WisRWA Calendar

Meeting Times

Jun 07
2017
Green Bay
11:30 - 3:00; 1951 West Restaurant,1951 Bond St, Green Bay

Covers and Conference Review, by Lily Silver: A book cover is the first thing your reader sees. It makes them either pick up your book to read more or pass it by for another. Lily will share design insights on what works and what doesn’t work on book covers. Challenge for those attending: bring an example of a book cover you absolutely hate!
Jun 10
2017
Chippewa Falls
10:00-12:30; 29 Pines at Sleep Inn & Suites, Eau Claire

The Cure for Writers' Block: It’s something we all suffer with from time to time. Writer’s block! And we all have our own way of overcoming it, or maybe some of us don’t yet. So join us on the 10th and share your method for beating that bully, or learn a new one from someone else!
Jun 10
2017
Wausau
9:00 - 12:00; Terrace Room at the Jefferson Street Inn, 201 Jefferson Street, Wausau

Exploring the Creative Process. Guest speaker Roxanne Rustand will share her routine of creating a story in an interactive program that will give each author a chance to explore and perhaps expand and enrich their own Creative Process.
Jun 17
2017
Milwaukee
9:00-11:30 am at Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level)

Book Launch Parties and Other Marketing Roll Out Tips: Barbara Britton and Mia Jo Celeste have both launched books this year.  They will share what they have learned about events both virtual and actual.
Jul 05
2017
Green Bay
11:30 - 3:00; 1951 West Restaurant,1951 Bond St, Green Bay

Stacey Joy Netzel will walk members through creating a rough outline for a book before starting the first draft using the craft book Romancing the Beat, Story Structure for Romance Novels, by Gwen Hayes. She will use one of her recent books as an example, and give members time to create an outline for their own book.
Jul 15
2017
Chippewa Falls
10:00-12:30; 29 Pines at Sleep Inn & Suites, Eau Claire

Brainstorming: Have you ever sat at your computer and stared at the blank screen (or blank paper, if you’re old school), your head empty of any kind of idea of what to write next? Of course you have, we all have! Come join us as we brainstorm how best to brainstorm.
Aug 05
2017
Chippewa Falls
10:00-12:30; Please contact area contact, Jane Yunker (jane.yunker@gmail.com) for the location

Join the Chippewa Falls WisRWA group for our annual potluck meeting when we plan our 2017-2018 schedule and celebrate all-around fun. Let us know if you plan on joining us so we can get a head-count on food. Bring a dish to pass, ideas for the coming year, and a desire to have a good time.

WisRWA Newsletter



WisRWA

Book Launch Parties: The Hows and Whys

WisRWA members, Mia Jo Celeste, author of Other Than, and Barbara M.  Britton, author of Providence and Building Benjamin, will be talking about book launch parties (both actual and virtual) at the June WisRWA meeting in Milwaukee. Jennifer Rupp asked them a few questions about their first year as published authors.Brenda Nelson-Davis

 

Jen: Brenda and Barbara, you’ve both released your debut novels within the last twelve months. Did it come as a shock how involved you would have to be in the marketing of your own book?

Brenda: Yes. Although I’d heard a lot about marketing, taken some classes and been a blogger for years, I was surprised about the time and financial commitment. That said, I like marketing—something I never imagined I would.

Barbara: Yes, definitely. Publishing has changed so much since I started my journey ten years ago. I knew I would have a hand in marketing my books, but I didn’t know I would be the driving force behind getting the word out about my novels.

 

Barbara M. BrittonJen: About how much time per week do you spend actively marketing, engaging in social media, updating your website, blogging, etc.?

Brenda: It varies. Usually I check Twitter and Facebook every couple of days and I’ve been trying to appear in cyberspace a couple of times a week, either on my blog or someone else’s. For me, it’s a lot like student teaching. Because so many tasks are new, they take longer to figure out and complete, but I’m sure that I’ll get faster and I’ll figure out which tasks are the most important to complete.

Barbara: I feel I do some sort of marketing every day because of social media. Certainly I am more involved right before, during, and after a release. With Pelican Book Group, I have an e-book release date that is different than my print release date. Twice the fun—and work. I would say my average is 5-10 hours a week.

