25 January 2012

Please welcome author Ann Montclair

So Many Opportunities: Only One Story
By Ann Montclair

So, you’ve written a book. It’s completed, polished, and ready to be shopped. You’re excited, right? After all, this is the moment you’ve been awaiting. You’ve composed your two page synopsis and one page query letter, and are ready to make the biggest decision of all—to whom do you send your inquiry?

Traditionally, you’d query a list of agents and hope one requested a chapter, but with the advent of electronic books, many publishers will accept direct inquiries from un-agented, first time authors. What do you do?

Figure out your intentions and form a plan.

Writers must decide if they want to pursue print or electronic publication—knowing one takes a long time and the other might nibble within weeks. Authors should decide if they want to work with a small or large press. And don’t forget to consider if your career might benefit from securing an agent. Once those decisions are made, writers must be prepared to wait accordingly. You have one story to sell, and you want to make sure it gets into the best position for that sale; that’s why planning is essential for a prudent business move.

I took an academic sabbatical from my position as a tenured college English professor to pursue my writing. I desired publication as quickly as possible, so I decided to query electronic publishers as well as traditional venues. Within a month, I had been offered a contract with Soul Mate Publishing.

A contract! My first novel, The Billionaire’s Bauble, sold! And fast…

I barely had time to utter a prayer of thanks before I received two more offers for my Bauble. Then an agent I’d queried wanted to read it, and months later, a giant in the romance industry expressed interest.

I am thrilled to have The Billionaire’s Bauble with Soul Mate Publishing; as I am equally pleased to have two more contemporary romance novels, One Wet Summer and Good Things Come in Tall Packages, forthcoming in May 2012 and August 2012 with Musa Publishing. My dreams have come true, and I hope to entertain readers for years to come with romance novels yet to be penned.

The lesson that I hope to share is this: as an author, you need a plan. You need to understand that there has never been more opportunity or access to publication, but if you want to press with the traditional publishers, like St. Martins or Harlequin, you need patience. Those large houses don’t have the turnaround small houses have. Agents take months to respond and big publishing houses can take up to a year. I don’t regret the decisions I made to get my stories to press. Soul Mate Publishing and Musa Publishing have proven wonderful venues for my novels—rich with learning opportunities, willing to help me grow as an author of contemporary romance. I trust I made the right decisions for my stories and for me.

And you need to make the right decision for you. When that first novel (or that next novel is ready to send), know this: writers have choices. Plan to succeed and you will!


Ann Montclair’s first contemporary romance novel, The Billionaire’s Bauble, is available as an electronic book at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Billionaires-Bauble-ebook/dp/B006QQWY42/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326811080&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-billionaires-bauble-ann-montclair/1108117604?ean=2940013699595&itm=1&usri=the+billionaire%27s+bauble

and Soul Mate Publishing http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/the-billionaires-bauble/

You can also visit her at http://annmontclair.com/

The Billionaire’s Bauble blurb:
Sloane Porter arrived at Grant Oil knowing if she didn’t land the executive assistant position, she would have to leave Fairbanks and return home to New York. To a life she’d thought she’d left far behind. She hadn’t spent years earning her degree and becoming her own woman just to move backwards. But when Sloane enters the CEO’s office and realizes he’s the same man she’d kissed in a Fairbanks bar two years earlier, a man she couldn’t forget, she discovers running away isn’t always the best option . . .

Excerpt from Chapter One:

"I'll be all yours in a moment, Ms. Porter," David said absentmindedly to the final interviewee entering his plush Fairbanks office. The walnut and steel door swooshed closed as the woman approached his desk. He didn't glance up from his paper pile, but he could smell a hint of Chanel perfume, and he already liked the confident click clack of the candidate's heels across his tiled office floor.

"Yes, sir. Take all the time you need," the applicant purred, and remained standing, waiting for David to ask her to be seated.

He enjoyed making his prospective employees squirm—just a bit—as they waited to find out if their futures would be linked with his Fortune 500 company. Everyone wanted a piece of the pie, but only one person would be hired to become the newest administrative assistant to the CEO and owner of the billion dollar enterprise.

David Grant required a team of personal aids to scurry after him and keep things running smoothly so he could wrangle the S & P and rough up those big city corporate honchos. He smiled to himself. The new figures looked strong, and Grant Oil was set to double up.

David slowly lifted his eyes to observe every detail of the young woman.

He started at her shoes, a serviceable pair of two-inch heels. Check. She wasn't wearing stilettos, a sure sign of self-indulgence if worn to the office. Good.

Her legs were lean but strong; he could see calf muscle but no knee. Check. Modesty was key to creating a productive workplace. He didn't want to see thighs at Grant Oil. He demanded a focused environment, and that meant no glimpses of distracting flesh.

As his inquisitive eyes moved to the woman's hips, he noted she was full figured despite her athletic legs. Her blue wool pencil skirt did little to hide her feminine curves. Wool was a smart choice because June could be quite cool in Fairbanks, despite the sun's bright glare.

