Good morning, fellow writers! I am thrilled to be here today to talk about Romance University (www.RomanceUniversity.org).
Thanks to my partners in crime, Kelsey Browning and Tracey Devlyn, forming RU has been a wonderful learning experience. Not only have I gained knowledge, but I have experienced a level of trust and kinship with two women I hope to keep as lifelong friends.
The commitment to blogging, for me, was a scary thing. I knew I didn’t want to talk about myself. I’m really not that interesting. I also knew becoming part of a blog would take time. In my utopian little world, I wanted my blog time to help me grow as a writer. Sounds selfish, I know, but like many of you, my writing time is precious and I need to make every minute count.
Tracey, Kelsey and I all agreed if we were going to put our names on something, we wanted to be proud of it. If an editor or an agent Googles me, I want to be sure I’m comfortable with what they see. Six months and many discussions later, we had our concept of offering writers (and readers) a learning resource.
Great! We had a concept. Now all we had to do was figure out what to do with it. We worked with the educational theme and came up with a three day schedule. Mondays would be career day, Wednesdays “guy” day and Friday craft day. Now we needed guest bloggers. Experts. We made a wish list of authors, agents and editors we wanted to invite to blog with us, but we didn’t know any of them, so how would we contact them? We came up with the novel idea of visiting their websites and emailing them. Insane, isn’t it?
We reached out to authors like Brenda Novak, CJ Lyons and Bob Mayer for help. We also contacted agents and editors like Holly Root and Leah Hultenschmidt. These and many other professionals have “lectured” at RU, and we are profoundly grateful to them for sharing their experiences and knowledge.
As we embark on our one year anniversary we are still striving to come up with new ideas. So far, we’ve added “Lab” sections that include: Ask an Editor with Theresa Stevens, Managing Editor at Red Sage Publishing; Query Writing 101 with C.J. Redwine, urban fantasy author; and Wayne Wednesday with Wayne Levine, Director of the West Coast Men’s Center. Just last month we launched a monthly sub-genre column where authors, agents and editors join us to talk about the state of a particular sub-genre. Join us on February 15 for part two of the historical romance market.
Keeping Romance University running is a lot of work. I spend time working on the blog almost every day and, last summer, I realized I needed to cut back on some things to keep my writing schedule intact. Is it worth it? You bet. Each post offers new friends, more learning and a few laughs.
As we all know, getting that coveted book contract can be a brutal journey. Kelsey, Tracey and I sincerely hope that Romance University might offer help with improving the road conditions.
For those of you on this journey, is there something important you wish you’d known earlier in your writing career? We’re always looking for fresh ideas at Romance University, and would welcome ideas on the types of lectures you would like to see.