 

Jen: Now that you’re a published author, do you write with more confidence?

Brenda: I hope the adage “practice makes perfect” works. Because I write more, I’m more comfortable writing and, God willing, my writing is getting better.

Barbara: Yes and no. I feel I have the basic craft of writing down pat, but doubts plague me as a published writer. I’m thinking my work isn’t good enough, or my success was a fluke. I have to silence those nasty voices and tell myself that I am writing solely for myself. If no one sees my book, that’s okay. I’ve enjoyed writing it and learning through my research.

 

To hear more from Brenda and Barbara, please join us at the Mayfair Mall (Garden Suites Community Room, Lower Level) on June 17 from 9-11:30 AM. It’s sure to be a great time.

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WisRWA Goes to UntitledTown!

Yes, you heard correctly, WisRWA had the privilege to participate in UntitledTown‘s first ever Book and Author Festival. The festival was held in Green Bay, Wisconsin  from April 28th through the 30th.

UntitledTown promotes book cultures and books of all kinds including but not limited to graphic novels, children’s books, romance novels, mystery, and non-fiction books of any kind.  Over the course of three days, attendees had the opportunity to attend readings, discussions, workshops, and panels in several locations in downtown Green Bay. The majority of these events were open and free to the public.

UntitledTown WisRWA Panel

WisRWA Members Mary Jo Scheibl, Virginia McCullough, WisRWA President Lisa Romdenne, Mary Grace Murphy, Valerie Clarizio and S.C. Mitchell presenting at UntitledTown

WisRWA Members Mary Jo Scheibl, Mary Grace Murphy, Virginia McCullough, Steve Mitchell, Lisa Romdenne and Valerie Clarizio presented A Giant Among Genres: A Look at Romance and Women’s Fiction

A panel of local members of the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America (WisRWA) will talk about the ongoing popularity of romance and women’s fiction today. According to book sale statistics, romance consistently leads the genres in sales year after year, and women’s fiction is a major and growing genre in its own right. Romance writing is also the most misunderstood of the genres, but it’s extremely diverse, ranging from inspirational/religious fiction to the steamy/erotic. It can be contemporary, historical, mystery/suspense, or paranormal/fantasy. We’ll answer all questions about our genre, discuss our journeys to both conventional and indie publication, and tell others how they, too, can successfully write and publish romance.

The panel was held on the Saturday morning of the festival at the Kavarna Coffeehouse. We filled the room! Okay, it may have been a small room, but we filled it with readers and writers, and some potential new WisRWA members. The audience asked questions in regard to our writing journeys and processes. Though the panel lasted a little over an hour, the time flew by so quickly it felt like five minutes.

After the panel, we grabbed some lunch and then shot off to the book signing event which was held at the Broadway Center (Old Fort Square). Readers meandered among the rows and rows of tables of writers. During the signing, an older gentleman stopped by and started talking to me and Virginia.  As we spoke with him, he shot us that silly grin that men sometimes flash when they talk about romance books and make mention that romance isn’t their thing. Admittedly, I felt a bit miffed by his dismissal of the romance genre, but I kept my smile in place as he moved past me and Virginia and made his way to Mary Grace and Mary Jo. Oddly, by the time he finished speaking with Mary Jo, he’d pulled out his wallet and purchased a book from her. Are you now wondering what Mary Jo said to this man to change his tune about romance books in a matter of fifteen minutes?  If so, you’ll have to ask her the next time you see her because I don’t knowJ

UntitledTown did an excellent job putting together this event. It was well organized and well attended by both readers and writers.

Val Clarizio

Valerie Clarizio is the current Treasurer for WisRWA. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels.  Valerie has placed in the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Novellas Need Love, Too! contest and WisRWA’s Write Touch contest.

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New Release Tuesday – May Edition

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.

 

Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mail Order Brides of Oak Grove by Kathryn Albright (and Lauri Robinson)

 

The Marshal's Bride Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Marshal’s Bride by Maxine Douglas

 

Heart Mates Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart Mates (Pull of the Moon) 2nd edition by Mary Hughes

 

A Photograph of Love Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Photograph of Love by Tina Susedik

 

 

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Congratulations to Melonie Johnson, Golden Heart Finalist!

