Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Walk Down Memory Lane...Santa Style


About ten years ago, I got an idea for a romance novel that just wouldn't go away. It was weird and wacky and when I queried an agent she looked at me like I had lost my mind.

Which I probably had.

She gave me half a dozen good reasons why I would never publish this book, and why it would never see the light of day.

I thought my best selling point was originality. NO ONE ELSE HAD THIS IDEA.

Also, I was winning writing contests.

She didn't care. In fact, the originality was working against me. She didn't want original. She wanted this book to fit into a tidy little box.

She kept asking me, WHO ARE YOU LIKE? WHICH AUTHORS ARE SIMILAR TO YOU?

I said, "I thought I was supposed to be one-of-a-kind, unique, original?"

I was a dumb-ass. I didn't understanding marketing.

A published author told me to delete the "Christmas" out of my Christmas story. I could sell it easily if it was just a regular contemporary romance.

A big name author told me I had to shave my hero. Big beards were not popular at that time, and she said this would turn off readers and publishers.

My book was too short. It was seasonal, the kiss of death. Newbie writers didn't get asked to join anthologies. Sex and Santa were a bad combination.

Well, the most effective way to get me to do something is to tell me I can't do it.

I didn't pad my word count. I didn't remove the Christmas from my Christmas story. I didn't shave my hero.

I kept querying publishers.

A year later, a small publisher told me they loved the book. They had a special section for holiday books! They loved the length! They thought it was sweet and whimsical and romantic!

A year after that, SWEET INSPIRATION was published.

Here I am, ten years later, and I am publishing the final book in the series. Is it a NYT-bestseller? No. Do I have an adorable bunch of readers who love the sweetness of this holiday romance series? Yes, absolutely yes. The best readers ever!

I learned a lot of good lessons with this series. I learned that there are two ways to approach this writing/publishing business. Neither one is better or worse, they're just different.

Some folks write to market. They see what sells, they write accordingly.

Some folks write the story percolating in their brain, regardless of market. They understand it might not sell a lot. It might not appeal to a publisher.

The Klaus Brothers have been on a rocky road with me. I learned about rejection with them. I learned how to write with them. I had a heart attack with them. I learned how to self-publish with them. 

I feel like Santa is patting me on the back and pushing me into 2017, a year for new beginnings.

Thanks, Santa!

And HUGE JUMBO GINORMOUS THANK YOU to my readers who have stuck with me on this journey, the bumpy road, the quirky path.

Gearing up for the holidays,
Penny


7 comments:

Tasha B. said...

<3 <3 <3

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

No beards, huh? Now look at current romance novel covers...!

Glad you self-published the rest of these stories!

Penelope said...

Thank you, Tasha!

Penelope said...

HMCW...I know. Sweet Irony!

Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf said...

♥ I can not wait for Sweet Destiny!! So glad that you followed your dream and that this series is in the world!! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Penelope said...

Thank you so much, Melissa!

Amy K. said...

I just started reading this series, my first books of yours, and I love it! Christmas Santa fantasy romance may not be a genre that' appeals to all but it certainly is made for me. Thanks for your hard work!