New Release Tuesday – January 2018

NewReleaseTuesday2

Each month, WisRWA will announce the new books our members have published. We call it New Release Tuesday.

Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases this month.

 

Fight For You Book Cover by Kayla Bain-Vrba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fight For You by Kayla Bain-Vrba

 

Fury Frayed Book Cover by Melissa Haag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fury Frayed by Melissa Haag

 

Bad Boy Billionaires Lady book cover by Mary Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad Boy Billionaire’s Lady by Mary Hughes

 

Passion on the Prairie by R. E. Stevens Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passion on the Prairie by R.E. Stevens

 

Marrying a Mountainman by R. E. Stevens Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marrying a Mountainman by R. E. Stevens


An Interview With Nicola Martinez, Editor-In-Chief of Pelican Book Group

Headshot of Nicola MartinezFor many of us, when we consider purchasing a book, we look at the cover, read the back blurb, and scan chapter one for the hook unaware of the process and the professionals involved in creating the book. We may recognize the author or perhaps the publisher, but what role did the editor-in-chief play in the creation of the book? I had the privilege of interviewing Nicola Martinez, Editor-in-Chief of Pelican Book Group. Pelican is the premier publisher of Christian, inspirational fiction and the first publisher to dedicate an entire imprint to promoting purity.

In this article, Nicola provides an insight into her world in producing Christian fiction books, and how her faith is an integral part every step of the way.

Tell us about your path in becoming an editor-in-chief

I started acquiring Christian fiction for a publisher in 2006 as an editor for their inspirational imprint, White Rose. In 2009, I purchased White Rose from that company, and started the journey of publishing as an independent. White Rose Publishing became an imprint of Pelican Book Group, and over the years, we added new imprints.

Can you describe a typical day in the office?

After personal morning devotions, I spend time answering emails. Depending on deadlines and other schedules, I might spend more or less time getting through emails. I’ve gotten it down to a routine of answering emails only twice per day unless there’s something time-sensitive or pressing. With my morning email stint finished, I work through my to-do list, which could include office/accounting work or editing tasks, considering requests for contract, figuring out cover art, working on marketing either in-house or coordinated with the distributor.

Just before midday, I’ll stop to get together with staff to pray. We pray daily for the needs of the company and our authors and staff and for any special requests we receive through the prayer submission form we have on our website. Pelican is a ministry first, so our prayer time could be an hour or sometimes longer. We deliberately don’t put a time-frame on that part of our day. (You know what they say: If you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy!)

Once a week, I’ll conference with our marketing director. We take that time either to consider current marketing strategies or to brainstorm ideas and discuss/decide upon the opportunities passed along to us through our distributor or PR.

In May 2017 we launched a weekly TV show, and so a couple days a week, working on that production is in my schedule.

How many different hats do you wear?

Only about four hundred, or so. 🙂 As publisher as well as editor-in-chief, I’m responsible for the business side of everything from contracts to accounting, etc. Because I feel a strong responsibility to the Gospel, I also try to vet every story we publish, so I do a good deal of reading and evaluating manuscripts as the final step before offering a contract. When I can’t read a manuscript an editor would like to acquire, that editor and I have discussions about what should be acquired.  Then there’s editing and coordinating marketing efforts with our marketing team, coordinating releases with the distributor, working on subsidiary rights…the list goes on.

What do you look for in new writing?

I’m always looking for passion. Be enthusiastic about your story—believe in getting your message out there through the entertaining word—so much that it rubs off on others.
I want to see great story-telling. Make me laugh out loud, empathize with your character, hate your villain, and to fall in love with Christ a little bit more.

Don’t “tell” me your mission. “Show” me. For example: If you have to repeat the same thing three different ways (over-writing) or explain in minute detail why a character is doing something or saying something (over-simplifying), rather than having that information flow naturally, then you’ve missed the opportunity to immerse me in the reality you’ve created.

What excites you about the publishing industry?

I get excited when authors get excited, when they are so happy to see their work come to fruition, when they are raring to get their book into the hands of readers. As an author myself, I still remember what it feels like to get that contract offer, to see edits for the first time, to receive a release date, to see the cover art and the final product. It’s exciting! And I love getting to share that with authors.

