Tuesday, May 25, 2010

FOR WRITERS: Revisions & Knowing Thyself

I shared this with my editor not long ago, and since she appeared to appreciate it, I thought I’d share this with other writers, especially for those of you who may have recently published and are getting your first set of revisions.

Spare your editor the drama.

Fortunately, my previous editor would email me any revisions, so I managed to be (painfully) aware of how I react to them. I am overwhelmed. My mind immediately starts spinning with how I’m going to incorporate them into the manuscript. Often when you change one thing, be it ever so minor, it affects events all throughout the rest of the work. Will I manage to spot them all? How will this affect the flow of my writing, particularly since I write so organically? What are the ramifications to my characters’ emotional arc when those changes are incorporated? How will the changes alter the magical rules of my world, and will this affect the logistics of the plot?

Keep in mind, I usually get very few revisions.

I am a perfectionist. This is not always a good thing, and I’m aware of it. I also have this illogical urge to make everything right. Right now. I’m given weeks to work on the revisions, so there’s no reason for me to try to work them out all in my head right at that moment. But sure enough, I do it every time.

So I have learned to read through my revisions and then put them away for twenty-four hours. My response to my editor would be, “Thank you kindly. I’ll get back to you with any questions.” And then as I let my mind cogitate on the changes, I will realize that yes, I can easily add this change here. And yes, I can top that last love scene with something like this…and yes, that’s a terrific idea to make the character more appealing to my reader.

With all of my books, there have only been one or two changes that I felt didn’t work for the manuscript, but I made sure I felt strongly about them (which meant, I gave them much thought over several days). Each time--once I explained my reasons to my editor-- they agreed with me, and the changes were not incorporated.

So, now I have a new editor, and she prefers to go over the revisions on the phone.


But I knew exactly how I would react, and prepared myself to respond with nothing but a smile and an “okay”. I would not let any of the suggested revisions sink into my little brain. I would let them roll off my back without really considering them until I received her follow-up email. I was determined. And I managed it.

My editor was kind of like, “Uh, Kathryne? What do you think?” And I would respond with perhaps a few sentences and an “Okay.” I think I kind of confused her there, until we started talking over dinner at a conference, and I explained our limited ‘revision’ conversation on the phone. But I would rather have had her confused over my reaction than subject her to the drama.

And you know what? She felt the same way.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FOR WRITERS: Taglines & the Query Letter

Taglines are the one or two lines that are often on the front of a book cover. They are another way for publishers to draw the interest of a reader to your book. For example, the tagline on the cover of MY UNFAIR LADY is “Who says a proper lady can’t carry a knife?” And from my TBR pile: “A novel of vampires, werewolves and dirigibles” from the cover of CHANGELESS by Gail Carriger. “Her next jump may be her last.” from the cover of GRIMSPACE by Ann Aguirre. “Four lives. Two great loves. Every expectation SHATTERED.” from SHATTERED by Joan Johnston.

Why should this interest an aspiring author? Because this may be a great way to hook an agent or editor to your book in your query letter. Sometimes you only have seconds for your query to catch interest, and a great opening line can do that. It’s always helpful to present your novel from a marketing perspective.

Recently my editor asked me to send her some taglines for THE LADY OF THE STORM, and this is what I managed to come up with:

She has hidden her magic for years, but when a warrior awakens her desires, will it ignite her power for the storm?

A lady with hidden powers. A warrior with an enchanted sword. A destiny and passion neither one of them can deny.

When a warrior's desire ignites the powers of THE LADY OF THE STORM, will their magical world survive the tempest?

When a warrior's desire ignites the powers of the lady of the storm, will they manage to survive the tempest?

The power of the storm blazes within her eyes. His passion for revenge lies within an enchanted sword. When love ignites, will it aid or hinder their quest to save England?

She's hidden her powers--but will discover the magic of the storm in the passionate arms of one darkly delicious man.

She's hidden her magic--but will discover the passion of the storm in the arms of one darkly delicious man.

She's hidden her powers…and only true love will ignite the magic of the storm.

She'll discover her magic in the arms of a cursed lover.

Hidden magic. Hidden desires. A quest that may save their world.

Hidden magic. Hidden desires. A love that may save their world.

Now, for taglines some of these may be too long and will have to be shortened. But can you see how a tagline can be taken from that all-important first line hook of your query letter? Or used as the first line all by itself? You can study the taglines from your favorite books to help you craft your own, and expand on them (if necessary) to use for the opening line of your query letter. One day soon, you may very well be using it in an advertisement for your own novel…or seeing it on the cover of your book.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

FOR WRITERS: Never fall in love with your title.

