Tag Archives: RWA

Small steps beginning of big change

Sometimes, the iniquities of the world we live in overwhelm me. It’s easy to be dragged down into a space where it seems change for the better is impossible. Then an individual or organisation will do something to prove me wrong and remind me of the best qualities of humanity, like resilience, resourcefulness and hope. Last year the world seemed to going backwards, reverting to hate and bigotry, focusing on stirring up fears of  ‘otherness’ rather than looking for commonalities and humane, empathetic solutions.

This year bad things continue, but in this first quarter I have seen things to restore my hope. Teenagers marching in the US demanding better gun control. And the Romance Writers of America making a small but significant change to level the playing field of their important RITA awards for indie authors. This year, publishers and authors were required to enter a PDF not a paperback. Why is this important? Because corporations (like publishers) will always tread the conservative, proven path to success. Until proven otherwise by a massive bestseller produced at somebody else’s risk, they will confidently declare is no viable market for:Dreams Key Representing Hopes And Visions

  • wizard boarding school books in the 21st century
  • LBGTQI heroes and heroines
  • romances featuring POC
  • steampunk
  • authors from non-mainstream (read English-speaking, white, heterosexual) cultures)
  • etc. You get the idea.

The authors for these stories have found their voices in independent publishing (self publishing). Many critics still rail against the standards of indie publishing. It’s true the barriers to entry are lower. It is not true that the best of traditional publishing is better than the best of indie publishing.

The changes to the RITAs resulted in 22 indie authors making the finals – out of a total of 78 finalists, almost one third and the most ever. Other minority demographics are also better represented even if not to the same extent.

Jackie Horn has done an excellent job of analysing the data of the RITAs and what it means for diverse authors and characters. I recommend reading her post at Romance Novels for Feminists.

Small changes, big results. Go RWAmerica! Thank you for leading the way.

And go students of America! Thank God for the passion and idealism of youth.

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Getting the most from your publishing team

This week I started blogging monthly for RWA. My column is called Tips from an Industry Insider and you can read the full blog post here. I’ll be adding more reflections and insights every month on the 13th.

Amongst other things, I point out that as an author you most likely focus on one book at a time. No one in publishing works on one book at a time. Everyone is multi-tasking, from publishers and editors to cover designers, product and sales personnel, marketers and publicists. The production line never stops (as any indie authors reading this column know only too well). Even if the company only publishers one book a month, the relentless churn of the production schedule means that while they are editing book A, they are designing the cover for book B, typesetting book C and preparing book D for print. When sales reps sell in month 1, they are researching month 2 and reading ahead for month 3. While a publicist is on the road with you, she is contacting journalists to firm up interviews for Author F and preparing long lead pitches for Author G. … What does this mean for you? Understand the deadlines and timelines your team is working to, from editor to publicist. Stick to them. Be available. Plan. Communicate clearly.

Protected by the Prince by Annie West

Protected by the PrinceUSA Today best selling author Annie West won the RuBY for best short, sexy contemporary romance for Damaso Claims His Heir at this past weekend’s 2015 Romance Writers of Australia awards evening – which seems to me an excellent reason to review another of her novels, the deliciously naughty and extremely nice Protected by the Prince.

Normally when I read a book involving royalty, I travel back in time at least 200 years so I was intrigued to find out how I would feel about a modern-day Prince Charming. Would the spell be as real in a world I know the ugly truth about? Of course, as I should have known, whether I love or hate a character has everything to do with the skill of the writer, and Annie did not let me down.

Prince Alaric is as remote as the tiny mountain kingdom he rules, bound by a strict sense of honour and a deep cynicism based on past experiences. He is not averse to the charms of women, but he no longer lets one anywhere close to his heart.

Tamsin Connors is not the least bit interested in Alaric’s position or his fortune; its his archives she wants to explore so that she can restore her tarnished name in her discipline. But when she uncovers a dangerous secret in those same archives, she is suddenly the subject of his full attention.

Alaric discovers to his surprise that looks can be deceiving. He can feel powerfully attracted to a bespectacled women in dowdish manly clothes (although he itches to dress her in more flattering clothes). In turn, Tamsin discovers that there is more to the Prince than meets – or bedazzles – the eye.

Annie West draws a wonderful portrait of two wounded but independent souls getting to know each other and discovering that passion – and love – can exist and flourish with the person you were least likely to pick as compatible.

Annie has an honours degree in Classics and lives near Lake Macquarie north of Sydney with her own tall, dark and handsome hero. She lives out her fantasies about exotic locations and brooding foreign lovers through her books.

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Protected by the Prince is a sexy contemporary romance.