Stayin’ Alive: Reinventing Yourself to Remain Published

A summary of the September presentation of
the Missouri Romance Writers of America (MORWA.)

By Adele Parker


Lynn Bulock, Charlotte Hubbard, and Elizabeth Grayson tell how they changed their writing styles and/or genres to keep their books coming out. Three of MORWA’s well-known and well-published authors give advice and staying viable in a changing market. Take advantage of these great tips to delve into new dimensions of yourself and your writing.


Lynn Bulock, inspirational

  • Find strengths and capitalize to no end

  • Know what you do best and use it

  • Be flexible

  • Be adaptable

  • Consider this quote from Tammy Hoag: “Today’s trends were what the true innovators were doing yesterday.”

  • You’re 6 months too late for a trend after you notice it

  • Be listening to what agents/publishers are saying today about what will be happening 2 to 3 years from now

  • Take what you’re good at and figure out where to plug it in

  • What are you interested in otherwise? Find a way to carry over passions into writing


Charlotte Hubbard, aka Melissa MacNeal

  • Consider a second personality/alternate style of writing

  • Think “What else can I do?”

  • Expect drastic demands of your work-from none to contracted through 2008

  • Don’t throw out old manuscripts, you may be able to dig them up and sell them later.

  • See if you identify with a voice in a different genre

  • Keep writing

  • Seek the support of a writing group

  • Go to writer’s meetings, ask about agents and trends

  • Consider this: Where you are right now is where you’re supposed to be.

  • No one can say if you “have the right stuff,” so keep going

  • Give time for success to happen

  • Our personal perspective determines what we see, like whether we’re struggling or on our way

  • Use down time to take a class or develop interests that will probably find their way into your writing

  • Sometimes success is simply being in the right place at the right time


Karyn Witmer-Gow, aka Elizabeth Grayson

  • Take advantage of an opportunity for change, even if you are backed into it

  • Changes in the romances being published are necessitating reinventing self as author. Characters are more broad-based and more family oriented.

  • Women’s fiction is edging out historicals

  • If trying a new genre, moving from historical to contemporary, read this type to find out what areas to target and what provides inspiration

  • If changing from historical to contemporary, adjust voice and absorb the flow. Note that both need good pacing, set-up, and formatting. There’s an introduction, the story develops, a midpoint and climax, and satisfying ending.

  • Women’s markets are about rendering emotion, caring about health, safety, love, self-esteem and personal growth, family, and connections.

  • Remember the universality of emotions allow authors to address issues that will touch others, and what they care about while demystifying complex issues.



Copyright 2005.  Originally appeared in Rumpled Sheets, November 2005, Publication of the Missouri Romance Writers of America.  Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for right to reprint.