Her arms were to her sides and her fingers hung loosely. Light pink paint adorned each small nail. No wedding ring decorated her slim pale fingers, though she had quite a nice ornament on her left pinky finger. A 2-carat diamond sparkled in the late afternoon sunshine coming through the giant paned window above his desk. Terrific. She didn't have a husband to keep her home. David needed assistants who moved as quickly as he did.

The woman's matching suit coat jacket was finely tailored, and the small leather covered buttons were undone so David could see the crisp white silk shirt that almost disguised a full bosom.

Her throat was long and he could see a pulse. Good. She was nervous, despite her calm demeanor. A few wisps of auburn hair had escaped from her chignon, but they curled artfully along her neck, just touching her suited shoulder. David appreciated the softness a few misplaced hairs could lend to a businesswoman. A woman should be soft—even in the rugged oil business. He wanted a woman to be a woman.

As he continued his deliberate perusal, he noted her dimpled chin, full pink lips, and pert nose. When he finally arrived at her eyes, he almost lost his composure.

"It's you," he managed as his throat clamped tight. If he had been kicked in the gut, he couldn't have been more affected.

A quick flash of recognition quickly became all business as her brilliant green eyes smiled at him, twinkled even. She extended her hand across his glass-topped desk and said, "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. Grant. Thank you for the opportunity."

David felt her small hand go instantly hot. He stood then, and she stepped back, pulling her hand from his strong grip. He could see a flash of confusion and then determination well up in her remarkable eyes.

"I understand you are here for a position in my company," he assuaged. He read her name from the top of her resume again: Sloane Porter. "I apologize for my familiarity, Ms. Porter, but you are the woman I danced with a couple of years ago at Hal's. Right?"


Rose said...

What a great post! Thanks, Ann, for all your insights, and congratulations on all your successes! I hope to read your books very soon.

Ann Montclair said...

Thank you, Rose. :)

Sara Daniel said...

Congratulations Ann!

Cornell Deville said...

What a great story and what great advice, Ann. Wishing you the best of luck and success.

Mandi Casey said...

I completely agree with you Ann, patience is key in the publishing world. Making your MS shiny to the waiting for responses from queried agents and publishers. It can be downright painful :) Like you said, don't stop writing . And have a plan!

Cindy Brannam said...

Gotta love a man who likes curves and not sticks! Great opening and I can't wait to read the rest. Congratulations on all three!

Ann Montclair said...

Thank you, Sara Daniels, Cornell Deville, and Mandi Casey for your support and encouragement. Cindy, I hope you enjoy the rest of the story. Sloane is no light weight in any sense of the word. :)

Casey Wyatt said...

Hi Ann!! I didn't know you were an English professor!! It's awesome that you already have three published novels. You rock!!

Ann Montclair said...

Casey, Yeppers. English Prof is the first dream-career, but the secret and true dream-career is writing: am so lucky to have both. Life is good. :) Thanks for stopping in.

BJ Scott said...

great post as always, Ann.
For those who have not read The Billionaire's Bauble yet, you are in for a treat.

Good luck with your book and future releases

Ann Montclair said...

Thanks, BJ. You have been such a wonderful friend. Blessings and joy.

Dawn Ireland said...

Hi Ann,

I think developing a career plan is harder than writing the books! Great blog.


Ann Montclair said...

You're right, Dawn. Writing the books is the best part, the rewarding part, the (dare I say it) easiest part. Everything after that is just work. :) Though, I am certainly never going to complain about hard work as I know it defines the writer. Thanks for stopping by.

Arley Cole said...

I too have done my time as college English faculty!! It's way better to be writing papers than reading them! Way to go on your first three novels. Great post on getting started too!

Ann Montclair said...

Thanks, Arley. We've got romance, Musa, AND teaching English in common. Sounds like a critique match made in heaven. :)

Amaleen Ison said...

Great post, Ann. 3 novels! If only. I'm off to Goodreads to mark The Billionaire's Bauble to read. Love that title, by the way.

Ann Montclair said...

Thanks, Amaleen!

Patricia said...

Thank you for this post, Ann. We do have more options these days than ever and it's hard to decide just what to do and what is best. The entire traditional process takes SO long and is so unpredictable and yet the e-book process can be just as unpredictable. We have so much work to do with promotion and marketing as authors these days and many of us are floundering, not knowing how to do that the right way. Or is there a right way?

Ann Montclair said...

Patricia, I think there's a wrong way (being obnoxious, purposely breaking etiquette rules, complaining about reviews, not being supportive of other authors)--but a right way? Got me! That's why the traditional publication outlets are still so appealing. They've got a marketing machine in place. No matter how great my book might be, if it's not on the shelves in Wal-Mart, I'm not getting as many readers as I'd like. But I'll hope for the best and keep writing. Maybe one day... :) Thanks for stopping by.