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I'm updating weekly-ish and whenever something exciting happens, so please come back often, browse the archived information,
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Learn more about my books at ShoshannaEvers.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Publish Nonfiction

Hello Fellow Writers!

That's not a picture of me on the left, folks. That's Annette, and I just thought the photo was appropriate for today's blog. Here's her blog, which you may find useful.

Anyway, the other day my mother approached me with an idea for a nonfiction book based on her area of expertise as a social worker. She asked me to ghost write it for her. I told her I'd help her write it but since I'm an RN, BSN, my input as a professional should earn me a co-author byline, right?

So, as I think about how I'm going to go about writing this book, I suddenly remembered that getting a nonfiction book published is a whole different animal than getting a fiction book published. In short, with fiction you have to write the book first, then sell it. With non fiction, you sell it first with a book proposal, and then write it!

I found a great article about writing a killer book proposal. Here's an excerpt from "How to Get a Nonfiction Book Published: A Bulletproof Book Proposal for Publishing Agents, Editors, and Companies" by Robert Bly. Read the whole article here.

Every book publisher asks five key questions about every project he or she considers. Here's how to make sure your book proposal gives all the answers, and convince your book agent to help you publish your book.
You have a great idea for a nonfiction book. Everybody thinks it's a great idea. But will a book publishing company think it's a great idea - enough to pay you an advance, commission you to write it, publish your book and sell it?
That will depend largely on your book proposal. Here's where you demonstrate persuasively that your idea has merit, and that the company will benefit from publishing your book. Of course, even a solid idea and a great book proposal can't guarantee success, but they surely can tip the odds in your favor. But if either the idea or the proposal is weak, your chances of a sale are slim to none.
Book editors look for certain things when reviewing book ideas and proposals. To improve your chances of winning a book publisher's contract, let's look at the five key questions they ask and the best ways to answer them.
The article goes on to explain in detail the five key questions, which include:
1. Is there a large enough audience interested in this topic to justify publishing a book?
2. Is this a book or a magazine article? Will it sell?
3. What's different or better about your book?
4. Will people pay $25.38 for this book?
5. Why should the publishing agent hire you to write it?
While I contemplate these questions, I am still waiting to hear back from Harlequin regarding the partial they requested, and I am waiting to hear from my critique partners about how they think I did on my erotic romance revision that Ellora's Cave requested. I'm waiting to hear back in case I have to fix something before I resubmit it to EC. In the meantime I'm keeping busy by working on a new erotic romance so that I'll have something else to show EC when the time comes.
Wish me luck, and good luck to you too!
Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to Submit to Avon/Harper Collins

Hello Fellow Writers!

I've completed my revision of my erotic romance "The Art Thief's Punishment" and I'm waiting to hear back from my critique partners before I send it off to Ellora's Cave. In the meantime, I figure I'll start another erotic romance. That way if EC likes my book I'll have something else ready to show them.

UPDATE (12/2011): I sold that book! It's Punishing the Art Thief and is available now at Ellora's Cave in case you're interested. Okay, back to the blog post!

ANOTHER UPDATE (2/10/2014): Three years after selling Punishing the Art Thief to Ellora's Cave, I got my rights reverted back to me, and I self-published the book with fresh edits, a new cover, and a much lower price! Check it out!

...and, back to the blog post ;) 

Someday when I write a longer book, maybe I'll try to get published with Avon/Harper Collins. The pic on the left is an example of an Avon book. Here is what I learned on Brenda Haitt's "Show me the money!" site:

Average advance (first book): $19,700 Median: $8000
Average advance (subsequent books): $28,000 Median: $15,000
Advance range: $5000 - $100,000
Standard royalty percentage: 8%
Average earn-out: $23,000 Median: $26,500 Range: $12,000 - $35,000

I found the submission guidelines for Avon Books, an imprint of Harper Collins, on their blog. See the original here.

Update (4/30/12): They changed their submission guidelines recently. Here's a link that will take you to the right place.

