Friday, April 19, 2013

We Got By With a Little Help From Our (RNA) Friends

The RNA is famous for its New Writers Scheme through which many successes have been achieved. But these are changing times and there is more than one way to get published. Today, I'm delighted to introduce Four members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme who have set out on a self-publishing adventure together. 

This method is not for everyone. It has its pros and cons and you still need to be published by a recognised traditional or epublisher before qualifying as a full RNA member, so do tell us ladies what decided you to take this road.

Four of us: Lizzie Lamb, Adrienne Vaughan, Mags Cullingford and June Kearns decided to take destiny into their own hands, form The New Romantics 4 and publish our novels on Amazon in 2012. While our novels are nothing like E L James’ 50 Shades of Grey, the fact that the author initially published the story herself was a great boost to our decision to work collaboratively.

The catalyst was an inspiring lunch with Amanda Grange in June 2012 where we eached the conclusion we had nothing to fear other than fear itself - the blue touch paper was lit and we were off on the road to self publication.

Lizzie’s Story:

If it hadn’t been for the RNA, I would never have gained an overview of publishing and how it’s changing. Through Chapter Meetings, Parties and Awards ceremonies, I have learned from experienced, published authors what works in a novel and what agents/ publishers are looking for. This knowledge, combined with the critiques I have received as part of the NWS scheme and insights gleaned from seminars and workshops at RNA Conferences, has shown me how to improve my writing. Knowing a published author in my genre has reviewed my manuscript has given me confidence to self publish. The fifty reviews on and similar number on for my debut novel TALL, DARK AND KILTED shows that my instincts to self publish were correct.

Adrienne’s Story - My Love Affair with RNA

Like all love affairs, I know precisely when it began. Autumn 2011, when these talented, and as yet, unpublished writers welcomed me with open arms into the Leicester Chapter of RNA. I immediately tattooed the NWS deadline on my heart, sending my manuscript with a note, ‘Hope it’s worth it?” Melanie’s note back, ‘So do I!” gave me an appreciation of RNA – you’re the good guys! My report was brilliant and worth its weight in gold.

Taking three more rejections on the chin, I plunged into the unknown and decided to self publish with Lizzie, June and Mags. Self publishing provides me with freedom, freedom to learn more about my craft, this ever-changing business and to write without looking back. So far there have been sales, reviews, and so much good will, if I could bottle it and send it to every member of the NWS I would! The RNA has given me so much there is no doubt this will be a life-long love affair!

Mags’ Story:

The confidence to self-publish my debut novel Last Bite of the Cherry grew from a local Writers’ Workshop where I was encouraged to join the RNA New Writers’ Scheme by novelist Margaret Kaine. Having followed through the amendments suggested by my anonymous appraiser to achieve “a novel to be proud of”, I had no hesitation in joining my inspirational co-writers, Lizzie Lamb, June Kearns and Adrienne Vaughan to form New Romantics 4. LAST BITE OF THE CHERRY is more Contemporary Women’s Fiction than Romance. Even so, according to one of my Amazon reviewers, “The three interwoven love stories keep up a fast pace which made it very hard to put down”.

June’s Story:

Without the RNA, its contacts and professional network, I wouldn’t have met Amanda Grange! In my second year on The New Writers’ Scheme, ENGLISHWOMAN’S GUIDE TO THE COWBOY went through for a second read, and although it failed to find a publisher, she’s been both champion and supporter.

Last year, weary of near-misses with publishers and agents, Lizzie, Adrienne, Mags and I started to feel there must be a better way forward. Although Mandy is published both here and in the US, by Penguin and Sourcebooks, she’d already started to self-publish her back catalogue with Amazon and encouraged us to do the same. We asked: “When would be the best time to self publish?” Mandy’s reply, “Do it now!” set us on our path to publication. So, a big thanks to Amanda and to the RNA and the NWS for their wealth of experience, constant support and friendship.

We got there with a little help from our friends.

