Writing a novel is a labor of love. I like to compare birthing a book to birthing a baby. However, it takes a very proficient, full-time writer to take a book from brainstorming to publication in nine months. Unfortunately, for most, it takes much longer.
As a lifelong romance novel reader (I sneaked my mom’s Harlequins and read them by flashlight late at night), I am a fool for a well-written HEA, Happily Ever After, or HFN, Happy for Now, story. I was a Julia Quinn, Bridgerton fan years before the Netflix series. Sweet, saucy, spicy, hot, or XXX hot—a well-written romance teaches you what love should look like and is the most optimistic genre on the market.
The protagonists portrayed in the genre can be whatever alphabet career the author wants, be it a pilot, photographer, or psychologist (or an accountant, actuary, or artist). Whatever their occupation, they are clever, bright, competent—and flawed. At first glance, the protagonists may not appear well-suited, perhaps even enemies. Through the author’s capable storytelling, they can ride the relationship rollercoaster to a satisfactory ending–a HEA or, at the very least, an HFN!
Gwen Hayes’s Romancing the Beat—Story Structure for Romance Novels (2016) explains it best: “Whatever is keeping your characters from falling in love, being in love, or thinking they deserve love is what your book is going to be about. All your plot points and beats need to be looked at through the lens of that fear or misconception or deepseated issue. Your book needs to show the process your protagonists endure to change so that by the end of the book they are able to give their whole heart to someone else and accept love in return.”
I started writing in the early 2000s after joining Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Their conferences, workshops, and support were invaluable in helping a newbie romance writer learn the craft. I filled notebooks full of advice, quips, and experiences. I saw a niche in sports romance and decided to take the plunge. I entered unpublished contests like GRW’s Moonlight and Magnolias, queried traditional publishers, and pitched my book to editors at conferences. Overall, I had a good response to reads of my synopsis and first three chapters. There was the occasional “Women don’t read sports books” and “Have you written two more books in the series?”.
Based on their advice, I wrote, edited, and rewrote my edits hundreds of times. But it was apparent that I could continue to shop this book forever and never get it published. Because I’d invested a couple of years in the project, I was not content to have my kids find my manuscript in a box under my bed when I gained my heavenly reward.
My first novel, Sidelined by Love by Ana Aragon, was published in 2007 by The Wild Rose Press (TWRP), at the time considered a step up from “vanity print” or self-published. In the early days, self-publishing was considered vanity print because publishers would not accept it for publication, so the “vain” author took matters into her own hands and published the darn book. The Wild Rose Press was created by authors who dreamed of being “a kinder and gentler publisher.” Many authors published in the early days of TWRP had shopped their books to brick-and-mortar publishers with no luck.
With no advances but the resources of a traditional publisher, TWRP allowed authors to get their stories printed digitally, with a print-on-demand option for those authors or readers who preferred a physical book. Some of us even made money, and we didn’t have to pay exorbitant fees for editing, proofreading, cover design, and publishing. The RWA took a few years to get on board, but TWRP is an accepted publisher and a great place to query your romance novel.
Sidelined by Love was written to be a series of three or even four books, but I had a “heat” issue with my new editor for the second book in the series, Strike Three-You’re Mine, and decided to take a hiatus to return to full-time teaching—for the insurance. It was then that I decided that if I couldn’t continue writing, I’d like to help other authors going through the process of publishing their first novel.
I became an editor for The Wild Rose Press in a slightly spicier genre than the one I’d been published in. It was there that I met lifelong friends and great writers. I enjoyed helping authors tighten up and shape their stories. I cheered for them when they eventually published, knowing firsthand what they could accomplish. However, full-time teaching and raising a family became more than a full-time job, so I resigned from TWRP.
Are you ready?
My goal for ReEditPro is to be a reasonably-priced, go-to resource for authors who want to see their stories in print. Our editors have years of experience as readers, editors, and proofreaders. They can help you shape your story and ensure your book is errorfree and publishable.
Our successful authors are great writers and storytellers who understand the writer/editor process and are willing to explore alternative opinions that turn their good book into a great one. If you’ve been spinning your wheels trying to break into publishing with little to no success, don’t you owe it to yourself to submit your story for a free quote?
When you upload your story to our system, a published author and editor will read it and give you quick, free advice on improving it. You will also get a quote for our various services: editorial assessment, developmental editing, copy editing, proofreading, and final read. Your labor of love will be safe with us!