Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Writing Tip Wednesday--Writing Advice from Tara Rose

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! The fabulous Tara Rose is here this week with some equally fabulous writing advice. She's always been a huge supporter of my Writing Tip Wednesday series, so show her lots of love!

Thanks for visiting, Tara!

From Idea to Publication

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is how does an author go from an idea to a published book? There are probably as many answers as people you can ask it of. However, since I’m asked it so often, I thought I’d use the opportunity Mellanie Szereto has given me today to share my process with you, in the hopes you recognize something in it that can assist you on your path to publication.

I write erotic romance for Siren-BookStrand as Tara Rose, and for Evernight Publishing as Ravenna Tate. I’m also published at both Siren and Evernight as Carolyn Rosewood, although I no longer write under that pen name. I’ve been published since the spring of 2011, and in that time I’ve had to develop a streamlined process because I also still work a full time job.

Now when I tell you I rise at 4:00 AM on weekdays, please do not think you have to do such a thing. Everyone has to find what works for them, their schedule, and their personal situation. One size does not fit all. But for me, this is what finally made the difference between treating my writing as a hobby and becoming serious about it.

I do my promotion and social media posting mostly in the early mornings, never forgetting to give a shout-out to fellow authors’ releases and to celebrate their good news with them. This is just as important as tooting your own horn for several reasons. One, we are each others’ readers, and two, I consider these people my friends. Many I’ve met in real life and have built lasting relationships with. We are, after all, still people behind the books. And readers do notice this.

Sometimes I’m able to sneak in writing or editing before I need to get ready for my day job, but usually that early morning ninety minutes is devoted to promo, pimping others, catching up on who is doing what, and writing blog posts.

During my day, I often have small amounts of down time where I can write, but usually that’s reserved for my scheduled breaks at my job. I then finish my word count goal when I get home. On days when I’m not working, I write and/or edit, depending on deadlines, for as long as it takes to catch up.

Yes, I mentioned a daily word count goal. That’s the second thing that made the difference for me between submitting one book a quarter and submitting one to two books a month.

Again, this worked for me. I know plenty of authors who can’t write this way, so you need to find what works for you. I have a daily word count goal of 4,000 to 5,000 words, and I stick to it. Even if that means catching up on weekends, when I don’t work at my day job.

Edits take priority as they have deadlines attached. I either break them down into parts that I tack onto the word count each day, or I do them in one or two days, depending on what else is gong on, and how long the manuscript is. And I don’t only address the comments and make needed changes. I read every single word again. Mistakes happen. We’re only human. I want my work to be as error free as possible, so with each edit I read the book over again.

So what do I do with new ideas? They go onto a Word doc that is labeled with the tentative series name. I just free flow and let the possible titles and ideas for the series and individual books get on paper. Then I place that Word doc in a folder on my desktop labeled with the pen name I’m thinking of writing it under.

Each publisher has certain sub-genres that sell better than others, and I’m now familiar enough with them that once I get an idea, I also know which publisher the series might do better with. When I’m ready to write that series, I pitch the idea to the publisher, just to make sure. If there are no objections to it outright, I schedule the first book and begin work on the main characters.

I do them first for a reason. If I know them, I can write them. I can anticipate their reactions to each other and to external influences, and I understand their goals, motivation, and conflicts. Without those, I don’t have a story.

Once I begin book one, I commit to a certain number of books in the series and try to write them in order. I’ve alternated series before, but I’ve found I do a better job of maintaining flow and momentum if I write them all at once before beginning a new series. Again, this might not work for everyone. I know plenty of authors who write what their muse tells them to write, even if that means jumping around from series to series.

Any new series gets some extra attention in terms of blog posts I do for promo purposes. I want my readers to be as excited about it as I am, but I don’t have standard promo I do for each one. I like to wait and see how the first few books do before deciding how much time and effort I want to invest into promo, and into future books in the series.

I hope these tips have helped. I think the most important thing to remember is that any advice is only as helpful as how it might or might not fit into your unique situation. But one thing is constant, in my humble opinion. If you want people to take you seriously, you need to take your writing career seriously.

If this is only a hobby for you, that’s fine to treat it as such. But if you’re looking to make it a business, you need to treat it that way.

Tara Rose loves to write about small towns and the quirky people that inhabit them. You’ll find engaging characters, budding romance, intrigue, and plenty of hot steamy ménage sex within the pages of her books. You never really know what goes on behind closed doors, but her books will take you there, and leave you panting for more.

When she isn’t writing, Tara spends time with her husband—her real-life hero. She loves to cook, collect antique pottery, and she will read just about anything. Tara also plays the cello, and loves decorating her house for Christmas.

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I've been trying to dispel the one-size-fits-all myth since I started sharing writing tips. Thanks for summing it up so well, Tara!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!