I’m excited to announce a new guest post by Veronica Scott. Thanks, Veronica for sharing your insight in this wonderful article!
I’m honored to be one of your first science fiction romance guest authors! Thanks for inviting me to stop by and talk about writing. I pondered what might be a good topic for today and I decided to go with three things, as in “Three Things about my journey to publication, three things I wish I’d known before I was published and three things I offer as advice to new authors (or anyone really). Plus three random factoids about me!
About my journey:
- I’ve always written, and still have my first ‘self-published’ book from when I was seven years old, illustrated by me too. There were princesses, cats and flying horses, and the hero was a riverboat captain (NO idea why!) Thankfully I gave up trying to do the cover art at that early age.
- My Dad was a huge science fiction fan and so I imprinted early on scifi classics. Andre Norton’s Catseye was the first scifi I ever read. The first movie I remember seeing (on the late show) was “Forbidden Planet,” which may I point out, has romance. Ta da! I was also addicted to the 1930’s Flash Gordon serials, which our local TV station played every afternoon at 4PM. Also a romantic element there.
- I started seriously working on writing to today’s standards in late 2010, Carina Press plucked my Priestess of the Nile from their slush pile and I received The Call from Angela James in mid-2011. That book came out in early 2012, and coincidentally I also self-published my first scifi romance in March 2012. I did try submitting various manuscripts kind of half-heartedly to various publishers from high school onwards, so I have those rejection slips, but I have a business degree and had a day job at NASA/JPL to pay the bills. But there’s never been a time I haven’t been writing and thinking about my plots and characters. It’s just much more fun now that I’m published.
Three things I wish I’d known:
- How much promo and social media an author has to do! Books don’t sell themselves and the publishers can and will only do so much. And if you self-publish, which I have exclusively since 2013, all the promo is on the author. But I love blogging and I love twitter, plus we have some great scifi romance groups on Facebook, so I stay very active on social media and on major platforms like USA Today Happy Ever After. Engaging with readers and other authors is important. But pick the social media that you enjoy and feel comfortable with.
- The importance of a newsletter or at the very least a list of dedicated followers on your blog, so you can communicate new releases and sales, or other news, to your readers yourself. A list you control yourself. I have one now of course but I should have started it up a long time before I did.
- The publishing business is always changing these days and you have to stay up with the latest twists and turns. What worked even six months ago may not work now.
Three pieces of advice:
- Write the next book! The next book is what helps sell all the earlier books as readers discover you. There’s nothing sadder to me than seeing an author still doing promo and obsessing over the ranking of their first book a year later when they haven’t published anything else. After a certain point you just have to let go and get the next books out there.
- Get words on the page every day, even if you can only write a few, and don’t strive for perfection on the first draft. Don’t self-edit as you go and paralyze yourself. Every book will have more than one draft and various edits later when you can fix errors or tighten prose.
- Get into a writers’ group on Facebook (or elsewhere if you’re not a FB fan). Especially in the romance world, which is the only one I can speak to, authors are so helpful and the advice and answers to be had in a group can save you many false steps on the business side of being an author. Plus you’ll be amazed at how not alone you are in your experiences and questions as an indie author. Two groups I especially recommend are Marie Force’s Author Support Network and Susan Kaye Quinn’s For Love Or Money.
Three random factoids: Tea not coffee. Cats over dogs. Left handed.
Before I talk about my latest book, one final piece of advice – indie publishing is very much a business so try to adopt that mindset going in and you’ll do fine.
Danger in the Stars is my current new release. The story:
Miriell, a powerful empathic priestess, has been kidnapped from her own primitive planet along with a number of her people, and sold to the evil Amarotu Combine, largest organized crime syndicate in the Sectors. When she and her handler are sent to use her power to commit an assassination, she must leave behind her own sister as hostage to ensure her compliance. Miriell cannot ask for aid without endangering herself and others.
Despite his best efforts, Combine enforcer Conor Stewart is entranced by Miriell, and helps her evade the worst of brutal treatment from the rest of the mob. But Conor must keep his distance, before the lovely empath learns that he has secrets of his own–secrets that could get them both killed.
The situation becomes dire when Conor and Miriell come to the attention of both the Combine overlords and the deadly Mawreg, aliens who threaten the Sectors. Can she save herself and the Mawreg’s next victims? And will Conor help her, or remain loyal to his evil bosses?
The nausea was always the worst part of emerging from cryo sleep. Miriell fought her confused thoughts and the incipient headache, trying not to throw up. She curled into a ball on her side, hands fisted on her unhappy stomach and bit her lip to avoid moaning.
A rough hand on her shoulder shook her. “Come on, you know we don’t have time for this sick act of yours. Snap out of it. The client’s waiting to see what you can do.” Jareck’s voice became more congenial, placating almost s he shifted his focus to someone else. Clearly, he was no longer speaking to her. “These performers, as my boss calls them, don’t do well with cryo sleep, but she’ll be on her feet in a minute or two, I promise. Then we can be on our way.”
“Good. The boss is getting impatient, waiting in the limo. She doesn’t spend much time in cargo warehouses.”
The new voice was deep, and although the tone was rough and the words clipped, Miriell felt as if a warm blanket had been placed over her shoulders. Intrigued by her own reaction, she forced herself to sit up on the floor, bracing herself against the cargo container that had been her prison. Blinking to focus, she turned her head, searching for the owner of the new voice.
Jareck grabbed her elbow in a bruising grip and yanked her to her feet. He must have removed the shackles while she was still unconscious. Giving her a shake, he said, “I swear, every time we travel for a job, you act as if your sweet time asleep in the cryo unit was torture.”
Maybe because for me it is. Swaying, balance still off, she couldn’t resist Jareck as he tugged her close to him, the smell of his cheap cologne another assault on her overloaded senses. Her stomach heaved, and she had to make a conscious effort not to throw up all over him, slapping her free hand over her mouth.
“Do I have to carry you?” His voice was low, and she knew it was a threat. He’d make her pay later.
With painful effort, she straightened her spine and stepped away, brushing one hand down her plain gray tunic in a vain attempt to smooth out the wrinkles. “I can walk.”
“You don’t look like it.” As their new companion voiced his opinion, she realized he was no one she’d ever met before. Tall, with broad shoulders and well-defined muscles, he had black hair and gray eyes that were almost silver. She was mesmerized by his eyes. Miriell wished she dared to engage her gifts, get a sense of this person, maybe figure out why he made her feel safe, when clearly, she was anything but.
Jareck stopped to pick up his kit bag, never releasing his hold on her. “Conor’s right, we’ve got to be going. You’re ready to behave, right?”
Submissively, she nodded, bottling up her anger and hatred. Someday I’ll get my chance and you will die.
Best Selling Science Fiction, Fantasy & Paranormal Romance author, as well as the “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
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