Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Writer Beware!!!

Good morning! It’s almost the weekend folks, so just be patient, it will come…

We as writers want to sell books, right? But, at what lengths will we go or how much money will we spend in order to sell them? This post is not about advertising or promoting, it’s about the leeches that come around when you publish a book.

Yesterday, I received a call from a publishing company. Of course, at first, your heart pounds and your ears roar for a tiny second… At least mine used to. I’ve received so many calls with fantastic news… “You have caught our eye and we want to give you the moon”. Unfortunately, the moon comes at a steep price. And yes, we all want the moon, right?

I sat and listened to this guy just shower Highlander’s Heart with praises, which alright, yes, that made me feel good. But, you see, I was googling this guys publishing company as he talked. The second through fifth things that came up were about a scam and it was from other authors who had fallen into their trap. So, I went over to their website, the poor guy was still gushing about the millions that I could make if I went with their company… The very first page offered three packages for getting ‘in’ with them. I won’t even post the prices they were so ludicrous.

The poor little guy then went on to tell me that he could put my book on the silver screen immediately. I’m sorry folks, but I had to cover my mouth as the laughter bubbled forth. Anyone in this business knows that it’s not a straight line to the silver screen unless you are lucky enough to catch the eye of a big-time person in the movie business. But, I was nice, I continued to listen.

Then, he said and we’ll put you in touch with our review site to get the reviews to boost the sales of your very first published book. If I hadn’t heard the warning bells earlier in the conversation, this would have been the moment of the bell clanging. You see, I’m about to publish my 30th book, so that told me this little guy’s supposed research of me was completely false.

At this time in our conversation, or shall I say his, because I was pretty much scanning social media at this point, but I was getting a little tired of listening. I decided to end the really badly rehearsed speech he was giving me about the reach I could have with them. I told him to email the information and I’d have my publishing legal team check it out. (Like I have a publishing legal team, but it was fun to say 😉 ). At this point in the conversation, the guy started stuttering and telling me to check out their rating on the better business bureau, which I’d already done in the first five minutes of the conversation. By the way, it was horrible.

So, the moral of this post is, if you get a call from a publishing company, please do your homework. I’ve received calls from some of the bigger names in publishing, but they were wanting money to promote my work. Beware of the leeches and make sure you do your homework before you sign on the dotted line.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Outlines, good or bad…

I’ve been telling you about my surprise manuscript for a couple of weeks. As I sit here enjoying my coffee and the morning sun, I’m going over the outline for the new work. It’s a complete outline that goes to the words ‘The End’.

Some writers say they can’t work from an outline and others, well they can’t work without one. I’ve written several books using a outline draft, but it sometimes changed through the process. My new work is coming along well with the outline. This outline seems to flow with the way I see the story in my head. But I wonder if it will stay the same.

Here are some good points to using an outline…

1. The outline keeps you focused on the story and where it’s headed.

2. Outlines are not written in stone and can change.

3. If you have a detailed outline, all you need to do is make a chapter out of each line.

Since my outline goes to number 29, that means it’s looking to be a really long book. The details are there, all I need to do is pull each chapter from the lines I’ve written. With this outline I was able to pull the story that’s running around in my head out. When a story comes into my head, usually the whole thing comes in a rush and I can’t wait to get to the end. With my outline I was able to get the story on paper so that I’m free to fill it all out.

So, do you work with outlines? Have you ever tried? What was your experience?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Romance…Not for everyone…

So many people ask me why I write romance. Well, I love anything romance and believe that everyone needs a little romance. Of course I’ve met many skeptics that don’t believe in romance. They often tell me it’s only found in sappy novels, Valentine candy or something similar, but they insist it’s only in the mind. For me I don’t believe that. I don’t consider most romance novels sappy, but sometimes the sappier the better, but I’m a romance novel junkie and I readily admit to the problem.

Many have asked me when I started loving romance. My love for romance began when I was the tender age of 13 and picked up my first romance novel. I read many Harlequin and dime store novels, so many in fact that I carried them everywhere. One of my dear friends from school came to my book signing on Valentine’s Day and she told me that she remembered me carrying a romance novel everywhere I went. She said it only made sense that one day I’d be a romance author.

But the day I picked up the book “Remembrance” by Danielle Steele, well let’s just say I was lost in a world of the imagination. She took me to foreign countries and many adventures that stirred this country girl’s young heart. That’s when I started filling notebooks with the words that sprang to my heart. That was when I woke up to the world of romance.

Unfortunately not everyone shares my love of romance. Some people have been hurt by love and they turn away from romance. Some people look in the wrong places for the right person and they end up bitter and alone. But some try desperately to find romance and when it’s not found easily they become skeptics. I’m not saying everyone will find that once in a lifetime romance, but I will say this, in order to find romance you’ve got to believe in it with all your heart. That’s where romance comes from and if you believe, it will come.

I know I’m just a sappy romance writer, but I know romance exists. I’ve experienced romance and it’s wonderful. That’s one reason I love writing romance. I want my readers to see how real romance happens. My books explore romance but in real life form. It’s not always easy and sometimes my characters struggle to find it. But that’s how life is sometimes. Some of my fans say I take them away from everyday life and immerse them into my world of romance for a while as they read. That always makes me smile.

16302678259_653027e186_mSo, do you believe in romance? I hope so because everyone needs to experience it at least once in their lifetimes. It can happen in a simple touch, dinner or just a look across the way. But it exists for those that believe and when you find it everything seems better.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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Publishing in today’s world…

It has been an interesting ride since publishing my first novel. I had always said I would never do social media. Well, guess again. I now tweet, blog, and do most of all the social media networks except Facebook. I do have a Facebook page for one of my books, but it is handled by my editor. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is great, but just a little too social.

When I first decided to publish my books I played with the idea of a traditional publisher. I spoke with a couple and they said well send in your manuscript and we will let you know. Well if you have ever done this it is a long wait for the let you know part. After doing a lot of research on traditional publishing, I decided against that route. As I researched I discovered a lot of things I did not care for.

One of the things that bothered me was the royalties. They wanted to pay me just a fraction of what I would be charging for the book. One publisher said we can offer you 5% royalties on all books sold and the highest offer was 25%. I sat there doing the math and decided that was not happening. When you work hard on your novel and it is like part of you, why would you give a publisher 75%.

Well, then I discovered self publishing. I smiled at the thought of the tables turning in the other direction. With self publishing I had control of my own work. I could control where it went and how. I have not regretted that decision yet. I have been approached by several publishers wanting to get my already published books in their market. One even offered to take my books to new heights for the nice round figure of $3000. After I put my jaw back in place, I nicely told him thanks but no thanks. He wanted to put them where they already were at.

I know with traditional publishing you get the whole media, advertising, and all with it. But in reality, they wanted to put my books where they already were. Now you do have some wonderful Indie publishing companies that are not out to drain you of your profits. I may decide to go with one of those for some of my future work, just to see where it leads. Who knows.

This is not a post to discourage or persuade anyone from anything. I just wanted to give my experiences. As always, good writing and God Bless!