Update (8/1/12):  It seems that unagented submissions are all going through Avon Impulse now, their digital-first imprint. Here's their link: http://www.avonromance.com/impulse/ 

Avon Romance Submission Guideline

Avon Romance Submission Guidelines
Your dream: To become an Avon romance writer!
Your desire: To figure out how to get started.
Your questions: Will all be answered here.
As a writer, your imagination allows you to create so many stories. And at Avon Books, we are eagerly seeking those stories. Our program allows us to publish the most unforgettable voices in historical and contemporary romance.
Your mission: to write the very best book possible.
Our goal: to find the perfect spot on the Avon list for that book.
Right now we are looking for romances in several areas–Historical Romance; Contemporary Romance, including romantic suspense, paranormal romance, women’s fiction, African-American Romance, inspirational romance, and Erotica.
So, don’t hesitate! Here’s the information you’ll need to get started. Now is the time to make your dream of becoming an Avon romance writer come true!
(90-000- 100,000 words)
At Avon, we’re seeking deliciously romantic historical novels for all parts of the list. These are love stories set primarily in Great Britain before 1900, and they are filled with all the promise–and passion–that Avon readers expect.

(90,000-100,000 words)
We seek stories of emotional complexity, written by authors with unique voices. Books with humor, drama, romantic suspense -– all types and tones can be right for Avon. If your manuscript is exciting, electrifying and exceptional then we want to see it.

(90,000-100,000 words)
Vampires, and werewolves, and witches, oh my! We are seeking all types of paranormal romance, contemporary or historical. The darker the better.
(90,000 words)
We are actively seeking romance with African-American heroes and heroines. These should be contemporary or historical love stories of approximately 90,000-100,000 words, set in the United States. If your manuscript has the unforgettable emotion, irresistible characters–especially the hero–and sizzling sensuality that are hallmarks of Avon romance, please send it right away.
(60,000-90,000 words)
General commercial women’s fiction as well as quality non-fiction books that readers can relate to and get something out of. Both historical and contemporary stories are welcome. Some of our Avon A authors include Meg Cabot, Jacqueline Sheehan, and Tracy Grant.

(60,000-90,000 words)
A new line of inspirational romances from Avon Books. These stories and their characters are primarily Christian, and promote traditional values and beliefs. They also are first and foremost stories of the heart, romantic novels about learning to trust, to open ourselves up to love, both to the men in our lives but ultimately to God. Set in America, contemporary settings as well as historicals will be considered, as well as romantic suspense and romantic comedy. There should be no alcohol, drug use or premarital sex for the main characters. For non-Christian characters, these subjects can be explored but primarily to show their destructive nature and how a virtuous life is the better path. Foul language should be avoided at all costs.
How To Submit A Manuscript

Please note Avon’s submission policy
To submit your romance or women’s fiction (only), please query first. You must query by e-mail. When you do so, please put QUERY in the subject line. Due to the overwhelming amount of Spam email we receive, subject lines that have manuscript titles often do not reach the editors. Your query should be brief, no more than a one-page description of your book. Do not send chapters or a full synopsis at this time. Also, please do not send attachmentsTHEY WILL NOT BE OPENED. You will receive a response — either a decline or a request for more material — in approximately six to eight weeks.
Please e-mail your query to avonromance@harpercollins.com.
Update (4/30/12): They changed their submission guidelines recently and no longer accept queries through that email. Here's a link that will take you to the right place.

Update (8/1/12):  It seems that unagented submissions are all going through Avon Impulse now, their digital-first imprint. Here's their link: http://www.avonromance.com/impulse/ 

Very exciting stuff! I've never written a novel that was 100K words long... but it is a goal worth reaching for. So far my books are in the 50K word range since they are targeted toward Harlequin/Silhouette.

Wish me luck, and good luck to you too!
Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers

Monday, March 15, 2010

Meg Cabot Breaks it Down!

Hello Fellow Writers!

I'm officially a published writer now (okay, just for my advice column in the Mahopac News, but still!). The newspaper was released, they ran my column "Ask Shana", I got a check, and I even got my first writing deadline for the second column (already written, and submitted thankyouverymuch).

I'm still working on my quest to be a published romance writer, however. I'm almost done with my revisions for "The Art Thief's Punishment" for Ellora's Cave. I plan on having two of my writing buddies critique it before I send it off. My goal is to have it submitted by the end of March so that the editor doesn't forget that she asked me to revise and resubmit... you gotta strike while the iron is hot, so to speak!

I borrowed all ten of the "Princess Diaries" books from my NaNoWriMo buddy Aimee. They are like popcorn in a very good way. Light, fluffy, and impossible to put down. I love this YouTube video of the author, Meg Cabot, explaining how to write a novel.

