Daily Archives: December 22, 2008

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Advice to Myself as a Newbie Author

December 22, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as ,

by Shauna Roberts

Today’s Guest: Sandra Kay

Sandra Kay’s first book, Heart of Stone, was released in digital format on October 3rd by The Wild Rose Press. The print release will be on January 3, 2009. Heart of Stone won First Place in the Fort Bend (Texas) Writer’s Guild contest. She has been writing contemporary romance for about nine years and has belonged to the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America since 2000. She served on the Board of Directors for three years, two as Ways and Means Director and one as Secretary.

Sandra, if you could travel back in time to before you were first published, what advice would you give yourself?

If I could go back in time to before I was first published. . . .

An interesting question—one that I had to think extensively about. As a first-time published author, I read with interest the insightful answers given by the multipublished authors of OCC. And, that’s where I found my #1 answer:

1. I would not be so reticent about networking with published authors. What a font of information we have readily available in OCC. From Ask an Author, to critiques, to workshops, and simply answering questions, these ladies volunteer their time and expertise to help others obtain the dream.

I would also urge new writers to:

2. Never stop learning. I have to say that I did follow this rule. I took Creative Writing classes. I scribbled copious notes while listening to our meeting speakers. I attended workshops. And I continue to take online classes, most recently one on HTML to make promotion and managing my Website easier.

3. Find a good critique group or partner. Make sure that you don’t settle into a group that isn’t really helping you, just because you’ve become comfortable with it. That can be very detrimental to your writing career. Find a way to politely bow out of that type of situation and move on to a group or partner that will give you constructive critiques. If you can connect with a group that has at least one published author in it, you will benefit from that person’s knowledge of the industry.

4. Become active in your local chapter of RWA. I began by selling used books at OCC and went on to serve for three years on the Board of Directors. I learned so much from the group of ladies I served with. And serving makes it easier to meet knew members.

5. Keep on writing. When you break through and sell that first book, you want to have others in reserve. Heart of Stone is part of a four-book series, and I had written three of them before I sold the first one. You don’t want to find yourself desperately playing catch-up to get that second book to your editor.

6. Read in your genre! I think someone else mentioned this, but I just want to reiterate how important it is to stay abreast of the market in your select genre. You need to be familiar with the publishing houses and know what they are selling. Know the correct house to send your manuscript to. Having said that…

7. Don’t write to trends. I made this mistake. By the time I finished my book, the trend had passed.

8. Learn promotion. You may not think you need to know about promotion yet, but when your book is released you’ll wish you had some knowledge on the subject, especially if you’re an epub. There are many books you can purchase on promotion.

9. Don’t let rejection letters stop you. Rejection letters are just part of the business. You have to learn to think of them as a learning process. I’ve received some wonderfully informative rejection letters over the years. Of course, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t terribly disappointed. I was, but enjoying a pity party won’t get us far in this business. Limit the amount of time you allow yourself to attend that “party.”

10. Enjoy the process. This is a great business; have fun with it.


To learn more about Sandra, please visit her Website at http://www.sandrakayauthor.com, her blog at http://www.sandrakayauthor.blogspot.com, or her MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/_sandrakay. Her new book, Heart of Stone, can be ordered online from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble.

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