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ing reissued in print and e-book form, and discussing a possible mutual website and mutual promotion with a fellow writer. Every day I would put my fiction writing on my daily to do list—and then let everything else on the list take priority.

Writing my fiction somehow slipped away. I’m not under contract at the moment, so there’s no editor or deadline to remind me the fiction writing is a priority. What does remind me is the very nature of life itself.

If I want to write fiction, want to publish fiction through traditional avenues or as indie books, I need to write proposals and books—especially the books in today’s new publishing world.

In my May 2011 column, Creating from Chaos, I wrote that I’d discovered the joy of morning writing. Starting the day working on my work-in-progress left me feeling exhilarated, that I was in control of my life and schedule, that the world wasn’t so chaotic. Somehow during the last few months I let that practice slip away.

I decided to put that back into practice recently. At first, I actually felt guilty taking the time from other responsibilities. When I see that in black and white, I am amazed that as a writer I felt guilty doing what writers do—writing! In the beginning, I felt frustrated at the little time I had available. I started by just jotting down some notes about a new series that recently came to mind. Even that little bit of work on my stories set a different tone to my day, and left me looking forward to the next morning when I had my tiny amount of novel writing time set aside. Each day I added to the notes. My series began to grow in mind, slipping in with ideas in the midst of my other duties, writing and otherwise. Where I’d become discontent with my writing and lost focus, I found enthusiasm and new vision growing. I’m still swamped with all the same responsibilities I listed above, but I’m also making progress on a novella I plan to indie publish and on a series proposal.

Because I finally remembered the number one thing a writer has to do—a writer writes.

JoAnn Grote is the award-winning author of 38 books, including inspirational romances, middle-grade historical novels, and children’s nonfiction. Contact her at

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Continued from page 13        Another industry professional present brought up the suggestion that there might be too much attention on social media.

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Do authors have successful releases because they have a huge following, or they have a huge following because people always loved their books? Getting “likes” with contests might not translate to sales.

Questions were really varied, ranging from does having a series help sales—yes—to what is voice? The speaker defined voice as, when you read a book and know who wrote it without having to look at the cover. Voice is distinctive. Voice enhances content.

Another question focused on how Ms. Brehl conveys content to her organization without asking the people in the room at the editorial meetings to read the work. You have to have a good sound bite, she said. It’s something she works hard at. A good story can be distilled down.

A handful of current bestsellers were discussed and why different readers like different stories.

“Destination readers” want to know how a story ends. They read for the final payoff. “Journey readers” like to savor a beautifully crafted story. They are in no rush to get to the end. Yet another group of readers read for the love of language and wonderful sentences.

If a literary novel can fulfill all those desires, that’s the book that will climb the bestseller lists. (e.g. Kite Runner)

But, again, everything comes back to content. Content = voice + plot + emotional pull. Make the content the best it can be.

Dana Marton writes fast-paced action-adventure romances that take her readers all over the globe. She is a Rita Award finalist and the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. She loves writing stories of intrigue, filled with dangerous plots that try her tough-as-nails heroes and the special women they fall in love with.

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