I'm excited to share with you, one of my very first writing world friends, Keli Gwyn. Keli is one of the sweetest ladies you could ever hope to meet and today she shares her insider view of writing for Love Inspired Historical. Leave a comment below to enter for your chance to win her release (out this month!) Family of Her Dreams.
The ever-gracious Casey Herringshaw invited me to tell you about my experience writingfor Love Inspired. While I aim to presentthe benefits as well as the challenges, I must warn you that because I’m thrilled to be a Love Inspired Historical author, my bias is apt to show.
Since my debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was a trade-length book with a CBA publisher and Family of Her Dreams is a mass-market series romance with Harlequin, I’ll be making comparisons. My goal isn’t to advocate one route to publication over another. Both result in getting God-honoring stories in readers’ hands.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive in.
A LIH is 70-75K words. My Barbour book was 100K. The shorter length enables me to write more
Some romance readers prefer shorter books. I’ve heard people refer to LI titles as “quick reads” that are just the thing when they want to relax but don’t have a huge block of time.
On a practical note, the smaller size saves money on postage. The boxes of books I buy for inventory and promotion don’t take up as much room in my garage either.
When it comes to entering a LI book in contests, length can be a factor. Some believe LI titles are at a disadvantage if there aren’t categories specifically for series romances, forcing them to compete against longer books. I disagree. A well-told story will rise to the top no matter the length. Case in point: Katy Lee’s LIS, Grave Danger, is a 2015 RITA finalist! Not only did Grave Danger compete with longer stories, but Katy’s book finaled in the Romantic Suspense category along with mainstream titles by well-known authors such as J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts)!
A LI title gets one month in the spotlight. My LIH will hit shelves in select Walmarts and Kmarts around June 2nd and be replaced when the July titles show up.
Because I’ve worn a path to the book section of my local Walmart, I’ve watched many books come and go. Guess what the average stay of a CBA title is?Yup. One month. When the new month’s titles are released, the previous month’s releases are returned to the publishers. A CBA title often stays on the shelves of B&N much longer, though.
When it comes to online booksellers, there’s little difference. Whilethe printed version of aLI titlewill have a limited life, the e-book version of my story will be available for years to come.Since my CBA book went out of print less than a year after its release, it’s possible print copies of my LIH will be available to booksellers longer than my debut novel was.
I’ve been blessed with excellent editorial input at both houses. At Barbour I dealt with an associate editor, who was quick to answer my questions or forward them to someone who could. A fantastic freelance editor performed theedits on my story. I was able to interactdirectly with her.
At LI my primary point of contact is my awesome editor, Emily Rodmell. She’s available to answer questions I might have about my story, her revision notes, my book’s cover, etc. If I need to talk by phone in order to get clarification on Emily’s editorial feedback, she’ll schedule a call. And does she ever know her stuff! I eagerly await her revision notes and line edits.
From what I’ve seen, most CBA authors are expected to do a good deal of the promotion of their stories. It’s different when one reaches star status, but little fish like me swimming in a large sea are responsible for doing all we can to help our book make a splash.
LI appreciates anything an author does to help with promotion, but I can’t come close to having Harlequin’s reach. Their name is well known, although I do have to educate my friends unfamiliar with their Love Inspired lines.
Harlequin gets our books out there in a big way. The LI editorial team does a lot to spread the word. My fellow LI authors are great about promoting one another’s books, too, on social media and on two different LI author blogs I’m a member of.
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Award-winning author Keli Gwyn, a native Californian, transports readers to the early days of the
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