* Paranormals are out. Time travel is still in if it has a great hook.
* Reunion stories are hot. My mind went to family reunions and slipped into incest and I didn't hear too much of what she said after that, because I was stuck in the "ick" factor. I'm guessing she meant high school or college reunions.
* Memoirs are hard sells unless you're already famous, which I'm not, so guess I won't write about the day I was flashed on my way to work or how a Jamaican dude grabbed me and said he wanted me for his wife back in America.
* Historical romances don't go over so well. That's funny, I've got gobs of them on my Kindle.
* Romances centered around motorcycle clubs are on her list.
* Secret babies. Aren't we using birth control now-a-days???
When she was through with her list, she told me what she wanted me to write. What my next series should be...setting...the whole she-bang. So much for writing the story of my heart. But you see, that's what writing has become--a business. And I have no problem with that. The publisher wants to make a profit...and so do I. Plus, I've never had a problem writing to spec and putting my own spin on it. In fact, I get a charge out of that.
So, when someone says to me, I'd like to write a book someday, I want to tell them the following:
* Know the market. What's hot today will be dead by the time you get your first book written and professionally edited.
* Know the length of book--or word count--publishers want for your genre. Don't write 165,000 word book, unless you've got the time to edit it down to 90,000 words, or less.
* Know the genre of your book. If it's a historical, vampire, romantic mystery, just how will the publisher market it? If it goes to print, what section of the store will it be shelved in?
* Don't use said tags. It angers me they're teaching them to kids in school. What a waste. Show who is talking with action beats.
* Learn point of view. If you don't know what that is, you aren't ready to start writing a book.
* Have your book edited...and NOT by your husband or sister who got all A's in English in school. What did they learn about POV, GMC, plot arc, character arc, plot holes and character development. I majored in English in college and didn't learn those things. Oh, the stories I could tell you about my first few terrible, awful, too bad-to-read books.
* Avoid use of "that" and "just" and "feel" and other repetitive words. Don't use see/saw, hear/heard, thought, felt and other words that "tell the action" instead of using vibrant words that "show the action." I use this thick synonym finder to pick just the right, visual inducing word.
* Don't make your characters TSTL (too stupid to live). Young writers do this to get a laugh. More seasoned authors roll their eyes and trash the book.
* Don't fall in love with your sentences, your book's title and your character's names. Your editor might make you change them. And they have that right. Six of my titles have been changed.
* Unless you are the RARE exception, don't expect an advance. Publishers are moving away from advances to larger percentages of royalties. I've written twelve books and only one came with an advance.
* Don't expect to give up your day job. For a book sold this year, some houses won't pay you the royalties until next year. Most wait three to six months. Sometimes I earn enough to buy a cup of coffee and other times, I earn enough to pay our property taxes. It takes a long time to build up an audience who automatically buys whatever you write.
* Learn to promote yourself. You will become a used car salesman of books. Expect to work harder at this business than you have at anything you've ever done. Expect to spend 2-3 hours a day in some kind of self-promo and in helping other authors and at least twice that much time, every day, writing. I'm at my computer from 9am until 1am, seven days a week. But I'm retired and the kids are grown. You may have babies to care for, but do write at least thirty minutes every day, so your mind gets used to that creative time.
* You will love this more than anything you've ever done.
BEING A WRITER IS DA BOMB!