Is it because you have a story inside you that you want to get out? Put down on paper?
Is it because you love the process of writing?
And surely at some point you’ve read a romance and thought, “I can write better than this.”
You may also be interested in earning some money from your romance stories.
Chances are, several of these “reasons” for writing romance resonate with you. Maybe all of them do.
So, that brings us to the question…
Why aren’t you submitting your stories and manuscripts to agents and editors?
(Note: If you are submitting, share your motivational tips. Help other writers take this step.)
I have spoken to romance writers and presented on this subject of confidence and motivation. During these workshops, I have learned and shared a few success tips.
#1 Create a System So You Don’t Overthink It
Systematize your writing process. Write, edit, revise, and submit. Make the entire process a system so you don’t have to decide whether you’re going to submit, you simply always do. It’s part of your writing process. There is no decision to submit, it’s automatic.
#2 Reward Yourself for Your Efforts (and Bravery)
We’re all motivated by different things. In fact, author Gretchen Rubin has built a career on teaching people how to create habits and find happiness based on their motivation personality. Check her out, she’s amazing and understanding your motivations and personality can be life changing.
If you are motivated by rewards, then find something to reward yourself with every time you take the leap and submit a new manuscript. Buy yourself something nice for your writing office. Take a whole day off and spend it doing things that YOU want to do. Purchase a writing journal, go to the art museum. Find what works for you and embrace it.
#3 Hold Yourself Accountable
Some people are motivated by responsibility and social accountability. For example, if you have people in your life who know that you’re a romance writer working on a novel, it might be nice to have a productive answer to their question, “How is your romance writing coming along?” If you haven’t submitted your manuscript, then answering that question sucks. If you have, then you can share that progress with them.
And if one of the reasons that you’re writing is to earn money and/or share your stories with others then that just isn’t going to happen if you don’t submit to agents or editors.
What About Courage?
Yes, submitting your work is scary. Every single time you send a query to an agent or editor, your heart will hammer, you will feel sick, and that anxiety never really goes away.
Do it anyway.
It gets easier, (never easy).
And it is part of being a writer. You can do it. You are awesome. You are a romance writer.
Your heroine has been cut off from her parent’s money. Her bad behavior and carelessness have brought her to a low point. So what happens next? How does she redeem herself? What role does your hero play in her journey?
Your heroine has been told that she should never meet a specific man. She is shown a picture of this man and told that if she ever sees him, she needs to turn and walk away as quickly as possible. If they meet, it is the trigger for the end of the world.
Does she meet the man? Does someone try to force them to meet?
If they do meet, does the world end or can they do something to save it?
Does someone try to kill her to prevent her from meeting this man and the world ending?
Your heroine or hero has the opportunity to go back to a moment in time and change what they did (or didn’t do). Do they take the opportunity? If so, what time do they go back to and what do they change?
An author blog is an effective tool for building a community and an audience of readers. You can also use your blog to promote and sell your books. And a blog interacts nicely with your social media posts and promotions.
For example, you might announce a contest on social media and link to your blog where you provide the contest details and offer visitors the opportunity to sign up for your newsletter. We’ll talk about newsletters on a different day.
They too are a great way to provide consistent connection with your reader and strengthen your community. But let’s talk about the biggest challenge romance writers have with blogging…
Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to create your own content plan.
* Study Your Audience – It’s imperative that before you start creating content, you understand who your audience is. Know them down to their income, desires, wants, needs, and more. This is how you’ll know what content to create, as well as how they like to consume it.
* Understand Your Niche – In addition, you need to truly understand your niche so that you can write and educate your audience about it. You’ll need to create content that is engaging, informative, educational and that encourages your audience to interact with them.
* Know What You Want to Accomplish – It helps to also know what you are trying to accomplish with each blog post. Are you selling a book, building anticipation for an upcoming release, or maybe building your email list or social media followers. Know your goal.
* Choose Which Types of Content You Want to Use – You’ll may want to use many types of content, such as text, video, images, and more to keep your audience’s interest. Choose a format that works for you. Later, you may decide to add more variety to your posts.
* Create an Editorial Calendar – Create an editorial calendar to help you keep your content plan organized. You can always add more content as new ideas and book projects are released. To begin, create a plan for the topics you’ll write about, when you’ll publish that content, how you’ll promote the blog posts and the goal for each post.
* Find Help – If you’re not sure how to go forward, read and study the experts. Check out the blogs of your favorite authors. Emulate them. Read about blogging for authors. Here are two great books to consider:
* Repeat – Once you set things up and create momentum, keep it going. Blogging is a long-term commitment that builds over time. Creating content for your blog needs to be something you do on a regular and ongoing basis. Shoot for once or twice a week at first.
Don’t stress if you only have 10 visits to your blog in the first week or two. Share your posts on social media, engage with your readers and followers, and have fun. Your blog will grow and so too will your romance royalties and sales.
Have you noticed that some author websites have a ton of interaction, while others are little more than book advertising pages? Building an online community may be the key to increasing your audience and ultimately increasing your book sales.
Depending on your romance genre, your website community could offer any number of features. You might, for example, have a chat room. Or you could create a members area where members get the opportunity to read short stories for free or be beta readers for new chapters or book projects. Fun, right?
Here are some tips and ideas to help you create more engagement and interaction on your author website.
* Determine What Technology You Will Use – One of the most important aspects of starting an online community is choosing which technology you will use to build it. There are many options to choose from. Base your choice on your technical knowledge, your budget, and what features you want the community to offer.
* Choose the Niche You’ll Focus On – It’s best if the online community you build is based on one target audience and not too widespread. Just like you focus on a niche with your business, focus on the same niche with the community. For example, if knitting is a theme that is pervasive in your stories, or martial arts, you might share knitting patterns or have a discussion board about all things martial arts.
* Create Content Specifically for the Community – Once you have a community it’s important that you create content specifically for that community on a regular basis. Consistency is the key to ensuring that you attract new members and keep the old members satisfied and interested.
* Invite New People on a Regular Basis – You want to have regular new members showing up because it keeps the group fresh and brings in new questions, thoughts, and conversation.
* Connect Your Community to Social Media – Social media is the best way to market your online community. You can even start with an online community first on Facebook with Facebook Groups.
* Be Engaging and Caring to Your Members – Your personality will show through if you participate on a regular basis in discussions with the community. Let them see how caring you are.
* Interview Members on a Regular Basis – A great way to add content to the community is to choose a special member each month to highlight and interview. You can do these interviews in podcast form and put them on iTunes as well, for another way to promote your community.
* Interview Experts in Your Niche – A great benefit for your community is to be able to learn from movers, shakers and other experts within your niche.
* Promote Members of the Community or Other Authors – Once in a while allow the members of the group to promote their offers by having a something like a yearly fire sale that enables them to benefit from the entire community sharing.
* Keep the Conversation Going – Don’t let the community fade away. Keep the conversation going. Maybe eventually hire someone to monitor the group and to contribute to the content and discussion – so you can spend more time writing and selling books.
Building an online community can help you create an entire community of raving fans that are not only ready to purchase your current books but who will also stand in line to purchase your new material. They’ll also promote you to their friends, family and associates. It’s a wonderful way to get to know your audience better and to improve product development.