Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Today I’m hosting Donna Weaver on her Book Tour for ‘A Change of Plans’. This is my first time doing this sort of thing, so don’t hold it against Donna. I asked her if she would tell us something about the publishing process and because Donna is awesome, what follows is a pretty comprehensive breakdown. I’m gonna turn the time over to her and let you enjoy. When you’re finished, I have a paragraph or two of my IWSG post tacked on at the end. Enjoy!

First and foremost, write a dang book. All the way to the end. With modern word processors, it's easy to edit (not painless, but the physical process is simple). You won't have anything to publish if you never finish your book.
 I think everyone's publishing journey is going to be a little different. Much of that depends upon the goals for each writer--will you only be happy if you land an agent and publish with one of the big houses, do you want the more intimate experience of working with a smaller press, or are you willing to go gung ho and do the self-publishing route.
 I think the key to any of it is to get educated and get connected. Not all that long ago, being a writer could be a very solitary experience. With the advent of the Internet, it's a different world. Go to a writing conference and meet other writers. The writing community is a wonderfully encouraging and supportive one. They need you, and you need them. If you can't afford to attend a conference in person, there's a wonderful one called Write On Con (http://writeoncon.com/)--all done online. Find and follow the blogs of other writers, both published and those in your shoes. Makes friends. Read and consider. Join writing groups where fellow writers share ideas and experiences.
This is what I did. I'm fortunate to live in a state that's rich in the publishing industry, and there are many opportunities to attend writing workshops or conferences. The first one I attended was Utah Valley University's Book Academy. Then I joined an online critique group through author David Farland's writing forum: http://farlandswritersgroups.com/. Through one of my fellow members, I found out about Life, the Universe, and Everything (http://ltue.net/)--a huge writing symposium--three long days of amazing classes for $30. You provide your own food and lodging, but that's still a killer deal.
A few months later I attended LDStorymakers and my first critique "bootcamp". With my online critique group, I'd already learned quite a lot. That was scary enough. Bootcamp meant bringing 10-15 pages of my manuscript and reading it before my peers and they then critiquing it in person. I met some wonderful people that day I'm still in contact with.
I joined writing groups: League of Utah Writers, Authors Incognito (open to people who have attended a Storymakers conference), and American Night Writers Association (ANWA). The first group meets monthly for critiquing and classes. AI has an online group and a Facebook group as does ANWA. They share news, ask questions, and commiserate with each other.
This was when I became a fly on the wall, so to speak. AI and ANWA both have published as well as aspiring authors. They share experiences (good and bad) in the industry. You can learn a lot by reading about what others are going through, things you could be faced with in the future. You discover resources you didn't know about. I watched and I listened.
One thing I decided was that, at my age (I'm a grandmother), I don't have time to wait eight or ten years to be published by one of the big publishers. That's assuming it didn't take me that many years just to find an agent. For me, it was all about the experience. I've heard real horror stories about how some publishers treat their authors like so much slave labor, never listening to their concerns or suggestions--changing their books without consulting them. I didn't want that kind of experience.
I'd written and rewritten (and rewritten) my book as I gleaned more knowledge and critiques. I wrote other books. I spent two months studying how to write a query and writing and editing mine, including submitting it to Matt over at The Quintessentially Questional Query Experiment. Not only is Matt kind and diplomatic, he's spot on. He then opens it up to his blog followers so you can get further input. By the time I started querying, it was on edit #18.
I had heard author James Dashner (Maze Runner series, etc.) speak at LTUE, and he said that he'd set a goal to help soften the rejection blow. For every ten rejections, he would take his wife out to dinner. I thought that was brilliant. I sent my queries out in groups of about five a week. It can be hard to keep track of them (that's why I used QueryTracker--http://querytracker.net/). For many of them, no response is a rejection. You'll never hear from them. I started racking up rejections.
I knew a few authors who had published with Rhemalda, and I'd heard good things. I submitted as per their webpage and waited. I received a request for a full. I did get a rejection, but it was the best possible kind of rejection--revise and resubmit. They provided feedback, and I went to work. I resubmitted and received an offer. We negotiated back and forth, and I consulted a couple of attorneys. I signed. They provided some more feedback, and I edited some more.
Did I mention that two editors had a look at my manuscript before I started querying? One was only for the first 50 pages, but the other was for the full novel. Even if they buy your book, there's still a lot of editing. Then I got my first round of full edits from the editor (editors in my case). Holy cow! One thing to bear in mind is that there are several editing and grammar styles. I had to learn what my publisher and editors liked. There are also styles unique to genre. If your editor changes during this process, you could end up making different kinds of changes.
I'm still learning, but I hope as I edit the companion novel to A Change of Plans, I will already know a lot of those things. It will certainly make the editing process simpler and less painful.
"What? You want to cut THAT scene? The one I agonized and fretted over for days?"
"It's killing your pacing."
"How can it kill the pacing? There's danger and broken bones and blood."
"It's still killing the pacing."
I've been happy that my publisher has involved me all along the way. My story, while shorter, is still my story. My characters are true to themselves and the vision I had for them. That was as important to me as being published. Like I said, for me, it's all about the experience.
Are you worrying about getting those first couple of chapters perfect before you move on? By the time you finish the book, you might not even keep those chapters. So, don’t spend ten years writing and rewriting and rewriting those chapters. Finish the book!


What the book's about:  When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old, Colorado high school teacher wants to do is forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. Lyn plans a vacation diversion; fate provides Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship's make-believe world and temporary friendships, her emotions come alive. However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he's navigating, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship--on the very anniversary Lyn is on the cruise to forget. Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs from Braedon and what he has to offer. Their confusing relationship is bad enough, but when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise's snorkeling excursions in American Samoa things get worse. Paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped and Lyn's fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.

To see the awesome 'Book Trailer' click HERE

And there is a Giveaway: which I'm totally not sure why I cannot get the Rafflecopter to show up, but if you click on that link down there, it does come up. good luck!

Insecure Writers Support Group~

If you lived on an island and the following sign was posted on every street corner, would you feel insecure? About everything? Think about it.

To learn more about the Insecure Writers Support Group and to read about other writers and their insecurities go HERE 

See you guys next week, where I hope to tell you a little bit more about what's been going on in my life. Some big changes. Not surprised are you?


  1. Thanks so much for having me over. Yeah. No security from that sign.

  2. Yeah I would not feel comfortable wit such a sign, I'd have a submarine stashed in the basement. And Donna is sure everywhere at each lair.

  3. Oh no, be safe, Farawayeyes.

    Donna's book sounds like a real page turner. Very exciting.

    Take care,

  4. Sometimes it's better not to read the signs...

  5. Big changes?
    How big is big?

    How blue is blue?

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  6. I'm curious to hear of these big changes. Also, I wouldn't feel very good about that sign. Then again, I can't swim, so a tsunami means 50% more death for me than it does for most other people.

  7. I love that James Dashner took his wife out to dinner with every ten rejections! I've been collecting a few rejections myself - I just haven't really thrown myself into querying as much as I should. I've heard such great things about Rhemelda and know a few blog friends who are published by them!

  8. Pacing is a hard thing to nail down Donna! That's for sure.

    And if I was faced with one of those signs on every corner, I'm afraid I would develop a new phobia- fear of signs.

  9. Great post. It's all about editing and rewriting indeed.

  10. I don't feel good about that sign. I too am curious about the big changes.