Or the Making of an Author.

Five years ago I wrote my fist book in two months, typing eight hours a day. I read it carefully and pleased with my masterpiece entered the first three chapters in the FTHRW Golden Gateway contest, my first contest. At the time I never heard of critique partners, RWA chapters and didn’t even know what POV meant.

Of course, I didn’t final. One judge ripped my entry apart, calling my heroine a slut. I remembered I cried when I read these words. But the three other judges sent me positive suggestions that made my day. They said my writing was promising. I believed them because I wanted so much to believe my writing didn’t suck. I was so thrilled I wrote a delirious thank you note to the coordinator and naively asked her if she would like to be my critique partner. Kathleen Long (now HQ Intrigue author of the successful series The Body Hunters and about ten other books) suggested I join the chapter. Through FTHRW and a daily exchanges of e-mails I met wonderful women who, like me, were struggling with POV, GMC, showing vs telling, and a whole new vocabulary guaranteed to make them better writers and eventually published authors.

I carefully read the articles in the award-winning FTHRW newsletter, joined several groups and participated in every loop, BIAW, Workshops, mentorship and the wonderful FTH Critiquers’ loop. I finally chose serious Critique Partners (CPs) who helped me regularly. Later on, a couple of contest divas agreed to mentor me, making a huge difference in my writing. Another published author twisted my synopsis, teaching me the “how to” of playing with words to create a grabbing hook. Soon we formed smaller loops under the umbrella of FTHRW. We helped, supported and cheered each other.

In the FTH Critiquers loop, I critiqued an average of ten submissions per week. Critiquing did wonders to my writing. I was able to really see in others’ writing what was good and what didn’t sound right. The critique loop gave me great CPs who became good friends. Together with two of my CPs and best friends, we ran the Critique loop as wizards. As we improved, the Critique Loop became the place where we cheered each other’s finaling or winning in contests. Improving entailed helping others. For a year, I volunteered as Mentorship chair.

Following in the footsteps of brilliant authors, I entered contests, finaled in many and won several. My self-confidence grew and I trusted my writing as I heard judges and editors telling me they like my voice. I pitched to editors, submitted partial and full manuscripts, received rejections (neatly filed in two folders) and edited, and edited and edited…. When editors requested revisions, I revised and revised and revised…

Until one fine morning, the dream became reality.

I received the CALL. An e-mail from Cerridwen Press offering a contract for my Single Title set in a Russian country. I had the honor to wear a pink ribbon for First Sale at the Dallas Conference in July 2007. My books TO LOVE A HERO and FRENCH PERIL (romantic suspense set in France) received great reviews and are on sale at Cerridwen Press/ Jasmine Jade.

The Wild Rose Press will soon released my two medical romances, BABIES IN THE BARGAIN on July 03, 2009 and PRESCRIPTION FOR TRUST on December 04, 2009.

But the job of an author starts after publication.

Promotion is one word that encompasses so many meanings: aka creating a website and a blog, blogging, posting comments on blogs, advertising, chatting, sending newsletters, joining mySpace, Facebook, Goodreads, (I stopped at these), creating video trailers, and finally participating in book signing.

Can you please watch my video trailer for BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, rate it (5* is better) and leave a comment?
I will draw a lucky winner from those who leave a comment on this blog AND my video. An autographed copy of THE MAGIC KNOT by Helen Scot-Taylor, winner of the American Title RT.

Writers: what do you do to promote your book?
Readers: what entices you to buy a book?


  1. Edie Ramer // May 29, 2009 at 10:39 AM  

    Great video! I tried to sign in to rate it, but You Tube was giving me trouble and was frustrating me.

    Congrats on all your success!

  2. Mary Ricksen // May 29, 2009 at 12:03 PM  

    Mona your trip is an impressive example of what a woman with drive and motivation can accomplish.
    As far as what do I do to promote.
    Well book signings, blogging, bookmarks, blogging, networking with other authors, blogging. When you are financially strapped the best thing you can do is to blog and get to know other wonderful authors. And readers read the blogs and hopefully buy your books. It takes a lot of time but the other good thing is you make a lot of people happy just when you make a comment. I like that.
    Knowing you Mona has been such a positive influence, on my writing and my soul.
    I can't wait to read your latest book.
    Good luck and sell a million!

  3. Mona Risk // May 29, 2009 at 12:44 PM  

    Edie I'm glad you like the video. Sorry about YouTube acting silly.

    Mary I'm sure my writing trip is the same for many writers, a lot of work, perseverance, hope coated with atough hide.

  4. Mary Marvella // May 29, 2009 at 3:33 PM  

    Mona, I loved hearing about this part of your writing journey. We're proud you are one of us!

    The trailer rocked.

    Mama Mary

  5. Pamela Varnado // May 30, 2009 at 2:51 AM  

    I can relate to your experience. It's hard to take criticism, but instead of dwelling on the negative you focused on the positive. Which is wonderful, because sometimes you can find a gem in all the comments.

  6. Mona Risk // May 30, 2009 at 10:51 AM  

    Thanks Mamy Mary. I'm glad you like the video. I think you have to register at you Tube to be able to leave a comment.

    Yes Pamela, judges' comments are often helpful, unless you fall on a beginner or a nasty one. That's when the tough hide helps.

  7. Nightingale // May 30, 2009 at 4:37 PM  

    Both trailers are awesome. Boy can I sympathize with the rejections. I got one the other day--a form letter from an agent. But you won through. Promotion now there is a word to strike fear in the heart.

  8. Joanne // May 30, 2009 at 7:11 PM  

    How well I remember the critique loop where I learned so much from everyone. The video for Babies in the Bargain is fantastic. Unfortunately, I could not sign into You Tube, either.

  9. kimmyl // May 30, 2009 at 8:32 PM  

    Great video!!!
    I rated and commented on the video also.I can't wait to read the book.