True to my blogging word, I am bringing you some of the hottest new and seasoned romance writers in the world.
Today, I am happy to welcome Christina Hollis. Christina has some great advice to share. So get a cup of coffee and take a break.
RISE ABOVE REJECTION!
I sold non-fiction pieces and short stories to magazines for years before gathering the courage to send a full length historical novel out to publishers. By then I was a full time, self-employed writer. Acceptance was important to me professionally, as well as to my self esteem.
Once I’d written my book, I gave it to a friend I could trust to be objective. I wanted her to say it was brilliant, but I needed her to be objective. She loved it, but had a few quibbles. That was hard to take, but I was writing not just for my own enjoyment, but to give other people pleasure, too. I worked through her amendments, together with a few of my own. Then I got the latest copy of The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and made a list of all the agents who dealt with full length fiction. This is where I came up against the part of a writer’s job description that everyone hates – rejection.
There are thousands of books and authors looking for publication, so it’s a tough marketplace. My historical novel was rejected by the first names on my list of agents, but each one came with a few hand-written encouragements. One note suggested that while their own lists were full, they knew of a big firm that might be interested in my work. I tried them, and had a face-to-face interview in London. The agent loved my style but sadly his firm were withdrawing from the historical arena and he was more interested in my contemporary work. When I said I only wrote short stories, he suggested I worked one or two of them up into full-length fiction.
It was a big disappointment that I hadn’t been able to place my historical novel, so I went back to basics. If agents liked my work but couldn’t place it, I had to write something with more reader appeal. Several new ideas and re-writes later, I looked into sending a manuscript to Mills and Boon. This was in the 1990’s, and back then everything was done either by post, or over the telephone. After contacting the Richmond office I sent in the synopsis and first three chapters of what was to become Knight’s Pawn. After what felt like a lifetime (but was actually only a few months), they requested the full manuscript. Eventually I got the letter every author dreams about. It was The Call, and it felt fantastic!
In the years since then I’ve shifted the focus of my fiction writing from historical to contemporary romance, but I still work to the same rules. I write the best book I possibly can, then get an objective reader to check it. I make any amendments and accept any rejected ideas gracefully – as long as there are valid reasons. Then I try again.
If your work has been rejected, don’t get too despondent.
Remember these vital points -
1. Rejection is a chance to make improvements.
2. Don’t take it personally – it’s your work that’s not quite right, not you.
3. Never give up. Start your great follow up novel, so that when Book Number One finally gets The Call, you’ve got something in reserve.
4. Whenever a rejection letter arrives, swallow hard, review your work, create an immaculate new version and send it to the next name on your list. If it’s good enough, one day it will find the right person at the right time – but it can’t do that if it’s hidden away under your bed.
How is your work in progress getting on?
Christina’s Latest Book
Weight of the Crown is the story of Lysander, whose playboy lifestyle ended when his brother, the king, was killed. Now Lysander has to rule the desert country of Rosara until his little orphaned nephew is old enough to take on the task. Assuming control is second nature to Lysander, but he’s only too happy to delegate childcare to an expert. That’s where super nanny Alyssa steps in – but it isn’t long before these two driven, dedicated individuals discover there’s more to life than duty…
Weight of the Crown, is available from http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/books/Modern/Weight-of-the-Crown.htm and her next book, The Count’s Prize, is out in July 2012.
About Christina Hollis
Christina Hollis lives in rural Gloucestershire, England. When she is not writing, she loves cooking, baking, gardening and bee-keeping.
Christina loves corresponding with her fans. For more on Christina Hollis visit her website http://www.christinahollis.com You can also follow her on twitter http://www.twitter.com/christinabooks. Christina also blogs at http://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com. You can also find her on Tumblr http://christinahollis.tumblr.com.