Other than surviving the first month of school (which is a whole other story for a different time), I’m trying to finish the first draft of my current work-in-progress. About six years ago I wrote a traditional romance and shopped that around. At the time I got a decent response. There was some positive feedback, and lots of, “The centerpiece of the story needs to be the romance itself, but instead you incorporate a really interesting location and secondary characters, which makes it not just traditional ‘romance’…” And that was fine. Getting a personal letter back from Harlequin with an invitation to submit future works was pretty exciting, but I’ve never been hung up on just writing romance (as I don’t really read straight romance), so I took a moment to appreciate the feedback, and then I moved on.
I’ve re-visited this story a few times over the past six years, coming back again and again to the fact that I really liked the place and I wanted to explore the potential of the other characters more. The setting is a fictional island in the Florida Keys called Christmas Key, and the residents are mostly retirees with interesting backstories (think “The Golden Girls” meets “Cocoon”), but the mayor of the island is a thirty-year-old single woman whose grandparents bought the land and devoted the last years of their lives to developing it. I’ve got ideas for about five books in this series, and I’m closing in on the completion of book one’s first draft, and I’m getting ready to share it with my first readers for feedback and input. This is the time with any story where I get antsy and ready to put it out there so I can start thinking about changes and revisions. It’s also the point where I question whether anyone but me is going to enjoy what I’ve written!
I’m also toying with the idea of entering this book in the Kindle Scout publishing program, which is essentially a crowdsourced form of publishing. My impression is that it’s a fairly new option, but the gist of it is that you submit a complete work with a cover, and then people can vote on books that they’d like to see in print. If your book is selected (through the most votes/support), you get a deal of sorts with Amazon, and while the royalty rate is a bit lower than when you do it totally solo, you get the opportunity for more visibility via Amazon’s advertising and promotion. I don’t really see the downside at this point (unless it was going to become a breakaway hit that would net me millions on my own), as the rights revert to the author under certain circumstances, and you retain the rights to various publishing options. Anyway, I’m still exploring that and reading up on it, so get ready for me to implore you to vote for my book if I decide to go that route. Honestly, I still view writing and being able to get my words out there as a pretty freaking awesome and fun thing, so really, at this point it’s all gravy!
I am looking for some first readers who would be willing to give honest, constructive feedback, so if you’re into that sort of thing and you think that women’s fiction set on a tropical island sounds like a fun read, shoot me an email–I’d love your help! firstname.lastname@example.org
Now I need to go and plan what I’m doing with my juniors and seniors in English class this week, because…errr…I still have a day job!