Do you have piles of manuscripts somewhere in a file drawer? Have you been trying for years to get a manuscript accepted? Well, I too was an author with a story to tell, and no publisher. Again and again I would try, but the rejection letters piled up. I put my manuscript away and decided to focus on other things.
One day, at Manresa Castle my local RWA chapter was having a retreat. We were writing sprints, thatís thirty minutes of writing freestyle non-stop with ten minute breaks in-between. When we were done, we talked about what we wrote and one of the ladies, Lavada Dee, shared with us a short story she had published in a magazine. She recommended to us that this might be a way we can get our names noticed. An idea began to form in my mind. After much deliberation, I decided to try it. Another good friend of mine, Debby Lee, took the leap first. She found a short story publisher, books to go now. After speaking with Debby, I decided to try writing a short story.
Going back to my days in college when I took a creative writing course, I pulled out all my notes on how to write a short story. The main point in the structure of writing a short is to keep the tale concise. When I was in craft class, one person broke it down. She stated the short story is much like a commercial in which you have one scene or short span of time through which you must convey your message. This was my first step towards writing a short story.
I began to get excited about the idea of writing a short story. The second step, was to plot my story. My first tale, Moonlight in a Pickup Truck, evolved and I began to find short stories fun and easy to write. Like all writing, there must be a beginning, middle, and an end. However, I like to think of the short story as a snippet out of time.
Once Moonlight in a Pickup Truck was written, I put together my query letter. With trepidation I reviewed the requirements for a short story on Books To Go Now website for submissions. Following their instructions, I sent off my query letter and full manuscript via email. I waited, impatiently, for the reply. After my experience with other publishing houses, I didnít expect to hear from them anytime soon. However, I found the response in my inbox only a few days later. They wanted my story, I was surprised and elated. The contact was attached as well as the next step toward publication.
Now the real work began. Writing a story can be fun. Itís certainly my favorite part of the writing business, and why I do it. However, any story will need work. The turnaround time with my publisher was fast. Within only a few weeks, they had my manuscript back to me with the edits that would need to done. While daunting at first, they did not try to change my storyline, or my voice as a writer.
The next step in my journey was promotion. Now, I donít know if you like promotion, but for me it is the hardest thing in the writing business to do. After several long conversations with both my writing friends and my publisher, I was able to break it down to the basics. Social networking; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, & StumbleUpon. These are only a few of the wider selection of social networking channels that one can use for promotion. I spend around thirty minutes daily with Social Networking. Blogging is another great way to get the word out. Many authors these days swap reviews or blogs enabling each other to have free promotion. Advertising can cost money, and if you are like most authors, itís hard to find two pennies to squeeze together. I personally put out money for my domain name and website. Most authors these days have a website where readers can find them. When you have a website you can participate in things like blog hops, and giveaways. Most of these are free or inexpensive means to get your name out. However, they do take time and effort.
Since I was beginning my journey into short story writing, I felt it necessary to find out what the market was like for short stories. After much review, I found that many readers are turning towards the short story. The attention span of current society has decreased in length. Readers find it hard to sit for extended lengths of time. In fact, many state they donít have the time to read. This is where the short story can come in handy. Your target audience is those people want to read, but find they donít have a lot of time. Therefore, I have aimed the length of my manuscripts for short stories to be read in one setting of around one hour. For those savvy author types, thatís between 10,000 to 15,000 words.
When my foray into short story writing began two years ago, I wasnít sure where it would take me. Now, I have 10 stories with books to go now, as well as one anthology, The Hunter Diaries series, which just released in both e-book and print. The books are doing fairly well, and as I continue to write my full-length manuscripts, the shorts get my name into the publicís eye, and bolster my courage towards full-length manuscript writing. I still dream someday to have my name up on bestseller lists such as New York Times, or USA Today. But for now, just having my name in print makes me squeal with joy. And I can finally say, yes I am a published author.
My experience with Books To Go Now Publishing has been wonderful. As they continue to grow, so do I. Books To Go Now has just contacted four category-length novels with me (45,000 to 50,000 words), The Jewel series, which are Contemporary Action/Adventure Romance. I look forward to having them released this year. It has been a journey, and I plan to continue releasing short stories as they are a great way keep my name in the publicís eye while Iím working on my full-length novels. I would definitely recommend short story writing to any author who is looking to break into the market. While it may not bring in a great deal of money to start with, it will get you noticed.
May you find success in your writing journey.
Serena Zane is a best-selling eclectic author who writes Paranormal Romance, Action/adventure Romance, and Sweet Romance. She lives with her husband and son in the Northwest. She works hard at her full-time job, plays hard, and spends her time studying the Middle Ages, crossing swords on the battlefield in a re-creationist organization called the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc (SCA); and writing.
Zane broke into the writing scene with her best-selling short stories published through Books To Go Now. Her latest release, The Hunter Diaries anthology, is a compilation of four of her shorts and is out in both print and eBook.
Inspired by her mother, a strong independent woman who loves to help others, Zane writes strong female leads and hot alpha males with sizzling fast-paced plotlines.
In 2009, she became a member of Romance Writerís of America, and is currently the secretary and web minister of the Olympia Chapter.
Zane won the Lucy Monroe Award in 2011 for her accomplishments as an author through her RWA chapter. Always an author, she laughs as she recalls her first story (written in kindergarten) entitled ďMy First Romance NovelĒ on construction paper in purple and pink. She fell in love with the idea of writing a contemporary action/adventure romance while she attended college to study Criminal Justice and she combined both her knowledge of Criminal Justice and her love for all things paranormal.
Her series include: The Hunter Diaries, The Dark Warrior series, & The Jewel series. Zane has also released three Sweet Romance shorts, which are based around her adventures in the SCA.
To check out what Serena is up to, friend her on Twitter, Facebook or check out her website where she maintains a blog & often participates in giveaways.
Duty, family, loyalties, and passion ...when your life is placed on the line which comes first? In rainy Seattle, Washington the Wills family and their friends must choose between family obligation and love. Will they be able to push prejudice aside and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds? Danger shadows their every step as they learn that good and evil is not all black and white.
Buy The Hunter Diaries Anthology on Kindle or Paperback.