American Writers & Artists Inc. Presents…
Writing for Love and Money: How to Become a Successful Romance Writer

FAQ

You're ready to write and publish
your first romance novel …
but you'd like a little
more information first ...

The Opportunity

Procedural Questions

AWAI Credibility

Program Content

Marketing Your Work


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
About Writing for Love & Money!

The Opportunity

Who should take the program?

Anyone wanting to publish a romance novel AWAI's program Writing for Love & Money: How to Become a Successful Romance Writer gives you everything you need to write a complete, compelling saleable romance. And it tells you exactly what you need to do to get your manuscript published.

Do men ever write romance novels? Do you have any men signed up in this program?

Absolutely – one of the big romance authors – Leigh Greenwood – is a man. And there are many men writing – and selling – in the romance field. Of all program members, 15% are men.

Are publishers really looking for new romance writers?

Helen Buttery, our Product Development Director, and Marcia King-Gamble, our Membership Services Director and resident romance guru, are constantly attending conferences. They report that the opportunities abound. Editors are looking for fresh new voices and new lines are continually being launched. That means more writing opportunities for you.

Is writing a romance novel a full-time or part-time job?

Writing a romance novel can be completed as a part-time or a full-time career. Every writer is different – and their financial needs and family obligations differ. If you have a job, we strongly recommend that you keep it while you get your romance career established. Luckily, writing romance can be done at your own pace.

How much can I expect to make as a romance writer?

The following figures represent the average earnout on a romance novel. The earnout is the total amount of money earned as royalties per book published (including the advance and any subsidiary sales). As these figures can vary greatly, we've listed the average per publishing house.

Publishing House
Average Earnout
Range
Avalon
$1200
$1000 - $2100
Avon/Harper Collins
$26,000
$7000 - $100,000
Barbour & Co
(Heartsong Presents)
$2750
$2500 - $3600
Berkley/Jove “line” books
$6500
$3200 - $10,000
Dorchester/Leisure
$7500
$2000 - $15,000
Dutton/Signet (Regency)
$6000
$3000 - $7500
Ellora's Cave
$2360
$350 - $9000
Five Star/Thorndike
$1275
n/a
Harlequin American
$10,000
$7300 - $16,000
Harlequin Blaze
$12,200
n/a
Harlequin Historical
$13,700
$6500 - $24,000
Harlequin Intrigue
$17,000
$11,000 - $18,000
Harlequin Superromance
$24,300
$10,000 - $58,000
Harlequin Temptation
$13,700
$11,000 - $18,000
Kensington/Zebra
$5200
$2500 - $17,500
St. Martin's Press
$25,600
$6800 - $51,000
Silhouette Desire
$21,100
$17,000 - $28,000
Silhouette Intimate Moments
$12,000
$10,000 - $16,000
Silhouette Romance
$10,300
$6000 - $18,000
Silhouette Special Edition
$10,300
$12,000 - $37,000
Steeple Hill (Love inspired)
$6800
$5000 - $11,000
Zebra Regency
$2500
$2000 - $4000

Source: Brenda Hiatt (www.brendahiatt.com/id2.html) last update 05/05

What do I need to be a romance writer? Can anybody do it?

Let's take a look at a list of the top 10 attributes you should have in order to become a published, successful and happy romance writer. But don't worry if you don't already possess all 10 traits, most can be learned!

  1. A Curious and Creative Mind
  2. A Love of Storytelling
  3. The Ability to Be Professional … When Necessary
  4. A Little Self-Discipline
  5. Persistence … No Matter What
  6. Knowing How to Enjoy Writing Like a Hobby … But Run It Like a Business
  7. Understanding That When You Write More, You Sell More
  8. Being a People Watcher
  9. Having Your Own Unique Voice
  10. LOVING Romance
Do you help/show me how to get published?

Yes. Through the course of the program you’ll discover how to go from loving to write romance to learning how to make money at it. You’ll learn how to target the right editor at the right publishing house, what to do beyond following submission guidelines and what not to do at writing conferences. You’ll master three shortcuts to getting your manuscript on an editor’s desk and what to do once the sale is made.

