Thursday, November 12, 2009

Love Inspired Guidelines, and more

There are a few questions I am often asked about writing. One is: how did you get published?

The answer to that question is: Hard work.
But there was more involved than writing, or learning to write. From the beginning I knew that I had to find the right publisher. I had to find a publisher that matched my writing style and what I wanted to write.

I went on a search for that publisher. I looked at Wal-Mart and at bookstores. I wrote down titles, names of authors, names of publishers and the types of books. And then I got a computer (that was back in 90s; a decade in time, and a century ago in technology). I could get online and do the research I'd been doing at the stores and by reading.

While searching I found a brand of Christian romances that captured my heart and attention.

And then I found this amazing place called "eharlequin." I found message boards where I could ask questions, and guidelines so that I knew what the editors of Love Inspired were looking for.
I began to think about the market, and about myself as a consumer.

Love Inspired was the perfect fit for me. The right genre, the right price point, and they can be bought at the stores where busy moms and wives shop. You see, at the time I had young children. I bought books that were easy to find, easy to afford. I knew that other busy moms probably felt the same way. I also wanted books that were on the shelves, picked up by everyone.

I started on my journey, the journey to become an author for Love Inspired. It took a few years, but in 2006, it happened. That first contract. It was an amazing day, and an amazing year. And the start of a great adventure.

Yes, as you've heard, Love Inspired has guidelines. I've always seen those guidelines as a challenge to my writing, not as something that limits my creativity. They are just words. By adhering to the words my books reach a wider audience. Some won't miss the words, might not even have noticed the lack of those words. Others will feel more comfortable because the words are not there. And honestly, what book is made better by the word 'bra?' What book is really made weaker by the lack of that word?

Writing to the guidelines hasn't hurt me as an author. There are words that I can't use. But those words don't affect the depth of the stories that I write, or the stories the other Love Inspired authors write. I believe our readers are testimony to that fact. Our characters portray people who have made mistakes, overcome the greatest of odds, found a way to healing, and to God. Our characterse are people like us. People we identify with.

Our readers are housewives, husbands, teenagers, moms, single ladies, doctors, lawyers, secretaries... It is a long list. Some of our readers go to church, some don't, some are seeking.

You get the point.

I am so proud of Love Inspired and the books that I have been allowed to write for them. I'm doubly proud of my readers, all of them. I love the letters that I get, pointing out small things that the reader felt touched by, or characters they identify with.

As I sit here and think about that word and this post, I realize it is the perfect time of year to think about the things in our lives that we're thankful for.
God is at the top of the list. In the last few years He has shown me that no matter how much I believe I'm in control of my life, and that my plan for myself is perfect: He is the one in control and His plan is far better than anything I could have come up with on my own.


Jessica said...

You're so right about the words. It doesn't hurt to stay in the guidelines at all, if anything, it forces us to be more creative. :-) eharlequin was the first place I found that gave me great writing advice. I used to read and reread their articles.
Thanks for sharing about your experience. :-)

brenda minton said...

Thanks for posting. :-) And yes, I felt the same way when I found eharlequin.

Stephanie Newton said...

blogger doesn't want my comment. Tell the truth, you blocked me, didn't you?

brenda minton said...

You know I did. Oh, and don't call me, either.
love ya.