WisRWA would like to offer their congratulations to member, Melonie Johnson, for finaling in RWA’s contest for unpublished writers, the Golden Heart Contest.  We chatting with Melonie about her manuscript, Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot, and what it’s like to be a finalist.  Our fingers will be crossed for her in July when the winners are announced.


 

Melonie Johnson

Melonie Johnson

When a gorgeous guy (in a kilt, no less) literally falls at the feet of “Twitter Babe” Cassie Crow, she does what any American girl on her dream vacation would do: throws caution to the wind and locks lips with the sexy Scot. But when she realizes her hot Highlander is actually the creator of a UK Internet prank show, Cassie fears if the clip of her getting punk’d by a Scottish hunk goes viral, she can kiss her ambition to become a serious broadcast journalist goodbye.

Logan Reid’s star is on the rise. Under consideration to be picked up for a television series in the states, Logan knows this latest stunt is guaranteed to rack up the views he needs to knock his numbers out of the park. When the unwitting player in his perfect pitch cries foul, Logan vows to see the prank go live, even if he has to chase the Yank with the smart mouth and hot lips across the pond to seal the deal. Turns out, the joke’s on Logan once he realizes he’d risk his fifteen minutes of fame for a chance at a lifetime with Cassie. But with her career on the line, is Cassie willing to risk the same?

If any of that sounds familiar—that’s because it is. SOMETIMES YOU NEED A SEXY SCOT was also a GOLDEN HEART® finalist in 2016. To be honest, last month, when my phone rang the morning of RITAGH call day, I wasn’t excited (ok, I was a little excited…it was Alyssa Day on the line!), I was relieved. I had been very unsure about entering the same title in the Golden Heart two years in a row. Yes, the story had undergone revisions after I signed with my agent last spring (Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency), but still, as a previous finalist, did my story deserve another turn on the dance floor? A few things convinced me—the main one being my fellow 2016 finalists who strongly encouraged me to re-enter Sexy Scot. As an unpublished author (who wasn’t even on submission yet) I had nothing to lose (except my $30 entry fee) and everything to gain by entering again. So, I plunked my thirty bucks down and sent my Scot in.

Now I can say I’m thrilled to be a finalist again this year. The best part about being a Golden Heart finalist is the community of authors created within each year’s class. I’ll call it a sisterhood, since both groups I belong to (2016 and 2017) are all females, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Our ages range from our 20’s to 60+. We are from all over the country…all over the world. I have Golden Heart sisters in Canada, England, New Zealand, and Australia. After this year’s finalists were announced, last year’s GH winner for Contemporary Romance called to congratulate me—from Sydney! I’m still very connected to many of my GH16 sisters (the Mermaids) and often reach out to them for advice and support, and offer it as well! Having the opportunity to form similar bonds with another fantastic group this year…like I said, it’s the best part of being a finalist.

I am looking forward to heading to the conference this summer, even if my hair isn’t (I’m a curly girl and Orlando in July…hello, humidity!). It’s Disney World—a place of magic—where dreams come true. The happiest place on earth is the perfect place to celebrate romance, and the promise of a happy ever after. Hope to see you there!

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WisRWA’s 2017 Contest Winners Announced!

Wisconsin Romance Writers of America is delighted to announce the final rankings of both of our contests.  We would also like to offer our congratulations to the winners.  Winners were announced May 20, 2017 at the Awards Luncheon during the Write Touch Conference.

