Thursday, January 14, 2010

Emma Lai on Planning for Success!!!

Well, Ooo-da-lolly!! Golly what a week!

Prop your feet up and take a coffee break, because you don't wanna miss today's guest blogger- Emma Lai!!

Emma debuted in 2009 with His Ship, Her Fantasy, a sweet novella with the Faery Rose line of The Wild Rose Press. Her second book, His Hope, Her Salvation, was released just last month!

A survivor of the TLN Hot Seat (
click here to view), Emma has graciously agreed to take some time out of her whirlwind life of both romance writer and new mama to deliver up some sage advice.

Hip-hip-ho and away we go!

Getting published is a process. The process varies for every writer. There is no set formula, but I can share mine. Only time will tell if my plan turns out to be a good one.

The first story I started was a young adult sci-fi/fantasy. The second story I started was a contemporary romance. Then the short stories inundated my thoughts and writing. Given my writing output, I came up with the following:

1) Find a publisher for my shorts.

This has multiple benefits.
a) It gets me publishing credits.
b) It gets my name out there now.
c) It provides some income to offset my expenses.

2) Finish my contemporary romance and submit it to a publisher.

Since I formulated this goal over a year ago, things have changed. After working with editors on my shorts, I realized the story needed more conflict.

I could…
a) Write in more conflict and submit it to the publisher I had in mind when I originally wrote it.
b) Write in more conflict plus some character elements I know publishers are actively seeking and submit it to an agent.
c) Write in more conflict, character elements I know publishers are actively seeking and more sex and submit to one of the bigger erotica publishers.

Given my long-term goals, option b) works best for me. My hope is that I’ll find an agent for it, but even if an agent doesn’t think the story quite fits what the market is looking for, maybe they’ll be interested in other stories I’ve written. Plus, I can always go back, write in more sex, and execute option c).

3) Find an outlet for my flash fiction pieces. I’ve submitted to three venues, but no success yet. However, I keep submitting!

4) Between 1) and 3), I want to get enough publishing credentials to be able to join SFWA.

5) Finish my young adult series and find an agent.

When I decided to write as a career, these are the five goals I set for myself. These goals help keep me on track and allow me to measure success against my personal standards.

Obviously, my goals won’t work for others. Not everyone writes shorts. Not everyone wants an agent. Not everyone wants to join SFWA. However, there is a logic here that everyone can follow.

1) Answer these questions:

a) What types of writing do you like to do?
b) What are your long-term writing goals?
c) How many completed works do you have?

2) Find publishers you’d like to write for and answer these questions:

a) Do they take unagented submissions?
b) What are their requirements for the line you’re targeting?
c) Do you have something completed that fits one of their other lines?

3) Is there an organization that could help you meet your goals? Does it have any requirements?

The answers you come up with can help shape your goals and define your success.

I'd like to thank Emma for a most excellent post! To learn more about Emma Lai and her novels, click here to visit her lovely

THANK YOU, TLN'ers for making my days bright! To take us into the weekend, here's
Lisa Lisa singing LOST IN EMOTION. What can I say, I'm sort diggin' the 80's today! Enjoy and scope out the fashions. Sheesh! So, glad it's 2010!


Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Emma and Sarah,
Great tips and a wonderful break down of the questions to ask oneself when embarking on a career as an author and to remind all of us to keep our goals and direction in mind.

Ginny M. Christensen said...

Hello Emma,

Your goals sound a like like mine, and I'm sure a lot of other hopefuls out there. Sounds like adaptation is the key! Thanks for the tips!

Sarah, you must've dug pretty deep to find that song. And the clothes and the hairdos. Lordy, lordy!

Thanks for another great post, my friend :)


Micole Black said...


Thank you for the insight on a career plan. This is something that I am in the process of myself. You have given me a good idea for what I need to do next. Thank you and good luck with your career! :)



Sarah Simas said...

Hi Rebecca!

You're one the most goal oriented authors I know! LOL You really go for it and I admired that, lady! Thanks for popping over. ((hugs!))

Sarah Simas said...

Heya Ginny!

I'd had that song in my head for most of the week. Ha! The problem was all I could remember was the "quesera, quesera." Ain't you tube grand! Found in one click. My daughter dung the beat and was dancing around. I had to play it like 3x for her. LOL

Sarah Simas said...

Hello Micole!!

You're doing a great job, lady! Enjoyed reading your debut blog. Kudos on getting out into the deep end. :)

Carol North said...

Hi Emma:
You've got romance writing and submitting down to a science. That's great because a successful (NYT list type of writer) needs to use both the right and left sides of her brain. Good luck to you in getting more of your work published.

Helen Hardt said...

Great tips, Emma! I wish I were so organized ;).

Kaye Manro said...

Hi Emma and Sarah! Wonderful tips, Emma. I'm sorry I missed your release date. Well now I know! Good luck...

Emma Lai said...

Sorry I'm so late! Baby had his four month check up today and vaccinations, which made him a tad demanding.

Thanks for letting me take over your blog today, Sarah!

Emma Lai said...

Rebecca, if I didn't have a list, I'd go scatterbrained. I have so many things to do, I'd never get any one thing done if I just allowed myself to work on whatever I wanted to.

Emma Lai said...

Ginny, adaptation is definitely important. Especially when your editor comes back and asks you to change your favorite scene! :)

Emma Lai said...

I'm glad I could help, Micole! And, thanks for the wishes!

Emma Lai said...

Carol, I guess the engineer in me requires me to be scientific about the process. Thanks for the wishes. I just submitted revisions to the third story in my series. *Fingers crossed.*

Emma Lai said...

Helen, I could only imagine how many releases you'd have if you were "organized." Wasn't it seven last year? Whatever you're doing works!

Emma Lai said...

Hey, Kaye! Judging by your blog, you've been busy with your own upcoming release! Good luck!

Skhye said...

Hi, Emma. Love the list. My fingers are crossed for you, my friend! I have found most genre writers can learn fathoms from the professional information taught through the Romance Writers of America. Even Sci-fi and Fantasy writers join. :)

Win the wee-est sterling silver claddagh pendant for Valentines' Day. To enter, join me at: for details. ~Skhye

Lynne Roberts said...

Hi Emma and Sarah!

Sorry I'm late. It's been crazy around here. (I should just record that.)

Wonderful post! I wish you much success checking off those goals on your list!

I have to agree with Skhye, RWA is an excellent organization for any genre of romance!


Emma Lai said...

Hi, Skhye and Lynne! Thanks for stopping by! I understand hectic.

Ilona Fridl said...

I know I'm a little late getting in here, but I've read His Ship, Her Fantasy and loved it! Great read, Emma!