Some informational links, organizations, and craft resources that authors in general might find beneficial, some specific to authors of LGBT romance. I try to kick my own ass as much as I can, and these are some of my favorite places to go. I hope you find them helpful.
- Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Romance Writers – If you wish to make a career out of being a romance author, I recommend joining both. Why? These days, thanks to epublishing and self-publishing, it’s possible to get published in LGBT romance without belonging to these organizations, yes. But there is power in numbers, and in collective bargaining. RWA is a powerful force in the romance industry, and LGBT romance is the cutting edge these days. Join like-minded authors in raising awareness and standards of professionalism in the genre. Take classes that will help you hone your craft, network, raise the bar and become an even better author. (You can find an additional point of view on this by reading RRW VP Damon Suede’s article “Ghetto Blasting” at Chicks and Dicks and he also addresses the subject in a tandem interview he & I did together at Hearts on Fire Reviews)
- Savvy Authors – If you truly cannot afford the cost of RWA membership just yet, check out Savvy Authors. This author community is a cornucopia of useful articles, there’s a community forum, and they have online workshops that you can take about almost everything from worldbuilding to plotting to self-promotion for a very reasonable cost. Basic membership is free, premium membership is a reasonable $35 a year if memory serves, and it gives you discount on the writing workshops which are fantastic. I’ve taken several of them.
- Romance University – publishes a variety of articles on the craft of writing, editing, agenting, etc. Many great Rainbow Romance Writers chapter members including Damon Suede, Sloan Parker, and Andrew Gray have contributed articles here.
- Terrible Minds – Chuck Wendig is an extremely talented author, and he also puts an amazing amount of effort into writing books about writing, and maintaining a blog with the same goal. Oh, and he’s a new parent. I frankly don’t know how he does it. He’s also hilarious as almighty hell, and his advice is fantastic.
- Digital Publishing: Lessons from RWA – this is an article written by current (2011) Rainbow Romance Writers president Heidi Cullinan about professionalism and e-publishing. Currently, LGBT romance lives primarily in the arena of e-publishing, and not all e-publishers are created equal. Her article contains some factors to consider when deciding which publishers to work with.
- The Other Side of the Story – Janice Hardy gives you over 500 articles on all aspects writing fiction for writers at every level. I’ve gotten a lot of great insights here. Dive in.
- Everything I Know About Writing, I Learned from Bruce Springsteen – I really dig Amy Lane. Her writing spans funny, sexy, and rip your guts out angsty, and everything in-between (usually with man on man hotness, as well). I like it all, and I especially love that we share a mutual enjoyment of The Boss (his career spans literally my entire life so it’s hard not to love someone whose music you grew up with). This article of hers is not only fun though, it has a some really important instruction on story theme, too.
- My own biggest piece of advice to new writers? Take the time to really learn about writing–take some classes or workshops or read books on how to write the genre you want to write in–whatever your preferred learning style is. Rarely is “I’ve read a lot of novels.” a sufficient springboard for becoming a published author. It wasn’t for me. I don’t claim to know everything about everything here, but I’ve been asked many times for my opinion so for the folks who want it, here’s what I think: If I hadn’t joined the RWA, I wouldn’t have known how badly my first book sucked. And it did, guys. It sucked slimy donkey balls. I took class after class and revised over and over, and even still there were edits upon edits when that book finally sold. And the loving hand of a patient critique partner who ruthlessly but constructively ripped that book to shreds and told me everything about it that was wrong, AFTER I had taken time learning to make it better (and piece of advice number 2, is find someone else to bounce your work off of. Writing classes are a great place to find those people). Still, today I see a million ways I could have made that book better. I used to rush to finish things, and usually regretted it. Since, I have spent my limited writing time on things that still haven’t seen the light of day because they’re just not good enough yet, even though I desperately want them to be published. Take pride in your work, don’t just crank it out so you can see your name on a published book. I am learning every day and I still have so far to go, I feel like Frodo climbing that fucking volcano in Mordor. I get the impatience and the desire to put your work out there. Try to remember that what you publish will represent you for perpetuity. Give it and yourself the respect you both deserve.