First Impressions – Publishers

For years I’ve said my ultimate dream is to publish with Avon books.  I always thought it would be the pinnacle of success to say I write for Avon/Harper Collins.  But, as time goes on and I learn more and more about this business of publishing it’s not as scary or intimidating as I originally thought.  I am looking at publishers now that I have finished manuscripts I am seeing things differently.  No longer are my dreams pinned on Avon, instead I am looking at publishers as a whole and asking myself, based off my first impression, who is going to treat me the best? Who is going to help me grow?

Not easy questions but something writers really need to ask themselves before they sign on the dotted line.  At RWA nationals this year, I was able to participate in the publishers book signings and ended up with a ton of free books.  One of the things that was an obvious stand out for me was how the book signings were organized and how the authors were presented.  For example some publishers had prepared ahead of time and had name signs for the authors.  A small thing, but far from trivial. As I rounded each table I had to look around a horde of people to see who was signing, and if I had to look off their book it was sometimes impossible (bad eyes and reading a name on a cover from a distance is hard) and I know I missed a few of my favorites!  (However – gotta say – I meet Julia London again – and went all fan girl crazy – again!) By presenting their authors, showing some sort of continuity, and community, I was more impressed with them.

Also it was clear which publishers were investing in an event, I might go to a book signing and there were no more books available, that doesn’t speak volumes for me.  For example, I attended one publishers signing and they were full of books and the authors had things to sign and enjoy the interaction with readers/writers.  I spent more time at those signings and I met more unknown authors, and have found new favorites.  I went to another at the same time and most of the authors had run out of books didn’t have anything to sign, and some authors were already gone – disappointing for a reader but also disappointing for the image of that publishing house.

With small presses advancing in the market and the popularity of self-publishing, we as authors, have more power than we think.  We may not sell to our dream press, but maybe a smaller press is going to give us the opportunity to shine much brighter. A smaller press, (and by this I am not talking about indy presses or exceptionally small e-book or print on demand publishers)  has just as much to gain from your books success as you do.  Wouldn’t that make them more invested in you and your future with them?  Even if it is one of the big presses, if they are not going to show you respect then why sign? Why be with a house who isn’t going to give you the 100% you give them?

Although these are just observations, my first impressions with these publishers has given me insight on what they will be like to work with should I ever have the opportunity to see my work in print.  Those that presented their authors well, invested time and money into the signings,  really made me want to work with them because I could see how they would respect me as an author and promote my work.  I kinda have my crown jewels of which houses I’d like to work with now that I’ve seen them in action.  Luckily Avon is still leading my list, but I’m impressed with NAL/Penguin, and my new favorite is Sourcebooks.   Granted these are bigger houses but they have really impressed me with how they treat their authors – They have given me good first impressions!

What about you?  What first impressions do you have of publishers?  What is your dream press?





RomCon Review

Enough teasers my friends, it’s time to dish about RomCon. Before I give you the low down – If you have not attended RomCon in the past two years definitely plan to attend next year.  It’ll be in June.

Okay so let me start with RomCon people.  First there are the authors.  I don’t think anyone who is a fan of reading and books would not be completely star struck with the amount of talent at the conference.  As ya’ll know I was tickled pink to get an intimate chat with Julia London and she did not disappoint.  I tried really hard not to be a fan girl, but alas it was hopeless.  I was in the room with one of my favorite authors and it was AWESOME.  She talked about her beginnings as a writer and her history leading up to publishing and beyond.

What really comes across to the attendees at RomCon is that authors are just like everyone else.  They work full time, they Facebook and twitter, they say the F word, they have problems ushering their kids to and from soccer and they watch calories too.  I was blessed to have the intimate chat with Julia, but even more impressed with the many other one on one conversation with authors I’ve never yet read.  I sat down and spoke with Erin Kellison for about a half hour, we shared writing tips and reading addictions, and now that I’ve been introduced to her creative mind I have moved her series to the top of my TBR pile. Also on my list of OMG gotta reads is Jessa Slade.  She was so personable and so humble about her gift and let me just say she is one awesome chick.

The workshops presented are a phenomenal way to really delve into an author’s creative process and connect with others about your interests in reading.  For example, a panel of historical authors, I think about 10 of them, put on a historical fashion show, complete with authentic costumes and a male cover model to escort them. Mary Wine, who write highlander historical, actually made her costume by hand. WOW.  *Side note – I had lunch with Mary at the conference and she is an utterly fabulous woman* I can’t really give you information about the fashion show; I skipped it to listen to Pamela Clare talk about her inspirations for her I-team series.  Readers, I have not yet read her series but they are 2nd on my TBR list now.  She is the editor and chief for the Boulder Weekly and the stories she shared about her career are novel worthy in themselves.  I’d love to read her biography if and when she writes it.  She is the epitome of COOL.

