Thank you Savannah for inviting me over! This looks like an amazing group of writers and I hope I can give a little bit on insight into what my life has been like being a published author.
1. How did you get your agent?
My first agent I got from sending out query letters. I made a list of my top five agents, made that the A list, then my next top agents, made that the B list. I sent out queries to all my A listers and waited. And waited. Rejections trickled in. Then I talked to an author friend of mine and she told me about an established agent that was just starting to take on romance authors. So I queried him. An hour later, I had an offer from him.
The second time around, I also sent out queries, but this time I talked to the clients of the agents I was looking at. To get in depth information about how the agent worked and such. I ended up getting a couple of referrals from friends, I queried those agents with a new project, but ultimately those agents passed. Then I talked to another author friend and she encouraged me to query her agent. So I did. And I’m so glad I did. That’s how I signed with the lovely Laura Bradford.
So my point in this is, never pass up an opportunity. Always be on the look out for them.
2. What was your submission process like?
Like I said, I made a couple of lists. I made my top dream list of agents, calling it the A-list, then the B list. Send them all out to the A-list and wait. Most times you’ll be waiting around 2-3 months for an answer, either with a rejection or with a request for a full.
If you go through you’re A-list start on your B-list. If you make it trhough your B list without an offer, then I’d be looking at you query letter, is it any good? And I’d be looking at my story. Is that any good?
3. How often do you communicate with your agent?
I like to talk to my agent once a week, but only if I have stuff going on like submissions, or working on a new project. If I’m fully submersed in a deadline, and I don’t have new stuff on the go, then there’s only need to talk to her when I need to.
4. Have you ever been on book tour, and if so, what was it like? How did you pick what to wear? What was the budget like?
I’ve never been on a book tour. But I have done a lot of books signings.
The key is to dress comfortably and be yourself. Don’t over dress but don’t under dress either. You can do jeans if you wear a nice top. Don’t go to a book signing dressed like a slob.
Not only are you selling your books but you are selling yourself. Be personable.
5. If you could give one bit of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Be determined, be ambitious, but learn to cultivate patience. You will need it above everything else.
6. Have you ever had a crazy/obsessive fan?
7. Which book that you’ve written is your favorite, and why?
My favorite books are two that haven’t been published yet. An adult UF and a YA UF.
Both are ME. Both are my true voices with subject matter that I really like. I think sometimes an author can lose their voice, or have to dampen it for whatever reason, to fit into a line, or a publisher, but these two books I wrote without deadlines, without pressures from anyone but myself and I think that has made a difference for me.
8. What was your shortest, and longest books written, and why?
I’ve written a bunch of short stories and novellas for various anthologies. Word counts from 6K to 20K.
But my shortest book would be the Nocturnes I’m writing for Silhouette. At 70K they are a shorter book. The longest would be a book I wrote years ago, a fantasy novel, that hasn’t been published. It sits at about 98K.
9. Do you have a ‘day’ job?
Nope. I used to work part time at a bookstore but quit after landing my second major publishing deal. But with the economy right now…who knows that might change.
I’m a single mom and homeschool my kid during the day, so that’s like two day jobs.
10. What are peoples’ reactions when they find out about your writing life?
First reaction. Cool! Second reaction: Can I find your books in the bookstore? Third reaction: So, you must be like rich, hey?
11. When did you write your first novel?
I wrote my first novel in 2004. I’d been writing short stories and novellas before that since 2000.
12. What made you want to start writing?
Honest answer: money.
I thought I could make some money quick writing short erotic stories for men’s magazines. I did that for a while, made a little money, then realized that maybe I could actually make this a real career choice, if I learned my craft and really dug deep and made a go of it. That was in 2000.
13. Do you write anything besides novels?
I write screenplays. I wrote like 12 back in 2002. I queried producers, got a lot of scripts read, came close twice, but quit. It is REALLY HARD to get produced. Getting a book published is HARD, but getting a movie made from you script…it’s a long shot.
But it’s always been a dream of mine, so I’m actually making a go of it again. I’ve rewritten a couple, wrote a new one, and I’ve gotten some interest. So who knows this time around what will happen. I’m a better writer now and have more experience and have a tenacious drive to succeed.
14. Do you have a pen name, or multiple pen names?
Vivi Anna is a pen name.
Eventually I hope to be writing under a couple of pen names. One for my romances, one for YA and maybe another one for something else.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Vivi!