On a more company-centric note, I’m excited that we’re seeing more of our books in audio.

Can you share any trends with us?

We’ve been hearing about it for a little while now, but audio is definitely on the rise. It’s one of the reasons we’ve made the decision in 2018 to produce more of our current and favorite titles in audio.

 

Christine Schimpf HeadshotBy: Christine Schimpf

Christine Schimpf was born and raised in a small town in southeastern Wisconsin, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and is an award winning essayist.  Her debut novel, Nick, The Journey of a Lifetime  is based on the life of her grandfather-in-law. Five years after its release, the book remains the #1 best seller in her hometown at a local book store and gift shop. Christine is a member of the national and local chapters of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association and the Romance Writers of America. She lives on five acres in the country with her husband and golden retriever and is now fortunate to devote most of her time to writing. She always has a work-in-progress, but in her spare time, she enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and simply being outdoors as that is her source of inspiration. Her advice to those wanting to take the leap into writing is to join a writing/critique group, read as often as you can, and study the craft.


FOCUS When Writing Your Short Story

Girl sitting cross legged, typing on her laptopAs the author of twenty-three short stories ranging from 3,000 to 40,000 words that have been published over the last seven years, I am often asked “Is there really a market for short stories?” The answer is YES – and that market is growing! (By the way, I’m going to use the term “short story” throughout this piece to describe any story under 50,000 words. There are more technical terms, such as novella and novelette, but we won’t get into that today.) There is a growing market for short stories as more people are looking for a story they can read in an hour or two. They want to read a full story all at once when they have some spare time—not read a chapter today, find themselves too busy to read for a week, and then try to pick up with chapter two. Enter the short story. Not only are there dozens of indie publishers out there publishing short stories of various lengths, but traditional publishing houses are jumping on the bandwagon as well. Hachette, Avon, and Harlequin all have imprints that publish these fun-sized romances.

We’ve established that there is a growing market for short stories. But why should you write one? If you’ve never published before, I think short stories are a great place to start. When I first started writing, I tried and failed to finish numerous full-length romances. However, the first time I tried my hand at writing a short story, not only was I able to complete it, but it was accepted for publication! Short stories are a great way to build your self-confidence while you develop your writing style on a smaller scale. For published authors, there are a number of reasons to write short stories as well.

The word focus next to a magnifying glass

  • Struggling with your current novel or feeling a bit of writer’s block? Take a break to write a short story and come back with a fresh view. This can also be a great technique to “get away” from your completed novel before diving in to editing.
  • It’s a great way to keep momentum going between novels and keep your name fresh in people’s minds. Instead of waiting two or three years for your next book, they can read your short stories in the interim so they don’t forget about you.
  • Short stories are great for free reads and giveaways. Maybe there’s a deleted scene from your last novel that you think your fans would love, or maybe a side adventure (or backstory) for one of your characters. Put it in a short story as a gift to your readers!

Writing a short story is different from writing a full-length novel. My best advice is to think FOCUSED when writing a short story. You’re not giving your readers a distant view of a forest; give them a detailed view of one tree. Many authors make the mistake of thinking “short” or “simple” and get unsatisfying results with their short story. Sure, I could retell Titanic in 10,000 words, but it’s going to read like a Wikipedia page, not a love story. You need to FOCUS on one part that still tells a story—such as Jack and Rose having a horrible dinner together with the upper-class folk before escaping to dance the night away.

When writing a short story, you just don’t have the time or space to flesh out complex internal and external conflicts and resolve them in a way that’s satisfying to readers. For Happily Ever After stories, your characters have probably met previously; it’s less believable if your characters meet, fall in love, and get married in 5000 words. If your characters are meeting for the first time, you’re probably writing a Happy For Now story. You are going to have few, if any, secondary characters; these characters do not get their own plots in short stories. FOCUS on the romance, less on the external conflict or other characters. Be selfish and put your couple in the spotlight; let them steal the show! I once heard that if a novel is a journey, a short story is an experience. Go start your experience today!

