Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Secrets of Getting Published by Bestselling Author Jayne Ann Krentz

As I write this, my mind is floating in my head, not exactly sure where or why or...

Basically, I've been editing.

And because I like doing things the hard way, I decided to pick Dark Waters up again and re-edit it after my critique partner gave me a copy of her full manuscript for me to critique. So I'm rearranging the chapters of my WIP, which seems the hardest phase of editing, while critiquing my friend's manuscript and thanking the snowflakes for school closures so that I can put my homework off just a little bit longer.

Yah, my brain's feeling a little mushy lately.

Okay, but that's not my point. (Here I go getting off track. See what I mean?)

On Saturday I got to attend a writing workshop taught by Jayne Ann Krentz, author of many New York Times bestsellers. The topic? Five Secrets to Selling Your Story.

Wanna know what they are?

#1) VOICE: Like every person has an accent, every writer has a voice. You don't hear it, but everyone else does. Discover your voice and hone it.

#2) CORE STORY: What sociological, theoretical themes do you find yourself using in each story you craft? That's your core story. Realize what it is and you can take it almost anywhere in the genres.

#3) KNOW THE MARKET: Read widely in the genres that compel you and find the sub-genre that fits your core story best.

#4) PROPOSAL: Keep the query short and to the point, making sure it's as tight and neat as possible. When writing the synopsis, it should only be one page and read like the back cover (or the flap) of a book, but with the ending.

#5) ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA: She highly recommends joining this group, saying that we will learn more in six months with them than six years on our own. They offer a newsletter, monthly chapter meetings, and annual conferences. I actually did look them up and my local chapter is meeting in February for an all day editing workshop, so yah, I think I'd learn a ton.

And while I enjoyed receiving this advice, Jayne's words weren't what I walked away remembering about her, but rather her confidence. When I asked her about critique groups, she said she's not a supporter of them because what one person may love, someone else will hate and you shouldn't change your story according to their preferences. When I asked her at what point in my editing will I know my manuscript is polished enough to submit, she answered when my gut tells me so. When I have polished enough to know that I like it, and I think it's ready. She also warned me not to over polish it and remove my voice from the pages.

See what I'm saying? Awesome.

Am I completely gung-ho again and absolutely hopeful that I'll one day be a published author? Nope. Did I leave the workshop on a writing high? Nah. But I did walk out with a signed copy of Jayne's newest book and a reverberating reality that's still unwinding in my mind: In the end, my story is about what I want it to be, what I like to write about, and no amount of advice and critiquing should take that away from me.



  1. Thanks for this, Rachel! I especially appreciated the part at the end about critique groups. I don't have any CPs and I've always wondered if this was a really bad thing. Not that I'm writing them off, I'm just lowering their importance a little in my mind. Glad you got so much out of this and thank you for sharing what you took from it :-)

  2. Yah Jaime, I told her my experience with crit. groups is the blind leading the blind. Just a bunch of us who want to apply all the rules we've read about to other people's work which seems to have much to do with erasing their voice. I have had a couple people crit my work and I almost always get something helpful out of it, but I prefer a crit partner, not a group of them. :)

  3. Sounds like a great day! Confidence is key, and yet it's hard to hang onto, I like her advice about knowing when your book is ready. I was going to share mine with a writing friend, and then realized it wasn't ready yet . . .I felt bad, backing out, but I knew in my gut that I wanted to make more changes before someone else (outside of my family) read it.

  4. That sounds like it was so much fun!

  5. #1 and 2 are pretty cool. I've just started thinking about 2 more and it's I've noticed a lot of similarities in the drafts I've written up till now. Thanks for sharing this!