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  1. #1
    Senior Member Victoria's Avatar
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    June Seminar: Special Guest Debby Mayne

    Please join me in welcoming Debby Mayne to Writers.net. She will be available here in the forums between Jun 13 and June 17, 2011 to answer questions and provide feedback/information on a variety of industry-related topics.

    Debby Mayne has published more than 30 books and novellas, 400 print short stories and articles, more than 1,000 web articles, and a slew of devotions for women. She has also worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, a creative writing instructor for Long Ridge Writers Group, and a copy editor and proofreader for several book publishers.

    For the past eight years, she has judged the Writers Digest Annual Competition, Short-Short Contest, and Self-Published Book Competition. Three of Debby’s books have been top ten favorites by the Heartsong Presents book club. Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida received 4-1/2 stars from Romantic Times Magazine, and was named a Top Pick for the month of July 2009.

    Recognition:

    Noah's Ark was a Heartsong Presents Book Club Top Ten Favorite Contemporary book in 2009!

    If the Dress Fits made the Heartsong Presents Bookclub Top Ten Favorite Contemporary list for 2008!



    Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida was a July 2009 Romantic Times top pick with 4-1/2 stars!


    Recent and upcoming releases:

    • Special Mission - 2010
    • Portrait of Love - 2010
    • Be Still and Let Your Nail Polish Dry - October 2009 - devotional with Sandra Bricker, Andrea Boeshaar, and Loree Lough
    • Sweet Baklava - Spring 2011
    • Shades of the Past - Spring 2011
    • Delight Yourself in the Lord...Even on Bad Hair Days - Spring 2011 - devotional with Sandra Bricker, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Trish Perry
    • Trusting Her Heart- September 2011
    • Love Finds You on Christmas Morning anthology with Trish Perry - Fall 2011
    • Appalachian Weddings - Fall 2011
    • Unlikely Match - December 2011

    This thread will be opened for comments, beginning the 12th of June. Thanks for participating!
    Writers.Net Moderator



  2. #2
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    Hi everyone!

    I’m honored that Vicky asked me to participate in this seminar. I’ll share my personal experiences, answer questions about what I know, and call on my friends to answer anything I don’t already know. My wonderful agent, Tamela Hancock Murray with the Steve Laube Agency, has generously offered to be available for backup.

    A writing career wasn’t something I always wanted. I’ve been sort of sporty/athletic most of my life, so I majored in recreation in college. It didn’t take long for people to figure out that I could construct sentences and didn’t mind editing, so bosses everywhere I worked added newsletter editor/writer to my job description. When I decided to stay home with my first child, my neighbor teased me about my cluelessness and the fact that I spent a crazy amount of time researching everything from best types of diapers to learning the benefits of breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding. Jokingly, she said, “You ought to write an article for other clueless moms.” I took that as a challenge. After I finished my tongue-in-cheek how-to-parent article, I sent it to a regional parenting magazine and then quickly forgot about it. Less than a month later, I received a contract and an invitation to submit more. So I did. Over the next ten years, I wrote approximately 100 articles that went into 44 different regional parenting magazines. Anyone who wants an excellent market and needs volumes of clips should consider writing for these pubs. The beauty of writing for regional magazines is that you can sell the same article to more than one. I wrote two left-handed articles; the first sold to 44 magazines, and the second sold to about 20.

    My next challenge came when my husband commented on the number of novels I read. All it took was for him to say, “Have you ever considered writing a book?” That was all the prodding I needed.

    It took me five years of one rejection after another to sell my first book. Avalon Books bought Lessons in Love on October 6, 1999, and ten days later, I sold a novella to Barbour Publishing for one of their anthologies, Harvest Home. As I look back and reflect on the frustration I endured trying to sell books and not succeeding, I realize it wasn’t my time, and I wasn’t ready.

    Now that I’ve sold more than 30 books (not all are out yet), you’d think I don’t get rejected anymore, but that’s not the case. Granted, I don’t get turned down as much, but if my agent submits something similar to what the house has just contracted from another author, they might not want to buy my book so soon.

    Rejection can come for a variety of reasons. For the new, pre-pubbed author, it might be that the house isn’t willing to take a chance on an unknown name. Perhaps the writer has submitted something that house doesn’t publish. Or there could be an issue with the writing style. I think rejection is a good thing early in an author’s career. Not only is it humbling, it serves as a lesson to improve your skills. Being a published author is so much more than writing.

    I realize I’ve rambled, so now I’ll sit back and wait for your questions. Please feel free to ask anything you want to know about writing and getting published. Like I mentioned earlier, if I don’t know the answers, I’ll contact someone who might know.

  3. #3
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    Hello, Debby! I'm thrilled you are able to do this seminar for everyone here. I was wondering, how did you get your agent?

  4. #4
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    Thank you for joining us & for letting us know your journey.

    I have written my first MS which has had so many rejections, I’ve lost count.
    On the upside, I have had several partials and currently have a full with a NYC lit agent – hopefully I’ll hear something soon, good or bad it’s all a learning curve.

