Stuff ‘N Nonsense
Back In The Saddle Again
By KIM VAN METER
With five active pen names, it’s hard to keep all the balls up in the air at once without burning out your brain. I usually focus on one or two pen names at a time so I can keep my mind fresh on current projects but that means the other pen names are quiet for a bit.
That’s what happened with my ‘Kimberly Van Meter’ pen name, the one that started it all with Harlequin all those years ago. I had rested that name for a bit while I focused on my other projects but the time has come to put some attention on my original.
Recently, I dusted off the mental gears for a new three-book proposal to Harlequin and boy, were the cogs needing some oil.
Being a hybrid author requires different sets of discipline. Indie projects require a separate process than traditional publishing, mostly because it takes so much more time to create a traditionally published book.
It’s difficult to follow a trend with traditional publishing because it takes at least nine months of production time before a book hits the shelves and by then, it’s likely the trend is long gone.
So, when crafting a proposal for my traditional publisher, I spend a fair amount of time creating a series that is considered “evergreen” with tropes that will rarely go out of style.
For example, in romance there are a few tried and true tropes that are popular with readers such as: woman in jeopardy, secret baby, military, law enforcement, and small towns, just to name a few.
But even with popular tropes in play, there still has to be an element that’s unique and timely without including something that will immediately “date” your project. There are so many elements that can tank your proposal before it can even get the chance to fly, which is why traditional publishing remains difficult to achieve.
I count myself as lucky to be able to enjoy both publishing worlds but even with close to 100 books under my belt, it’s always nerve-wracking to hit that “send” button when proposing a new series.
Success is never a guarantee. Authors get a thick skin about their work because rejection is a given. I’ve had plenty of projects die on the vine because they didn’t hit the mark and it’s a huge bummer but part of the gig.
When that happens, you can mope a little bit but ultimately, you have to take it on the chin and start fresh because that’s what you signed up for in this business.
Thankfully, I’ve had more wins than losses. No matter how long I’ve been in this business, there are some things that never lose their power to light up my world.
Some of those things are:
Getting that phone call from your editor, greenlighting your project.
Opening your box of author copies and holding a realized dream in your hands.
Seeing your book out in the wild, in the hands of readers.
That first five-star review, sharing with the world their love of the story.
Realizing how blessed you are that you’re living the dream.
So, as I await word on my latest ‘Kimberly’ project, cross your fingers with me, because I really want to write this series and, as always, I can’t wait for you to read it.
Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide occasional columns.