How many genres are in the romance field?

The number of genres is not static. The romance industry continues to evolve and new genres are introduced as a reflection of the times. A modern day romance goes beyond the damsel in distress who faints gracefully into the hero's arms. Many modern day romances are being placed in – surprise – the science fiction, general fiction and fantasy sections of bookstores. There are no limits to romance writing if your characters are real and your plots are sound and well written.

Some current genres include contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, young adult romance, multi-cultural romance, erotica, chick-lit, inspirational romance and romantic action/adventure.

I don’t know much about royalties. What can you tell me?

First, let’s clear up a little terminology. A royalty is a percentage of the actual retail price of a book that is paid to the author on copies of his/her book that are sold new. Royalty percentages generally range from 2% to 8% -- and sometimes more. Royalties are typically paid every six months.

Now let’s say you’re being paid a 6% royalty for a book that sells for $5.99. If 30,000 copies of the book sell, you would earn $10,782 in royalties (0.06 x $5.99 x 30,000 = $10,782).

According to Romance Writers of America (RWA), a beginning writer will generally make a $3,000 - $4,000 cash advance (an early payment against the royalties a publisher expects your book to make) at the very least, and most likely have royalty payouts of around $11,000. With a little more experience, those figures climb to a $15,000 cash advance and $20,000-$40,000 in royalties. And, of course, the top earners go from six figures all the way up to the millions.

Procedural Questions

What if I order the romance writer program and decide it's not for me? Can I get my money back?

Yes, absolutely. No questions asked. Enroll in Writing for Love & Money: How to Become a Successful Romance Writer and examine the program for 30 days. If you decide within that time that Writing for Love & Money is not for you, simply return the materials (in good condition) for a full-refund to:

Address: American Writers & Artists Inc., 245 NE 4th Avenue, Suite 102, Delray Beach, FL 33483.
Phone: (866) 879-2924
E-mail: memberservices@awaionline.com
Fax: 561-278-5929

I live overseas. How much is shipping?

For international orders, you must pay regular shipping charges plus an additional $20.

Who do I contact when I need help with something?

If you have a question about an order or need a general description of the romance program, please call 1-866-879-2924 and ask for the Member Services Department.

If you need an explanation of the content of the program, please refer to these FAQs under “Program Content.

What if I order the Writing For Love & Money program and decide it's not for me? What is your return policy?

You can enroll in Writing for Love & Money: How to Become a Successful Romance Writer and examine the entire program or your first installment for 30 days. If you decide within that time that the program is not for you, simply return the materials (in good condition) and we’ll issue you a full and prompt refund.

Phone: (866) 879-2924
E-mail: memberservices@awaionline.com
Fax: 561-278-5929
Address: American Writers & Artists Inc., 245 NE 4th Avenue, Suite 102, Delray Beach, FL 33483.

How do I change my e-mail or postal address?

Send an email to memberservices@awaionline.com or go on the website, click on “Contact Us,” then click on memberservices@awaionline.com and send us your new contact information.

Or, if you’d prefer, you can call Member Services at (866) 879-2924 or fax your information to (561) 278-5929.

What type of payments do you accept?

We accept all major credit cards. We also accept debit cards that have a Visa or MasterCard logo. If you live in the U.S., we also accept personal checks and money orders. For international members, we accept money orders made out in U.S. funds.

How do I format my manuscript?

You should check with the prospective publisher because each publisher has its own set of submission guidelines. Go to www.passionatepen.com, a site that contains most of the publishers’ links and information in one place. Follow the links to the publishers you’re interested in and make your way to their publishers’ submission guidelines.

Once you find a publisher’s guidelines, you should follow them to the letter. This will not only get you published faster, but it is also an indication to an editor that you are a professional and will be able to handle the demands of being a published author.

