Category Archives: Business of Writing

5 Publishing Myths every new writer should know!

rp_keepscore-287x300.jpg All of us were new at one time and had to learn the hard way what was actually the truth of things in the publishing industry. Lately I’ve heard each of these 5 Myths about the Publishing Industry and hope that this blog will save at least one new or aspiring author the pain and suffering that a lot of us went through before we learned this stuff.

Myth 1: Authors Don’t need to do promotions, their publishing company will do it all for them.

Reality: Usually that’s a big fat NO! In fact, until my current publisher – Random House – this has hardly ever been true for me. To be fair, my first series published with a new York Publisher (Kensington), they did pay to have my books faced out for the first month after release. I think that’s part of why my Seduction Series did so well and why Ceremony of Seduction went into a second printing – my only book so far to do that. Granted, I did a TON of promotions for it, but I have for every book I’ve released, even when I was still with a small press publisher. With a lot of the larger publishers, they simply have too many authors to outlay major money on promotions for each one. It’s usually not cost effective. You sink or swim on the strength of your own promotions and the strength of your author brand you’ve built even before you sold it to them.

But the bottom line is – you can’t count on a publisher to do all your promotions. Even with Random House spoiling me rotten – I’m still out actively promoting!

Myth 2: Every book published goes immediately to print and will appear in every bookstore.

Reality: Many books are either released in ebook only or need to meet a threshold of sales before they go to print. Ebooks have become very popular, so neither of things are really a BAD thing. Yes, several books do go immediately to print, but not all of them. It’s very important to check your contract before signing so you know what to expect. Also, a print run (how many books are printed) is set for every book based on a combination of factors – usually the strength of your author brand and how many the sales people for each of the outlets are willing to buy into their store. Smaller booksellers can request your title from Ingrams, but many don’t want to have take the risk on an untried author unless there is some major draw behind either the book or the author. Bookshelf space equates to money and if they aren’t sure they can sell your books and make money, they will pass and save that space on books they KNOW they can sell.

Myth 3: After I write my book I can just hire a professional editor and that will make it easy to sell it to a publisher.

Reality: Even a professional editor (and not all those who call themselves professional editors truly are) who uses the Chicago Manual of Style etc can guarantee that the line editing they suggest will be what a particular editor or agent will want. So you could end up shelling out a LOT of money for editing and either still not be able to sell it, or have to do edits all over again to meet the needs/preferences of that agency or house.

Best advice on this one. Get some beta readers to work out the pacing and the kinks in your story and find a friend, or beta reader who is good at spelling and grammar. Get the book to its best possible state under those conditions and submit, submit, submit. Once an agent or editor acquires the book, they will give you their own edits and then copyedits.

Myth 4: When I sell my book I’ll get to choose my cover, my title and have full say over all content in the book.

Reality: Maybe, but not necessarily. The marketing department of the publisher will weigh in on the title of the book, your cover, and possibly even your pen name. If you are lucky, they will ask you what you would like to see on your cover, what your characters look like – and you might even get characters on the cover that actually match the ones you’ve written. Titles are changeable and in fact I think I’ve only gotten to keep my originally suggested title on 3 out of my 16 published books. Luckily, Kensington liked my suggested Cassie Ryan pen name so I was able to keep that one after all my research to choose it. I suppose they do it that way so they don’t get something that sounds like your pole dancing name – which makes sense, but it surprised me when I found that out. I’ve been very lucky to have been given an opportunity for input on nearly every book cover, blurb, plot flow, title etc, but my ideas didn’t always end up as the one hitting the bookstore shelves.

Myth 5: Once I sell my first book I’ll be able to easily sell everything else I write

Reality: Maybe. I’ve published 16 books to date between my 2 pen names. But even after all of that – Book number 14 I couldn’t sell. My agent said Sleeping With Shadows was the best book I’ve written to that point and she tried her best to sell it. But there were several things against it. First, that was a book I was selling as Tina Gerow. It wasn’t as hot and kinky of all of my other Cassie books but was a little hotter than my other Tina books. So the decision was made to publish it as Tina Gerow. Well, even though Tina has published several books, they were with small presses, so Tina had no New York numbers. But wait, Cassie Ryan has several sets of New York sales numbers, you say. Well, in New York, even though Tina & Cassie are the same physical person, apparently the bean counters look at the sales numbers and Tina doesn’t exist there so is a bigger risk to publish. Also, paranormal was on its way out, as were hotter books. So I self published Sleeping With Shadows – my only self pubbed book, but definitely the book of my heart. A smoking hot reincarnation with a twist story! But nope – couldn’t sell it, even with 13 published books under my belt – several with major New York publishers.

There are many more myths out there, but those are for another day. If you have any big ones, feel free to post them in the comments.