***denotes WisRWA member

Fab Five Contest for Unpublished Writers

WisRWA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Fab Five Contest:

*** denotes WisRWA member

Contemporary

First Place
Monique Headley – Hard Lessons

Second Place
Christina Hovland – Things I Wish I’d Known

Third Place
Belinda Brooks – Home Again

Fourth Place
Kate Courtright – Time and Again

Honorable Mention
Kate Courtright – You are Love

Historical

First Place
Abigail Wilson – The Secrets Within the Tower

Second Place
Elizabeth Everett – The Rescue of Lord Grange

Third Place
Carol Potenza – Second Choice

Fourth Place
Avery Cove – Fragile Hearts

Honorable Mention
Elizabeth Everett – The Seduction of Mrs. Smith

Inspirational

First Place
Sharee Stover – Believable Lies

Second Place
Pattie Stockdale – The Measure of a Memory

Third Place
Kathryn Barker – Catch a Falling Angel

Fourth Place
Izzy James – The Shopkeeper’s Widow

Honorable Mention
Angela E. Arndt – The Beekeeper’s Daughter

Paranormal

First Place
Paige Helton – Witch’s Veil

Second Place
Chris Westwater – Wolfling

Third Place
Anne Reed – Dark Matter

Fourth Place
Kat Turner – Magical Thinking

Honorable Mention
Chel Chavez – The Heir of Erois (Book 1)

Romantic Suspense

First Place
Jeanine Englert – Lovely Digits

Second Place
Barbara Forlenza – Forbidden Paradise

Third Place
Barbara Forlenza – Beyond Paradise

Fourth Place
Lori Matthews- Hit & Run

Honorable Mention
Kelly Duff*** – Tame My Racing Heart

Women’s Fiction

First Place
Linda J. Truesdell – The Mending Time

Second Place
Debbie Archer – Pocket Change

Third Place
Wendi Dass – Liebling

Fourth Place
Kristi Rhodes – The Tropical Transformation of Joanie Weston

Honorable Mention
Vicki Volden – Both

Young Adult/New Adult

First Place
Riley Darkes – Serving Time

Second Place
Rachel Berens-VanHeest – A Gift of Crows

Third Place
Laura Cumbie – From Here to There

Fourth Place
Christine Gunderson – Covenant Park

Honorable Mention
Monica Headley – Off the Rails

 


 

Write Touch Readers Award Logo

 

Contemporary – Long

First Place
Melynda Price – Fighting For Control

Second Place
Dawn Tomasko – Tides of Hope

Third Place
Babette de Jongh – Angel Falls

 

Contemporary – Midlength

First Place
Sara Dahmen*** – Wine and Children

Second Place
Sierra Hill – Sweet Girl

Third Place
Valerie Clairizio*** – Family Forever

 

Contemporary – Short

First Place
Stacey Joy Netzel*** – Spring Dreams

Second Place
Joanne Dannon – Wanting Mr. Right

Third Place
Brenna Ash – Second Chances

 

Erotic Romance

First Place
Jade Chandler – Enough

Second Place
LaQuette – Lies You Tell

Third Place
Suzanne Eglington – She’s Got The Jack

 

Historical

First Place
Margaret Mallory – Claimed by a Highlander

Second Place
Vonda Sinclair – Highlander Unbroken

Third Place
Amy Sandas*** – Luck is no Lady

 

Inspirational

First Place
Laura Scott*** – Shielding His Christmas Witness

Second Place
Aubrey Wynne – Paper Love

Third Place
Mary Bentley-Lloyd – Pirate’s Treasure

 

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance Theme

First Place
Robin Perini – Forgotten Secrets

Second Place
Kate Forest – Interior Design and Other Emotions

Third Place
Bev Pettersen – Millionaire’s Shot

 

Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy

First Place
Marissa Doyle- Skin Deep

Second Place
Marie Johnson – Birthright

Third Place
Marie Johnson – Ancient Ties

 

Romantic Suspense

First Place
Abbie Roads -Hunt the Dawn

Second Place
Tara Wyatt – Necessary Risk

Third Place
Vicki Tharp – In Her Defense

 

Young Adult

First Place
Tricia Cerrone – Glisten

Second Place
Katherine Fleet – The Secret of Letting Go

Third Place
j. leigh bailey – Guyliner

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How I Cobbled Together An Audiobook: Part 1

Now that I have an audiobook, I thought I’d share how I did it. My process won’t necessarily work for everyone, and that’s OK. But hopefully, reading about my experience will provide you the confidence and willingness to at least get started in the process!

As someone who comes from a production background in television and radio, I know I have a bit of an advantage over where to look for voices and what kind of talent I am looking for. I’m no expert, but I have some working knowledge and connections that I’d be glad to share. I am happy to talk to any of you lovely authors about your questions on how to get into audiobooks.

