Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Trilogy Trouble with Guest Blogger: Jane Toombs

Meet author Jane Toombs 
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to discuss whether selling your book leads to a trouble-free life and here's what she had to say...

When I wrote my first published book, a gothic titled Tule Witch--actually the first book I ever finished--I simply sat down and wrote it from beginning to end. Didn’t everyone do it that way? I thought so.  Then it was critiqued in a class taught by a published mystery writer and I believe his critiques were the reason the book sold.  He also taught me a lot about what I was doing wrong:

1. I tended to get sidetracked and go off on tangents that had nothing to do with the book’s basic plot.

2. I wrote with far too many em dashes.

3. I had multiple villains (I still wound up with 2 of them).

The book sold to Avon in 1973.  Recently, I bought a scanner and one of the first books I plan to scan for an e-book is Tule Witch.  It’ll be interesting to revisit that book so many years later.

So after that book sold, I figured all I had to do was sit down and write.

My second gothic, Point of Lost Souls also sold, but not the third.  Neither my agent nor I could understand why not.   He happened to be working with Packagers, sort of middlemen who propose a series, sell the concept to a publisher, then have agents search for authors to write the books.

This packager had a publisher for his Zodiac gothic series, but couldn’t find anyone to write the Sagittarius sign.  My agent asked me if I could write three chapters and a synopsis for this book.  I hated to ask what a synopsis was, but I had to. He told me it was a short outline of the book.  No problem--I could do that, and I did.  The Packager went to contract on three chapters and the synopsis.

Once I realized a book could be sold without writing the entire thing, I decided to always write a synopsis first and was rewarded by selling  everything I wrote.  Lesson learned.

So I decided to  do a synopsis for that third book only to discover I couldn’t do it from the manuscript.  I began to understand the reason why it had never sold  I’d committed my number one sin, wandered away from the plot line time after time.  What to do?

The obvious answer was write a new synopsis for the book, one that didn’t follow what I’d already written. I found this a real struggle, but I finally finished it and then revised the book by following the
synopsis.  The agent sold this third book, The Fog Maiden, to the first publisher he sent it to.

Valuable lesson learned.  I was a Plotter, not a Pantser.

I do not fanatically follow a synopsis, but if I have a reason to depart from it, I make sure what I intend to write is plot related.  If you’re having trouble selling a book, ask yourself if you’re following interesting byways that occur to you but do deviate from the plot line. Don’t make my mistake.

It’s all too easy to be led astray!

So what am I writing now? I’m putting up e-books through Books We Love, Ltd.   The latest is a historical suspense romance with a few paranormal elements titled Deception's Bride.

A Note from Book Boost:  Thanks for joining us today, Jane.  It is wonderful that you've survived the business this long.  I wish you much continued success with your e-book publishing!


Forced to marry a man she dislikes, Donella is frightened, but relieved when the terrifying call of "Pirates!" ends her wedding. She's rescued by a never-forgotten man she's seen only once before.

But can he keep her safe from either the pirates--or her new husband?

Want More Jane?

Pick up a copy of her latest book!  Click here.


JaneToombs said...

I meant to offer one commenter an ecopy of Deception's Bride, but failed to say so. But I will do it! Also anyone who would like a copy of my read-only CDs with excerpts from all my recent books has only to go to my website at and click on my email and send me your snail mail address. How's that for a run-on sentence? Jane

PAdoglady said...

I would love to win this book.