Monday, September 30, 2013

Taking Advantage of Real Opportunities

During a class I taught last month, I wrote an "extra" email explaining the difference between single titles and category romances. For good measure I wrote a bit about main stream romances.

One class participant wrote an email back asking, Well, why does it HAVE TO be this. And why do I HAVE TO DO that.

My reply? You don't have to do anything. Seriously. What's the saying? You don't have to do anything except die and pay taxes. LOL The demarcations I outlined had to do with traditional publishing and what editors and publishers wanted to see from writers. In this day and age of self-publishing, I told him, you can write anything you want and call it anything you want. There are no single title and category police. :) There are no thriller or mystery police or horror and zombie police or...well,  any writing police at all.


There is a little thing called reader expectation.

Granted, most readers probably do not know the terms single title and category romance. They don't understand genre fiction versus mainstream. They probably call them little books and big books. But when they dive into a book, expecting a big story -- because you've written a lot of pages -- and they get a super long category romance, they're going to know.

Some people might not be disappointed. Personally, I love the focus being only on the hero and heroine's story. If you can find a way to turn that into 400 pages instead of 250...I'd buy everything you wrote. :)

But if you write a book about two frogs and call it a romance and thousands of unsuspecting readers buy may find yourself in a spot of trouble with readers.

Still, that's the least of our worries as writers. Our real problem is...if enough people write books about two mating frogs and call them romance novels, and enough people write really long category romances and send them out there like single titles, and enough people write books with a big story and only a little romance and call them romances...all those wonderful lines we rely on to guide readers to the right books will be lost.

What does this have to do with taking advantage of real opportunities? Well, instead of fretting about the differences, the boxes we seem to be put in, the demarcations between single title and category...between genre fiction and mainstream fiction...why not use them?

Why not give readers what they want?

If you know readers like deeply emotional scenes why not write them?

If you're planning to sell to people who like humor, why not make them laugh?

If you're planning to sell to single title readers, why not write a book that gives them ups and downs and highs and lows and a bigger broader story?

Why do we want to fight the things it's taken publishing decades to establish as SELLING TOOLS? LOL!!!

We've spent the past few years applauding the fact that we could paint outside the lines and I think we may have forgotten why the lines existed.

So take a minute to appreciate the differences, to realize that you're in the entertainment business and the easiest way to entertain is to give the readers what they want.  And sometimes that's going to mean coloring within the lines. :)

Happy Reading

susan meier

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book Giveaway at I will be giving away several copies of SINGLE DAD'S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE next week!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Single Dad's Christmas Miracle by Susan Meier

Single Dad's Christmas Miracle

by Susan Meier

Giveaway ends September 28, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Monday, September 23, 2013

The power of the pen

Friday, I was a tad burned out so when we packed to go away for the weekend, I left my laptop behind. I did not want to write...or see anything on the Internet. LOL Some days you just need to unplug! Plus, we had plans to golf all day Saturday and half of Sunday. There wouldn't be time to write anyway.

We arrived at my sister-in-law's house only to discover it was to rain all day Saturday and we wouldn't be golfing...I would be wasting time.

Well, I told myself...It doesn't matter. I needed a break. So, of course, a full-blown scene appeared in my head as I tried to fall asleep on Friday night. I crawled out of bed, found a receipt in my purse and a pen, and scratched out the important details, while my husband slept.

Saturday morning we drove to a discount department store and I bought a notebook. When we returned to my sister-in-law's I wrote five scenes. Luckily, I know shorthand. LOL

I haven't used a pen and paper to write in a long time, but it was fun. And I got a lot written. But I also think the switch of media from keyboard to pen loosened something in my tired brain. :)

I am (as you all probably realize) a creature of habit. I love habits. I believe good habits serve us well, keep us on track, nudge us to do things that we'd otherwise blow off.

But every once in a while it's a good idea to shake things up. To do things differently. To wake up your brain and give it a chance to stretch.

I'll be typing out my scenes in a few minutes and I know that will jumpstart my brain and ideas will be hopping around in my brain like popcorn.

Can you think of a better way to start of Monday than with five scenes to type that will jumpstart your brain?

Maybe we should appoint Saturday or Sunday as Power of the Pen day and scribble just enough to jumpstart our Mondays!