 

Tina

Amazon Reviewers All in or Undecided #reviews

rp_hahahastar-300x283.jpgBy accident today, I came upon an Amazon reviewer who has done well over 100 reviews.

I saw one particular review she’d written for a book I was considering and thought it harsh. Actually I was trying to decide if I would get this book from the library or buy it. I’m way over my Kindle budget this month, after two more purchases yesterday. And it’s a pricier book which is part of a series. The review was brutal!

So I looked at some of the other reviews given by this person. The first two pages were nothing but 1 Star reviews. Occasionally, the reviewer would give a good review, but about 80% of them were beyond brutal, even telling people not to buy the books, over and over again. This was an eye-opening experience for me. After reading so many despicable statements about author after author…I don’t believe anything this reviewer says.

I just pray he or she doesn’t pick up one of my books. I was more suspicious of the 5 Star reviews. Now I need to rethink this. Maybe I need to look closer at the STARS or ignore them altogether.

However if she ever does give me one of her zingers, I think I might even smile about it. I’d be in good company.

My 10 “favorite” writing pet peeves @tinagerow

rp_Depositphotos_12684346_xsm2l-300x222.jpg

I suppose “favorite” might be an interesting description for pet peeves, but I think of it more as the ones that make me chuckle and shake my head at the same time rather than the ones that make me grind my teeth, if that makes sense!

I think in every profession, people have irritants or pet peeves. I know I have had in every job I’ve ever held. But writing has some interesting ones. And here are some of mine:

1. When people on Facebook send me an invite to an even that’s halfway across the country or even in another country. Uh….yeah, I’m in Arizona, so probably not going to make it to Australia this weekend to attend your book release party at that restaurant you listed. But thanks…

2. People on Twitter who get irritated when you have to abbreviate to get your message into the 140 characters. You know, like Sum1, or B4 etc. When you’re working with only 140 characters, you need to get creative sometimes and if it is still readable, don’t tell me I sound illiterate by doing it. Grrrrr….

3. People who tell me that I’m too Polyanna and shouldn’t post all that “positive” and motivational stuff because I’m a writer, after all, and should just post stuff about my books. Sigh…

4. When they find out you’re a writer, people who don’t consider you a “real” writer unless you’ve hit the NYT or USA Today Best Seller’s list. I WILL hit them both one of these days, but discounting my books, or me because I’m not there yet just irritates the crap out of me! Just me?

5. I had a woman send me an email that she had just read one of my erotic books (written as Cassie Ryan) and she just wanted to write me to tell me I was going to hell. Really? You just said you read the entire book! I’ll save you a seat next to the male hookers, lady! Yeah – she wasn’t too appreciative of that answer, and yes, I sent it….shouldn’t have lost my temper…but hey – I’m not perfect – which is apparently why she thinks I’m going to Hell…snerk!

6. Book promotion companies, freelance editors, cover artists, copyeditors etc who send me numerous emails or post on my Facebook wall about their services. If I need/want those services I’ll come find you. Usually by word of mouth from my trusted friends and fellow authors. If you’re being annoying and sound like a used car salesman with whatever you’re selling you’re going to end up on my “Nope – not doing any business with them” list.

7. Other writers who get mad/pissy when I don’t have time to critique their stuff, or when our critique group isn’t accepting any new members. It’s an established critique group of over 10 years. We work well as we are, and we are full. We are under no obligation to accept new members, and telling us we’re being elitist and snobby isn’t really a good way to get your name in the running if we ever ARE looking for a new member. Just sayin’

8. People who write to tell me what a horrible cover I have on whatever book they are looking at. I know not all my covers are wonderful. But honestly – I have little to no control over those published through a publisher. Some of them ask me for descriptions of the characters (and then don’t follow them) and possibly my suggestions for the cover (and then don’t follow them…lol) but other than my one self pubbed book – Sleeping With Shadows – I had little to no control over those covers. Interestingly enough – Ceremony of Seduction won worst cover of the year through some review site that I can’t remember the name of right now and the sales skyrocketed after that. Probably from getting so many mentions and the cover being reposted a gazillion times. Snicker…

9. When I’m sitting at Starbucks writing and sipping chai and I have to pee!!!!!! I can’t just leave my laptop there, so I have to slip it in my laptop bag, I’ll usually leave a coat or something like that on the squishy chair in hopes it will still be available when I come back, but then I drag the laptop bag etc to the restroom and then come back and pull the laptop out again and get re-set up so I can continue writing…snerk! It is SO much easier when I have a writing buddy to go with who can watch my stuff while I take a bio break, but usually at Starbucks I’m on my own. My critique group does sometimes have writing breakfasts at various places and then we can take bio breaks and leave our stuff there. Yeah – pet peeve, but not something I can do much about changing until I can convince someone to be my Starbucks writing buddy…LOL!

