Monday, 17 December 2012

Welcome to My Guest Author: Jenny Schwartz

Today I welcome Author Jenny Schwartz to my blog!   So over to Jenny...

Thanks, again, Serena, for this chance to visit your blog and chat about my passion: writing. I hope everyone enjoys “Drawing Closer”. I will be giving away one Kindle copy of Drawing Closer to one commenter today.
Writing is Not a Solitary Craft

Being an author means building your support network. Next time you’re reading a novel, flick back to the acknowledgements page of the book. You’ll see the author thanking all the people who made the book possible. She’s not kidding. An author is a professional who knows she’s part of a team.

There are the people in your life who aren’t authors, aren’t in any way connected to the publishing world, but they’re family and friends who support you because they love you. They are gold. Stop reading this and go hug them.

Okay, so now you’re back I want to talk about the support team you’re building for your writing.

Start with author friends. These guys are on the writing journey, too. You won’t walk quite the same path as one another, but you’ll be walking close enough to shout encouragement, pick each other up when you stumble and share gossip. Yes, gossip. Every profession has its own inner workings, trends and possibilities. When I say gossip, I’m not talking about nastiness. I’m talking about keeping an ear to the ground in your industry, publishing.

Where do you find these friends? A great place to start is by joining a professional association, such as the Romance Writers of Australia, which I belong to. Whatever point you’re at with your writing career, you’ll find people like you. But you can also find and build these friendships organically by joining in Twitter and Facebook conversations and commenting at blogs. Basically, you find a community that feels right for you and you join in. Sometimes you can also be lucky and have the community find you. When I had a handful of novellas published with Carina Press I became part of their author group and it’s proved enormously supportive.

Which brings me to my luckiest break of all. Editors. Great editors are an integral part of your writing journey. I’ve been blessed. From Anna Genoese who while she was at Tor rejected my first ever novel, but did so with such kindness and encouragement that she inspired me to keep going, to Nas Dean who has just edited “Drawing Closer” and taught me to delve even deeper into my characters’ emotional responses. Good editors are focussed on the manuscript they’re responsible for, but their comments and advice develop your craft.

Finally, remember and respect reviewers and readers. They provide you with feedback (sometimes negative! eek!) and encouragement.

For all that I was trying to keep this post short, I seem to have rambled on for quite a bit. I’m going to be brief then in my take on how, having identified your support network, you nurture it. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I first read this phrase, but it’s what I hope you take from this post: bank social credit.

Behave professionally. If you’ve made a commitment (revisions, a blog post, a review, a critique), then meet it. Promote your author friends’ work. Volunteer for a role in your professional association. Walk the talk that tells people you’re serious about being part of the community. Comment on blogs, retweet great reviews via Twitter. Be authentic.

I used the phrase “bank social credit” not because I think of nurturing your support network as a soulless transaction, but because I want to counter the Demon Doubt that says you should be WRITING and that anything else is wasting time. Nope. Building a support network is part of the author’s craft. In this world of social media craziness, it’s essential.  

Jenny on the Web:


Blurb Drawing Closer:

Zoe Loyola has a secret. Just between her and her sketchbook, she loves sculptor Nick Gordon. Her drawings of him are hot and naked.

Nick has a secret, too. He’s being blackmailed. Protecting his family means ignoring his desire for Zoe.

But in the world of art, passion breaks every rule and secrets are made for sharing.
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  1. Thanks for the chance to visit and chat about something I believe is truly important -- and not just in writing -- friendship and being part of a community.

  2. Hi Serena, Hi Jenny!

    Hey Jenny, what are you doing here? You're my special guest over in India today and you're here in Melbourne! This is the power of the net all right.

    I like the idea that the author is not a solitary achiever but part of a team. It makes a lot of sense, you know. Serena has been very kindly guiding me in the ways of editing - a valuable lesson for a person like me who loves to interfere was never to interfere with an author's voice. I'm sure I have much more to learn, but this lesson has been so revealing.

    1. Maria, the net is marvellous. I'm having so much fun visiting you both.

      I've got to admit, I'm a control freak, so I don't know if I could edit. I have immense respect for you and Serena for being able to step back and respect authors' voices.

  3. Welcome Jenny. Lovely to have you here. Sorry I'm late but I've been having server problems.
    I agree with your take on community and friendship. The romance writing community is unique. Everyone is so giving and friendly, always happy to offer advice and what other workplace celebrates all "promotions" (read sales) like we do? So someone sells before you do, then you celebrate their achievement and then try harder for your own.

    Thanks for coming in Maria. I must go in and visit Jenny and you in India :)

    1. Server problems. Ouch!

      We belong to the best community :) and the lovely thing is, it's so welcoming, everyone can join.

  4. Excellent post, Jenny! I do think it's vital to maintain our networks. Social media are our water cooler and meeting rooms. They're essential in a solitary business! Thanks for hosting, Serena. Your blog is always an oasis of sense and professionalism and your contribution to all of us is greatly valued!