Happy Reading

susan meier

Monday, September 16, 2013

When I love being a writer

I had one of those days on Friday. The kind that makes you glad you're a writer. I woke early and immediately opened my laptop to make words. I'd written a chapter the day before that I knew was in the wrong order. The hero had to tell the heroine something before it would make sense for her to do something else. (That's all the more detail I can give you...the book's just too funny to spoil.) And somehow or another I'd written them in the wrong order.

Anyway, I decided that before I'd make new words I'd fix the old ones. I switched the scenes and then had to fix the references since the order had changed. But as I was fixing and repairing, I found a word or two that could be better. I pumped up descriptions. I made dialogue funnier. And ended up adding four pages.

When I was done with that chapter it sang. But, even better, I felt like a writer again.

We spend so much time working to hit word counts, speed drafting, worrying about hitting plot points and just plain left-braining through our books that we sometimes forget writing is an art and that our right brain would like to come out and play too.

We also forget that most of us became writers because we like the art of it. We enjoy playing with words. We enjoy a fun turn of phrase. We like build ups and surprises. Twists. Turns. Great descriptions.

Don't deny yourself the pure pleasure of writing well. You may not be able to do it every day. You may have to do those 1000-word sprints three times a day or have to hit a weekly word count to make a deadline. I get that. But one day a week or maybe one hour a day...wouldn't you like to go back and take a look at your words? Play with dialogue. Create descriptions that sing?

Of course you would.

If you're denying yourself that pleasure...that could be part of the reason you sometimes feel burned out or disconnected from your work. You need that pleasure to feed your soul.

So give yourself that day or that hour and make your writer's soul happy again.

Happy Monday


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Blog Hop Over

The September is for Sequels Blog Hop is over...

My five winners are:

esined615 at yahoo dot com

evamillien at gmail dot com

mestith at gmail dot com

sstrode at scrtc dot com

Thanks everyone for participating!


Monday, September 9, 2013

The Word Is Out

By now the word is out that I've agreed to a contract with Entangled to do three books for their Bliss line. The champagne corks have been popped. I've had a nice dinner out. Congratulatory emails have been exchanged.

And now I have to go to work. :)

We tend to think of getting published (signing a contract) as a sort of finish line -- a goal we accomplish - when in truth it's like the light turning green at an intersection: the signal that we can now go.

As you've probably guessed, I already have storyboards and chapters for two of the books. (I saved book 3 so I can take advantage of what happens in books 1 and 2 to make that story better.)

So now all I have to do is sit down and write. (I make it sound so simple, don't I? LOL)

What will I do?

1. Set a schedule. I know how I write. I reread everything I already have every Monday. (Which means by the time I'm done with a book, chapters 1, 2 and 3 really sparkle. LOL) So I have from Tuesday through Saturday to draft. I take the number of weeks I have to write the book, divide that into the number of pages I need and ... that's how many pages I have to do each week. I divide that by five...and that's how many pages I have to get a day. [NOTE: I give myself Sundays off. I figured if God decided a day off was important enough to make it a commandment our bodies or brains must need it.]

2. I read my synopsis, existing chapters and storyboard. I cuddle up to the story. I usually put enough in my storyboard to KNOW what the story is about...but it's the one-paragraph story summary that connects me to the emotion. So I paste that on my computer. :)

3. I start writing. I don't hem and haw. I don't make excuses. I don't say, Fridays are my best day, I'll get 20 pages on Friday and everything will be okay. Nope. I buckle down. IMMEDIATELY.

4.  I keep the promises I make to myself. I've been blessed to have been "bought" by two publishers. I have goals. I have dreams. I someday want to own a beach house (just kidding...sort of). I won't accomplish my goals or see my dreams come true if I don't do the work today.

Today...right now...THIS MINUTE is the only reality. If you don't start in THIS MINUTE you will talk yourself out of the next minute and the next minute and the next minute and before you know it the day will be shot.

So get busy. As soon as you hit the time slot you've allotted to write GET BUSY.

Do it now. :)

Happy Monday


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

to see this week's writing post

you need to click on Just Do It on the lower righthand side in blog archives. Sorry about this. The blog hop posts just kinda took over! LOL susan


September is for Sequels! I love sequels. I love to read them. I love to write them! In the past few years I've had several "duets" for Harlequin, books that tell the story of brothers or sisters. To celebrate September is for sequels I'm giving away five copies of my Rita nominated book, THE TYCOON'S SECRET DAUGHTER and its sequel NANNY FOR THE MILLIONAIRE'S TWINS! Comment below to be entered in the contest. susan

september is for sequels!

And...visit all the links below for more chances to win sequels!