Since childhood, my biggest dream has
been to become a published novelist. I’ve always been a reader and couldn’t
think of anything better than making a living writing the kinds of stories I
I was lucky. After ten years of trying
to get my books published traditionally, I stumbled upon the idea of uploading
my books to Amazon’s Kindle in 2009. Everything lined up perfectly. My timing
was good and early readers recommended my books on message boards. On my own, I
sold 100,000 ebooks and it only got better when my books were acquired by
Amazon Publishing and helped by their marketing reach.
Today I have ten books published in print, ebook, and audio
through Amazon Publishing, Kindle Direct Publishing, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,
and Brilliance Audio. Many of my titles have spent time on the top 100 Kindle
list. My publishing story has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment
Weekly, and the national NPR show, The Story with Dick Gordon. I’ve also
appeared on ABC's World News Now
and America This Morning. I get
complimentary reader emails on a regular basis, something that continues to
amaze and thrill me.
I’m not sure I
deserve this success, but I’ll take it anyway. Other writers email and ask for
specific information regarding marketing tips and and tech advice. Regretfully,
I tell them I’m not the best person to ask since a lot of my good fortune came
as a result of timing and luck. The publishing world is changing so quickly
that any strategies I used are now outdated.
The advice I
can give comes from a lifetime of reading, writing, and (more recently)
publishing. Here goes:
· Don’t be afraid to try something
different whether it’s crossing genre-lines or finding new ways to get the word
out about your book. Be open and listen to your gut. After I’d started selling
on Kindle, I told several writer friends what I’d done, and I tried to convince
them to put their novels up as ebooks but none were interested. A few of them
said, “What’s a Kindle?” (Seriously, this was 2009) and most of them were
dismissive of self-publishing, which admittedly did have a major stigma back
book of your heart, the story only you can tell. Write it with the thought that
even if it doesn't make a cent, the joy of creation is
enough. I’ve seen plenty of writers try to write to the market. Usually the
books lack heart and don’t do well, which infuriates the authors who believe
they’d put in all the necessary components. Novels aren’t widgets. Readers can
tell when a story has been constructed instead of emotionally crafted.
· Keep going. Write more than one book
and then do it again. Some really great books never get their due. What can I
say? Life isn’t fair. Having multiple titles increases your chances of
discoverability. Personally, I’ve written ten books and some do really well and
others not so much. Could I have predicted which was which? I could have tried,
but I would have been wrong. Just keep writing.
·Think of every book sale as a
gift. Someone out there parted with their hard-earned money in the hope your
story would pull them into another world. Appreciate their trust and never take
it for granted.
·There’s a Kurt Vonnegut quote that
writing teachers like to trot out: “Every character
should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” To this I’d add
that it helps if the character is thirsty. Besides wanting something, there
should be some pain involved, whether it’s physical or emotional. As readers we
empathize with characters and want to root for them. Their pain becomes our
pain and we’ll keep turning pages to see how it all comes out.
dumps. They reek and interrupt the story. Description and information becomes
more palatable when it’s filtered through the eyes or actions of a character.
The good news and the bad news is that
you’re not going to find definitive step-by-step directions for writing a novel here or anywhere else. You might
disagree with something I’ve said, and that’s okay with me. No one
appointed me the Grand Poobah of fiction writing. I’m figuring it out as I go
along, just like everyone else.
So find your own way, use your own
voice, craft your own story. In my opinion, this is a wonderful time to be a
writer. It’s still not easy, but if you wanted easy you’d probably be doing
I connected with Donna Fasano online a few years ago, and we hit it off right away. Right now our conversations are limited to email, but I'm hoping that someday we'll meet in person.
In honor of her new book release, Reclaim My Heart, I asked if she'd mind doing a guest post explaining how she got her start writing romance novels. Generous as always, Donna agreed.
I Write Romance Novels
I can’t tell you how many
times over the course of my 20-plus year career as a published romance author I
have been asked, “When are you going to write a real book? You know, a [insert genre of choice: mystery,
historical, thriller, etc].” So I’d like to take this opportunity to tell
readers why I write romance novels. I suffered a lot of tragedy
while I was growing up, the worst of which was the death of my mother just as I
was entering my teens. I felt as though I went from 13 to 35 overnight, and
when my friends were off having fun, I was cooking and cleaning and helping my
little brother with his homework. Romance novels were an escape for me. The
Wolf and the Dove, The Far Pavilions, Whitney My Love, Rebecca, The Thorne
Birds… if the book featured one man and one woman falling in love, I read it!
