Monday, 4 August 2014

Back on deck

When I saw how long it was since I last blogged...I was amazed. The last three months have whizzed by and I've been busy in so many ways. Learning, writing, editing, catching up with friends all over the world and making new friends...the time has flown.
Beautiful Tuscany... flowers and colour everywhere

The wonderful workshop in Tuscany with Eloisa James where we met and twelve different women from all over the world received tuition from Eloisa, was like gold. Lifelong friendships were forged in ten days of bonding where we shared laughter, stories, tears and partook of amazing Italian food and wine.  You can follow our adventures on my Tuscan blog.

The farewell function and grasping my completion certificate...with Eloisa.

After Tuscany I travelled to England and met up with old friends, as well as meeting some fellow authors who I had talked to online for the past three years. We had high tea at Park Lane and then wandered around the streets of London. An experience I will always remember
Meeting the London crew!

One of the best things about being in London was waking up to the email from Pan Macmillan, Australia telling me they wanted to buy  and publish my  three book Porter Sisters series, the first of which will be available in print in 2015. Truly the culmination of a lifelong dream for me.
 I was alone, Fiona and Bronwyn had headed back to Australia, and I couldn't get onto any of my family back home for a couple of hours, so I was jumping around the hotel room like a mad thing, hugging the news to myself. I am sure the people in the next room wondered what was going on!

Back to Australia. two days in my own bed, and then we headed off on a trip to the north of Queensland in our little camper trailer and spent six weeks camping alongside beaches, and in the mountains, before we joined friends for a week's sailing in Airlie Beach.
In the tropics...I would love to use this for a book cover one day
Some of the time was spent researching my current books and I was very brave and had a helicopter training flight, so I could write authentically!
My helicopter pilot about to take me flying
The view says it all
We sailed for a week and then headed home to the cooler climes of a southern winter. As I write this, I am rugged up, sitting in the watery winter sunshine. The warm days of Tuscany and tropical Queensland seem far away.

 In Queensland I signed my eleventh contract with Entangled Publishing for a contemporary romance about a billionaire in Tuscany... so I could use all of the wonderful settings, and food and wine that I learned about while I was there!

So now I have much to keep me busy.  I am back at my desk, my fingers are hard at work on the keyboard as I continue fulfilling my deadlines.
A quick detour this week as I head to Sydney to catch up with everyone at the Romance Writers' Association annual conference...and then back to my desk.

So what's coming next from Annie?

Brushing off the Boss....Book 2 Half Moon Bay series...September 15 2014...on the countdown
Seductive Secrets...the prequel to Dangerous Desire....March 2015
Capturing the Pirate's Heart....the first book in the Emerald Quest series....April 2015
In Tuscany with the Italian Billionaire...April 2105
Guarding His Heart... Book 3 in the Half Moon Bay series

Kakadu Sunset ...Book 1 of the Porter Sisters Series .. PAN MACMILLAN PRINT...2015, to be followed by the next two books in that series.

You can keep up to date with my daily news over on my Facebook page...
To celebrate being back at home...yes, I do love it...and knuckling down to work, I am giving away three copies of Hot most recent book.
Comment below and tell me what you love about where you live, to go in the draw, which will be drawn on 12 August.
Now I'm head down and off to work!
Till next blog,

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Persevere, follow your dream and don't ever give up

Life events for me over the past month have led to some deep self reflection about what I want from life and why I write. How I came to writing, in some ways before I was truly ready to be published. Certainly, before I had a wide knowledge of the publishing business, and I did not  appreciate the opportunity of being contracted on my first submission.

My first book which began my journey remains two and a bit years later, my top selling book.
Holiday Affair changed my life, although my sweet romance...Tangling with the CEO is fast catching up.
 Romance Abroad three Affairs books in one
Romance Abroad three Affairs books in one

Over the past three years I have learned much about this business while I have continued to write. Fifteen books later... (Some are in edits and will be published in 2015, you can see them all on the widget on the right of this page)

  •  I have been published by three different publishers. 
  •  I have also self published.
  •  I have had several books on Amazon best seller lists.
  •  I now have the pleasure of hearing from readers every day.
  •  I have edited for three different e-publishers.
  • I have worked as a publicist for a boutique publisher, .
  •  I have edited for many authors as a freelance editor...and over ninety-five percent of those authors have since been published after I have edited their manuscript and advised them on structure.

Over the past few days I have been touched by  Facebook posts from some aspiring authors who have shown their frustration at remaining unpublished and I wanted to share some words  of encouragement. No matter how hard they have tried, no matter how close they have been to getting picked up after winning competitions, entering pitch sessions on blogs and submitting to a variety of publishers, they have not had that 'call'.

Persevere, follow your dream and don't ever give up, no matter how dispirited you become.

Success in the publishing arena is still defined by many as seeing their print book on a shelf or by gaining the attention of an agent and the 'Big Five'. Some authors aspire to physically 'hold' their book and we still see many photos on social media  where someone has spied their book on a shelf and shared it.

But has digital publishing  redefined success? 

How do we define success in terms of digital publishing and with the huge growth of self publishing? Is it just to be able to say you have been offered a contract?
Is it being picked up by a publisher, not matter how small they are, as long as you are offered a contract? Is success selling just one book to a reader...or getting a five star review? Is it the numbers of copies you sell? Is it having a recognizable name?

From personal experience and the experience of some of my editing clients who have received a contract offer, there are many pitfalls of which to be wary, on this publication journey. Authors who have waited for a long time may grab at a contract offered when they get the 'call'.

I have seen a number of small e-publishers disappear over the three years since I have been a part of this publishing business, and I have seen much despair by authors who have had their rights tied up for years and their books unpublished, and in limbo. Some of my editing clients have managed to get their rights back for books that have been published but not promoted by the very small e-publishers who held the rights in exchange for giving up royalties owed to them.

So for those of you who are still trying to get the call... as long as you are aware of the pitfalls...persevere and...

Keep your passion for writing alive.

The essential ingredient for success is motivation and passion, and belief in yourself.

Hone your craft

Know your grammar, spelling and punctuation. Use style guides.  Learn the basics of good writing. Know the different points of view. Know the difference between show and tell. Polish your work till it shines before you submit it or self publish. Think long and hard about getting your work professionally edited. There are different levels of editing. You can read about them on my editing page.

Be a risk taker

Be creative. There are only so many stories to be told...but depending on the characterization and setting, the same trope can be revisited and tell a very different story each time.

Make your stories character driven and not plot driven

Give your reader something unexpected! Do you remember a story or do your remember the characters? Do you hate leaving your character's lives when you finish your story?

Learn about tropes and ensure you are following the formula for contemporary romance.

As strange as it may sound, the trope must be recognizable by readers even if they don't even know what a trope is. Do you know your tropes and do you know the formula for contemporary romances?

Even before you are published, establish your author brand

The publishing landscape today is dynamic and you must be an interactive participant in the digital world. The new trend of developing personal digital brands is  through blogs and social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn  and others. Publishers will 'Google' you, and look for you on Facebook and Twitter as they consider your manuscript.

Don't give up, believe in yourself and keep submitting. 

Research your publishers before you submit and after you are offered a contract.
Remember it is hard work, a quality manuscript and submission to the right publisher that gets the 'call'.

Any other words of encouragement or questions, please feel free to comment below!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

I'm live over at Bitten By Books today, chatting to readers about Hot Rock. Come on over and talk to me.


You can join in to the giveaway at the raffle copter below for a $35 Amazon gift card.