Okay enough name dropping on authors on to the actual attendees.  I said this previously but during my first year at RomCon I felt that I had truly found a place where I belong.  This year is no different.  I am normally a very shy and reserved person, but here I am free to be myself because I’m with 400 other people who feel exactly how I do.  I made friends with people I hope to remain friends with throughout the year.  I hope to have found a new CP and networked with other bloggers and authors.  I was never alone, and if I was it wasn’t for long because someone pulled me into a conversation or invited me to join their table for dinner.  Of course it’s kinda hard to not befriend someone when you are passing around a lubed dildo during the Chocolate Mangasm dirty party game, held by some of the best erotic authors in the industry, or laughing over an outrageously naughty mad-lib about the perfect man.

I could talk about each workshop and my experiences with each author for days and days.  Instead I’m going to leave you with these brief thoughts and promise to bring you more topics covered at RomCon throughout the coming weeks.

As a gift to our followers I’m going to giveaway one SIGNED copy of Mary Sullivan’s novel, Beyond Ordinary.  This is the first giveaway for HerStoryCalls!  I will collect names of commenters throughout the week and release the winner next Friday.  So Comment now, comment often.  (If you’d like to subscribe to our daily posts be sure to do that as well!)

To get the comments started – Tell me – Have you ever met an author? Have you ever been to a book signing?  Did you go to RomCon and what are your thoughts?

Best wishes until next week!



RomCon, Favorite Authors, and Amazon Autobuys.

I’m super duper excited for RomCon. As of this morning, I will be knee deep in romance, reading, authors, and a whole bunch of fun. I will definitely be blogging about my experiences next Friday and sharing the joys with all of you.

To start with I want to share with ya’ll that I won the lottery at RomCon and I get to have an intimate chat, me and 14 other people, with Julia London. I can’t be any more excited than if I’d won the real lottery…well maybe not, but I imagine its close. For several reasons I did not read or write for many years. When I made the journey back to writing, it started with reading. I reread all of my Julie Garwood novels in about a week, and moved on to my all time favorites, Scottish Highlanders. The first series was Monica McCarthy’s highlander series and I devoured all of them in less than two weeks. Officially hooked on highlanders I stumbled upon Julia London’s highlander trilogy and from the first page, I was addicted. I read nearly every historical she’d written and then found her contemporary series. She is responsible for many of my sleepless nights.

If Amazon ever created a feature to AUTOBUY anything by a specific author, Julia London would be my very first addition to that list. Only a few others would follow her but I just know anything she writes I’m going to read. Perhaps it because I’ve never read one of her books I didn’t thoroughly enjoy.

I could gush all day about favorites, but I want to hear from you. If Amazon ever created an AUTOBUY feature, where it would automatically buy a new release from any author, who would it be and why?

Toodles until next week!


Watch out ComiCon – RomCon is coming to town

A week from today I will be at RomCon, from what I gather it is the only conference designed specifically for romance readers.   This is the second year and it promises to be a fantastic event.  Romance writers attend the big conferences, RT and RWA’s annual conference, but they focus on our craft and the industry, not necessarily the most important part of being an author and that is the reader.

It is three days, held in lovely Denver, CO.  Readers can hobnob with their favorite authors and find new ones to love and enjoy.  The conference offers intimate chats with big name authors like Julia London (my favorite), Carly Phillips, Jennifer Ashley, Shayla Black, Jacquelyn Frank, Jeanne Stein, Cindy Gerard and the list could go on and on. This event allows you to actually meet your favs and gush about their books (guilty – did it to Monica McCarthy last year).

Books!  Oh my lord the books – I came home with 45 books last year, most of which I was able to get signed by the author.  They were everywhere and I have to say I have found some new favorites and have read their entire series.

For prepub authors it’s also a great chance to meet people in the industry, last year I met agents and bloggers and was able to do a bit of networking with them.

As a person, I have to admit that RomCon was like one of those places that you feel at home.  There isn’t anything awkward or uncomfortable, which can be the case for socially shy people like me. You don’t feel like a wall flower because you are celebrating your passion for romance books with people exactly like you. I made great friends last year and have been able to maintain those relationships because we are all connected to our love a happy ending.

So if you love romance either writing it or reading it, this is the place for you.  I’ll be back next Friday to dish out some more news on how the event is going.

Check out the website, and hey – if you want me to give a shout out or ask a question of your favorite author that is attending let me know.  If you are attending let me know so we can meet up for a workshop or lunch.

For today I’m going to ask this  – What author or authors would you want to meet, any author in the world, in any genre?  What would you ask?  What would you say?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Michelle –