10. People who read over your shoulder as you’re writing/typing and then criticize what you’re writing. A few years ago I was writing at Starbucks in my favorite squishy chair and a woman asked me how I could write that “smut” all day! I told her that the chai lattes helped a lot. She huffed off… LOL. Then don’t be freaking reading over my shoulder, lady!!! It’s not like I was reading it out loud and exposing the masses to my “smut” 🙂

11. People who DO read their stuff out loud or make sure they talk loudly about what they are writing when they are at Starbucks… If I go there to write, that’s what I do. I’m not there to see and be seen. I love the energy of writing somewhere like that. I put my headphones in and listen to my writing soundtrack – which consists of lots of movie soundtracks (without words – otherwise I’ll type the words!!) and I sit, sip my chai and play with my characters. But lots of people apparently go there to see and be seen “writing” although I doubt they are getting much done! One guy even handed out full sheets of paper with his website and his list of twenty (self pubbed) books etc. I’m not knocking self pebbling – hell, one of my 14 published books is self pubbed. But generally, people like this guy didn’t want to go through the process of getting it published so he slapped a book together without editing or copyediting and added a cover (horrible, judging from the pictures he provided) and then will get pissed when people give him bad reviews or tell him that they refuse to pay $15 on Amazon for his epic 500K word ebook.

12. Top 10 lists that go over 10!!! Snicker…

What’s it like to be a working author with an agent?

300TinaHeadShot

I ‘m often asked this question.  I do know many other authors with agents, and all of us have a different experience due to several factors, but I can tell you MY experiences.

Let me just state for the record, that I don’t know everything there is to know about any of this by far! And this process/experience seems to change daily depending on the author and agent involved, the market, the house, the editors, the winds, or whatever… But this is what I know at this moment in time 🙂

Let’s start at the beginning. No, not the beginning of my writing career back when I signed on with my agent, just the beginning of MY experience with my agent. Paige Wheeler is my agent, and she’s fabulous. We’ve been together since 2005.

I did spend two years submitting without an agent. I started writing seriously for publication in 2003 and quickly published with a small press who is long gone…

Needless to say, I like the process WITH an agent a WHOLE lot better! I know some authors don’t like paying the 15% or whatever percentage they pay to their agent off the top of their advances/royalties etc, but I’ve never once regretted it. Paige earns every penny, and makes my life a whole lot easier and enables me to concentrate on getting more books out there faster, as long as my brain cooperates!

So anyway, before this process even starts I usually send myself any book ideas that pop up. What I mean by that is that I set up a rule in my Microsoft Outlook that if I send myself an email with the subject Book Idea, then it pops it in a folder I have set up with, yup – you guessed it – book ideas 🙂

As I go through daily life, any time a book idea or even something that might be a fun idea to go IN another book or series at some point pops into my brain – I break out the iphone or the laptop and send myself an email.

Then when Paige and I are ready to start a “round” of this process, she and I talk and we decide what direction or genre I’m going for. We used to just always aim for paranormal romance, or erotic paranormal romance, depending on which pen name I was aiming for a contract in. However, with the recent changes in the market, the genre and direction have been a discussion lately as well.

Once I have those in mind, I go through that folder of ideas and pick out the ones that I think might work – usually the ones that “speak to me” or resonate with me in some way at that time, then I add any new ones that might percolate up and mold all of them into a manageable list of ideas that I might like to write a book or series about.

I let those simmer in my mind a few days, or even gather together my critique group – The Butterscotch Martini Girls for some brainstorming, and I make sure those ideas have enough of a blurb to convey the major characters, the main conflicts (both for the overall story and for each major character), and some ideas on the story arc and HEA. (Since I write romance there’s always an HEA (that’s Happily Ever After for those not familiar with romance genre acronyms.)

Then I send those off to Paige and keep letting those cook inside my brain.

Usually by this point I have a few frontrunners that I would really like to write about, and I always make sure to let Paige know which are my favorites when I send them back.

If she and I agree that those are good, full ideas and she thinks there’s somewhere that we can sell/pitch them to, then I’ll take the chosen idea(s) and write a synopsis and first three chapters.

Now let me clarify this point. This has been pretty standard practice for me, especially when we’re pitching to an editor or house I’ve never written for before. I’m not sure how many other authors do it this way, but Paige and I do.