    1. Thanks, Imelda :) I think we're extraordinarily lucky that RWAus is so good at supporting its members...and that its members are so good at supporting it and each other. When the writing blahs hit, I can just check in with another RWAus-er and my mood improves -- or at a minimum, I get to grumble to someone who understands :)

    2. Hi Imelda,

      How very true! Where would we be without our email loops, or Facebook and Twitter (to a lesser extent for me)? The Melbourne Romance Writers Guild and the Romance Writers of Australia have been invaluable for me in my writing and editing career. And I've met the most wonderful people :) Thanks for dropping in!

  5. Hi Jenny,
    Great post. I found my tribe when I joined RWA, and later the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild. And I agree with you, getting involved and volunteering is one of the very best ways to meet new people and to give back. All the best with Drawing Closer. It sounds fabulous!

    1. Louise, it's wonderful when we find that place where we belong. It's so much more than just finding great friends (though that's awesome!) it's finding a place where our dreams are respected and shared. Thank you so much for dropping in :)

    2. Hi Louise,
      The camaraderie within our romance writing organisations is second to none and so many people give their time and knowledge freely. We are rather unique that way.

      Lovely to see you here, Louise.

  6. Hi Serena and Jenny,
    Great blog. You are so right. Your author friends are like gold. That is what I love about our romance writing community, everyone is so willing to help each other.

    best wishes


    1. Margaret, it's a wonderful feeling. Like how I saw you'd dropped in and left a comment and I smiled. That feeling of belonging and being among friends is priceless. Thank you :)

    2. Hi Margaret,
      You're so right. It's unlike any other community that I know of. I have made so many good friends (including you :) )

      Thanks for calling in.

  7. I've been wondering about joining the RW Australia. Except I live in Ireland. Is there any point?? Edith xxx

    1. Hi Edith,
      RWAustralia does have several members who live overseas. Some are expatriate Aussies, others natives of the countries in which they live.
      Membership allows you to be part of the RWAusralia online loop (ROMAUS). It's a valuable source of information and a good place to find out about the current market, etc. You also receive an excellent newsletter every month which is full of news and craft articles.

      I don't know of any romance writing organisations in Ireland, but there is one based in the UK: The Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) They have rather strict guidelines but a wonderful New Members Scheme which allows new members to have their manuscript appraised. Read more about it here:

      Good luck, Edith. Thanks for coming in.

    2. Ooops. Just saw that Jenny gave you the same link. Great minds...

  8. Edith, you would be very welcome :)

    I don't know which Romance Authors group Irish authors tend to join. Is it the UK Romantic Novelists' Association?

    The two big factors for me in belonging to RW Australia is that the members are in the same timezone (I really value this after the challenges of dealing with publishers half a world away) and that there is every chance to meet them in person! I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to my first ever RWAustralia conference next year.

    Does anyone know of an Irish romance authors group?

    1. Oh Jenny, you've never been to an RWAUs conference? You will have a BALL!!! I mean, you will work hard and learn a lot (and have a ball!).

    2. I intend to -- have a ball, that is! I expect to learn lots just being there, and since Nikki's roped me in to help with sponsors, I think I'm going to enjoy the work bit too :)

      Will you be there?

    3. I've worked a couple of the conferences (organizing committee for one of them) and it's a lot of work, but it's fun. You get to speak to nearly everyone :)

      I hope to be there! A few of us are planning to go for a week or so.

  9. Hi Jenny and Serena!

    So sorry for missing in action. Back online but for short whiles only.

    Great post Jenny! And I would also love to come to the RWA conference in Perth.

    1. BTW, Jenny, what are you doing here? You were in Fiji answering my questions at Romance Book Paradise!

      And thanks for the mention, lovely Jenny. You were also a wonder to work with. I also learnt from Serena on 'How Not To Interfere With An Author's Voice!'

      Thank you Serena, my lovely friend!

  10. There's always something more to learn about writing and editing. Being part of a community where people generously share their knowledge and experience is wonderful.

    Nas, I hope you're all well and safe in Fiji. I have to admit, with the cyclone bearing down, I was glad I was only "virtually" visiting. Take care

  11. Congratulations LOUISE REYNOLDS! You've won a copy of Drawing Closer.

    If you contact me at my website with your email address I'll gift you a kindle copy (or whatever works best for your ereader). Using the "contact me" form hopefully prevents nasty spammers harvesting our email addresses.

    Happy reading!

    I love hearing people's responses to my stories, so everyone feel free to message me (all my contact details are at my website) or share a review of Drawing Closer. Thanks for your support.

    And thank you, Serena, for the chance to visit and chat with so many friendly people. See you in Freo! :)

  12. Hi Jenny,
    Thanks for being my guest blogger and for putting up with my absence over Christmas!
    See you in Freo!!

  13. And congratulations to Louise!! You will LOVE Drawing Closer!