The New Romantics 4 at Bedford

Thank you for sparing your experiences with us today. I'm sure it will inspire others to follow your example. We wish you every success with your new venture. 
Best wishes, Freda 
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Rosie Hendry said...

You are all an inspiration to writers. I've loved all your books and if you hadn't taken the plunge to self publish, then so many readers would never have had the chance to share in your wonderful novels.
The RNA is a fantastic, filled with lovely supportive people who make it possible to suceed.

Celia Anderson said...

What a brilliant post - congratulations to all of you; so much enthusiasm for what you do and so supportive of each other, and all the other aspiring writers you're meeting along the way. Everyone should have a gang of four! xx

Margaret James said...

A really fun post, ladies. You're doing so well. Congratulations!

Unknown said...

Super post and inspiration to so many. You are an awesome foursome. Best wishes for your second crop of novels, if they are are good as the first four, we are in for a real treat. Good luck girls and keep writing.

Kate Allan said...

Best of luck to the power of four!

Lizzie Lamb said...

Thank you. We have had such a lot of support and positive responses from many members of the RNA that its spurred us on.As Freda s ays at the head of the blog - the path we have chosen would not suit everyone, but it suits us. And we haven't fallen out - yet !! All working hard on our second novels and planning book launches for the autumn.

Judy Bryan said...

Huge congratulations to all 4 of you. Your success is well-deserved, and can I add how much you support other self-published writers. You are all a joy to know!

Jan Brigden said...

Good on you, ladies! It's great to read your individual stories. Such an inspiration. I've read three of the four novels and have loved them and have no doubt in my mind that the fourth will be as fab a read. Very best of luck to you all and huge congratulations on your well-deserved success.

Christina Hollis said...

Good luck, ladies. You're an inspiration to us all!

Madalyn Morgan said...

Thank you for sharing your fascinating stories. Good luck and much success. You're an inspiration to us all.

Unknown said...

Congratulations to all four of you.
You are unique and will inspire
others to follow in your footsteps.

Good luck.
These are great book. I've read two and two to go.
Well done girls.

Caroline said...

Great blog. So inspirational. Thank you for your great Bio's. And the best of luck to you ALL in raking up the sales ladder! Caroline x

Jane said...

A true inspiration to us all, well done ladies, and the best of luck with your work!

Victoria x

Unknown said...

Well done! Most inspiring and encouraging, from one who is about to embark on the same journey.

Jan x
aka Rosie Dean

Lizzie Lamb said...

Thank you to everyone who has taken the trouble to come over and read our blog post and leave a comment. I know the publishing world is changing and we are a reflection of those changes. Nothing beats the feel of your own paperback in your hands no matter how it gets there. People who have read our novels and have left reviews on Amazon and Goodreads have been of enormous help to us,too. Good luck with your own writing, whatever path YOU choose to publication. Lizzie et al.

Anita Chapman said...

Enjoyed your post. Best of luck to all of you and hope to see you at the Summer Party!

Lizzie Lamb said...

Hi Anita, Hope to see everyone at the summer party. Booking our tickets this week And looking forward to having a big catch upThanks for leaving a comment.

Margaret Kaine said...

What a fabulous blog. Having been fortunate enough to witness the ultra professional approach and hard work you have all put into the New Romantics4, you thoroughly deserve your success. I've read and enjoyed all four books and am looking forward to the Autumn when the second novels will be published. And what gorgeous photographs!

Lucy Felthouse said...

You ladies are fantastic. Long may your success continue!!

Caroline Bell Foster said...

All roads lead to 4!

Heart warming & inspiring blog. Wishing you all every success as you continue to write.

Caroline. x

Lizzie Lamb said...

Thanks you Margaret, Lucy and Caroline, we are very lucky to belong to this great organisation and to have so many dedicated writers in the Leicester chapter. We know we can tap into their expertise, friendship and support when we need it. Hope to see you on May 10th at our next meeting. Happy writing,

Lizzie xx

Liv Thomas said...

Only just caught up with this interview. Blame edits and toothache. Though not necessarily in that order.

Hope one day I'll get to meet you all - you're such inspirational ladies.

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