Friday, January 18, 2013

More Myths:Writing a Romance is Easy. Glamour, Fame and Fortune Naturally Follow by Roz Denny Fox



Sell a book and you’ll be rolling in dough.  I’ll say it straight out—what a hoot.  Fame and fortune probably go to 1 or 2 percent of all romance writers.  And I’m willing to bet those perks didn’t come quickly, because writing a book that sells takes time.  It’s a craft you have to learn. And it takes dedication to stick it out and write through self-doubt and rejection.  Writing to sell requires giving up precious free time with family.  It sometimes means juggling demands of a paying job with the pull of fictional characters waiting impatiently on your home computer.  If the vision of easy money is what’s enticing you to give romance writing a try, chances are you’ll opt out about the time your spaghetti boils over on the stove and the dog barfs on the kitchen floor as you follow your fictional characters into a better world.  Writing is usually a second job.  It’s hard work.  You begin with a desire to publish—to see your name on a book jacket.  To complete a manuscript takes drive, discipline and dedication.  You have all that, you say?  Good.  You produce a book.  Yay!  You send it out.  You wait.  A week.  Two weeks.  A month.  Maybe six.  Then comes a form letter saying your characters are cardboard.  Your story lacks depth.  There’s little conflict between your hero and heroine, and by the way, good luck placing this elsewhere.  The notion of easy money fades a bit.  But, you’re stubborn, and besides you like writing and darn it, you have talent.  So you dig in.  You invest money in writing classes, in workshops and conferences.  You find your voice, your style.  You learn how to mix dialogue and narrative.  You return to your computer, bleary-eyed, but armed with information.  Now you’re on the road to fame, fortune and glamour.  Write a second book.  Send it out.  Again you wait.  Ah ha, this time the letter says your characters are warm, your dialogue is fresh, your plot unique, but…two problems.  You aren’t agented, and if you were you’d know this book isn’t the type we publish.  By this time if you don’t give up, you’ve learned that writing a romance isn’t so easy.  And now you add another “D” word to your repertoire—disappointment.  You blunt the old visions, and add determination.  You say, I wrote a book.  In fact, I wrote two books.  I am a writer.  I have stories inside burning to be told.  Writing is in my blood.  It’s who I am.  Oh, and isn’t it fortunate I don’t really need money from this endeavor to put food on my table or a roof over my family’s head?  I know glamour, fame and fortune sits just around the corner.  But maybe I should have said I also still believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.  Writing isn’t easy.  The rewards are most often personal satisfaction when even one reader says they like what you’ve done.      

14 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness- how on earth did you make laugh, feel nostalgic, inspired and tear up at the same time?! I love your post, Roz! The boiling over spaghetti and barfing dogs are images I can definitely relate to as well as the rejection letters and the determination for self-improvement with workshops, classes and reading reading reading- not just for enjoyment but to learn. It's a path I'm always on and I'm excited to read your book so I can laugh, cry, feel inspired, and most of all- learn,

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  2. Roz - you are so spot-on, it's eerie. The hardest thing for me was the interminable waiting. Not blaming editors - I can only imagine what their lives are like - but it's like sitting on the tip of a pin with all your hopes and dreams, personal and financial, hanging in the balance. And then you get a rejection, or a kindly worded, "not this project, but do send something else." Aagghh! But we're all still here, so we must have come to grips with the truth that at the bottom of it all, we're doing it for us because we want to share the love and hope we feel.

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  3. Listen guys, I'm sorry my post popped up before Friday. It shows you I have a long way to go to learn about blogging. I sent Pam a "Help" call, but she must be busy. I knew I'd goofed up, but when I checked the calendar it said 1/18. Karen, I didn't mean to post on your day.

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    1. No problem at all, Roz!! When I posted mine, it popped up as Wednesday... ?! I think the blog is set to PCS time which may be why it's scrambling my east coast brain. We'll sort it out soon. I love your post and read and tweeted about it last night and this morning- so it was a bonus that it was up before I hit the pillow :) Have a great day!

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  4. Roz, I've come to the conclusion that anyone who writes in hopes of getting rich is delusional. Love your blog!

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  5. Oh, Roz, talk about wonderfully vivid -- I can just HEAR you saying all this!

    Hmm, that must be Author Voice. :)

    Laurie, especially liking the spaghetti and Santa Claus

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  6. Forget about fame. The sad fact is that not only do 98-99% of authors not get rich, they don't even make enough money to support themselves with their writing. It's a lot of hard work and, at the end of the day, I make less than minimum wage some years. But I have fun creating characters, worlds and the stories that take place in them. Being able to share that with others and have them enjoy my books is icing on the cake!

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  7. Shelley, delusional is another great "D" word.
    Laurie, And I didn't even mention how it's hard to watch your family trot off to bed while a solitary writer sits at her computer during the witching hours.
    Cynthia, You are spot on with what makes the blood, sweat and tears worth it all---reader enjoyment. I think readers often don't know how much hope we get from their emails and letters.

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  8. Roz, I giggled through part of your post and then thought what am I doing? Getting published is discouraging. But your humor makes it easier to get myself going.

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  9. Laura, I don't want to discourage people. I hoped to show that while the road isn't easy, we all take the same route to get published. Believe in your work. Stick with it, and you'll get there.

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  10. Great post, Roz. I'm with Karen, the barfing dog was perfect.

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  11. Great post, Roz!

    If we wrote for money, we wouldn't get the satisfaction of telling a good story. Sometimes we don't even write for the sole purpose of getting published. We write because we breathe. Because we love. Because we live.

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