The Nuances of Writing, according to a Budding Romance Novelist

A few brief, random, and utterly odd thoughts on the secret life of a budding writer.

  • Cover design. Love it. I've always loved design and am honing my skills. What's weird? From new indie to NY and USA Today bestsellers with impressive contracts, most cover images are pulled from the same sources, like Shutterstock. When doing my own shopping for books, I recognized about 30% of cover images immediately. Many of those are already saved in my own folders for possible use in the future. Trust me, most of the abs you see on romance covers are from the same 10 guys ;). I have another guy I have named Fabio for the massive numbers of book covers I have seen him on.
  • Steaminess. I addressed this in my last post. But I've discovered, there's clean/wholesome and there's erotica. Everything in between, like so much of life, is on the spectrum. How do we convey this to our readers? To ourselves? How do we decide how much?
  • Length. How long should a book be? The short answer: However long it needs to be. The shorter answer: 60k-85k words.
  • Reviews. Holy crap this is a tough one. Advanced Review Copies are critical for a decent launch, and I am truly grateful for the thoughtful, honest reviews. These are such great tools to help hone my writing. Reviews in general are dang tough. I know I liked it has become my motto, as most reviews are actually pretty great. But there are a few that give me a frowny face - after a very brief pity party, the Pollyanna in me rolls back my sleeves and gets to work on nailing the next one. If ONE person had a blast, or got their socks knocked off, or simply had a good day because of a book I wrote, I'm thrilled. Did I like it? Did one person have a good day because of it? Then my work here is done.
  • Where, when, how. On my couch, every Friday then weekend evenings, via laptop. If only there were more hours in the day! A good workout earlier in the day makes a world of difference. A decent view out the window or a fire in the fireplace certainly helps. Music blasting.
  • Editing. Holy moly, this is becoming one of my favorite sports. I get to read my story over and over again, which is why I started writing in the first place! First adding details, then trimming it down, then trimming it down again, then the nitty gritty. If I could go back and do it all over again, I'd push every book out another 3 months to leave more time for self-editing. I'm trying that this time, but I'm such a procrastinator! That strategy got me through college anyway ;). Speaking of... I really ought to edit this post more, but I'm not going to, I'd rather edit my not-quite-done 1st draft of Wildest!!
  • Advertising, marketing, promoting. I'm just... not even going here today. So multi-faceted, I should have gone into marketing for all I have learned in the last year!
  • Web design. As with cover design, this is one of my secret passions. But, if I spend too much time on book cover and website design, I'll never get to write... speaking of...
  • Where does one start? One day, I started keeping a journal on my ideas. Then, I stole my husband's laptop and started writing. The first few, well, they sucked. They shall forever live in the "pathetic attempts" folder. Then one day, it sort of clicked. Each time I begin again, I learn from the last, building and improving.
  • Nom de plume. Throne wasn't my first choice, my first choice was already taken, and the rights to the URL was freaking expensive anyway. Finding Thorne was the result of hours of work, only to discover my sister had chosen THE SAME nom de plume surname. Rather cool, I think. I work in healthcare, and maintaining my secret identity is pretty dang important. Don't spill the beans please ;).
  • WHYBecause I love it. Because falling in love is one of my favorite things I have done in my life - tricky thing about falling in love, the real thing, it's not something you can do recreationally or it sort of defeats the purpose. Because these stories have been in my head for years, helping me through stressful times so I can sleep. I'm a great sleeper, thanks to my strategy. Because it makes me happy

What brings you joy? It's a tough world. I hope you have many sources of wonder in your life. That each day, you can find a reason to smile.

~ Carrie