Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blog Tour: Just This Once by Rosalind James.

Just This Once Everyone needs to be rescued sometimes. Everyone but Hannah Montgomery, that is. She just needs a vacation. Three weeks in New Zealand to sort out her life, figure out what she wants, seems just right. Oh, and to relax. She should definitely put that on the agenda. She certainly isn’t looking for a fling with a professional rugby player, no matter how attractive he is. Hannah doesn’t do casual. But maybe just this once. . . As much as he’s shared with Hannah, Drew Callahan has kept one very big secret. And learning the truth, now that she’s back home again, has made Hannah warier than ever. Drew knows that she’s right for him. But how can he convince her to let down her guard enough to explore what they could have together?

GIVEAWAY:The prize is a $40 Amazon gift card!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Plus, guest post!

Why I Don’t Get Writer’s Block

By Rosalind James

“What do you do about writer’s block?” I hear this question all the time. Short answer: I don’t
get it! After ten years as a marketing writer, I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent toiling
to make alphabet letter tiles or fireplace inserts sound sexy. Writing stories about two people
falling in love? Piece of cake!

The longer answer is that the techniques I developed to keep myself on track while writing
about Building Your Classroom Library or Our Salon Services have continued to serve me well in
writing fiction. Here they are:

1. Take a walk. Or a run, or a bike ride, or a swim. We’re not just giant disembodied brains.
Something about moving my body makes the left brain/right brain combination work.
I don’t try to force my story to come to me, just let my mind wander. For the first ten
minutes or so, it DOES wander. Then somehow, without any direction, it comes back to
the book. Often, the scene that appears isn’t even the one I thought I was working on.
I’ve learned to trust the process, and go home and write the scene that came to me.
Maybe that other scene will appear next time—or maybe it wasn’t right after all.

2. Try a different spot. I often take a notebook to the coffee shop in the morning. The walk
up there gets my mind working (see #1), and the change from my normal writing place
shakes up my mind a bit. The difficulty arises when I’m scribbling a particularly steamy
scene in longhand, hoping devoutly that nobody can look over my shoulder and read
what I’ve written—or that they’ll guess why I’m concentrating so hard!

3. Just write. Don’t worry about getting it perfect at first. Your words may start out stilted,
but the act of writing will make the ideas start to flow, and you can go back and edit
later. I often don’t start at the “beginning” of a scene, as that bogs me down. I start
with the “fun” part, the part that presents itself most insistently. Afterwards, I’ll come
back and write the graceful introduction.

4. Give it a day. I start each day by going back over what I wrote the day before. I can
always improve it. It also jump-starts that day’s work by getting me back into the book.

5. If you’re stuck, move! This goes back to #1. If I’m blanking out, I get up and make a
cup of tea, empty the dishwasher, anything to shake myself up. The right idea always
comes once I stop trying to force it.

There you go. I hope my tips help. And happy writing!

Don’t Let Rejection Get You Down (Yeah, Right)

By Rosalind James

“Dear Author: Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately . . .” And your heart sinks again.

You tell yourself that Gone With the Wind was rejected 38 times. That over a hundred
publishers turned down Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries. That Tom Clancy, after everyone else
had said no, finally found a publisher for The Hunt for Red October—the Naval Institute Press.

But still, what you’re hearing is that your baby is ugly. And that nobody, anywhere, will ever
love it. So how do you keep from getting discouraged? Here are some thoughts that may help.

1. Publishers Are Risk-Averse. Also agents. I worked in the publishing industry for 20
years, and have been on the other end of this one many times. If a publisher thinks a
book has a 40% chance of making $100,000, he will take that bet over a 5% chance of
making $2 million. What does this mean? More of the same! They want more of what’s
been selling lately, because it’s too hard to predict what will sell tomorrow.

That doesn’t mean your book isn’t good, or that the public (as opposed to the
publishers) won’t buy it. It just means that, if you aren’t writing the Flavor of the
Moment, you’re less likely to be snapped up. You can choose either to keep trying,
keep polishing your query and your manuscript, sending out a few queries at a time
until you land that fish, or . . .

2. Consider Self-Publishing. We are living in a unique moment, when the barriers to
entry have come crashing down. Yes, this means some books are being published that
probably shouldn’t be. But it also means that authors whose books sat rejected for
years are putting them out there, and guess what? People want to read them!

The downside: What downside? If your book succeeds, the publishers may come to
you. Maybe you’ll finance a little bit more writing time. And if it doesn’t sell much,
what have you lost? Some time and the money for (I hope) a professionally designed
book cover. So make sure your book is edited and the very best you can make it, do
your research on producing and marketing your work, and give it a try!

3. Keep Writing! Whichever way you choose to go, don’t stop writing. If people whose
opinions you genuinely trust are telling you your work is good, and you believe in your
heart of hearts that it is, you owe it to yourself to keep going, and to find a way to put
your books out there for the market to judge. Nobody’s tombstone ever said, “I wish I
hadn’t pursued my dream.”

Helen Keller said it best. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in
nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the
long run than exposure.” Good luck, and good writing!

Creating Your Book Cover

By Rosalind James

You can judge a book by its cover—and people do it all the time. Your cover has to convince
YOUR target buyer that this is her type of book, and that it’s a good one. The tips below,
gleaned from ten years in marketing for the publishing industry, helped me create my own
covers. I pass them along in hopes that they help you too.

1. Hire a professional. It isn’t as expensive as you may think. Three eBook covers cost me
less than $100 per book: A small investment that has already paid for itself many times
over in book sales.

2. Choose the right professional. I did a web search to find designers in my genre
(Romance), then looked at their websites and portfolios. Who designs covers that
appeal to you and make you want to buy the book? When you’ve found somebody
whose work you like, ask for a quote.

3. Know your market. Think about authors whose books resemble yours. Those authors
have succeeded in attracting your market. Look at the covers of their books, and you’ll
see trends. (Shirtless heroes? Flowers? An ornate font, or a simple one? Big, bold block
letters on a red background, for a thriller?) Copy the links to your favorite covers. You’ll
want to share them with your designer.

4. Define the effect you want to achieve. Your cover is your brand. Even if you only have
one book out there now, you’ll want a “look” that people identify with your style. A
good designer excels in translating “feelings” into art. This is the direction I gave my own
designer: “I want a simple, tasteful, intelligent cover (no half-naked heroes!) Something
that still says ‘romance,’ but not ‘embarrassing.’ The books are funny, playful, sexy, and
occasionally tearjerking. Not completely frothy, a serious story in there too. I want to
convey that--plus ‘exotic New Zealand locale.’”

I also had three books, with a fourth to come, so I needed to tie the covers together.
The designer achieved that with the use of color and layout.

5. Research stock art. You’ll get better results and help your designer if you take the time
to find stock imagery that conveys the look you’re going for. I used Dreamstime. The
designer used the image I found for my first book, Just This Once, but found different
(better!) images for the other books, Just Good Friends and Just For Now.

6. Work the design, and get feedback. After you get the designer’s first pass, ask people
who have read your book for their reactions, then evaluate the feedback and give ONE
response to the designer. If it isn’t quite right, keep working. (It took me three or four
rounds.) Don’t give the designer specific direction (“could you put the title under the
picture?”) Instead, try to explain the “feeling” that isn’t quite right (“It doesn’t look
playful enough”).

7. Admire your beautiful book cover! I hope it sells great!



  1. Thanks for having my book on here, Liana! Love your blog. So funny. --Rosalind

    1. Hey, no problem! I'm so glad for you to see this post. (:


Hey there! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Comments really make my day. Don't forget to leave your link below so I can check out your blog as well!