshops downloaded on my iPod and I listen to them over and over and over again. I’ve learned so much while I drive. 

I love Michael Hauge’s Six-Stage Plot Structure. I was a pantster and now I’m a planster because of Michael Hauge (storymastery.com). I’ve loosely plotted seven books using his method and it always works! It’s also the only plot structure that makes sense to me. I’ve seen him so many times, for a while he probably thought I was a stalker. Finally he came up to me and asked why I was there—after all, I’d heard it all before. I said yes I had, but every time I see him, I’m writing a different book and he sparks something wonderful.  

Margie Lawson’s on line classes (MargieLawson.com) do the same thing for me. When I take them, I’m relearning things I might have forgotten and my writing is fresher and sharper even if I’ve taken the class three times. Margie and Michael are the reasons I’m published and stayed published. They’re both amazing instructors.

6. Don’t be in a rush to submit because you only get one chance. Enter it into a few contests to get feedback, ask a few published authors if they have time to read the synopsis and the first three chapters. Get feedback from people who have been around the block a time or two. Once you submit, if it’s not ready, you’ll get a rejection and then you usually can’t resubmit the tweaked manuscript to that agent or editor. You’ll have to cross them off your list for that project at least. Don’t be in such a rush. That’s the biggest mistake I made and most of the other new writers I’ve seen.  

7. Writers write but they have to have a life to give them things to write about. Work on balancing your life, your family, your faith, and your passion for writing. 

–Yeah, I’m still working on this one. Once you’re published, things just get more difficult, you have deadlines (not only for the new book, but for revisions, copy edits, and galleys) and all of a sudden you’re supposed to be writing a new book while on a blog tour, and revising the book you’ve just finished. Once you’re doing it all, balance is hard to come by. Be careful what you wish for!

8. If writing isn’t a passion, if it’s not something you have to do, if your characters aren’t keeping you from sleep and you don’t have imaginary people whispering in your ear and driving you insane until you write about them then give it up. You’re not insane enough for this business. It’s a hard business, and there are countless ways to make money that are a hell of a lot easier. If writing is a choice and not a sickness, then I’d say run like hell. If it’s a sickness, then welcome to the club. 


Giveaway:
Call me Wild, 1 copy

1. US and Canada
2. Ends Sep 7th
3. Just go ahead and enter :)

Unemployed New York Times sports reporter, Jessica James gives up her big city life and moves into a borrowed house in Boise, Idaho. She's determined to become a great romance writer, and she only has one obstacle: she doesn't believe in love. Writing quickly becomes a challenge, so Jessica decides to go out and find some inspiration. She soon meets sexy, outdoorsy doctor Fisher Kincaid, who's more than happy to teach her all about love.


40 comments:

  1. What great advice that I think can apply almost anywhere! You need to learn your craft and balance it with everything else :)

    Wonderful Guest Post B!

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    1. I suppose your right. It's always good to be passionate about what you do. If you aren't, you're not going to be fulfilled--and isn't that what everyone needs? Love and fulfillment.

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  2. Such great advice! And so much of it applies to things other than writing as well, especially #8. I work in the wedding industry, and I'd say if designing stationery wasn't a passion of mine and I didn't wake up in the middle of the night with a design in my head that had to be sketched before I could fall back asleep, working with challenging clients would get the better of me:) I definitely need to work on being better at networking, I'm not a super outgoing person and am usually content to let me people come to me - totally the wrong approach I know:)

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    1. Networking is so important, not only for yourself, but for others your work with. I'll talk to an editor or agent, find out some kernel of information and pass it on. It's good for me, my writing friends, heck, I've even had the pleasure to hook up a few writers with their editors and agents. I've always been a matchmaker, this is just a different way and really all it is is networking.

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  3. Thanks for the post Robin :) I am glad I could post today cos of the mix-up

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    1. I'm thrilled it worked out. Thanks so much for having me. I would have been here sooner if I'd known it went up! I just found it when I googled the book.

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    2. I am glad you found the post then :D
      I got the post and hurried to post at once so it could be up on its original date.

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  4. A lot of this advice could also apply to different artistic endeavors. Great post!

    Oh enter me. I wanna read about the man who cooks and cleans! ;D

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    1. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Good luck with the giveaway!

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  5. These are awesome tips ..thanks for sharing this!

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  6. Great post and advice.
    I love Robin's books :-) They are always so much fun.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed them! Good luck with the giveaway!

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  7. I enjoyed the post, it's always lovely to learn from experience. :D
    I'd love to win a copy of Call Me Wild, it sounds great.

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    1. I love to learn from experience too--no sense in reinventing the wheel. Good luck with the giveaway!

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  8. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read this book. Sounds like a good romance. Tore923@aol.com

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    1. I hope you'll check it out! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Great post. Great advice. This book sounds great. Sexy cover. Thanks for the giveaway.
    Christinebails at yahoo dot com

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    1. Chris~ Thanks for the kind words. I was really happy with the final cover--I think it might be my favorite!

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  10. Really interesting to learn more about these advices. thanks for the post!

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    1. (I don't participate, I'm not from US or CA)

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    2. You're so welcome, Melliane! I hope it helps.

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  11. gr8 advice and good luck to all

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  12. Great post! I'd love to be entered into this giveaway. Looks like a good one.

    yvone473[at]optonline[dot]net

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    1. I'm glad you think so. I have the first chapter posted on my website if you want to check it out. http://RobinKayeWrites.com

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  13. Hahahs, a sickness. It sure is! Fun post, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yup, it's definitely a sickness! I've been suffering for years but I wouldn't change a thing. What would I do if I didn't have my imaginary friends to talk to?

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  14. Awesome advice. No wonder you are successful.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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    1. I don't know about the successful part, but I'm definitely working toward it. When it comes down to it, so much of this business is just luck, getting the right manuscript in front of the right person at the right time. I'm very lucky. But then I've heard it said, the harder I work, the luckier I get... so maybe it's a combination of both.

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  15. Great advice fir anyone thinking about writing. julierupert@gmail.com

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    1. Julie - I hope it's good. I wondered if I was being too honest, but then I think people are either born writers or they're not. If you are, then nothing I say could discorage you. If you're one of the club, I wish you all the luck in the world.

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  16. Such great writing advice! I've read this author before and I enjoyed her work. Nice post!

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    1. Thanks so much, Naida! Good luck with the giveaway!

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  17. great advice, thank you for sharing, Robin!

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  18. I would love this book - sounds like such a good story. Thanks for the giveaway.

    kayswederski at yahoo dot com

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  19. Thanks for the great post and great advice. Thanks for the giveaway.

    e.balinski(at)att(dot)net

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  20. Great post, I enjoyed reading it. Robin's new book looks fun! Thanks!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. This book sounds really good. I love the storyline, and would love to read the book. It has a great cover. Thanks for having the giveaway.

    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

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I answer them all here.

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