However, in the past when I’ve already been writing for a house/editor and was just pitching a new book/series – for say, a first look, then I could just flesh out an idea and/or synopsis and go with that unless that editor asked for more. For the last anthology I did for KensingtonThe Pleasure Project – I had already done three books for Audrey La Fehr (Ceremony, Vison & Trio of Seduction) so she just asked for a blurb, and offered a contract from that since she already knows I can write a book, meet a deadline and all the rest, and I was just going to be one of a few other authors in that anthology, not writing an entire novel length story that would sell or not on my pen name/reputation alone.

But before that, when I fulfilled my contract and wrote all three books in the Seduction Series, I owed Kensington a first look. What that means is that when I signed my contract there was a first look clause. It’s pretty standard for most contracts and says something to the effect of they get the first shot at the next thing I’m going to write in that genre and/or pen name after I fulfill my contract with them, (the specifics can change depending on how the clause/contract is written etc, but we’re just going for general idea here…)

So at that point, I wrote up just a synopsis for the next series/idea I wanted to write for them.

Then what happens is they can accept it, and the process goes from there, they can “pass”, which is a nice way of saying they rejected it (or at least to me it is…lol), and then you’re free to submit that somewhere else – which also means you’ve fulfilled your first look clause and are no longer obligated to submit new things to them per that clause in your contract.

However, if I’m taking that idea that my old house passed on and now I’m trying to submit to a new house/editor I’ve never written for before, I would need to write up the first three chapters along with the synopsis I’ve already written. Now I’m sure that wouldn’t be the case if I were Nora Roberts, Stephen King or J.K Rowling. But since I’m Tina Gerow/Cassie Ryan – that’s still the case for me 🙂 – at least for now…but I’m optimistic!

Anyway…

A quick point here. I’ve sold books to New York as Cassie Ryan before. Cassie Ryan is an established New York author with sales numbers in the system that any editor/agent/sales department can look up. However, Tina Gerow is purely a small press published author and has no numbers in the system that editors/agents/sales depts can look up, so from a New York perspective, Tina Gerow is a brand new author. That’s not to say that they wouldn’t look at the fan base I’ve built or the popularity of past books I’ve written etc. It just means that when an editor goes to their sales director and tries to pitch buying my book – if it’s got the Tina Gerow name on it and not the Cassie Ryan name, that sales director will be looking at me with the risk/benefit to them of a new author – give or take some of those mitigating circumstances I talked about above.

But I’m sure you can see that if an editor goes to the sales department with a new book written by an author who has established sales in the system they can look at – and GOOD established sales in the system, vs an author who is brand new and unknown that they will be more apt to green light the first author.

Yes, I know that I’m the exact same person, and regardless of the two names, I write both sets of books. But the thinking is that readers will “know” the New York published name and may or may not know the non-New York published name. Thus the sales won’t directly cross over between the two.

And that’s true. I’m not secretive about either of my pen names. I don’t have a job or family reason to be, so I’m totally open about both. I do have crossover readers – readers who love both my Cassie books and my Tina books. But then I also have readers who only like the Cassie books or only like the Tina books. The biggest difference is that the Tina books are sensual and the Cassie books are erotic with a good dose of kink – although not a large dose of kink…LOL.

So if I sell a new book as Tina and they see it at their local Barnes & Noble on the shelves, the name Tina Gerow may or may not get them to pick it up, even if they are aware of the fact that I wrote both the Cassie books they’ve loved and the other Tina books. Make sense?

So going back to where I’ve fulfilled the first look clause and am now ready to have my synopsis and first three chapters submitted to new editors.

Paige looks over the synopsis and first three chapter and we discuss any areas that need to be beefed up or possibly changed outright. And let me make it clear that these are Paige’s suggestions. An agent works for an author. In effect, I pay Paige 15% of my writing income to help me in several aspects of my career. So she and I discuss things and she gives me her best suggestions on how she thinks my work will be viewed in the best light, and suggestions on how to move my writing career in the direction that I want it to go. After all, she’s got lots more experience in the business and with the editors we’ll be pitching to than I do. And I’ve learned to trust her opinion.

There have been times in the past when she’s asked me if I wanted to accept or turn down a contract that’s been offered. It’s up to me. I don’t HAVE to accept it!! Or to sign it! But like I said, I know and trust Paige’s opinion and if she advises that there’s something in my synopsis/three chapters that didn’t make sense or needs to be strengthened, I believe her and I go back and take a look at it!

Once we are both satisfied that they are in good shape and ready to submit, she and I discuss which houses and editors to submit to. She’ll tell me where she thinks would be good and will ask me if there’s anywhere else I would like to have them submitted. And if I’ve heard of some new line/editor/house and want to know her insight into them I ask this too – although I can ask her that at any time, not just during this process!

Once we have a firm list of where to submit, Paige goes to work and starts submitting. She’ll give me periodic updates – X, Y & Z passed on the project (there’s that nice word for rejected again…), X would like to see something slightly different and would like to know if you’d be willing to work up THAT, to which my answer is usually, SURE!

