Overall, it was a great experience. I loved finding a lot of new writers on twitter, and the learning process is priceless. I didn’t like the fact that no comments could be made on chapters. In 2011, I entered the New Voices contest, and the comments left by others helped my chapter grow to new lengths.
We were required to upload the first chapter as our entry in SYTYCW. Is that chapter still in its original form or has it gone through more revisions?
At this time, the chapter is still in the same form, but I intend to give it another look over (I’ve already revised it 20 million times) to see if I can extend it and make a bigger novel out of it. I realized I was trying to fit a Women’s Fiction into a romance and it was causing the novel to lack. Because of this, I have a lot of rethinking to do. I know nothing about the Women’s Fiction market. Good thing this was what I considered my “learning novel”. It makes the sting a lot less hurtful.
How about the rest of the book? Is it finished? Going through more revisions?
The book is finished, but the second half is in very first draft mode. Again, as my learning novel, I made many, many newbie mistakes, and it seems the revisions are a never ending process with this novel.
Any thoughts on submitting your entry to another publisher or agent?
Since I discovered it’s a Women’s Fiction, I have less options with Harlequin for this novel. They do have a Women’s Fiction line, but the word length is 100k. That means I will have to double the word count to fit there. I’m looking into an Agent who I may want to represent me during the rest of my writing ventures.
How long have you been writing?
Depends on where you want me to start. I first wrote stuff for my churches drama club when I was 12 years old. Plays, songs, and whatever else I could come up with, but all that was lost in my later teenage years and I didn’t start writing seriously until I was 20 years old. Almost 7 years later, I’m getting even more serious. I procrastinated way too much, and it’s time for me to take the next step in my writing career. I hope to get a call story this year.
Have you ever entered a contest like this one before?
The only other time I entered a contest like this was in 2011 when Harlequin had their New Voices and SYTYCW contests separate. I did like New Voices better.
What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest?
I stink at this part. I felt as if I were bugging everyone. I’m sure many people turned the option to see me in their newsfeed on Facebook off. I shared, at the very least, once an hour for days. GRR… I’m sure there’s a better way to do things, and if I do this contest again, I’ll find those better ways.
And then tell me about them, LOL! I had the same problem. If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if anything?
First would be the way I marketed my chapter. I think I turned more people off than on by how often I shared my chapter. I will also listen to others advice (I was told a couple times that my story sounded more like a women’s fiction) before moving on with something. I don’t know why I resisted (maybe because I love Romance so much), but it took me a bit to realize I was trying to mold my manuscript into something it wasn’t.
It sounds like you have grown as a writer by leaps and bounds. What are you working on now?
In January, Harlequin had a pitch contest for Intrigue. The manuscript didn’t need to be started or finished. I had an idea that bloomed from a dream and decided to pull it out and give it a shot. “The Baby Heist” is about a woman trying to protect her unborn child from a stalker. The hero is a suspect at first. She requested a full. I was ecstatic. So, I wrote about half of it and she emailed me asking me to send whatever I had. Ultimately, it was rejected. I gave myself the day of the rejection to sulk, then I jumped back on the pitching horse and got 2 agent requests and 1 publisher request during #pitmad. I also went to a writers conference and met with an agent who also wants to see more. I’ll be sending those partials out, and hopefully good news comes from them. Moral of this story, keep on writing. Go for that dream. You will make it.
Where can we find you on the Web?
I have a website under construction so please excuse the content. www.amberautry.com My blog, twitter, and Facebook page are all on my website if you want to find me in those social media outlets. My personal Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/ambernautry
Thanks for being here today Amber, and I look forward to your "call story" sometime this year!