The road to publication is not for the faint of heart.
You've got to decide early on how badly you want to be a published author before you choose to walk this path. Otherwise, you'll find yourself sitting by the wayside asking, "Is this worth it?"
Twenty-four years ago, I began reading romance. I was a sixteen-year-old high school junior who fell in love with Carole Mortimer's The Devil's Price. That book was everything to me. I read it and re-read it until the cover fell to pieces. I actually still have the tattered book somewhere in my basement. It was such a great book, and each read left me sighing with satisfaction.
Over the years I read many great books like Ms. Mortimer's. But, soon I wasn't sighing with satisfaction anymore. Instead, I was wondering, "Why are there no people who look, live, and love like me in these books?" When I couldn't find representation in the stories I was reading, I decided I would write it myself.
I wrote my first book just to see a woman like me on the page. Although it was horrible (and trust me, it was horrible), I was so excited because a woman like me was getting to experience love in this very grand way. That first book, written at age eighteen would go on to become Heart of the Matter, the first book in my Queens of Kings series—after many revisions, that is.
Anyone from the outside looking in would see how well that series sold for me and ask, "Where is the hard time?" Believe me, not everything is as easy as it seems. Although I've been blessed to work with some amazing small presses, it's been a struggle to break into larger traditional houses. With more and more small presses closing, that means getting published with the backing of a publisher is getting harder and harder for every author, doubly so for those of us that write diverse romance.
There are those that will counter my above statement with what would appear to be the obvious alternative to traditional publishing, independent, self-publishing. Yes, indie publishing is an alternative, but it's also expensive and time consuming—if it's to be done correctly. It's not as easy as everyone thinks it is, nothing ever really is.
Although independent publishing is a viable alternative to traditional publishing (or a viable first choice if that's your jam), no author should be forced to take that path, because access is blocked to their preferred method of publication. Not every author wants to take on all of that responsibility. Some authors just want to write.
Now comes the time when hard decisions have to be made. How badly do I want to continue publishing? Is my love of writing in this genre strong enough to make me stay the course even though some days it can look very bleak? Do I just get frustrated and throw in the towel and go back to teaching?
My answer is this. Writing romance is what I was born to do. This is where my passion lies. Whatever, however, I've got to make that dream a reality, I will continue to do so. I will continue to put myself out there, to submit, even when rejection seems inevitable. Why? The answer is simple because I've got to be in the game to win it. The only failure is not trying at all.
I am LaQuette, and I am a romance author, and regardless of the changes in the industry, that will always remain my truth. The question you have to ask yourself is will it continue to be yours. How much do you really want it? 💋
LaQuette-President of RWA/NYC, is the 2016 Golden Apple Award Author of the year winner. She writes bold & sexy tales for diverse characters who are confident in their right to appear on the page. Represented by Latoya C. Smith of the L. Perkins Agency. Visit her at NovelsbyLaQuette.com LaQuette@NovelsbyLaQuette.com