Advice for writers by Holly Bush
A couple of years ago, I’d girded myself to begin another dream-crushing round of literary agent queries. I’d just taken a few weekends off after some months of serious writing and was preparing to work the agent angle by looking over the latest updates to my Excel Spread Sheet of Doom, listing what agents I’d sent to, their responses and all the blank cells indicating that the agent had apparently found my query email or letter so pitiful/stupid/poorly written that they hadn’t bothered to reply. Querying is an ego bruising, but necessary, exercise, I told myself.
But I just couldn’t bring myself to begin. I put off searching for new agents and scrutinizing others that may have changed their requirement, which is unlike me. I didn’t want to both dread and anticipate emails. I didn’t want to sort through the Clipper magazine or other snail mail advertisement hoping one of my SASEs would be stuck there. I didn’t want to open the SASEs and find my original letter with a scribbled ‘no’ or worse yet, receive a pre-printed post card apologizing for the impersonal response and a no. How sad I’d become and I just didn’t think I could sanely add to the three-hundred and seventy-five rejections I’d already received.
With my husband’s urging and constant support, I started seriously thinking about self-publishing. Amazon made me the publisher and the number of Kindles sold made me think it may be time to retire the Excel Spread Sheet of Doom. I started doing some research and reading about what had worked for other authors and laid out a game plan. I’ve done marketing my whole life so I had some practice, but each market or product is different and efforts must change or be fluid as results work or fail and I had no standard for success. I wasn’t sure how to do it, or even if I could do it, but if my abysmal failure with traditional publishing did one thing for me, it made me think about alternatives, and even if only a few people read my books, it would certainly be more than none. So I took a chance on a distributor, edited till I thought my eyeballs were going to fall out and hired my daughter to put together a cover at work where she had access to design programs and photographs. Romancing Olive went to BookBaby in the fall of 2011. I have since published two other historical romances, Train Station Bride and Reconstructing Jackson and just recently published my latest, Cross the Ocean. In the process I found readers, lots of them I’m happy to say, and a community of writers that make the writing and self-publishing journey worth doing.
Cross the Ocean by Holly Bush
1871 . . . Worlds collide when American Suffragette, Gertrude Finch, and titled Brit Blake Sanders meet in an explosive encounter that may forever bind them together. Gertrude Finch escorts a young relative to
encounters the stuffy Duke of Wexford at his worst. Cross the Ocean is the
story of an undesired, yet undeniable attraction that takes Blake and Gertrude
across an ocean and into each other’s arms. London
The starch in Mrs. Wickham’s black dress seemed to wilt as she quivered. The soft folds of her jowls shook. “The Duchess is not coming down, Your Grace,” she repeated.
The Duke of Wexford stood stock-still. The guests were to descend on his ancestral home in a matter of moments. The candles lit, the buffet laid, the flowers had bloomed on cue. The last remaining detail was the receiving line.
“Mrs. Wickham. There is a small matter of greeting two hundred and fifty guests arriving momentarily. The Duchess needs to attend them,” Blake Sanders, the Eighth Duke of Wexford, said sternly to his housekeeper.
When the woman had announced his wife would not be joining him, Sanders was certain he had not heard correctly. The Duchess knew her duties, as did he. He turned abruptly to the staircase and stopped as a shiver trailed down his arms. He turned back. The rotund woman had not moved other than the flitting of small hairs peeking out of her mobcap. After twenty-five years of service to his family, he supposed she stood rooted for good reason.
The Duke spoke quietly. “Is there a problem conveying this message, Mrs. Wickham?”
The woman swallowed. “Yes, Your Grace. There is.”
“What is it, Mrs. Wickham?” he asked.
It was then he noticed a folded piece of paper in the woman’s hand. As with most lifetime retainers, he had seen worry, seen anger and joy in her face. But never fear. And it was fear indeed that hung in the air, widened her eyes and had the missive shaking in pudgy fingers.
About the Author:
Holly Bush was born in western
to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did
not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a
restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing
director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building
traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states,
booked two years out. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up
businesses and has done public speaking on the subject. Pennsylvania
Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group.
Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, has been an active member of her local library board and loves to spend time near the ocean. She is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior.
Find Holly online at......
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