And then my favorite one – X is offering a contract for X number of books in a series – or a stand alone book etc, the advance is $X and the deadline/word count etc is…”

At this point in the process most of the contract details are NOT nailed down. But since I’ve been through this several times, those basic pieces of information are enough for me to say if I’m interested in the offer as is, or if I want to see if they can make some changes to the basics.

Once that’s negotiated and we’ve agreed on the basics, then Paige and her team go to work on the nitty gritty legalese – another reason I’m glad she’s on my side! That stuff makes my eyes cross. Although I DO read every word of every contract I ever sign. AND I make sure I understand it BEFORE I sign it. If I don’t understand something or I need more clarification, I call Paige and she patiently explains it to me. I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to sign ANY contract without reading and understanding it first!

So once all the legal beagles have duked it out and smoothed everything to their satisfaction, and to mine, we sign the contract and we’re off.

And most likely once we’ve agreed on the basics I’m already off and running writing the rest of the book!

It would take another blog entirely to outline my experience from there (I’ll make a note to do that in an upcoming blog), but once the book is turned in, and usually before it’s even released, Paige and I get together and we start this process all over again! And the cycle continues…

Happy writing, everyone!

Tina

Top 10 Reasons to write romance!!

SleepingWithShadowsEbook_Medium

I love what I do. I know a lot of authors hem and haw when asked what they do, but I’m proud of it and don’t mince words when I tell them I’m a writer. And when they inevitably ask what I write, I proudly say, Paranormal Romance and Erotic Paranormal Romance.

After they wrinkle their noses and notice my total lack of embarrassment or shame over writing romance or even…gasp….erotic, you all know the question that comes next….

“Do you have anything published?” And have you ever noticed the condescending almost pitying tone that usually comes with that?

I’m also proud of saying, “Yes. I’m multi published under two pen names.”

Then they usually say, “Are you published with a “real” publisher? Anyone I would recognize?”

For a while I bristled at the “real” publisher comment since I was first published with a small press and I believe them to BE real publishers!! But, most people are oblivious to that fact so I don’t even bother to point that out. And I’m also proud of being able to say, “I’m published with a few places, but the two New York publishers are Kensington and Berkley…which you might know as Penguin.”

Most people have heard of Penguin and even though they probably know next to nothing about publishing OR Penguin that usually derails their condescending tone, at least a little.

But even when I was only published with a small press publisher, I would proudly tell people what I did and was never shy about writing romance.

So with a huge thanks to Virginia Nelson for giving me this blog idea, here are the top 10 reasons to write romance!!

1. I get to fall in love all over again with every book!

2. How many people get to experience the excitement of that first sexual encounter with someone new over and over again while remaining totally faithful to their spouse? And even having their approval? And a total side note and probably TMI, but….you know I don’t shy away from that… To understand this, you have to realize that if I don’t get hot and bothered while WRITING a scene, my readers won’t be when they are reading it. SO, when I sold my first erotic romance trilogy to Kensington…and was writing them….hubby came home one day with a HUGE package of batteries he bought at Sam’s club and slapped them down on the headboard of our bed with a smirk…. Smart ass! 🙂 But you get the point…snerk!

3. I believe true love is out there, and that soul mates exist. I love getting to show that possibility and inspire people to look for it. For those who argue that romance gives people false hope – I would rather have people putting out good energy and believing in true love and drawing it to them than exuding doubt and fear that they’ll be alone forever and attracting THAT back into their lives.

4. I get to be a part of helping people rekindle the passion in their relationships! I’ve gotten several emails from couples who thanked me for rekindling the spark in their relationships. Especially my erotic works! I’ve heard from couples who read chapters of my Cassie Ryan books together and then let nature take its course. I’m glad that the hard work and time I put Into creating these stories and these worlds helps people and inspires them. What could be better than bringing people back together and reminding them of what they saw in each other in the first place? One year at a book singing they mistakenly sat me under the “Inspirational” sign since the “Erotic” table was full. I took it in stride and told the people who came by my table that my Cassie Ryan books are definitely inspirational, just in a different way than the other ladies at the same table 🙂

5. I get to show that all kinds of women and women can find romance, love and fulfilling sex lives. None of my characters are perfect. They aren’t all skinny blondes with perfect bodies and perfect personalities. And the men aren’t all cover models who always say the right thing and sweep the women off their feet and save the day! In fact, most of the time, my heroines save themselves and sometimes even save their hero as well! I try to make my characters “regular” women and men who are put into irregular circumstances. And all of them need to “find” or “accept” themselves in order to truly find love. So through my work I get to show people it’s possible to find love, acceptance, and companionship no matter who you are and what you look like. And that’s very rewarding!

