It’s never too late to chase a writing dream. But in order to pen it best, an author must first live it. International Bestselling Author Rita Delude has done just that. Raised by a hardworking alcoholic in a house full of both chaos and love, Delude creates rich, deep characters, who pop from the page. Unafraid to dive into important young and new adult subjects like bullying, bigotry, homosexuality, drugs, kidnapping, and sexual abuse, she also writes adult contemporary, historical, paranormal romance, and suspense/horror. Together, like the quilts she sews, her stories stitch together the experiences she’s had as a junior high teacher, college professor, newspaper reporter, parent, and grandparent.
Delude has published Kaleidoscope, Baby Blues, and Adam’s Anguish, a three-part contemporary romance set in Escape, CO around Alice Glover and her quilting shop and family and friends who run it. She’s also published Catch.net and Caught in the Middle, a two-part series about finding love on the internet and keeping the flame burning after almost a decade of marriage. Sister’s Revenge is her horror/suspense read with its sequel Sweet Revenge. Dracula’s Choice is an adult paranormal romance for readers who enjoy the darker side of love. Her other works include YA romances: Bubble Gum Love, Lemon Yellow, and Lollipop Lure. Two other contemporary romance novellas are Rhode Island Rendezvous and Chance Meeting. She’s published short stories in numerous anthologies by multiple publishers. These days, when she’s not out living and learning, she can be found quilting or researching for upcoming works including For the Love of Lily and The Locket, two historical romances set in World War II and Hoarder, a suspense novel.
Now a Crazy Ink exclusive author, she has been a magazine writer and a newspaper columnist for decades. Delude holds a MFA in Writing. She is retired from her position as a full professor at Nashua Community College, Nashua, New Hampshire. She lives in New Hampshire, USA with her husband and their rescue dog, Daisy.
Book and Main Bites: https://bookandmainbites.com/RitaDelude
Your writing journey:
Always a writer, even in elementary school, I became a newspaper reporter and columnist and magazine writer. Later, I earned a Masters in Writing and taught writing at a community college for eighteen years.
Finally, when I retired from those positions, I had time to pursue my dream career full time—fiction writing.
All this proving that it is never too late to do what you truly want to do. I published my first book at age 65.
My first book took two and one-half years to write. I’ve learned to create much faster, and now have thirteen novels and novellas. Two beta readers read each of my books before I turn them into the publisher, who sends them to my editor. My first beta reader does a lot with plot and reality checking He tells me if the storyline is believable and realistic and catches details like if I’ve changed eye colors someone’s last name half way through the book. The second reader is more qualified to help with line editing. These happen to be close family members, so I’m fortunate there. I also have another family member who I pre-write with, which means I toss ideas around with her about stories I’d like to write and the direction they should take.
To get my first book published I sent it to several publishers at once and got feedback from each. I found it interesting that their comments were quite different. One wanted more description of setting, another wanted more description of the people, and another wanted more prose as opposed to dialogue. I write a lot of dialogue. It is my strongest skill. So with each response, I took their advice and revised, revised, and revised wherever I thought it was appropriate, and ignored wherever I felt it was not, and I resubmitted.
In the meantime, I started submitting short stories to anthology publishers. I had great success with that at Bella Tulip Press, Enchanted Anthologies, Limitless Publications, and Crazy Ink Publications. Eventually, I was asked to write a novella for Crazy Ink Publications for their Escape from Reality Series. I did, and I met my deadline, didn’t make so many errors that the editor got upset with me, I guess, and so was asked to write for them again. I am now a Crazy Ink Publications Exclusive Author. Crazy Ink Publications, LLC is an Indie publisher, not a big-six publisher like Random House or Prentice Hall. They are also not a vanity press, meaning, I do not pay for my covers, edits, or marketing. They do. It’s been a good relationship.
Reviews are hard to get. It is against Amazon rules to pay for reviews, and if you are caught doing so, Amazon will remove all of your publications from their site. So you need to depend on readers who like your book and are willing to write a review. It helps to convince them that reviews don’t need to be long or complicated. Many people don’t feel they’d know what to say in a review, so they shy away from them. With all my books, the most I’ve ever had for one book was probably about twelve. You need 50 for Amazon to recommend your book.
I find that books I have in series with other writers do better than stand-alone books, so if you can get involved with a group of other authors doing a series, that may help your sales and help you to attract new readers.
The most difficult part of the writing life for me is the self-marketing. Since I’m publishing with an Indie publisher rather than a big-six publisher, I’m expected to self-market. That’s difficult for me. So, I spend about 3-4 every day on Twitter, Facebook, MeWe, and Twitter advertising my books, both my older ones and my upcoming releases. This is so time-consuming that it takes away from my writing time. I know many authors are holding down full-time jobs while they write in the margins of their lives, so it is nearly impossible to do this. If you can’t, you should hire a PA to do the promotion for you. Be sure your PA is experienced in as many social media platforms as possible and agree in advance about how much promotion you expect. Since I’m retired from my full-time position as a college writing professor, I take the time to promote myself, so that I don’t have to pay a PA, but be aware that Indie publishers expect you to promote yourself.
Negative reviews can be discouraging. I had a review that said she’d like a little more “showing rather than telling.” As a writing teacher, I pushed that idea with my students all the time, so I was really crushed by that comment. I went to several people who were not family members who I knew had read the book and asked what they thought of the review. Unanimously, they agreed that the review was mean-spirited and incorrect and gave me examples where I had clearly shown people’s feelings and reactions rather than just telling about them. So, if you get bad reviews, either check with others who have read the book, or learn from them and try to improve. Even though those readers didn’t agree with that negative review, it makes me much more cautious each time I write since then.
Rejections are very difficult for everyone. I’ve had them. Every writer has. But once you get accepted by one publishing house, you’ll find that others will follow suit or that publishing house will ask you for what else you’ve written. Be prompt, professional, and particularly careful with your edits before submitting anything, and eventually, you’ll develop a relationship with one or more publishers who will get your words out there for all the world to enjoy.
Anything else you feel like sharing:
Making yourself available for marketing on as many social media platforms as possible is helpful for sales. People need to get to know you, even if it takes one reader at a time to build up your following. Don’t be discouraged by slow sales at first. You need to build up a backlist. When I started, someone who had been an Indie author for three years told me she didn’t start making real money until she had twelve books published because once a reader finds you, they go back and read other books you have written. That’s beginning to happen to me now.
Caught in the Middle
Rhode Island Rendezvous
Bubble Gum Love
Paperback http://mybook.to/LemonYellowCI Kindle
For the Love of Lily