Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Writing Profession Series- Book Author

In my first blog in the Writing Profession Series, I thought I would cover book authors. Most of the people reading this are probably aspiring authors, or authors already. So some of this information may be new, some not. Seeing that I am currently not published (ha!), I thought I would refer to some experts.

My guest(s) today are Best-Selling author Anna Campbell and Harlequin Presents author Maisey Yates. Both author's have graciously submitted a little bit of info about writing books. So without further ado here is Anna's blurb about being a book author:
I wanted to be a writer from a VERY young age – books seemed like glamorous, mysterious items to my childhood self. They still do, in a lot of ways! I spent a lot of time writing and not being published but I finally became a full-time writer when I was in my mid-40s. After all that time, it was a dream come true, as you can imagine. Of course, then I started on a huge learning curve. I thought once I received the validation of publication, the writing would get easier. If anything, it gets harder. You have expectations to meet when you’re published – when everything you write ends up under the bed, not so much. I had to learn to deal with deadlines and the way publishers work (revisions, galleys, ARCS, promotion, etc.) and how to self-promote. For a slow writer like me, there was also the difficulty of producing quality work quickly. For genre fiction, a book a year is probably about the minimum requirement. The hard work is definitely worth it – there are some wonderful perks of being published aside from the opportunity to get paid for telling my stories. Hearing from readers all over the world who have loved my books is wonderful and seeing my books on sale in bookshops is also pretty special. Being able to go to work in my pajamas is a nice treat as well!
Thanks Anna, for sharing the information. Pay attention readers, topics you should learn about: Revisions, galleys, ARCS, promotion.
Questions to ponder: Are you a slow writer?

Now on to Maisey, who's writing experiences are a little different than the standard book author.
Hi Landra, thanks so much for asking me to come gab about writing!
I write Harlequin Presents, which is what you call category, or series, romance. These books have a promise offered to their readers (For Presents it's: Glamorous international settings, unforgettable men, passionate romance.) These books are 50K words long which is a bit shorter than a single title novel.
To write a complete romance with a satisfying character arch in 50K words requires one major keyword: Focus. The focus stays on the hero and heroine. There isn't room for a lot of secondary characters, a secondary plot or romance, or pages and pages of the hero and heroine apart.
I personally keep it at dual POV, only the hero and heroine. No one else gets that screen time, because I only have so many words to set up and solve the conflict.
Also, in a Presents especially, the conflict is mainly internal. This allows for the reader to really get to know the characters, and gives opportunity for maximum emotional impact in a small amount of words.
And that's the real goal in category/shorter length novels: To give the reader the complete emotional experience they expect to get in a romance with half the word count. There might not be as many pages as you get in some books, but everything still has to be there so that you're providing a complete and satisfying reading experience.
Sounds like writing on the short side is a challenge! Thanks Maisey for the great info. Fun Fact about Maisey: She writes fast!
Questions to ponder: Are you good at short, concise writing? Is the dual POV something you can stick too?

Reading both Maisey and Anna's accounts of being a book author gives potential authors things to think about and tons of options.
As author you can choose genre, novel length, and whether you would like to work in pajamas or alternative dress wear. Short or long, you have deadlines. Promoting your books through ARCs and blog tours is a full-time task, full of multiple hours spent writing on anything except the next book you desperately need to finish.
Being a book author involves working hard for every penny you make, but reaping the benefits via adoring fans/ fan mail.

Next week: I'll examine the world of technical writing!

Special thanks to Anna and Maisey for participating.
For more info on Anna's books, and latest releases visit her website at . Latest news is available on her Facebook page at
Maisey's latest and upcoming releases can be viewed on her website at

*If you're not a fan of either of these ladies yet, read one book and you will be!


  1. I'm a fan of Maisey, and she really hooks you and pulls you in. interesting to hear different points of view.

  2. Hi Maisey and Anna!

    I'm a fan of both these ladies and I keep track of all their upcoming releases!

    But I learnt something new about both of them today here, thanks for sharing.

    And thank you Landra for bringing two of my favourite authors to speak about writing, because if these two speak..we listen!

  3. Raven, thank you so much! What a lovely compliment! :)

    Nas, thank you! You're so supportive of us writers down here in the trenches. :D

  4. Hi girls! Thanks for putting this up, Landra. Thanks to Nas for saying such nice things! And waving madly to Maisey!

  5. Hi Maisey and Anna and Landra!

    Gee, Anna, another myth shattered. For the past four years, I envisioned you in a silky robe, your feet encased in marabou mules while you pound out your masterpieces. Pajamas? :)

    Maisey, I'll have to check out the Harlequin Presents line. I love escaping my day-to-day mundaneness for a bit of glamorous international romance. It's interesting that there aren't a lot of secondary characters in the Presents line. I can't seem to write anything without a huge cast of characters.

  6. *waves madly back at Anna*

    Jennifer, I'd say characters other than the h and H in the Presents are more 'peripheral characters'. They may get a few scenes with the h and H, but those scenes MUST be related to the central conflict. With only 50K words, every single one counts!

    Hope you enjoy your first taste of Presents! Escapsim we most certainly have. :)

  7. *waves at Anna and Maisey*
    Thanks for dropping back by ladies. I aboslutely loved your blurbs and take on the book author experience.

    @Raven- I agree, Maisey is phenomenal. Her books are my favorites.

    @Nas- thank you for stopping by. I keep up with all news Maisey and Anna with a goal to buy new releases the day they come out. Quite a pair of intelligent women.

    @Anna- thank you for taking the time! You are truly one of my inspirations.

    @Jennifer- Yes, I also thought Anna was one to be adorned in silks with cabana boys feeding her grapes and figs while writing. The Presents Line is amazing with Maisey's stories and other authors I absolutely love.

    @Maisey as darling as ever! Thanks for participating.

  8. Hi Maisey, Anna! Great to meet you ladies here!! And of course, gather pearls of wisdom from fab authors whom I really really admire (Can you hear the fan girl squee?)

    Landra, It's a great thing that you're putting across questions to ponder about ! And this is my first time visit to your blog..but will surely check out your other posts!

  9. @Ju- thanks for dropping by. I had a little squee moment when Anna and Maisey agreed to be on the blog. Look forward to seeing you around in the future.

  10. Thanks for your insights, Anna and Maisey! Just what I need -- MORE things to think about and MORE decisions to make ;o)

    Thanks for bringing them together, Landra!

  11. *bats eyes at Landra*

    Ju, nice to see you here!

    Phoenix, at least you have options! :D