Romance novels offered me hope for a happy future filled with love (hokey,
maybe, but I was a naïve teen). As a young wife and mother, I discovered
Silhouette Romance Novels. These books were short and sweet and uplifting. Each
and every story put a smile on my face, and the happily-ever-after endings
always boosted my spirits. Are romance novels real? No. Does every real-life
relationship end in HEA?
Of course not. But if I wanted doom and gloom, I’d watch the evening news. As an author, I can’t think
of a better way to use my talent than to bring pure enjoyment to my readers. I
tell people that I write cotton candy for the mind. Think about that. When you
were a kid and you put a small cloud of that wispy confection on your tongue,
what did you do? You smiled. And maybe you even laughed. That’s the reaction
I’m going for with my short, upbeat stories. That’s why I write romance novels.
So if you’re looking to get lost for a few hours in a fun, cheery story, I hope
you’ll try one of my books.
years ago, Tyne Whitlock cut all ties to her past and left town under the
shameful shadow of a teenage pregnancy. Now her fifteen-year-old son is in
trouble with the law and she is desperate for help. But reaching out to
high-powered attorney Lucas Silver Hawk will tear open the heart-wrenching past
in ways Tyne never imagined.
return to the Delaware Indian community where Lucas was raised, Tyne and Lucas are tempted by the heated passion that
consumed them as teens. Tyne rediscovers all
the reasons she found this man irresistible, but there are scandalous secrets
waiting to be revealed, disgraceful choices made in the past that cannot be
denied. Love is a powerful force that could heal them both—if the truth doesn't
rip them apart.
USA TODAY Bestselling
Author Donna Fasano is a three time winner of the HOLT
Medallion, a CataRomance Reviewers Choice Award winner for Best Single Title, a
Desert Rose Golden Quill Award finalist, and a Golden Heart finalist. Her books
have sold nearly 4 million copies worldwide and have been published in two
dozen languages. Her books have made the Kindle Top 10 List, the Nook Top 10
List, and the iBooks Top 10 List. What others are saying
about Donna's books: "...complex, funny,
and realistic..." ~Wilmington News Journal "Excellent!"
~Bookreview.com "Could not help myself
from reading excerpts to my husband and friends. This book is well written, the
characters are real, everyday folks. It is very easy to identify with them.
Donna Fasano is a talented author." ~Elizabeth M. Caldwell on Amazon "...a fast paced
riotous look at family life today. Donna Fasano is right on target!"
~Donna Zapf, SingleTitles.com
Today's the day and it seems like it's been a long time coming! I'm pleased to announce the release of Absolution, Book 3 in the Edgewood Series. Both the Kindle version and paperback are now available. I'm especially pleased with the new covers. Designer Georgina Gibson did an excellent job accurately representing each book while making it clear that this is a series.
Thanks to all the readers who waited so patiently, and also a thank you to those who emailed, messaged, DM'd, etc. to let me know they loved the series and were eager to read more. Your support means more than I can say.
I'm excited to tell that this coming week, Absolution, the third book in the Edgewood series will be available. To kick off the release, I'm giving away five Kindle copies of Edgewood, the first book in the series. The book will be sent to you as a gift through the Amazon site.
This is the description:
From bestselling author Karen McQuestion—a brand new,
spellbinding novel. Wandering the dark streets at night is Russ Becker’s
way of dealing with his relentless insomnia and the angst of life. But that
changes forever the night he witnesses a strange astronomical event, then
discovers he’s developed incredible superpowers.
And he’s not alone.
Three others in his town—sexy Mallory, arrogant Jameson, and mysterious
Nadia—have had the same experience and acquired intriguing powers of their own.
As if Mallory isn't special enough with her good looks and high IQ, now she can
control peoples’ minds. Jameson thinks he’s the coolest because he moves objects
with his thoughts, and shy Nadia struggles to understand her new empathic
At first the four secretly relish their newfound gifts while
keeping them hidden. However, things get serious when they learn they're being
hunted by an organization that wants them for its own nefarious purposes. Russ
has always picked his battles wisely, but when the bad guys threaten his family,
they're about to find out they messed with the wrong teens. What transpires will
change all of them in ways they never imagined.
I used to do giveaways on a fairly regular basis, but haven't in quite some time. It's been too long! I have fond memories of my trips to the post office, standing in line and daydreaming about my books winging their way across the country (and the world)! I miss it, I really do.
So between now and Christmas, I'll be posting giveaways for books, and audio books, and I might sneak in a gift card or two as well. I used to do this on my own, but I have author friends who have used Rafflecopter with great success, so I'm giving it a go. This particular giveaway will run for one week and the winner will receive a signed paperback copy of Celia and the Fairies as well as the audiobook. The book is ideal for ages 7 to 10, or those who are young at heart.