Looking back now, I can hardly believe how green I was! It was my first competition and New Voices 2011 had so many entrants I felt overwhelmed and buried alive.
I’ve come a long way since then. The entry I submitted has undergone radical change. Not only has the name changed from Surprise Wedding: Help Wanted to a much catchier The Reluctant Wedding Planner, it also underwent a big restructure.
Now when I read the original MS I see all its flaws. No wonder it didn’t do well in competition. I polished it up and submitted it to the RWA Emerald Award where it finished at number 4.
I was still green enough at this stage to think I’d cracked it. However, the feedback I received from overseas publishers quickly put me in my place. I had a lot to learn. That critique had a revolutionary impact on my writing. I bless the faceless editor from Breathless who, in a very gentle way, taught me a thing or two. Thank you!
This advice coupled with loads of help from my fearless critique partner-in-crime meant I finally had a book worthy of a sale. The Reluctant Wedding Planner is under contract with Musa Publishing who has been a fabulous support for a greenhorn like me.
What’s next? I currently have a novella set in saucy Ancient Rome, When Gods Dare, under consideration and am three quarters of the way through my WIP Marriage Makeover with several other story lines in the back ground clamouring for their turn. Life is super busy with a toddler, two dogs and husband to chase after (or is that clean up after?) I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m living my dream life - writing and looking after my family. Perfection!
It’s been an amazing journey from the day I pushed the ‘send’ button on my New Voices application. A year has passed and I have learnt an incredible amount which has only served to highlight how much more I have to learn. At least this greenhorn isn’t quite so green these days!
If anyone was to ask my advice on what to do to get published this is what I’d say:
· Get a critique partner or a bunch of them.
· Research the publishing houses who produce the kind of stories you like
· Read other authors
· Understand the market and its trends - there is no formula for writing romance despite what the pundits might say. Your readers want to relive the excitement of falling in love and it’s your job to conjure that up in the pages of your novel.
· Join the Romance Writers of Wherever-you-live. They are a brilliant support and have loads of resources for writers.
· Enter competitions. Helene Young’s husband gave me this advice at a conference dinner. Best piece of advice I have so far received. It’s a great discipline and you never know who might end up reading your MS. Placing in a competition also gives you something tangible as writing experience for your query letters.
· Learn to take critique - it will only make your work stronger.
· Learn about social media marketing - you’ll need it later when you’re successful.
· Never ever give up.
Find me at: www.evascottromance.com
Or on FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/eva.scottromancewriter