No Time Like the Present

Remember that novel you never had time to write? Are you writing it now?

Over the past twenty-plus years of writing for publication, I’ve heard from many folks say, “I wish I had time to write.” Heck, I was one of them when I was still working. Since I got laid off I finished the third novel in the feisty series and wrote more on the historical novel I had started some time ago. HOWEVER, I’m not writing now.

Why? I have no earthly idea.

I’d like to encourage all of you with those stories bobbing around in your heads and invading your dreams to write them down. That’s how it all started for me. It took me ten years for the whole process of idea, writing, editing, more editing, searching for an agent and publisher, and editing some more before I finally found a publisher who published my first novel.

Like most of you, I was working, keeping house, taking care of my family – you know the drill, and wrote on my lunch hours and whenever I had a break between college courses I attended at night. I was much younger then. What I’m trying to say if I could do it then, why can’t you do it now? Or perhaps I should ask myself that same question.

I was laid off a couple of years ago and decided to retire early. Since then I have had the time to write, read, and rediscover my love of oil painting. Oh, and puzzles. I had forgotten how much fun they can be. I’ve tried my hand at sewing and made a king size quilt (which I will never do again – too big). Now I’ve decided to try my hand at making masks.

The point is, many of us have time during this pandemic to try some of the things we never had time for before. I am content to paint right now, but if the need to write burns within you – let that sucker out!

Enjoy the write. “See you in the funny papers.”

The Journey Continues, #3

You’ve written your manuscript. You’ve edited it more times than you can count. You’ve found a publisher. You’ve edited again. What’s next? Cover art and jacket blurb.

Many publishers request input from the author for the cover. What is important in the story? The house? The battered kitchen table? The lace curtains billowing in the breeze? The publisher chooses the art, folks, 99% of the time. If you are lucky, you can give them suggestions, but in the end it’s out of your hands.

Do covers always represent the story? I’ve been lucky. A friend of mine who writes romance told me a story about getting a cover for her book that represented absolutely nothing in the story. I seem to remember cowboy boots were central and here were no cowboys in the book. She brought it to the publishers attention, but they didn’t change it. Someone really wanted those boots on the front, no matter what. If I recall, the book didn’t sell well.

The outside of your novel will hopefully grab the reader’s attention. It’s interesting and represents the story. The Victorian house that the ladies lived in was a character in Feisty Family Values. There were roses in the yard and it was fall. The cover was fantastic. It made you want to peek in the windows for the characters inside.

If the artwork gets your attention, the blurb pulls you in. What will happen to whom inside? Why would someone want to read this book? A short tag line, created from the text can be catchy. Frankly, blurbs are hard for me. I want to tell too much. So all my blurbs have been shortened by the publishers. Short excerpts have also been used, as well as professional reviews. I was honored to have the NYT Bestselling author, Dorothea Benton Frank review Patchwork Family. It was prominently displayed inside the first page.

Both pub houses have done things just a little bit differently. I’ve loved the result. The last two novels I have published myself and hope that I successfully chose the art and blurbs that make folks want to read them. Don’t forget the art is the first impression. Make a good one!!