This book is a “must have” for aspiring authors, published authors, their fans and anyone who wants to gain insight into today’s romance publishing industry. Peek behind the scenes to see how these inspiring women became authors on the rise and the New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors they are today. Share their struggles and triumphs.
- What they did before publication
- The story of how they became published
- How they juggle to have a happy home, a successful writing career and a rewarding life
- Unique writing schedules, plotting and outlining techniques
- Ways of handling promotion
- Career advice about editors, agents and the new world of Indie Publishing
“Shot in the arm & kick in the butt! Jude Willhoff’s delectable interviews with 33 well-known authors is just the kind of book to kick-start your motivation for writing again. How can you not, after reading about the trials & tribulations these famous authors overcame to see their dreams come true? (Not the least of which is Jude Willhoff herself who has battled chronic pain yet persevered to write noteworthy romance novels). Each interview in this collection acts as an inspiration and also as a guide for how you might want to chart your future progress. If you’re on the fence about the creativity, passion, and determination it really takes to be a successful writer, do yourself a favor and read this book–it just might be the shot in the arm you’ve been looking for.” — Angel wing Buyer,Amazon.com
“Each author, each story is filled with insight and inspiration. What this book offers is HOPE. That’s food to a starving artist’s soul.” — Debbie Macomber
“An entertaining collection of success stories by romance writers at all stages of the profession, loaded with good advice.” — Jennifer Crusie
Note to my readers: This is the list of Romance Authors included in Writing Secrets of 33 Bestselling Romance Authors with Debbie Macomber’s excerpt to follow. Enjoy!
Judith Arnold, Toni Blake, Jasmine Cresswell, Jennifer Crusie, Cynthia Eden, Roberta Gellis, Lexi George, Colleen Gleason, Robin Lee Hatcher, Laura Hayden, Brenda Hiatt, Vicki Hinze, Linda Howard, Yvonne Jocks, Joan Johnston, Jayne Ann Krentz, Sally MacKenzie, Debbie Macomber, Kat Martin, Pam McCutcheon, Kathleen Morgan, Pamela Palmer, Christy Reece, JoAnn Ross, Sharon Sala, Barbara Samuel, Amanda Scott, Bertrice Small, Deborah Smith, Angel Smits, Deb Stover, Liz Talley, and Susan Wiggs.
Tea and conversation with:
Debbie Macomber loves to tell the story of how she got published. Of how she struggled for five years to find a publisher who would buy one of the manuscripts she wrote in her kitchen on a rented typewriter. Of how the young, dyslexic mother bargained with her four young children to give her the quiet time to write. Of the sacrifices she and her husband, Wayne, made so she could pursue the dream that burned in her heart.
Thirty years after she made that first sale, Debbie finds her name is recognized not only in households across the country, but in countries around the world. One hundred and fifty million copies of her books are in print. Her reader list numbers 145,000 and she regularly communicates with her readers via e-mail and printed material.
In 1998, Debbie emerged as a major force in women’s fiction. On Valentine’s Day evening, women across the country tuned into the Movie Channel and watched her 1997 title for MIRA Books, This Matter of Marriage, as a made-for-TV movie. In 2009, Debbie Macomber’s Mrs. Miracle, based on an earlier book, was Hallmark Channel’s top-watched TV movie of the year. In 2010, the sequel, based on her 2010 holiday hardcover, Debbie Macomber’s Call Me Mrs. Miracle, welcomed in the holiday season and again featured the beloved Doris Roberts.
Debbie is the first-ever recipient of the “readers’ choice” Quill Award for Romance Fiction, for 44 Cranberry Point, the fourth book in her highly popular Cedar Cove series. Debbie has also been honored with a RITA®, two Romantic Times Book Reviews Career Achievement Awards and is a multiple winner of both the Holt Medallion and the B. Dalton Award. In 2010, she was presented the Romance Writers of America’s Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.
Debbie earned her faithful readership by writing heartwarming, wholesome stories of love and commitment. Since launching her career writing romance, Debbie has become a bestselling author of hardcover women’s fiction and inspirational non-fiction and has written children’s books and two cookbooks. Debbie’s franchise has extended to knitting pattern booklets, her own yarn store and Blossom Street yarn line from Universal Yarn, a tea room and gift shop—and more surprises are on the horizon.
Filled with love and laughter, Debbie’s novels generate bags of mail across three generations–from stressed out ministers’ wives, from harried young mothers and career women, from women who read her novels to their ailing loved ones. They thank Debbie for the inspirational quality of her stories with comments such as: “You’ve turned a person who couldn’t stand to read into a person who can’t stand to put a book down.”
“Your books changed my life. After reading one of your angel books, the one that covered infertility, I decided to put myself in God’s hands and quit worrying about it. Within a couple of months, I was finally pregnant after trying for seven years. We call him our miracle baby. Thanks for sending out the message that miracles do happen.”
“There is nothing better than a bubble bath, a cup of hot tea and one of your stories.”
Each new Debbie Macomber novel is guaranteed to touch the heart and lift the spirit.
Debbie is a class act. Having dyslexia, an impairment of reading ability, she has had numerous challenges throughout her life. She always writes with warmth, compassion, humor and emotion. It’s not surprising that there are more than 150 million copies of her books in print worldwide. Today, she tells it like it is as the mother of four and an avid reader.
Unlike most authors, Debbie has an office outside her home. It’s a real office with a staff of five. She’s the original farmer’s granddaughter, getting up at 4 a.m., doing an hour-and-a-half of reading and Bible study and swimming a half-mile before she goes into the office at 8 a.m. to start her work day. When she arrives at the office, she reads the mail and reviews what she wrote the day before.
Asked if she’s ever had any rejections, she gets a big laugh out of my question. “I hate to say this, but they were hitting me on the back of the head on my way home from the post office. One time I sent off a manuscript, and the only way it could’ve come back that quickly was they had to open it and put it right back in the return envelope without reading it.”
Debbie’s darkest hour was right before the dawn. She started selling articles and earned enough money to attend her first writers’ conference. Three hundred women attended the romance workshop. Of those three hundred, two editors picked ten manuscripts to be reviewed. Hers was one of them. She was thrilled. “I was so excited. I mean, this was great.”
One of the editors got up and said one manuscript showed promise. Debbie was sure it was hers, but when the editor started talking, her heart fell. It belonged to someone else. Then the editor had everybody in the room laughing about another manuscript. “That one was mine. They were laughing at my manuscript. I felt terrible. I’ll never forget this. I was humiliated.”
Afterward, she went up and talked to the editor. Debbie asked her if she rewrote the manuscript, would the editor be willing to look at it again. The editor got this pitying look in her eyes. She leaned forward and said, “Throw it away.” Debbie sighs. “I was crushed. You can imagine.”
It was a tough time for Debbie. Her husband was out of work. He was in Alaska, sharing one room with eight guys who slept in shifts, trying to get work on the Alaskan pipeline, eating one meal a day. Debbie and the kids lived on his unemployment check. “It was awful…just awful.”
Debbie walked away from that editor with her head held high, saying to herself, that publishing house has just lost out on a great writer.
After this crushing blow, she sent a query letter to Silhouette Books. Every day after that when she sat down to write, the shadows on the wall seemed to say, “So you want to be a writer. You think you’re going to sell a book?” Debbie’s eyes sparkle, and her voice sounds like the wicked witch from The Wizard of Oz as she relates this part of her story.
She had reached the point where it was driving her crazy. She couldn’t take it anymore. At that time and place in her life, Debbie didn’t care if Silhouette wanted to see it or not. Before she could change her mind, she marched right down to the post office and mailed her manuscript.
The postage was ten dollars, a lot of money, which was very precious at the time. She came home, and the mail had been delivered. There was a letter from Silhouette, which said, Do not send us your manuscript. We’re not buying at this time.
Debbie says, “If I’ve ever seen God’s hand in my life, it was that day. That was the book that sold.” The editor called her on September 29. It was exactly one month to the day since she had gotten rejected so brutally at that conference.
Heartsong was that book. She was pictured in Newsweek magazine with it and was the first Silhouette author to ever be reviewed inPublishers Weekly.
The advice Debbie gives an unpublished author just starting out today is to “Dream big. Work hard. Believe in yourself and don’t ever give up. Be flexible and send it out there.”
Debbie shared an interesting story about one of her favorite booksellers, Beth Anne Steckiel, independent bookstore owner of Beth Anne’s Book Corner in Colorado Springs, CO. “In the summer of 2002, I was doing signings throughout Colorado. A lady in a wheelchair came up to me when I was signing in Ft. Collins. She told me an amazing story about Beth Anne.
“Apparently, Beth Anne’s husband, Al, had a five-way open heart surgery in the fall of 2001. The lady in the wheelchair’s son was a diabetic and had to have open heart surgery as well. It turns out Beth Anne and the woman ended up spending the night together in the intensive care waiting room. During the course of the long night they got to talking about books. The lady mentioned to Beth Anne that I was her favorite author.
“The next day, Beth Anne brought the lady four of my books as a gift. I’m thrilled Beth Anne would give her my books. That was such a nice thing for her to do with everything else that was going on in her life, but knowing Beth Anne, not unexpected. You see, Beth Anne was honored with the Romance Writers of America’s Steffie Walker Bookseller of the Year Award in Washington, DC, in July, 2000. She is a wonderful person, and I’m happy to report that both patients are home and doing fine.”
Debbie feels e-publishing is a door wide open for aspiring authors but thinks people will always want to read a book and hold it. However, digital readers are becoming very popular. Some who have them maintain that they’re reading more books than before they bought their devices.
One of the first things Debbie does each morning in her office is go through correspondence from her readers that has arrived in the mail and via her website guestbook. Over the years, she’s found reader feedback to be invaluable. She tries to be the kind of author who gives a reader what business people call added value.
First and foremost, she wants to make sure her books touch her readers’ emotions. She wants them to identify with her characters and feel, as she does, that each book is a treasured friend.
Debbie Macomber can be reached at her website. Those who sign up on her guestbook are eligible for free autographed books, promotional items and other goodies. She is also active on Facebook and has her own mobile phone app. Those without Internet access may write her at PO Box 1458, Port Orchard, WA 98366.