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.
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 amazon.co.uk and similar number on amazon.com 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 Autumn 2011, when these talented, and as yet, unpublished writers welcomed me with open arms into the Leicester Chapter of RNA.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!
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”.
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
Best wishes, Freda
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