Continuing our conversation with best-selling romantic suspense novelist Colleen Coble, author of the Rock Harbor Series and the Aloha Reef Series and such award-winning novels as novel Distant Echoes and the upcoming Fire Dancer.
Voted as American Christian Fiction Writers "Mentor of the Year" for the past two years, Colleen loves to share her experience with aspiring writers. She appears frequently on the CBA Bestseller list, and her 30-some novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious Rita award, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, and the Booksellers Best awards. She writes romantic suspense for WestBow Press.
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WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
Read, read, read. I can't tell you how often I've talked to aspiring writers who tell me they want to write a book but they don't READ. Duh. It's crucial to read extensively in the genre you intend to write. You can pick up pacing, characterization, conflict, etc, just by reading.
WHAT DO YOU WISH NON-WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
How un-glamourous the writing life really is. And how much hard work it takes. When you work a nine to five job, you can take a vacation and let someone else worry about the work while you're gone. It happens nearly every year that when we plan a vacation my edits or galleys or something else comes up and I have to take care of it on vacation.
WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
How important it is to mentor aspiring writers. I remember what it was like to wander in the desert for seven long years trying to sell my first book. The discouragement was overwhelming at times. I had no other writer to ask questions of.
FOR THE WRITER WITH A NEW BOOK, WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE BEST THING TO PROMOTE IT?
Get in the bookstores face to face. Go in with candy and a smile and introduce yourself to as many bookstore employees as possible. It really makes a difference.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND JOINING AN AUTHOR GUILD?
Yes, some kind of community is crucial to keep up your spirits and to learn the business. I highly recommend American Christian Fictions Writers.
WHEN CHOOSING FROM ALL THE ORGANIZATIONS AVAILABLE, WHAT TRAITS SHOULD A NOVELIST LOOK FOR?
Does the organization have writers who write your genre? Are they willing to be accessible and to help you? Are they respected? Have you heard of the published authors?
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Many thanks to novelist Colleen Coble. Find her online at ColleenCoble.com and at GirlsWriteOut.blogspot.com. You can also sign up for her newsletter.
Related link: Q&A: COLLEEN COBLE, PT 1
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