 

Kayla Bain-VrbaBy: Kayla Bain-Vrba

Kayla Bain-Vrba has been living in daydreams ever since she was a little girl and writing about them for as long as she can remember. It was her discovery of m/m romance that inspired her first published work at age nineteen. When she’s not writing—or is procrastinating writing—Kayla enjoys spending time with her other half, crafting, and planning things to a tee.


Promotion Thursday – January 2018

Promotion Thursday - October EditionIt’s Promotion Thursday for January. Check out where you can find our WisRWA members this month.

 

Laurie Winter will be signing her books at The Book Store in Appleton on January 19 from 4-7 p.m.

Molly Maka will be speaking about her experience as an historical reenactor and historical romance author at the February meeting of the MKE Creatives on February 7 from 10-12.

 


Get Ready To Enter The Fab Five Contest!

Fab 5 Contest BadgeWith the Fab Five contest set to open in just a few days, it’s time to announce our final round judges. We’re also excited to announce that as an added bonus this year, entrants who opt-in on their entry fee will be entered into a drawing to win a FREE registration* to our one day workshop Unlock Your A Game featuring Heidi Cullinan on October 6, 2018.  All entrants will be entered into a drawing to receive a detailed critique from a WisRWA published author. Number of critiques is TBD at this time.

Fab Five judges the first 2,500 words of the manuscript. The contest is open to unpublished writers.  For more information about the Fab Five contest, please see our Fab Five contest page.

And now, without further ado, here’s our lineup of categories and judges for 2018:

Contemporary Alycia Tornetta, Entangled Publishing
Ann Leslie Tuttle, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
Historical Norma Perez-Hernandez, Kensington Publishing Corp
Nikki Terpilowski, Holloway Literary Agency
Inspirational Nicola Martinez, Pelican Book Group
Julie Gwinn, Seymour Agency
Paranormal/Fantasy/
Futuristic/Time Travel:
Mackenzie Walton, Carina Press
Samantha Wekstein, Writers House Literary Agency
Romantic Suspense Kristine Swartz, Penquin Random House
Cori Deyoe, 3 Seas Literary Agency
Women’s Fiction Margaret Johnston, Sourcebooks
Agent TBD
Young Adult/
New Adult
Ashley Hearn, Page Street Publishing
Veronica Park, Corvisiero Literary Agency

 

*The winner receives one free registration to the workshop. All other travel costs are at the expense of the winner.

New Release Tuesday – December Edition

NewReleaseTuesday2

Each month, WisRWA will announce the new books our members have published. We call it New Release Tuesday.

Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases this month.

 

A Christmas Kind of Perfect by Christine Schimpf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Kind of Perfect by Christine Schimpf

 

A Touchdown to Remember by Seelie Kay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Touchdown to Remember by Seelie Kay

 

The Wrong Groom by Maggie Rivers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wrong Groom by Maggie Rivers

 

Z-Bot by S.C. Mitchell Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Z-Bot by S.C. Mitchell

 

Mrs. Clause and the Moonstone Murder by Christine DeSmet cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Claus and the Moonstone Murder by Christine DeSmet


Phyllis Piano: Ten Things I Learned as a New Author

While long-published authors put my meager knowledge to shame, I did learn a lot in the last year. Needless to say, getting attention for a novel with all the competition for attention is a tough assignment. Here are the most important things I learned during the process of getting my first novel published.

Writer using computer and taking paper notesThe writing is the fun and easy part.  Right now, I am still promoting my first two books, editing my third, writing my fourth and partnering on a non-fiction project.  There is so much work involved in all these that has nothing to do with writing—there’s a web site, social media (see below), PR plans, book events and planning, essays to help promote the books (you are reading one), “tip sheets” to help sell your book; meeting with book clubs……I could go on and on.  You must use every skill you have—and develop new ones—to promote your book to the widest audience.

It’s a year-long process after writing your book. Lots has to happen from the time you finish your book until it is published.  For me, the process began when I sent my final manuscript to my publisher in December, 2015. There are two windows for traditional publishing: spring or fall.  As time was short to accomplish everything, we chose the fall cycle for my first novel.  Even with that, the final title of my book had to locked down by March 1 with the cover design well underway.  I know more about the cycle now and released my second book in August of this year because the timing fit perfectly with the PR plan.  Choose the most advantageous time to publish your book.

