by Patty Smith Hall
A few weeks ago, my first novella collection, The American Heiress Bride Collection from Barbour Publishing hit the bookstores, and I was tickled to death. After fourteen published books and novellas, it may seem funny to get excited over, but it was a dream come true for me. Working with the staff at Barbour has been a goal of mine ever since I helped them with multi-city book tour several years. I learned a great deal about marketing and what goes into the publishing process during that tour, and saw firsthand the dedication Barbour had to producing the best books possible.
But most of all, I loved writing it because of the amazing writers I was blessed to work with every day. They taught me a great deal about craft so I asked them to share some of their wisdom on writing in a novella collection with you today.
Lisa Carter, author of Under the Turquiose Sky—The positives of working with other authors is you have someone to help share the marketing load. It’s also an opportunity to learn from others as well as have fun together!
Susanne Dietze, author of The Reluctant Guardian—I’m a visual person so I make on excel spreadsheet when I plotting. My columns aren’t just labeled by chapters but also things like ‘the point of no return’ or black moment.’ In a novella, there isn’t a lot of time to hit those beats so I like to have structure to show me what to focus on.
Cynthia Hickey, author of The Shady Acres Mystery Series—The great thing about working in a collection is the ability to reach new readers you might not have the opportunity to reach otherwise. But remember—you’re dealing with a multitude of personalities and authors who do things their way. Be flexible.
Anita Mae Draper, author of Romantic Refinements-Being in a collection gives me the chance to work other authors of varying experiences where we share craft and media skills, and multiply the promotional factor. You need to work as a team and abide by the group’s decision-even if it’s not the one you wanted. Remember, the end result is what’s important.
Kim Woodhouse, co-author of In the Shadow of Denali—Write a detailed synopsis so you know exactly where you’re going. Yes, they’re hard work, but it’s necessary in our creative field if you want to succeed. In a novella, you have write tight. There’s no room to go off the rails-so write that synopses!
As for my advice, go into the experience with a teachable spirit. Be open to the other writers’ suggestions and be willing to present your own. And always pray for each other.
Patty Smith Hall is multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Barbour. Patty lives in North Georgia with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters, her son-in-love and a grandboy who is due to arrive any day now. Her new release, Hometown Heiress in The American Heiress Bride Collection is available on Amazon or your local bookstore.