If there are no specifics included in the guidelines, most publishers accept electronic submissions in a Word file or an RTF file with at least a 1” margin around the page, double-spacing, and indented paragraphs by 0.5”. Standard manuscript formatting is 25 lines per page with approximately 10 words per line, or 250 words per page. Courier font in 12 pt is an industry favorite, although Times Roman, Verdana and Arial are also often acceptable. The average word length is 80,000 to 100,000 words unless otherwise noted in guidelines.

The most useful site on this topic comes from romance author Charlotte Dillon at: http://www.charlottedillon.com/ManuscriptPreparation.html.

Do I need a computer?

You can write your original manuscript without a computer, but you will need to type and format it before submitting it to publishers.

How do I log onto the Forum?

All AWAI members can register for the Forum by visiting: http://www.awaionline.com/forum-request/.

After you register, you will need to confirm your registration before signing on to the forum. You can do that by clicking the link provided in the confirmation e-mail you will receive after your registration is received by AWAI.

If you have any specific questions about the Forum, please e-mail them to: moderator@awaistudents.com.

How long does it take to complete the program?

To get through the program as quickly and as effectively as possible, we recommend that you stick to some kind of regular writing schedule, and that you set daily, weekly and monthly goals. For example, you might commit to writing five pages a day, early each morning. Do that and you’ll have 350 pages (87,500 words) to show for your efforts in just ten weeks. Then you can set goals for how many pages or chapters you’ll revise each week.

Whatever writing schedule you set up, don’t rush through the program. The material you’ll be exposed to should be studied and digested. In order to complete the program effectively, we recommend that you spend at least four months studying it, doing the exercises and writing and polishing your manuscript.

How much time should I devote to writing each day to become a successful romance writer?

Your goal should be to find as much time as possible during the hours when you are most productive and have the least number of distractions. The minimum amount of time you need to write is an hour a day.

I received the program, but I didn’t get my bonuses. What do I need to do to get them?

The bonuses are included as .PDF files on computer CD. This makes is easy for you to search through them to find the subjects you’re looking for.

AWAI Credibility

Are you accredited?

No, we are a publishing company, not a school.

How do I know you’re not some fly-by-night company? Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?

American Writers and Artists Inc. has been in business since May 1997. We have more than 18 staff members and 25,000 members.

We meet all BBBOnLine Reliability participation and Better Business Bureau membership standards and we are authorized to display the BBBOnLine Reliability seal.

Can I talk to somebody who has already enrolled in the program?

Sure. E-mail Member Services at memberservices@awaionline.com and request a list of references. You can also go to the Romance Forum link on our website and read posts from current and past members and see what they have to say. We feel confident that they'll have praise to share.

Link to the Romance Forum here, http://www.awaionline.com/forum/ or click the menu item Romance Forum on the toolbar to the right of this page.

Our forum is an active message board where current and past members share ideas, brainstorm, answer questions and critique each other's writing. It's a way to connect with other budding writers who are as eager as you to write and publish their first romance novel. When you enroll in the Writing for Love & Money program, you aren't left alone to wonder if you're doing things right … you can simply ask.

What are people saying about the Writing for Love & Money program and the people behind it?

These notes are typical of the praise we get …

“ … with my whole shelf of reference books on ‘how to' write ... this program has been more beneficial than all of them. I like the ‘step-by-step' approach. I think what's really good is the actual feedback with the outline, the synopsis and query. Of course, in my case, YOU have been really helpful, too!” – Cindy B.

“I have completed my first assignment, Plot Pointer/Romance, and I got my feedback. I am excited with my evaluation and look forward to continue writing and making my story stronger. The suggestions made to revise my work makes me feel good. I am really happy that this workshop on Romance Writing was given. Let me say, this is excellent. I am really learning a lot here.” – Eleanor

"I'd like to say what a useful service I think you're providing to writers. I've found the materials in the program extremely pertinent and well presented. I've also found inspiration and a new sense of discipline. Best of all, I've had interest from an agent whose name I found in some of your research materials. She has read the first three chaps of my chick-lit novel and awaits the rest of it." – Elise

Are people successful with this program?

