I'd like to welcome Lynn Shurr, a fellow football hero romance writer. Lynn has written two entertaining romances which are centered around the Sinners football team.
Bad Good Advice
contributed by Lynn Shurr
What Jami and I have in common is we have both written football romances. You know, the kind Susan Elizabeth Phillips used to write and which I still sorely miss. In fact way back in 2004 craving this kind of novel, I decided to write my own and in about three months give or take, I'd completed Goals for a Sinner. Sure it was winner, I blithely sent it off to numerous agents and publishing houses and began writing the sequel, Wish for a Sinner. Call me naive, and I was, the rejections started pouring in, not so surprising except for the fact that few even read my partial. Yes, I did submit only to agents handling romances, same with the publishers. Most said simply,"We do not do football novels" and so have not read your book. Others claimed such books had no market and therefore, they could not represent them. A single agent said she liked the book, considered representing it for six months, but then decided she could not sell it.
Undaunted, I tried to win a few contests with Wish which I had completed by then. One judge gave me no points for my hero because using a football player was trite and overdone. Another called him a man whore. Well, he does start out a womanizer but changes. Didn't she read the synopsis? Big thanks to the other two judges who loved his over the top sexuality and wanted to read more. Needless to say, I did not win so much as a paper certificate saying "Nice Try". Shortly thereafter, I joined my local RWA chapter, Heart of Louisiana, where more seasoned writers told me never, never to write about football players. I set my sexy athletes aside and tried writing mysteries, historicals, and non-football romances, but I still had faith that Goals and Wish were good and would find an audience if they ever made it out of my closet.
Along came the e-publishing revolution and The Wild Rose Press which pledged to print romances that did not fit the mainstream if they were well-written. I submitted Goals and two months later had a contract and a book published in April, 2010. It and its sequel are sellling quite nicely, thank you, to an audience craving the sports romance novels that mainstream publishing has abandoned. Jami's new book, Fourth and Goal, has recently come out with great reviews and is sure to do just as well.
I might as well reveal other un-publishable subjects while I am at it: the 1920's, the eighteenth century, Indians, the eighteenth century with Indian characters, and Civil War romances (especially if any of the characters own slaves). How do I know this? Because I have written on every one of these topics and been told they cannot be sold. My 1920's historical, Queen of the Mardi Gras Ball, will be out early in 2012 from L & L Dreamspell, another e-publisher, and I expect Kicks for a Sinner to show up by fall of 2012. I also sense a thawing toward Civil War romances and hey, one day I might get a contract for that eighteenth century with Indians book. I'm not saying everything you write will sell, but the trends do turn over and new opportunities come along. Just make sure you have a really well-written book ready to go when it does.