6. In my Cassie Ryan books, I get to explore all kinds of kinky and off the wall sexual things that I would never try out in real life! If you’ve read my Seduction series you know that can sometimes get pretty out there 🙂 In fact there’s a sex scene that has about 30 people in it… Snerk! Not something I would sign up for in real life, but I have to admit that it was REALLY fun to live out in my imagination. Yes, I admit it. It WAS fun. But then I have a really good imagination!! LOL!!!!

7. After a long, hard day of work, I’m still smiling and feeling good, even if it’s during the big black moment where all looks lost, or I killed someone off that day!

8. I get to do my job in my pajamas, sipping butterscotch martinis, on a comfortable patio with the breeze blowing or sitting in a squishy chair at Starbucks with a hot chai tea latte next to me 🙂

9. I get to meet the ‘good guys’ who are still out there waiting to fall in love and meet the right woman for them 🙂 Yes, I do have quite a few male fans. Granted, they prefer to think of my books as ‘sci-fi with sex’ rather than paranormal romance, but it works out the same in the end, and they do even enjoy the romance parts since I don’t write soupy, scholcky romance that makes you want to gag or get a toothache…or so I’ve been told! (And I’m glad!!)

10. I get to people watch and mentally stalk people and not get arrested for it! After all, anyone and everyone who comes across my path are fair game to be book fodder!! Mwaaahaaahaaaa!

I really do have the best job in the world. Not only do I get all the perks above, but even beyond that I get paid to make stuff up and even to be sarcastic!! Who else can say that?

#WritingTips Fun snippets of Writing Tips to Make You Smile

It’s been a while since I’ve posted these and figured this would be a fun, quick blog for a Friday morning 🙂

Every now and then I’ll go on a Twitter binge and post a bunch of writing tips or pet peeves or whatever else is on my mind that day.  So in light of that, here’s one of my recent Twitter “binges”

For those of you not familiar with Twitter – if you’re posting something under a topic you want people to be able to search on and follow, you use a hash tag.  And mine was #writingtips.  So since a lot of my Facebook friends either aren’t on Twitter or don’t follow me on there – I have a TON of Facebook friends…lol…I decided to do a blog about them so everyone could experience my warped-ness…  I know – if you follow me on Facebook you already get a big dose, but hey – if you can stomach that much, what’s a little more, right?

Again, for those of you who don’t Tweet – you can only use 140 characters in your tweets so that’s why some of the funky abbreviations.  I didn’t type them all fresh – I copied/pasted…LOL!

Now for those of you who have had me edit your books somewhere in your past – some of these will look familiar – and you’re already used to my warped sense of humor…LOL!  But you may even have more “Tina gems” that I don’t have on here…

So here we go!  Here are mine – feel free to add your own in the comments – especially the fun ones!!  Don’t give up too early – some of the really fun ones are toward the end of the list! 🙂

1.  #writingtips If a cock leaps 2 attention, it had better have little feet & B ready 2 run across the room…LOL!

2.   #writingtips If writing anal scenes – don’t do a BrokeBack Mountain thing – sliding in w/ one stroke w/ no lube would HURT! Ouch!

3.  #writingtips Another bad euphemism:  “Dangling globes of manliness” – ACK!!  Just say NO!

4.  #writingtips If you aren’t getting hot and bothered while WRITING your sex scene, no one will while reading it!!

5.  #writingtips Make sure your hero and heroine’s internal thoughts & dialogue sound different. Each character’s should be unique.

6.  #writingtips Usually if a sentence begins with And or But, the ‘and’ or ‘but’ can B removed without changing the sentence & will read better

7.  #writingtips Action/reaction. Let us see the character’s reactions to things – internal thoughts, emotional reactions & physical reactions.

8.  #writingtips Don’t forget to SHOW emotions in your scenes. How are the characters feeling? SHOW US!! Don’t TELL us.

9.  #writingtips A hero who looks at, fantasizes about or ‘plays with’ other women than the heroine (unless it’s a menage book) is NOT heroic

10.  #writingtips Heroine can’t flirt/cheat on hero either – NOT heroic, If they both agree to a threesome etc – fine, but not outside of that

11.  #writingtips When writing romance, a hero who is a jerk or treats her badly is NOT a hero. Readers want a romantic hero – give it to them.

12.  #writingtips If your hero knows every brand name your heroine is wearing – he’s gay, folks! Which is fine if you’re writing M/M romance 🙂

13.  #writingtips Be realistic. Most guys (sorry guys) can’t come four times in an hour…some women can…Don’t make readers roll their eyes!

14.  #writingtips Word choice – jizz or love juice – YUCK! Just use come or orgasm. Don’t gross the reader out!