Summarizing your book in one paragraph is the hardest thing to do.  I failed at this, miserably!  My friend and established author, Kris Radish, stepped in to help me. It is so hard to tell the story of your book in so few words without giving away key elements, but it is exactly this summary that attracts readers to your book on every platform there is, especially Amazon (more on that below). Work hard to create the fewest words to describe your work. Your short book summary is its biggest selling point.

Amazon is the big gorilla.  I certainly knew this before becoming an author, but I now have personal experience with the biggest name in books. I learned that establishing an Author Central page on Amazon was critically important, and I did this by “claiming” my book as part of my page creation.  My husband is English and we have tons of family and friends in England, so I wanted to make it easy for them to purchase my book, so I claimed my book on Amazon UK as well. Amazon can change the price of a book any time they want, and they did bring the retail price down on my book as part of the pre-sale. Amazon is king, so take advantage of it, but understand how it works.

Social media is king.  As publishing is so fragmented, using social media to get the word out about your book isn’t a “nice to do,”  it’s a “must do.”  This means as a writer you must develop new platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. and connect your own web site to social media tools.  Luckily, I knew a bit about social media through professional and personal experience, but I learned a ton more because of my book.  Get familiar with social media and use its power to promote your book every day.

Friends and family rule.  They know you and want to help, so give them the tools.  I did mailing lists of all the folks I know in cities where I did book events; I sent a customized email to key friends and family about the book and how to buy it; I asked a few friends for their early thoughts and asked them to review my book on Amazon or Goodreads.  I used Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to keep contacts informed of good reviews and awards and issued calls to action.  You’ll be surprised at some of the folks who step up to help you. The people who know you well are best suited to help promote your book.Two women sharing on their phones

Be bold.  To get your book out there, you have to take some risks. Unfortunately, many don’t work out, but if a few do, you may hit the jackpot in promoting your book. I sent my book to some well-known authors, reporters and others in the movie industry, and this hasn’t paid off in a big way yet.  A few months before my book came out, I sent an email to a small, local magazine about publishing a notice about my first novel.  They did a whole story with a sidebar about the book, and I ended up on the cover!  Make a lot of shots on goal in promoting your book, as you never know which one will result in great exposure.

Incorporate what you know and love into your book promotion.  I spent more than thirty years in corporate communication, so I wrote an essay that was published in an industry newsletter about how my career helped me become an author. I love to cook, bake and travel, and, of course, write, so I incorporate all of these into my book promotions, connecting across social media platforms.  Make promoting your book fun for you.

It’s never enough or totally done.  Here’s the bad news:  promoting your book is never over, you just move on to the next one.  Here’s the good news: my publisher tells me that it takes two or three books before an author can get established, so each subsequent book brings attention to earlier works, which can result in additional sales. Never give up on bringing your work to the world as your efforts today could pay off well down the road.

It’s all on you.  Whether you are working with a publisher or self-publishing, you are the one who needs to do the lion share of the work to get your book out there. You must do something every day to bring your work to the world. I was lucky that my publisher had great people who taught me about the book business, but at the end of the day, it was up to me. Quick story:  I had my screening mammogram recently and got into a conversation with the technologist, and she bought my book!  She asked me to talk to her son, an aspiring fantasy writer, and I did. Engage and put yourself out there; you are the best ambassador for your work.

Phyllis PianoPhyllis Piano spent more than 30 years working in Fortune 500 companies, serving as an officer and chief communication officer in several. Her first novel, Hostile Takeover: A Love Story, was published in October 2016, and received the Gold Medal in Romance at the 2017 Independent Book Publishers Association Ben Franklin Awards and first place in Fiction: Romance at the 2017 Independent Press Awards. Her second, Love Reconsidered, was published in August, 2017, and was a finalist in the 2017 Best Books Award.


New Release Tuesday – November Edition

NewReleaseTuesday2

Each month, WisRWA will announce the new books our members have published. We call it New Release Tuesday.

Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases this month.

 

Tying the Scot by Jennifer Trethewey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tying the Scot by Jennifer Trethewey (DEBUT!)

 

Jerusalem Rising by Barbara M. Britton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jerusalem Rising by Barbara M. Britton

 

Sweet Devil by Lois Greiman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Devil by Lois Greiman

 

For Queen and Country by Kayla Bain-Vrba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Queen and Country (part of the The The Victor Anthology) by Kayla Bain-Vrba

 

Missing my Heart by Tina Susedik

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing My Heart by Tina Susedik

 

(Sur)real by Melissa Haag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Sur)real by Melissa Haag

 

Blood's Song by Tempeste O'Riley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood’s Song by Tempeste O’Riley

 

Loving Winter by Lyn Cote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loving Winter by Lyn Cote

 

Permanently Yours by Paisley Kirkpatrick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permanently Yours by Paisley Kirkpatrick

 

Hunt Mates by Mary Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunt Mates by Mary Hughes

 

Cattleman's Bride by Maxine Douglas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cattleman’s Bride by Maxine Douglas

 

 


Don’t Be Ordinary: A Look at Creativity

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
William Blake by Thomas PhillipsAnd a heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an Hour

William Blake (1757-1827) (English poet, painter and engraver) is one of the earliest and greatest figures of Romanticism. He emphasized individual, imaginative, visionary and emotional creativity. He privileged imagination over reason in the creation of both his poetry and images, asserting that ideal forms should be constructed not from observations of nature but from inner visions. He declared in one poem, “I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s.”

When I was a teenager my father gave me the talk. Not the one on sex, the one on being an individual. I remember his words like he spoke them yesterday and I am sure I might have dared to roll my eyes like my daughters did when I gave them the same speech. “If your friends jumped off the roof, would follow them? Be an individual, be unique, and do what you think is best for you.” I’m not sure he didn’t regret these words at some time in his life because I took them literally and have never followed the crowd.

What I get from Blake’s thoughts is that you should create what’s important to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s writing a story, picking up a paint brush, taking photos, creating quilts, putting together culinary delights, etc. Creativity is the key. Learn who you are. Do something that makes you unique. Don’t mindlessly follow the crowd. After you are gone, it will be your legacy – an inheritance Be creativefor your children and friends.

I grew up in a home where artistic talent was everywhere. My mother was not only an award-winning oil painter, but taught herself to play the organ, and also sewed and did needle work. My daughter Kellie inherited her painting talent. Having their artwork proves Blake’s theory. They are no longer with us, but their essence is. I take great comfort in that.

When I make a personalized quilt, each one grows from my own creativity. I can’t explain the joy I receive in making them and then hearing the squeal, feel the hug, or see the happy tears when they are received. Six of my Paradise Pines Series stories and five of my stories in my Northwoods Series are published, and there are five more to come. Now that I have books published, I have a second contribution to romanticism. I love that word now that I know what it means. I’m searching for more ways to continue doing it.

 

AP_KirkpatrickAn RWA member for almost eighteen years and WisRWA member for three, Marlene Urso (w/a Paisley Kirkpatrick) is published in historical romance. She lives in Lincoln County with her husband. She served as event coordinate for Sacramento Valley Chapter for thirteen years, which included setting up monthly meetings and welcoming members to the meetings. She has been a member of several online chapters, including From the Heart where she’s been membership chair for the last fourteen years. She is getting acquainted with the Wausau area chapter members and enjoys the monthly meetings. Marlene has always enjoyed doing volunteer work because it gives her a chance to give back to the industry that helped her to achieve her dream of being a published author.


Promotion Thursday – November Edition

Promotion Thursday - October EditionIt’s Promotion Thursday for November. Check out where you can find our WisRWA authors this month.

 

Lois Greiman will be signing her books at the Canterbury Arts and Crafts Fair in Shakopee, MN from November 9 to November 12.

Barbara Raffin will be signing her books at the Holiday Craft Fair at Holy Spirit Catholic School, Norway, MI November 18 from 9 to 5 and November 19 from 9 to 3.