Boosting an author’s morale
So, technically, the topic for this week’s MFRW Author Blog Challenge and Hop is “Let me brag for a minute”. I decided to share with you a couple of my writing contest successes and near misses.
Before I turned to Regency romance, I did my best to hone my skills in contemporary romance. The Fab Five was my first contest win, and it gave a huge boost to my morale.
I’ve never had confidence in the feedback from critique groups, especially ones where the members are perennially unpublished. So before I was published, I depended a lot on contests for feedback.
Even contest feedback can be confusing, right? One or two judges will you give you a high score, and one will give you just above a zero. Author and writing teacher Shannon Donnelly has a very wise explanation for this: the stronger your writing voice, the sharper the reaction from contest judges, both good and bad. So, if you have both very high scores and very low scores, your voice is strong, and it’s time to submit.
Recognizing the subjectivity inherent in this business has been a great blessing.
Book Buyers Best
With no bites from trad publishers on any of my contemporary romances, I decided to go out on a limb and write a short novella in response to a call for submissions from Avon Impulse. They wanted a 20k word historical-set holiday novella with a ring in it, any kind of ring. Since I write long, this was an excellent exercise for me.
I decided that, since I like to read Regency romances, I would write a story set in that historical period. Avon didn’t buy it, but one of my RWA chapter mates encouraged me to submit it to other publishers. I did so and had my first sale!
Rosalyn’s Ring went on to win the Book Buyers Best contest in the novella category.
Subsequent books have come close to contest wins: an honorable mention in the RONE Awards for Bella’s Band, finals in the National Readers’ Choice award for Liliana’s Letter and The Marquess and the Midwife.
And a Hit
The Marquess and the Midwife helped me reach a lot more readers who went on to buy my other books. It’s my bestselling story so far, and that, in my opinion, is better than any contest win, and a huge boost to my morale.
Every story I write challenges my confidence, so I’m grateful for the positive feedback and “bragging rights” I received.
Let’s see what my fellow MFRW authors have to say on this topic.
Photos are the authors