Why? Because it’s part of your marketing package, and is subject to change by your publisher.

The thing is, while you’re madly at work on your book, there’s a marketing team madly at work on positioning it in the marketplace. That entails not only the cover and tagline (a post will follow on this as well) but the title and back cover blurb and author quotes. They want new readers to pick up your book. They want booksellers to place orders for it.

Think of the outside package of your book as kind of like a present. If you get one that’s covered in old newspaper, it might have the gift of your dreams inside, but you probably wouldn’t open it first if another present sat right beside it that was covered in shiny foil paper with a huge glittery bow atop.

You want readers to unwrap your book first.

My working title for book 2 in THE ELVEN LORDS series was THE STORM LORD’S DAUGHTER, and my editor asked me to give them several more title options. It startled me, because it made me realize that they were already working on the marketing, and I haven’t even finished the book (you’d think I’d be used to this by now).

The good thing is, I love brainstorming titles, so I happily set to work coming up with more options. I tried to factor in the historical, fantasy, and romance angle, which is always a challenge. Here are the titles I presented to my editor:

Sorcery & Seduction
Lady of Sea and Sky
The Storm Lady's Seduction*
Lady of the Storm* (No romance angle, but I love the similarity to Lady of the Lake.)
Seducing the Lady of the Storm
Loving the Lady of the Storm
Seducing the Storm
The Storm Lady's Lover*

I put stars by the ones that I preferred, because I’m fortunate to have a publisher that values my input. The title they eventually chose was: THE LADY OF THE STORM (adding ‘the’ to the final title). I have to say that I love it much better than my working title, and I’m grateful to have such a motivated marketing team.

So try to keep in mind that the title of your manuscript is a working title, because when your publisher works on wrapping your book, they may want a different colored bow.

Monday, May 10, 2010

And the winner of Erin Quinn's book is...

Diana (Book of Secrets)! Diana, you win your choice of Echoes or Whispers (Erin Quinn, writing as Erin Grady) Email Erin at write2erinquinn (@) aol.com with your choice and your snail address and Erin will get it out to you!

Congratulations, Diana! You are in for a wonderful treat.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Interview with Donna MacQuigg...

Be sure to check out Donna's interview today on my group blog, Much Cheaper Than Therapy:
Donna and I have been partners in writing for many years now. She is offering an autographed copy of THE DRAGON'S SECRET to one lucky commenter! It's a wonderful book, so be sure to head on over and enter by leaving a comment.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Comment here today & enter to win an autographed book by Erin Quinn

I'm thrilled to have author Erin Quinn here today as a guest on my blog! When I read a book that is so riveting I can't put it down, it rates 5-plus stars in my world. Erin's new release, HAUNTING WARRIOR, is just such a book, and I'm overjoyed to be announcing that it's available in bookstores today!

So read on about this fantastic novel, and make sure to leave a comment to enter to win a copy of one of Erin's backlist titles, Echoes or Whispers (Yes, they rate 5-plus stars as well!). Even better, Erin will be stopping by today to say hi, so if you have any questions for her, don't hesitate to ask.


A past he couldn't forget.
Rory McGrath's life changed the night his father mysteriously vanished after uncovering the secrets of the ancient Book of Fennore. The trauma turned Rory from an innocent boy into a troubled, cynical man. Leaving Ireland, he shunned his family, his heritage-and the very magic that has defined his people for centuries.

A dream he couldn't ignore.
Then the dreams begin.dreams of an ethereal beauty whose touch is more real that any he's known. And in these dreams, she has a message-a calling for Rory to return home to a destiny that will take him beyond the realm of anything he imagined.

A woman he couldn't resist.
Lured to the castle ruins where his father disappeared, Rory is plunged back in time, and into the body of another man-a man betrothed to the very woman of Rory's dreams. In possession of the secrets of his past, his family, and his identity, her hold on Rory is inescapable. For she is his doom. His salvation. And his destiny.

Haunting Warrior, on sale now!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0425234142
B&N: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?ISBN=9780425234143
Borders: http://www.borders.com/online/store/TitleDetail?sku=0425234142
Indy bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780425234143
Erin's website: www.erinquinn.info
Blog: http://quinnessentials.blogspot.com/


"[Haunting Warrior] should carry a warning: don't start reading if you have to go to work the next day. You will not be able to put it down until you finish the very last word."~Kathryne Kennedy, Award Winning Author of My Unfair Lady
"Edge of my seat thriller."~All About Romance

"An enthralling read. [Quinn's] mélange of paranormal, time travel and romance is outstanding!" ~The Romance Readers Connection:

"Fascinating and compelling."~Romance Book Wyrm.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010