Writing for Love & Money was published in January 2005. Since then, we’ve received many positive letters and notes from members—a few are listed above.

Some members have already sold their first romance stories and manuscripts. For instance, AWAI member Ronda Del Boccio sold her first romance short story to Wax Romantic in November 2005. And Cindy Breeding, another member, signed a two-book contract with Kensington Publishing to write historical romances. Her first book comes out in August, 2006.

What makes your program better than a book I could pick up at the library or a class I'd take at my local college?

Our program walks you step-by-step through exercises to help you excel in the areas that are typically the most difficult for an unpublished writer. We give you insider tips, motivational techniques and insights from published authors to help you reach your goal of becoming a published romance author in the shortest period of time possible. Our program doesn’t just teach how to write a romance novel, it also teaches you the business side of writing: getting your romance novel published and on bookstore shelves.

What percentage of people who purchase the program drop out?

Our drop out rate is 9.5%.

Do you guarantee that my manuscript will be published?

No, we don’t guarantee that your manuscript will be published, but we do guarantee that if you follow all of the advice that is detailed in the program, your manuscript will be market-ready. It will be as good as the ones that are currently on the market. And unlike many other programs, we'll even show you which publishers to approach…and the best ways to approach them. However, we can’t control every variable that could impact whether your manuscript will be accepted. For instance, the publisher may have recently accepted a manuscript with a similar theme or may no longer be looking for manuscripts in your genre.

But even if publishers aren’t interested in your manuscript now, that doesn’t mean they won’t be down the road. Even if your first manuscript doesn’t get accepted for publication, hold on to it and keep writing. The romance industry is cyclical and many authors have reported that they sold their first manuscript years after selling other manuscripts.

Program Content

The program says I should pick one character through whom I “see” the story. How do I handle scenes where this character is not involved?

The main point to keep in mind when you are writing is the point of view you’re writing from. If you’re telling the story through your heroine’s eyes, she is not privy to your hero’s or anyone else’s thoughts. You must stay in her “head.”

However, if you are describing a scene where your heroine is not present, then you should write from the point of view of a character who is present, such as your hero. In this case, you would write from your hero’s head and he won’t know the heroine’s thoughts or experiences.

To keep from confusing readers, you should stick with one character’s point of view per scene or chapter.

Does the program cover a particular niche of romance novels?

The program shares the general techniques and secrets for writing great stories and getting them published. Whether the story is contemporary romance, historical romance or erotica, the program gives you everything you need to go from beginning writer to published author.

Will you give me a list of potential publishers?

Yes, the program includes a CD that contains a Directory of Publisher’s Guidelines. This directory contains guidelines for more than 40 publishers, quick tips on how to get published and content tips and response tips for some publishers.

Are you going to help me find a publisher?

Yes, we’ll show you how to target the right editor at the right publishing house. We’ll explain how to get your hands on their submission guidelines and give you shortcuts for getting your manuscript on an editor’s desk.

We also have a free monthly e-zine that will provide you with updated industry news. It will tell you which publishing houses are looking for manuscripts and how to go about querying those houses.

Will you critique chapters of my manuscript or the entire manuscript when I’m done?

We do not provide that service because we are a publishing company, not a training company. However, Accelerated Training Services, our affiliate company, can provide unlimited critiques for a nominal fee. You can reach Accelerated Training Services at 888-329-2924 to ask about their critique service.

Who will be my instructor?

With Writing for Love & Money, you get more than just one instructor’s expertise. Several published authors and acquisition professionals contributed their secrets, writing and publishing techniques, and insider tips to the 350+ page manual you will receive.

The authors write for all the major publishers, including Harlequin, St. Martin's Press, Signet, BET, Topaz Dreamspun, Leisure Books, Kensington, Waldenbooks and HarperCollins. Some of them lecture at universities and seminars around the world, some appear on international television and some write for film and television. Together, they've published over 80 books, with four million copies in print.

How many exercises are there in Writing for Love & Money?

