The rumored demise of the Harlequin Bombshell line is official. I’m afraid I contributed to the demise. 🙁 I read a couple of Bombshells and I liked them, but I kept forgetting to look for them because of the shelving. They should never have been treated like a category line, IMO! Some readers looking for romance were bound to get pissed off when they picked up a Bombshell because it was right next to a Blaze or an Intimate Moments.
In fact, that’s pretty much how I read my first Bombshell. I knew it was going to have a kickass heroine, but I didn’t realize the romance would be practically non-existent. I was disappointed about that, but still intrigued enough to think the line had a lot of potential. And let’s face it, any line of books that promotes women as kickass movers and shakers in control of their own destinies is a GOOD THING. But I think Harl. failed in their marketing, quite honestly, and that’s a disappointment.
Women, especially younger women, need to know that women can be bigger than life and more than the typical. Not that romance writers don’t write wonderful women — they do — but sometimes it’s good to see women acting in new and exciting ways. I think this is the biggest reason I’m disappointed in the line folding, and why I blame myself for not supporting it more actively.
Interestingly, and changing the subject a bit (found via Alison Kent) is this post by Bombshell author Stephanie Feagan, which has nothing to do with the line folding and everything to do with writing. Awesome, awesome advice!
These days, it’s just not good enough to finish a book, even if it’s good. It has to be AMAZING. Good won’t cut it. Read a lot, and be inspired – but write, every business day of the week – at least four hours a day – hopefully more. Treat this like a job, like it MEANS something, and put out a lot of work – a lot of material you can send, as soon as something comes back. Research the agents – find five you think would be a good fit for YOUR work, who are reputable, and query the hell out of them. Send proposals, not query letters. If they reject you, send something else – and keep sending something else until they like what you send. Once a project has made the rounds, retire it and send new material. If you write slow – that’s bullshit. Anyone can write fast – it’s a matter of practice, and trust me, if you make yourself write four hours, at least, every single day, you’ll write a LOT faster. If you don’t write for a month, then sit down and expect it to flow out of you, it won’t.
PBW also has some excellent advice here. How can you argue with this?
Every time being a writer is tough for you, it’s teaching you something. It’s testing you, too. This gig is a marathon, not a 100 yard dash. As you jog down the writing career road, you’ll notice a lot of abandoned partial manuscripts tossed in the ditches. Those were written by everyone for whom the job got too difficult. They packed it in and went home to watch TV.
And, still on the same topic, I’ve seen lots of posts about the Nora Roberts interview in the August RWR. Man, it was FABULOUS, which is why everyone is talking about it. Nora tells it like it is, from committing yourself to the process because writing is a job to telling people not to bother you during working hours and being firm about it.
I’ve had people think, of course, that because I’m not going to a job every day I have plenty of time to do things. “Oh, ask Lynn — she doesn’t work.” I don’t have much problem saying no these days, though I have in the past gotten dragged into doing stuff because I felt like I could handle it in addition to my writing. I’m learning to say no more frequently, and I don’t feel very guilty about it either.
On that note, I suppose I should go wrestle my manuscripts and see which one kicks me into gear. 🙂
Update: The Nora Roberts interview in the RWR is not online, of course, but here’s a recent interview that is. It’s not quite the same as the article directed toward writers, but Nora talks about her work ethic to this writer too. She’s so inspirational! I was telling someone recently, can’t remember who, how Nora came to a booksigning with some other authors in the mall I worked in. I’d just started to write romance, and I had no idea who these ladies were. This was in the early 90s, in MD, so Nora wasn’t the powerhouse she is now. And I was too scared to talk to any of them. Dummy. 🙂