15.  #writingtips KNOW your reader demographic – for romance – mostly highly educated women 18-50  Don’t talk down to them!

16.  #writingtips If hero/heroine are running for their lives & stop to have sex – they kinda deserve to die…Just sayin’ LOL…

17.  #writingtips Call it what it is. It’s not a ‘man rod’ or a ‘love shaft’ or a ‘steely length’ It’s a penis or a dick or a cock. Really…

18.  #writingtips Don’t be afraid of words – use them, but use them well. Her yawning moist cavern is just icky! Sooo not sexy!! 😦

19.  #writingtips Afraid of using the “C” word? If can be done..lol! Read my Seduction series – used in non traditional way, but readers loved it.

20.  #writingtips “Clit” is better than a euphemism like “love button” – ACK!

21.  #writingtips Word choice matters. Thigh is sexier than leg. Breast is sexier than boob or tit.

22.  #writingtips If heroine/hero are chafing – and handcuffs aren’t involved – get them some freaking lube, ppl! LOL…That’s just not sexy!

23.  #writingtips If a scene doesn’t move the story forward – cut it! Seriously!!

24.  #writingtips World building: Make the rules for your world/characters & then don’t break them! You’ll lose the reader’s trust…

25.  #writingtips Make sure U know your book’s timeline. Keep a chart. If 3 nights have passed, but it’s never bn dark-better B a paranormal LOL!

26.  #writingtips If your prologue is just an excuse to do a backstory dump -cut it! Only use those when absolutely needed to set up a story-RARE

27.  #writingtips If writing a sex scene & you’ve never done whatever it is U R writing about – talk to someone who has!!  Seriously!

28.  #writingtips Avoid using euphemisms that will make most people laugh – “his hairy man sack” is just gross!  NOT sexy…lol!

29.  #writingtips Anything that pulls the reader out of the story & gives them the chance to put the book down-weed it out of your writing!

30.  #writingtips Try 2 avoid giving all your characters in 1 book names that R2 similar or all start w/ same letter-could confuse reader!

31.  #writingtips Use of “locks” for hair has become cliche – seriously. PPL have hair, not locks unless it’s a padlock in their hair – ouch!

32.  #writingtips Use age appropriate language 4 yr characters. If yr 20 year old heroine says “Golly gee” – that’s odd & jarring 2 reader

33.  #writingtips Schedule a time each day 2 write, sit butt in the chair & write-brain will get the hang of being productive on cue.

34.  #writingtips Watch repeated words used close together -distracting for reader. For me it’s usually a diff word in each scene I have to edit!

35.  #writingtips “Mary was scared”=Telling. “Icy tendrils of fear raced up Mary’s spine”=showing. Paint a visual picture!

36.  #writingtips Try to avoid using was/ing combos-makes it kind of passive. Was running can become ‘ran’  🙂

37.  #writingtips If yr pacing is slow & dragging-go back & make sure yr conflict is big enough & difficult enough! Conflict drives pacing!

38.  #writingtips READ widely. Pay attention to writing you enjoy & writing you don’t and figure out why on both counts!

39.  #writingtips Don’t use flowery writing-readers like simple writing that paints a visual pic, not something schlocky & makes them groan!

40.  #writingtips Make sure your events aren’t out of order. pick up book, walk to door, open it, walk through, out of order won’t work here

41.  #writingtips If yr hero is “hard enough 2 drive nails” he needs 2 call the # on the back of the Viagra box!! That’s not healthy!! Ouch!

42.  #writingtips Avoid cliches – find a new, fresh way 2 say something! Make it yours. Cliches R distracting 4 the reader & don’t add value

43.  #writingtips Remember even when writing that heroes usually don’t want to kiss a heroine right after she’s “swallowed” – Jarring for reader

44.  #writingtips If your heroine’s vagina is “weeping” – there’s salve for that…LOL! Get her to the doctor! Ewwwwww!!!!

45.  #writingtips Make sure the action is w/ the character, not the body part. Fists won’t clench on their own, the character clenches them…

46.  #writingtips Beware of over repeated actions. If yr heroine is always sighing the reader is gonna wnt 2 kill her by the 10th time…seriously

47.  #writingtips Keep in mind yr job is 2 paint a word picture 4 the reader so they cn C the pic U have inside yr mind when writing the scene

48.  #writingtips Beware of wimpy verbs that don’t give reader a visual picture – words like ‘put’, ‘got’, and ‘went’ Use a more descriptive verb

49.  #writingtips If the heroine’s heart clenches inside her chest and she’s short of breath, she’s not in love, she’s having a heart attack!!