    I’ve started my second MS but that has been put to the side as I have an idea for two other novels which are eating away at me.

    I know getting a publishing deal is quite a task but can you tell me, how did you keep going? I don’t mean writing; I mean how did you keep up the momentum of actually pushing a MS that had been rejected so many times?

    For me, the issue has not been so much the writing, but the QL.
    My MS covers 1000 years of history and is also a fantasy. Recently I learned of a sub-genre Magical-Realism. I am now labelling the MS as Historical Magical-Realism which I know is a truer genre. The problem is, I now have so few lit agents who talk/list this. But I believe. I really believe. How do I make other believe?

    I have had two interesting rejections from partials.
    The first offered to accept me if I changed the mythology from the Slav mythology to ‘a more acceptable mythology such as Greek or Roman’
    The second suggested I remove the Croatian history and ‘concentrate on French/Austro-Hungarian as ‘it will be easier to sell’ – trouble is, that’s not the novel I have written nor the knowledge I have.

    So I’ll repeat, how do you do it? How do you just say, “NO, I have something here” and not throw the MS away using it for kindling?

    I have not got to that point but I am running out of lit agents who want to even consider the material (due to the obscurity of the subject matter)

    I don’t want to write another vampire/boy meets girl and they fall in love/bad boy meets nice girl and after making a mess of his life, find salvation etc type of novel, however, it is seeming more and more I need to follow a formula, at least for the first MS, which doesn’t feel right.
    if the wine is sour throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  5. #5
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    I met Tamela at a writing conference after I sold 11 books on my own. Some publishers will buy from unagented authors, but it's quite a bit more difficult. I recommend attending conferences where you can meet editors and agents. Find out what they're looking for and target those who are interested in what you write.

  6. #6
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    Not all of us can do that. Not all of us are in the USA.
    if the wine is sour throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

  7. #7
    Senior Member Victoria's Avatar
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    What about something like this? Winchester Writer's Conference - is that similar to a Writer's Conference in the US, Debby?
    Writers.Net Moderator

  8. #8
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    Believing in something that keeps getting rejected is tough. My first manuscript drew interest from editors, but none of them took the leap and made an offer. A multi-published author asked me what my next book was about, and that's when I realized I was putting all my energy into selling the first book and not showing editors that I could do more. So I started on my second book, which was the second book I sold to Avalon. My first one never sold, so I call that my practice book. The premise was marketable, but my execution lacked the spark. So I recommend putting your book aside and working on another. After you make a sale, pull that first book out, dust it off, revise it for your publisher, and ask your editor if (s)he is interested in seeing it.

    For the longest time, I've wanted to write women's fiction, but editors kept telling my agent and me that I since I write for the market that sells the most (romance), I should stick with what I do best. I did manage to sell a mystery (Corpse on the Court) to Avalon under my maiden name, Deborah Tisdale, but that wasn't what I really wanted deep down. Although I still love romance, I kept trying to garner interest in my women's fiction ideas. Finally, my editor at Abingdon Press agreed to look at a series proposal, and a few months later, she bought it. The first book in my Class Reunion series, All Prettied Up at the Cut 'n Curl, is coming out in Spring 2013. Everyone is different, but I think for me, having a fan base from a marketable genre will help make my women's fiction more successful.

    Have you considered converting this book into a series? That might help get more interest.

  9. #9
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    This looks like a good one, Vicky.

    Also, ask your local librarian if (s)he knows of a conference. If not, maybe you can get some writers together and start one. The organization that sponsors the biggest conference I attend was started by two of my very good friends. The first year, they had fewer than 100 writers in attendance. This year we're expecting more than 600 of the 2,300 members in St. Louis at the ACFW conference.

  10. #10
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    No I haven't Debbie.

    To be honest, I wouldn't even know where/how to start. Perhaps I have some homework to do

    I have already started my second MS. It's about 25-30K in but I don't like the ending so I've set that one aside.

    After finishing the final draft of my 1st MS, I have two idea’s (kind of follow on from the first MS)

    They are both historical. The first is a character of historical prominence and a character in my first MS. He was a soldier, a Count and a hero, named in several royal houses. (Austro-Hungarian, French and Croatian) as well as the Vatican. He lived and died in the 16th century.
    The second was a Baron who only lived for 38 years but during that time lived 5 lifetimes. He was a soldier, a Barron, a hero, a criminal and in the end, donated his entire fortune to a village he and his men (soldiers) once ransacked.

    These two stories (I feel) need telling from someone who is of (their blood) as I feel their history running through my veins.

    I also have now started work on a new exhibition. The work will take me about 2 yrs but I have already been invited back to Paris for an exhibition, have an NYC gallery who has for a few years been looking to me for an exhibition and several galleries in Australia who have invited me.

    Aside from that I have to work for a living! lol
    I do appreciate your effort on this site. It is very kind of you
    if the wine is sour throw it out

    SatyricalRaven

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