I thought it would be fun to interview a few aspiring authors–to see what keeps them going, why they write, and maybe to reinspire a few pubbed authors by reminding them of their original goals.
I chose Edie Ramer for my first interview, because Edie is one of the most upbeat people I know–and she is really putting her all into her pursuit of being published. Common wisdom is that it takes three things to get published: Talent, Perserverance and Luck. All Edie needs is a little luck and she will be on her way.
Q.) How long have you been writing with the goal of publication?
E.R.) Lori, I’m thrilled that you’re interviewing me–although the “how long” question makes me squirm. I started writing about 20 years ago . I had an early success with short stories and sold eleven to print publications, all in the mystery field. My CPs say I write tight, and this is probably the reason. I wrote books too, but I didn’t sell. I quit for about 6 years and tried other things, but writing is what I really wanted to do. I couldn’t stay away. My reading tastes have switched to romances, so this is what I write now.
Q.) Why do you want to be published?
E.R.) Lori, you don’t do easy questions, do you? I’d say money, but if I’d put this much energy and passion into another career I’d be a wealthy women. (Besides, I can imagine my published CPs laughing hysterically at the “money” answer.) Maybe ego. I hope my work will entertain people, make them feel good inside. I want my son to feel bursting at the seams proud that his mother did this. I know I’ll feel that way when I see my books on the bookshelves. Or, better yet, some lovely person taking it off the bookshelf.
Q.) What do you write—has it changed over the years?
E.R.) I started writing romance before my shift to mysteries. I was reading more mysteries than romance, so it made sense. After I came back, I wrote a fluffy humorous ST romance. I quickly switched to writing romances with a little of everything in it. A mess. LOL. I’ve finally found out that I love writing offbeat quirky romances. My current book is women’s fiction, but it’s populated with quirky people. They’re in my life, so why not put them in my books?
Q.) Do you enter contests? If so how do you feel they help, if not why not?
E.R.) I try to restrain myself from entering contests. *g* I entered sporadically when I first started writing romance again. I won three, including the 2005 ST Molly. Contests validated my writing, but I can get my books on agents’ desks faster and cheaper by querying. That’s just my opinion. I would enter the GH, but quirky offbeat romance has zero chance of finalling.
Q.) Do you submit directly to publishers or only to agents? If you submit to publishers, is it totally cold or only through requests from conferences, etc. Any reason for this strategy?
E.R.) I submit mostly to agents. With my last book I sent it to what I consider “the usual suspect” agents. And quickly got turned down by them all without any requests. This is the best book I’ve written, and I was depressed. Then I read the funny and inspiring blog Maria V. Snyder wrote about how she persevered through rejections and sold her Rita nominated paranormal, POISON STUDY, to Luna. This made me realize I’d given up too early. My book was out of the romance box, so I needed an out-of-the-romance-box agent. I went through Agent Query, then emailed and snail mailed queries. I got 3 requests for partials and I still have a lot of queries out there. I also have two requested nonfiction proposals out, so I’m crossing my fingers that something good will happen. I’ve only sent to one publisher, partly because two of my CPs sold to them, and after this they got their agents. It’s Kensington. (Lori can tell you this worked for her too.:)) Just last week I received a rejection on a previous book by a Kensington editor, but she said she’d love to see another one, so I mailed the full of my “out of the box” romance. If I start collecting a lot of agent rejections, I’ll start sending to more publishers. This book deserves a home.
Q.) Have you or would you at some point consider submitting to a small publisher? Why or why not?
E.R.) Yes, I am considering submitting to a small publisher with my latest. But only after I’ve gone through all the bigger hoops. Why? Because I want to be published. Like Maria V. Snyder, I’m going to try all the avenues available. I’m not sure if you mean e-books, but I’ve been hesitant to go that route for several reasons. Although I have sex scenes in my book, they’re not as spicy as the more popular e-books. With the exceptions of Ellora’s Cave, most of them don’t make that much money. (See Brenda Hiatt’s Show Me the Money ) Lastly, I don’t read many e-books. I might change my mind as e-books evolve.
Q.) Is there any one mistake you made along the way you wish you could go back and correct?
ER.) I wish I hadn’t given up writing about ten years ago. I truly believe I’d be published by now.
Q.) What is the biggest validation of your writing you have received?
E.R.) Having sold early was a validation of my writing skills. Now, it’s my terrific CPs who keep me motivated. Also, a lot of my rejections are the “good ones”, and that does help keep my spirits up.
Q.) What keeps you motivated to keep writing?
ER.) When I don’t write for too long, I feel itchy. It’s a need with me. When I stopped writing, I felt like I was missing something. Writing is the right thing for me to do.
Q.) What advice do you have for other writers seeking publication?
ER.) I’m guessing most of the people reading this are in RWA, so you’re already on your way. Network. Read blogs and comment. It’s a great way to get friendly with other writers. Seek out great CPs, either at your level or above. If you can afford it, go to conferences. Keep up with the market. I subscribe to Publishers Marketplace for $20 a month. I use it to research agents, so it’s worth it to me, but they also have the free daily lunch. Write and send out your stuff. It’s my goal to make every book I write better than the previous one.
Q.) Do you have a web site or blog? If so, what made you decide to take that step?
E.R.) I have a website. A website isn’t necessary to sell, but I thought of it as one more tool. I emailed a question to Agent Kristin at PubRants (Kristin Nelson) asking if she looked at websites when she was reading queries. She replied that she often does, and they better look professional. I wanted a personal blog with my site, or course, but two of my CPs and I had already started Magical Musings. It seemed like the natural next step for us. We’re all on the cusp of selling, and this was a way to get our name out there. Theresa Monsey and LaDonna Paulette have recently joined us. We’ll be speaking about blogging on AskAnAuthorPro this next week. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us!! It was a pleasure, Lori. You gave me a lot to think about. Thank you for asking me.