50.  #writingtips Who vs That. If you are talking about a person – use ‘who’.  If you are talking about a thing – use ‘that’

51.  #writingtips Get rid of “filler” words like “just” and “that”, which don’t add much value

52.  #writingtips Write what you mean. If a heroine leans INTO a hero – that’s gonna hurt & require surgery – she’s prob leaning AGAINST him.

53.  #writingtips Watch out for body parts gone wild. Eyes can’t fly across the room unless they have little wings. Gazes can though…

54.  #writingtips Purple prose is distracting & annoying & doesn’t help your story, it only discredits your writing in the eyes of the reader.

55.  #writingtips Remove exclamation points, use your words 2 carry the emphasis, not throwaway punctuation that distracts the reader.

56.  #writingtips if hero’s “member” has a head the size & color of a large plumb, he’s got medical probs & his partner will NOT be excited!

How I got my start teaching online writing classes

People are often curious how I got my start teaching several online writing classes a year on various subjects, so I thought it would be a good subject for a blog.

Several years ago when I was a newbie writer I took some online classes taught by a lady who was in my local Romance Writers of America Chapter, Laurie Schnebly Campbell. As I started to learn and became published myself I began to be asked more and more to speak by my local chapters and then by chapters farther away from home, and even for writing conventions and college classes. So having a teaching background myself, over time I became interested in trying my hand at teaching online classes. One of the great things about this business is that if you build a network of friends and acquaintances within all areas of the business you can find more information on almost anything. So I talked to Laurie and asked for some advice. As always, she was gracious, open and encouraging. She pointed me in the right direction to look for places where I could apply to teach online classes and she even gave me one of her lesson plans so I could base mine off of her format.

Basically my lesson plans are divided by each day of the class, so I can just cut and paste each day and then field questions and give feedback to the students as they post. So it’s not very labor intensive for me, besides working up the lesson plans, and I really enjoy it. I know the next question will be – “How much does it pay?”

Well, it varies. Most places split what they take in with me. So they advertise on their sites, they provide the loop or forum to give the class along with a moderator who can kill spam, answer questions and help everyone work through any technical issues etc.

I’ve made anywhere from $40 to $320 for a 1 or 2 week class. There are places who have offered me one month classes, but on the topics I teach it would be tough to give a month long class. Two weeks is about perfect for me and I think most of the students prefer that length. But then again, some subjects just won’t stretch to two weeks unless I add LOTS of fluff and I don’t like to cheat my students that way. Every class I teach is pretty packed with information.

I include both posted lessons and homework and I always give feedback on homework and encourage any questions, even if they don’t always stay on topic for the class. After all, they have me there for two weeks and I’m multi published in both New York and small presses under two pen names in two genres. I’ve learned a few things about this business, and have quite a wide network of people I can ask if I don’t know the answers. So I’m perfectly open to answering pretty much anything except my weight 🙂

I currently teach for Savvy Authors, Colorado Romance Writers, Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Romance Writers, and I’m doing my first class for Heart of Carolina Romance Writers in May.

I’m also very willing to work up new classes. I’ve had groups approach me with a topic and I’ll work something up if I think I can do justice to it, or I’ll find a topic I feel I have enough working knowledge about and I’ll work up a lesson and then pitch it to the places I’m currently teaching for.

It’s very rewarding if you are interested in trying your hand at it, and the extra money doesn’t hurt either.

Here’s a list of my upcoming online classes that I have on the calendar so far:

January 27 – February 9, 2014: POV in Dialogue at Savvy Authors: Savvy Authors

May 4 – May 18, 2014: Writing Love Scenes for Heart of Carolina Romance Writers: I don’t have a link yet, but here’s the link to where it will be: Heart of Carolina

November 17 – November 29, 2014: Writing Love Scenes for Savvy Authors: Savvy Authors Online Workshops

I’m always adding new ones so check my site periodically for updates on my site: Tina Gerow

I also promote all of them on Facebook and Twitter (@tinagerow)

And here’s a list of other online classes that I have taught. And I also do talks on these topics. In fact a lot of my talks turn into Online Classes. Some are two weeks, some are one and some can be either depending on the scheduling needs of the group.

Living the Life of a Writer: Is it All Really Glamour & Bon Bons?

Gargoyles, Shifters, Succubus & More: Writing Believable Non Humans

Sex! On Writing Hot!

Settings For Paranormal Stories:

Plotting: The Right Way: The Wrong Way & What Works For You

I’m Back From Writing Conference: What Do I do now?

How to Promote Yourself & Not Just Your Book

Using Corporate America Know How & Goal Setting To Reach Your Dreams

Submitting: How to Use the Rule of 10 to Maximize Your Chance of Getting to YES!

Writing Love Scenes

POV in Dialogue

Happy Writing!!

Tina