The key point here, I think, is that the process of actually sitting down to write is what separates the real writers from the wannabees. It's easy to say "I want to be a writer" or "someday I'll write a novel", but it's another thing entirely to actually put pen to paper (or hands on keyboard, really) and put the time in to get it done.

For everyone out there who is rising to The Writer's Challenge - writing 1000 words a day, I salute you (and I think Meg Cabot does too!). Hey, even if you are writing on a regular schedule, or writing everyday even if it's not quite 1000 words, I still salute you - because actually writing is harder than saying you want to write!

Tomorrow night is my last class for the Advanced Writing Workshop at WCC. I'm bringing my 2 page synopsis for "Snowed in With a Millionaire" to be critiqued.
Wish me luck, and good luck to you too!

Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Walter Greatshell on Writing

Hello Fellow Writers!

I've been plugging away on my erotic romance "The Art Thief's Punishment" ever since I got a 'revise and resubmit' letter from Ellora's Cave. I think it's going quite well so far. I still haven't heard back yet from Harlequin about the partial they requested of "The Movie Star's Very Personal Assistant". I watch the mailbox daily with my fingers crossed that they will request a full.

I've been going to my second Advanced Writing Workshop at WCC and working on "Snowed in With a Millionaire" there. Very few changes have been made since the instructor, Vinny, has been liking the story as is. This week I plan on writing a synopsis so that when I hear back from Harlequin about "Movie Star" I'll be ready to send them "Snowed".

I recently read "Xombies: Apocalypse Blues" by Walter Greatshell. It was a great book and I read it so fast because I found I didn't want to put it down! It was horror mixed with science fiction, and there was no romance, so it wasn't the sort of thing I normally read. I read it because my father suggested it. I'm glad I did!

Walter Greatshell has an article he wrote about writing called "Playboy Loved Me: Confessions of a Freelance Failure" on his website, waltergreatshell.com. Read the whole article here, this is an excerpt:

I am a writer, though my lifetime of writing has not earned me as much as a year working at Dairy Queen. I always knew I was going to be a writer, and that I would have to go through a period of "paying my dues." I just didn't think it would take so long. Perhaps my naivete was fortunate, because if I had it to do all over again I think I would go with my childhood ambition: to be an ichthyologist. Study little fishies.
All writers are doomed by their initial piddling success - as any driving instructor will tell you, it’s hard to unlearn bad habits. In my case I won a contest, the Independent Press-Telegram Scary Story Contest, and although they never actually printed my story (a grudge I still nourish at my breast) I did get fifty dollars out of it. A boy's first pay! It was not unreasonable to expect that it would lead to greater things, that I was a teenage prodigy on the ladder to literary stardom. In fact, that money was the biggest sum I would make from any single manuscript until I was forty.
Hitchhiking once, I met a motivational speaker--a man who choreographed ninjas, flaming batons and bikinied go-go dancers for the purpose of galvanizing jaded salesmen--who banished my writing problems with one word: "Volume." His cure-all solution to freelancing was to send the same article to fifty publications at a time. Be active, not reactive! It seemed sensible, and I assured him I would do it.
"We'll see," he told me. "A lot of people secretly want to fail. They just can't do what it takes."
"I will. I'll do it," I said.
"Maybe. I'll be watching for your byline. We'll see."
I didn’t do it.
I'm looking forward to reading Greatshell's other novels, especially "Xombies: Apocalypticon", the sequel to the other Xombies book. Today I'm going to get cracking on that 2 page synopsis for "Snowed in With a Millionaire" at the Panera in Fishkill, NY with my writing buddies. It's not easy taking 181 plus pages of novel and boiling it down to 2 pages. Wish me luck, and good luck to you too!
Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers

Monday, March 1, 2010

Revise & Resubmit from EC!

Hello Fellow Writers!

I have exciting news. I heard back from Ellora's Cave regarding my erotic romance submission to their "Alluring Arts" series.

I truly wish I could just copy the whole letter right here for you, but at the bottom of the letter it said that I could not share the letter!

Basically, the letter said that while "The Art Thief's Punishment" wasn't right for the "Alluring Arts" series they were doing, if I revised and lengthened the book I could resubmit it as a standalone. The editor said some really encouraging things about my writing style and even offered some specific tips on how to improve upon the story.

Needless to say, I am thrilled!

So I've been working on world building and getting to know my characters better as well as pacing, and my goal is to have "The Art Thief's Punishment" ready to be resubmitted by the end of March.

Wish me luck, and good luck to you too!
Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers