Friday, June 12, 2009

Guestblogger Maria Geraci: How To Get Published - TKA Style

UPDATE: The winner of five signed books by TKA authors is Sherry Ficklin! Please email your physical address to contests @ (remove spaces). Congrats!!!
This past weekend 5 TKA authors, Jennifer St. Giles, Shannon K. Butcher, Debby Giutsi, Deidre Knight and myself, Maria Geraci, had the opportunity to go on a little road trip. We hit 4 different book stores in less than 3 days and met some of the nicest people in the Atlanta area! At three of the signings we did a Q & A session on how to get published.

Left to Right: Jennifer St. Giles, Deidre Knight, Debby Giusti, Shannon K. Butcher, Maria Geraci

Here’s a sample of our more frequently asked questions and how we answered them.

How did you get an agent? (this was asked a lot!) Of course, the answer to this question was different for everyone, but one common theme was that networking was very important. Organizations like Romance Writers of America and other writing organizations are good venues for meeting other writers and professionals in the business. Meeting agents at conferences and attending workshop panels featuring agents, is one way you can gauge if an agent might be the right one for you. Once you’ve established a list of agents that you’d like to work with, a killer query, and of course, a good book are essential elements. One point that Deidre made was that as a new writer, you should have a completed manuscript to query. As an agent, there’s nothing more frustrating than to get excited over a good query and a promising partial, only to request the full and find out that the book isn’t written yet. Also, be sure to check the submission guidelines for each agency and stick to the rules. For instance, if the guidelines for an agency say only email queries accepted, don’t send a copy of your manuscript via snail mail. A simple thing like following directions (or not following directions) can make a good (or not so good) first impression.

Where do you get your ideas from? Most everyone on the panel said that dreams, day dreams, and vivid imaginations all play major roles in formulating ideas. As writers, we tend to be big “what if?” people. We see a curious headline or hear about a new scientific discovery and immediately the “what if?” gene kicks in. People watching is a big idea stimulator too. Personally, I love to observe people when they think I’m not looking. So maybe a little voyeurism plays into it as well!

What’s your writing schedule like and how long does it take you write a book? Our answers to this varied from 6 weeks to almost a year (depending on the size of the book). Some of us (like Shannon ) can sit at the computer for hours ( 8-10 hours at a time!) and keep pounding at the keyboard, while Debby writes at intervals during the day, interspersing chores like cooking dinner, and promotion time with her writing. One thing we all agreed was that while writing a book, daily writing (if possible) is the key to to staying on schedule. The longer you’re away from a project, the longer it takes to catch up.

Is the current economic climate keeping publishers from buying? (this one was answered by Deidre, I’m paraphrasing here, but this is her basic response). A few months ago it seemed that Publishers Weekly was beginning each day with a similar headline, “Black Monday- Big layoff at xyz publishers!” For a while, publishing was in a tailspin and there’s no doubt that people were getting laid off and restructuring took place in a lot of publishing houses. However, as seen by recent news coverage, romance book sales are actually on the rise! In tough economic times, people are finding that escapism is a good way to deal with their stress, so right now, there’s a lot to be optimistic about and book deals are happening.

After all was said and done, a good time was had by all. Books were signed and sold, new friendships were made, and maybe we inspired a few writers out there!

I’m offering an autographed copy of each of our newest releases to one random lucky winner. Just leave a comment and you might find the following books in your beach bag this summer!

It’s a regular smorgasbord of reading! Leave a comment to enter Maria's AMAGING giveaway for ALL five of these signed books! The contest is open from Friday, June 12th to midnight Sunday, June 14th. The winner will be announced Monday morning. Good luck!

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Blogger Chris said...

It sounds (and looks) like it was a fun mini-tour!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 8:47:00 AM EDT  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

Great post. Looks like the road trip was fun.

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 8:56:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eva S said...

Great books by great authors!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 9:10:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Dawn Maria said...

How about coming to Phoenix for your tour? Great post and I loved the Q&A.

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 9:47:00 AM EDT  
Blogger tetewa said...

I've not read any of these, please include me!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 9:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger I Heart Book Gossip said...

Great post. Please count me in!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 10:12:00 AM EDT  
Blogger E. Hartshorn said...

Oh, that sounds great. A whole panel of authors! I love the bit about the writing schedules being so different.

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 10:32:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Natascha said...

Those were some helpful answers to FAQ's. I would love to get some of these books. Count me in!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 10:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jamie said...

Sounds like it was a great time! Thanks for sharing so many insights. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 11:27:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Bonnie Ferguson said...

Thanks for the fabulous post, Maria :) It sounds like the road trip was a blast!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 11:31:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Danielle said...

Great post! Wish I was still around the deep south.....ok I don't miss the humidity really! Glad you all enjoyed it!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 12:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kate Pearce said...

I wish I could've been there!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 1:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cathy M said...

As a non-writer I always love reading these kind of blogs, thanks for sharing with us.

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 1:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Sherry Ficklin said...

Oh, I need some steamy romance for my pool side adventures this summer!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 2:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Great post, Maria! Really good job with recapping our talks! Deidre

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 2:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Shannon McKelden said...

What an awesome lineup! I wish I could have been there to support all my agency sisters (and agent!). Can't wait to dig into your books!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 2:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Maria Geraci said...

It was such a blast being with some of my fellow TKA authors. I wish we could do the whole weekend all over again. Dawn Maria, Phoenix is a bit of drive, but who knows? Never say never, right?

Thanks for all the great comments, everyone. Keep 'em coming!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 2:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Conceptsn2Print said...

Hey Ladies! I hate that I missed this "mini tour." Thanks for the Q&A so many of us new authors have similar questions. Have a great one! -Taedra Morris-

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 2:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger lillie_80 said...

Great post!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 2:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Raonaid Luckwell said...

Thanks for this! It's great to read the answers to some of the most asked questions directed at them.

Raonaid (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 2:51:00 PM EDT  
OpenID anaquana said...

Sounds like a fun time. The Q&A was great to read. Thank you.

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 3:06:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the great post and I haven't read any of great books you have for the contest!

Thanks for a chance to win books!


Friday, June 12, 2009 at 3:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth said...

Great post with lots of useful information.

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 3:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Debby Giusti said...

Wasn't the tour fun!!! Such a great weekend, and the special treat was meeting so many other readers and writers at the various book stores. The Q&As were packed with information, and the booksellers made us feel so welcome.

Let's do it again next year, okay

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 3:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Maria Geraci said...


That sounds like a great idea:)

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 3:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Thanks for the information!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 4:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Himeko said...

That was great info Maria, thank you. It looks and sounds like you ladies had loads of fun. Have a great weekend.

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 4:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Estella said...

Looks like you had a fun mini-tour. These are great books!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 4:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pissenlit said...

It looks like much fun was had by all! :)

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 7:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger bridget3420 said...

Wow!! Awesome.

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 7:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jamie said...

What great info for new writers!! Thank you so much!!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 9:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Karisha said...

Thanks for posting the different answers to those questions! I'd love to be counted in for the book giveaway :)

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 10:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Caffey said...

I so wish I was nearby and would of been at those signings!! I'd love to have the chance to read these! Thanks!!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 10:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Susan Bradley said...

I love the idea of a mini tour with a panel of authors. Thanks for sharing.

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 10:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger macbeaner said...

I wish I could have been there! Sigh. Maybe some day you all will tour to Pittsburgh!

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 11:10:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous AllyKatt said...

What an awesome line up of authors! Looked to be a lot of fun! Thanks for the mini-interview on their craft thoughts. What a generous giveaway.

espressogurl at hotmail dot com

Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 12:18:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Steph said...

Thanks for this -- there's some really useful information in this post. :)

stephanie.campisi AT

Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 4:27:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jennifer St. Giles said...

Super Post Maria. And LOL you forgot to tell the best part ever. The fabulous first line that is so totally unforgetable. It was all KEVIN COSTNER's Fault. LOL and who of us wouldn't want to have been a position to say that one.
Hugs and thanks for being so fab to make the signings so much fun.
Jennifer St. Giles

Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 7:12:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Sandra Ferguson said...

4 stores in 3 days, you, ladies, were working. Did you like the multi-author signing? Think it made it easier or harder to make those sales?

I hosting a talk next week for my local chapter and I've asked this question of a lot of my writing friends. Still trying to get a consensus.

If you have a chance, could you pop by my blog and let me know in the comment section. Don't worry about which one your comment on, it will pop in my INBOX.

Thanks, and congrats on the book-signing success.

Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 1:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ann marie said...

Great post, it sounds like you guys had some great questions and alot of fun. Have a good week. :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 9:16:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Gumbo Writers said...

This is all really great advice. A great query letter is definitely a must- be sure it is copy edited and addresses what elements set your book apart from others in the same genre.

Monday, June 22, 2009 at 3:37:00 PM EDT  

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