Not everyone’s journey to creating an audiobook is the same. There are a lot of pre-packaged studio and narrator options available to indie and self-published authors, and while I’m not going to Headphones with bookslist them all here, a simple Google search will turn up a majority of those choices compiled in one place. An excellent starting source is this article by Allison Schiff on the Publisher’s Weekly blog.

When deciding to produce your book into an audiobook, you need to decide what kind of voice you’d like to have narrate it. Unless you understand studio time and are willing to pay fees for access, I highly recommend you don’t sit at home and record this on your computer yourself. It will result in poor quality audio that will likely be rejected by most outlets. This leaves you with looking for voice talent.

You must know the following:

  1. Approximate age of your narrating voice
  2. Gender
  3. Whether you want any accents used
  4. Voice variety (such as whether you want multiple actors to voice different characters, or have one voice over (VO) actor play parts by changing his or her voice).
    • The more voices you use, the more expensive this project becomes, not only in the need to pay more talent, but the additional scheduling and studio times you may need
  5. Voice quality (youthful? mature? melodious? dry?
  6. Be prepared, unless you’re shelling out a bunch of money, to allow your VO artist some artistic license. They may not read one sentence the way you always envisioned it in your head. Micromanaging will get pricey, and also frustrating for everyone involved. This is not unlike getting your book made into a movie. The director and other actors will have their own way to portray your characters and you wouldn’t get much of a say unless, say, you’re Diana Gabaldon.

Voice Over Microphone with Computer Once you know what you’re looking for in a VO actor, you may start to search. Some authors prefer to work with a one-stop-shop such as ACX with Amazon, or other larger production houses. They’ll have some great talent voices for you to choose from. I preferred to have more control over my choices as well as my production (as well as save some money).

I also wanted to use non-union talent because it gave me, the “buyer,” far more purchasing power and say in pricing. Union talent will have required costs for their time and set prices for their hours. They’ll also retain some license over the finished work, usually getting a percent of the profits of the audiobook sales in perpetuity (that’s fancy speak for forever). Without the “in perpetuity” clause, you may have to re-up their contract with you after a given number of weeks or months, which can result in a re-negotiation of their pay-out. I’ve worked with the likes of John Corbett and others when it comes to licensing voice overs and it’s a big paperwork headache. A lot of people need to get paid (by you) to have access to a union voice after the usage time has run out.

Thus, I went here to search for non-union voices. They have a ton! The trickiest part is listening to so many and making sure you pick someone who doesn’t sound too much like someone who makes happy-go-lucky cereal commercials for a living. You want someone who is going to take your project seriously and invest some time into it. I find it helps to close my eyes, stop thinking, and really let the voice hit me viscerally as I listen to each one. Go back and re-listen to them several times, giving yourself a few days to digest.

After you’ve created your book project, you can allow people to bid on it, or you can ask your favorite voices to bid. I did a little of both, and was very happy when my first choice said she was in! We signed a very simple contract and I received all rights in perpetuity to the finished audiobook, and gave her a single, one-time flat rate (it came in under $600 for a 85K word book). I did give her a substantial cash tip of $150 afterwards for all the additional work she did on the book, and because I hope to work with her again in the future.

You’ll be listening to the book through at least twice – the first time to listen for errors, and the second time to make sure they are all caught – so plan for many hours of sitting and taking notes. It goes faster than you realize.

Then, make sure you have the files in a few ways – Amazon/ACX asks for each chapter to be sent separately, and has a lot of rules, so when finishing the project, make sure the files comply. iTunesConnect is another publishing option. I also asked for the files in bulk so the book is in two big separate files instead of a bunch of little ones. It’s always nice to have options. You can use online file drops to save your inbox such as DropBox or even Google Drive.

In my next post, I’ll dive into the process of uploading files to ACX.

Sara Dahmen

by Sara Dahmen

Sara Dahmen is the award-winning author of Doctor Kinney’s Housekeeper, a metalsmith, American cookware designer and manufacturer, and a mom. You can reach her @saradahmenbooks or at sara@saradahmen.com.

