by Award-Winning Guest Author Christy Barritt
It’s great to be here with you today on Inkwell. I’m Christy Barritt, and I write both romantic-suspense and mystery. I have three novels out with Love Inspired Suspense, and four more novels contracted with them. With this in mind, I thought a good topic today might be “Writing for Love Inspired.”
When I started writing twelve years ago, the first market I targeted was Love Inspired. I wrote book after book, hoping to finally write something to catch their attention. Ten years later, I finally did. My third novel with them, Race Against Time, released in April. I also have another novel, Ricochet, coming out in September, and two in 2013.
In the time since I’ve started writing for the company, I’ve realized several things about writing for the line, things that might have saved me a lot of time, effort and heartache if I’d known them earlier.
So, for anyone’s who’s trying to write for Love Inspired, here’s the best advice I can give you.
1. Read ‘em! I know you’ve heard this one a million times, but it’s so true. If you want to write for Love Inspired (or whatever publisher, for that matter) make sure you read, read, read the books they’re publishing. This will give you a really good feel for what they want. In fact, I still make an effort to read as many Love Inspired books as I can, especially when I’m writing my first draft. Doing this keeps their style in my head.
2. Pay attention to ‘em! As you study Love Inspired books, take note of what you’re reading. The hero and heroine almost always meet on the first couple of pages. Love Inspired wants them to be together as much as possible during the book. They want rising conflict. They want the character’s goal, motivation and conflict to be apparent within the first chapter. We have to understand the market we’re trying to write for.
3. Listen to ‘em! The first proposals I wrote for Love Inspired I received form rejection letters. Eventually, however, I began receiving personalized rejections. Eventually still, they offered to let me revise and resubmit. I hate to admit this, but there were times I didn’t want to listen to their feedback. I thought my story was great just the way it was. The first proposal I sold to them was one that I revised twice before receiving a contract. So, when the editors offers to let you resubmit, don’t take that lightly. Listen to their advice and you just might land a contract.
4. Submit ‘em! Don’t discount writing contests. Editors do pay attention. I was already published with another publisher when I won the 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery. I decided to drive up to the award ceremony since it was only a few hours away from where I live. I met my (now) editor after receiving the Daphne. Editors do pay attention to contest wins. I know of several people who’ve gotten contracts after winning or placing.
5. Persevere ‘em! Sometimes, even when you read the books, listen to revision suggestions, pay attention to the formula and submit to contests, you still get rejected. Do not despair. Instead, keep trying. Sometimes, you may have to try for a couple of years. Sometimes, you may try for a decade. But every time you try, you learn something. And there’s a great chance that you’ll eventually get a contract. So don’t give up!
Thanks for letting me be here today on Inkwell! For more information on my books, visit my website at: www.christybarritt.com!
I’m also giving away a copy of Race Against Time, so if you’d like to win, be sure to comment below! Leave your email address in a safe format. We'll draw a name Thursday night at 10pm. Here’s a description of the book:
Were it not for her cop neighbor, widowed mother Madison Jacobs would be dead. Thankfully, Detective Brody Philips interrupts an attempt on her life in the nick of time. But the would-be killer hasn't given up, and each tick of the clock brings the madman closer to finishing what he started. Brady vows to catch the serial killer plaguing the sleepy Virginia town…especially when he realizes the danger has followed him from the big city. With everyone around him at risk, it'll take everything Brody's got to do his duty and keep Madison and her son safe.
Do you read Love Inspired Novels? Have you ever dreamed of writing one?
Thank you Christy! Great information and congratulations on your success with Love Inspired!ReplyDelete
I try to include a LI at least once a month, but there are so many, I could never keep up --that's a good thing! I'm glad to know the market pushed more releases per month!
And of course with three lines, there's something for everyone to enjoy!
I love reading Love Inspired and recently submitted a manuscript. I'm writing another and persevering. :)
Sincere congrats on your success and contracts.
Do you mind telling us which line? and do you read just that line or across the three lines, love inspired, LIH, and LIS?
I'm nosy. I admit it.
I'm pretty much a LIH girl, but I enjoy the suspense line as well.
Hi ladies, and welcome Christy. What a great post! I'm sure it will help a lot of our readers.ReplyDelete
Christy, awesome wisdom here! Definitely things I wish I'd known before I submitted the first time.ReplyDelete
I've since come to the conclusion that although I enjoy quite a few LI books, what I write doesn't fit their guidelines. And I'm OK with that. Now. : )
Great advice, Christy, I'm paying close attention. :o)ReplyDelete
Christine Lindsay, author of Shadowed in Silk
Thanks for sharing this info with us, Christy. I read LI Suspense and the occasional LI and LI Historical. I had a revision request from LI once, and every said that was good because they don't request revisions unless they're planning to buy. I was heartbroken. So it's helpful to see this from your perspective.ReplyDelete
Great advice, Christy, especially with the upcoming LI pitch contest. I find that reading them while writing definitely changes my voice a bit. There are elements, like a faster pace and tighter writing, that are part of the line, and very different from what might be found in single titles.ReplyDelete
Great tips, Christy!ReplyDelete
I too received a revision letter and it took me a few months to submit to their suggestions. Still waiting on their response. Thank you for the encouragement!
Great post- nice to know all that reading might be doing me some good, other than enjoying the books of course.ReplyDelete
Welcome to the Inkwell, Christy.ReplyDelete
I have every LIS release, 80% of the LI's and about 50% of the LIH's. They are the book of choice in our house.
Yes, I've had dreams of writing Love Inspired novels since the line first opened. Most of my rejections have been from them, too.
However, I can't seem to fit their mold and am at a place in my writing that I'm not sure I want to keep trying. So many open doors.
I hope you enjoy your stay with us. :)
Hey everyone! Thanks for all of the great comments!ReplyDelete
It's hard to get rejection after rejection and to keep going. I determined several times that I was going to stop. The key was to figure out what LI was truly looking for. Those editors know what their readers want and they stand by that!
I revised a couple of manuscripts at their request that were ultimately rejected. But each time I did that, I learned something, I grew in my craft and I figured out what they were looking for. Finally, one day, my revisions actual fit what they wanted! I'm so glad I didn't give up when I was tempted to do so. I would encourage all of you to keep trying. LI is always looking for new authors and even if you feel like you might never break in (I've been there!), God may have other plans for you. Trust his timing. That's hard to say when you don't have a contract. I know! But I also know that most good things in life require work, patience and perseverance.
Glad to hear there are so many LI readers on here, also!
I'll check back in later to respond to any more comments. Please let me know if you have any questions!
Thank you for sharing what you know with us all! I have a few books I would like to submit to LIS.ReplyDelete
And thanks for considering me for a copy of your book.
katylee (at) katyleebooks (dot) com
Hmm...looks like Katy Lee is the only one who left an email address. If anyone else wants to enter the giveaway, please come back and leave your address.ReplyDelete
Yup, I hope we get more or someone comes back...but maybe Katy is thinking NO!ReplyDelete
i really appreciate the practical advice - it encourages me to keep on keeping on. Thanks!ReplyDelete
It's great to 'meet' you...
Would love to read your novel...thanks for the chance ;)
kmkuka at yahoo dot com
Christy, these are such great tips, thank you for sharing them! I'm positive they will help me tremendously.ReplyDelete
Thank you as well for the opportunity to win your book - it sounds fantastic! I have your Keeping Guard book, and it's on my TBR (soon) pile.
amanda38401 at gmail dot com
And the winner is... Sandy Salsbury! Congrats, Sandy. I'll email you to get your address so I can stick your book in the mail!ReplyDelete
Thanks again for having me here, everyone!