Most chapters have at least one exercise, sometimes more, but there are three big exercises:

Exercise #1: Complete the AWAI Plot Planner
Exercise #2: Create a Synopsis of your Manuscript
Exercise #3: Create a Query Letter

Marketing Your Work

I sent a properly formatted manuscript to a publisher almost five months ago, but I haven’t heard anything. Is that good news or bad news? Is there a polite and professional way for me to find out the status of my manuscript?

It's not uncommon to wait for a whole year to get a response. Since it has been five months, you are not being pushy if you send a polite inquiry (with a self-addressed stamped envelope included) asking about the status of your manuscript. If nothing else, it might jog the editor's memory and force your manuscript to the top of his/her pile. This business requires a lot of patience, but it can be so rewarding.

How do I know who to market my work to?

Since there are dozens of companies that publish romance novels, it’s best if you check out as many of the publishers’ submission guidelines as possible before you start to write. You’ll find at least one set of guidelines that you’ll be excited about when you read them. That will tell you are inclined toward writing the type of titles that publisher is looking for. In other words, you will feel a match coming on.

Here’s another good thing about reviewing a lot of publishers’ guidelines: you’ll discover that many houses are soliciting work from new authors. This should not only give you confidence, but also help you target the friendlier publishers right from the start. This will increase your chances and lessen the length of time you’ll need to wait before you get your first manuscript accepted by a publisher.

How do I find publishers?

Check out the program CD that contains a Directory of Publishers or go to www.passionatepen.com. This site contains an extensive list of romance publishers as well as their submission guidelines.

Are there any additional associations that I should join or things I should do to help me improve my skills or get my business off the ground?

We strongly recommend that you join a romance writers group such as Romance Writers of America (RWA). RWA has been around since 1981 and is the premier organization for romance writers. If you attend the local and national conferences, you will be exposed to speeches and seminars on all aspects of the genre, be able to join critique groups, enter contests and have the chance to pitch your work to agents and editors. RWA has been the proving ground for countless authors. For information on joining, check the web site at: www.rwanational.org, or write to:

Romance Writers of America
16000 Stuebner Airline Rd
Suite 140
Spring, TX 77379
(832) 717-5200

It’s also very important that you read as many romance novels as possible. This will give you a feel for the rhythm and themes of romances. Finally, we recommend that you surround yourself with other writers—people who can empathize, sympathize, and give you advice on your writing.

I don’t have any experience, so how do I persuade publishers to take a chance on me?

Many publishers actually solicit work from new authors. This should not only give you confidence but also help you target the “right” publishers from the start. Besides, ultimately it’s about grabbing an editor’s attention and then establishing your credibility.

Since you don’t have a track record as a published author, there are other ways you can establish credibility. One way is to let the editor know that you can send a completed manuscript as soon as she wants it. This shows that you’ve already done the hard work of following through. Other ways to show that you’re a serious writer could be membership in a writer’s group, membership in Romance Writers of America, other writing credentials outside of the romance genre and even showing that you are a member in this program.

I’ve heard that most authors had to write several books before they got one published. That sounds like a lot of work to me. Does your program guarantee that I will get my first book published?

It’s true that many authors write several books before they get one published. But it’s also true that the romance writing business is cyclical. So many writers are able to get their earlier manuscripts published after their first or second sale. Romance author Sandra Madden wrote seven books before she was published, but she was able to get four of those seven books published later.

Many first-time writers don’t have the benefit of knowing the insider tips for writing saleable romances nor do they know much, if anything, about the business side of writing—getting their manuscript published. Writing for Love & Money and joining Romance Writers of America gives you a distinct advantage over those wannabe writers.

As you’ll soon discover, when you sell a manuscript, publishers often ask if you have anything else they can look at. So if you save all of your work, even if it was previously rejected, you might be able to sell it later.

We can’t guarantee that your first manuscript will be published, but we do guarantee that if you follow all of the advice that is detailed in the program, your manuscript will be market-ready.

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