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Promotion Thursday – May Edition

siteicon

It’s Promotion Thursday for May. Check out where you can find our WisRWA authors this month.

Tina Susedik is starting a new venture. She will be hosting her own radio show on Authors on the Air starting in June. Her show, “The Book Garden” will feature authors in both fiction and non-fiction. Authors on the Air Global Radio Network has sixteen shows running both live and as podcasts. Tina will be hosting her show twice a month, once as a live broadcast and once as a podcast. She will be looking for compelling, published authors to talk with her on “The Book Garden.” More information as to her start date will be forthcoming.

Stacey Joy Netzel will be participating in the launch party for her new multi-author Beach Brides Series. The launch party runs from 12n-6p EST/11a-5p CST, and Stacey will be co-hosting the hour of 3-4p EST/2-3p CST. Join in for fun, games, and a bunch of prizes!

 

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New Release Tuesday! April Edition

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.

Lady Sarah by Lyn Cote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Sarah by Lyn Cote

Resurrection by Olivia Rae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resurrection by Olivia Rae

The Trail to Love  by Tina Susedik

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trail of Love by Tina Susedik

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WisRWA’s 2017 Contest Finalists Announced!

WisRWA is pleased to announce the finalists of both our contests: the Fabulous Five Contest and the Write Touch Readers Award. Congratulations to all!

Winners will be announced on May 20th at the WisRWA Write Touch Conference Awards Luncheon.

*** = WisRWA member

 

Fab Five Contest for Unpublished Writers

2017 FABULOUS FIVE FINALISTS

Contemporary

Belinda Brooks – Home Again
Kate Courtright – Time and Again
Kate Courtright – You are Love
Monique Headley – Hard Lessons
Christina Hovland – Things I Wish I’d Done

Historical

Avery Cove – Fragile Hearts
Elizabeth Everett – The Rescue of Lord Grange
Elizabeth Everett – The Seduction of Mrs. Smith
Carol Potenza – Second Choice
Abigail Wilson – The Secrets Within the Towers

Inspirational

Angela E. Arndt – The Beekeeper’s Daughter
Kathryn Barker – Catch a Falling Angel
Izzy James – The Shopkeeper’s Widow
Patti Stockdale – The Measure of a Memory
Sharee Stover – Believable Lies

Paranormal

Chel Chavez – The Heir of Erois (Book 1)
Paige Helton – Witch’s Veil
Anne Reed – Dark Matter
Kat Turner – Magical Thinking
Chris Westwater – Wolfling

Romantic Suspense

Kelly Duff*** – Tame My Racing Heart
Jeanine Englert – Lovely Digits
Barbara Forlenza – Beyond Paradise
Barbara Forlenza – Forbidden Paradise
Lori Matthews – Hit & Run

Women’s Fiction

Debbie Archer – Pocket Change
Wendi Dass – Liebling
Kristi Rhodes – The Tropical Transformation of Joanie Weston
Linda J. Truesdell – The Mending Time
Vicki Volden – Both

Young Adult/New Adult

Rachel Berens-VanHeest – A Gift of Crows
Laura Cumbie – From There to Here
Riley Darkes – Serving Time
Christine Gunderson – Covenant Park
Monica Headley – Off the Rails


Write Touch Readers Award Logo

2017 WRITE TOUCH READERS AWARD FINALISTS

Contemporary – Long

Babette de Jongh – Angel Falls
Melynda Price*** – Fighting for Control
Dawn Tomasko – Tides of Hope, A Nantucket Romance Novel

Contemporary – Mid-length

Valerie J. Clarizio *** – Family Forever
Sara Dahmen *** – Wine and Children
Sierra Hill – Sweet Girl

Contemporary – Short

Brenna Ash – Second Chances
Joanne Dannon – Wanting Mr. Right
Stacey Joy Netzel *** – Spring Dreams

Historical

Margaret Mallory – Claimed by a Highlander (The Douglas Legacy)
Amy Sandas *** – Luck is no Lady
Vonda Sinclair – Highlander Unbroken

Inspirational

Mary Bentley-Lloyd – Pirate’s Treasure
Laura Scott *** – Shielding His Christmas Witness
Aubrey Wynne – Paper Love

Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy

Marissa Doyle – Skin Deep
Marie Johnston – Ancient Ties
Marie Johnston – Birthright

Erotic Romance

Jade Chandler – Enough
Suzanne Eglington – She’s Got the Jack: The Kate and Robert Chronicles
LaQuette – Lies You Tell

Romantic Suspense

Abbie Roads –Hunt the Dawn
Vicki Tharp – In Her Defense
Tara Wyatt – Necessary Risk

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance Theme

Kate Forest – Interior Design and Other Emotions
Robin Perini – Forgotten Secrets
Bev Pettersen – Millionaire’s Shot

Young Adult

j. leigh bailey –Guyliner
Tricia Cerrone – Glisten
Katherine Fleet – The Secret To Letting Go

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Q&A with Abby Saul of The Lark Group

Abby Saul of The Lark GroupIn April, the Milwaukee Area will be hosting literary agent Abby Saul from The Lark Group at our meeting. With the May conference in Green Bay (which will be fantastic) right around the corner, Abby’s help with tweaking and practicing our pitches, queries, and openings, is timely.

Here’s a chance for us to get to know Abby a little better before the meeting.

Q: Your website indicates that the Lark Group is an agile and editorially focused agency. What does that mean to authors?
A: We work quickly to help our authors present the best product possible. As a new and small agency, The Lark Group is able to experiment, quickly pivot to new opportunities, and help our authors find new paths (in their writing, in the way they publish, in the way we get their books in front of editors). But the quality of the book remains paramount, and that’s where our editorial focus comes in! I’ve gone through at least two rounds of editorial revisions with all of my clients’ manuscripts, addressing big and small things, to help make their books the best they can be. So what does that mean for our authors? It means they know they have a true partner helping them get a truly excellent book published. (It also means it’s easy to get me on the phone!)

Q: Why is it advantageous to work with an agent rather than directly query a publisher?
<strong:A: Most obviously, many publishers won’t accept unagented submissions – without an agent, you can’t even get your manuscript read! Houses that do accept unagented submissions will often put those submissions at the bottom of the pile, prioritizing projects that come in from agents. So an agent helps you get your project into the house for consideration. But it goes much deeper than that.

It’s my job as an agent to know what editor is looking for what kind of project, and thus create a submission list that’s tailor-made to your project. It’s also my job as an agent to negotiate your contract (and keep the business arrangements as much in your favor as possible), to be your advocate in all things (editorial changes, marketing plans, cover design, etc), and to be a force to be reckoned with in terms of you getting paid and helping manage your author brand. It’s also my job to have foreign, audio, and film/tv contacts to sell subsidiary rights for your books. Going it alone can work for some authors, but those business and industry pitfalls (contract traps, late payments, figuring out who to contact in Germany, the force of a whole publishing company worrying about itself instead of you, and so on) can be tremendously daunting for most authors, and that makes it easy for unrepresented authors to make unnecessary mistakes. An agent is your partner in all aspects of this business, and is there to advocate (always!) for you.

Q: Do you work with self-published authors, or do writers who plan to self-publish still need an agent?
A: I don’t currently have any self-published authors on my client list, but I’ve worked with them in the past. I do strongly believe that the days of a project making it big on the self-publishing side and then being picked up by a Big 5 publisher are over. If you’ve self-published a book, you’ve self-published it. It’s not going to be traditionally published after that. But self-publishing success on the romance side can translate to a traditional publisher being interested in your next work, and that’s where you might want to think about an agent.

Agents are pros at helping authors make career changes, and moving from indie publishing to traditional publishing is a big one. Even if you want to stay on the indie/self-publishing side of the industry, an agent can help you sell subsidiary rights for your work (foreign, audio, film/tv, etc). I’ll also note that a lot of romance authors write fast (it’s impressive!) and more and more authors in traditional deals are publishing on a hybrid schedule: fulfilling their traditional contracts while also pursuing self-publishing (of a different series) on the side. Agents can help navigate having your feet in both pools, and make sure you’re respecting contracts schedules, etc.

Thanks Abby! We’re looking forward to meeting with you in person.
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