Guest Post: Persistence On The Road To Publication by Author Phoebe Fox

HEART CONDITIONS frontNothing fills my writer’s soul than hearing other author’s road to publication. Or their road to not being published yet. It reminds me that while writing is something we do on our own, our experiences are shared. One for all and all for one. 

Today, Phoebe Fox shares her journey to publication with us. She uses words like REJECTION and PERSISTENCE. Words every writer can relate to. 

Please welcome Phoebe to WFW and share your own stories of persistence in the comments! 

Amy xo

Persistence On The Road To Publication

by Phoebe Fox

HEART CONDITIONS frontLong before I was published or even had an agent, a dear friend of mine, multi-published, ridiculously talented author Sarah Bird, revealed this authorial secret to me: that only one thing separated her from all her unpublished writer friends.


Being the type A overachiever that I am, I greeted this news with delight. “That’s it? Persistence? Shuh, I can do that all day long.” I used to be an actor, for god’s sake; I knew all about handling rejection.

When my first manuscript made the agent submission rounds to a resounding lack of interest, I reminded myself that the way to win the game was just to stay in it. Undaunted, I wrote a second story, polished it up, and sent that sucker out.

This time I was rewarded with more action: lots of requests for partials…requests for fulls… And then, invariably, the painfully polite form letters.

I got rejections. Then more. Then dozens and dozens more. On what was literally my hundredth rejection, finally my determination started to falter. “That’s it,” I said to my faithful critique group, to whom I’d been trumpeting my “persistence” theme for years. “I guess I’m putting this one in a drawer too.”

But this is the problem when you tell people about your personal mission statement: They remind you of it. They hold you to it.

One of my writing partners exhorted me to keep going, not to give up—to persist. And because I generally hate to accept defeat (and even more to have my own damn proclamations thrown back in my face), I reluctantly agreed.

I kept submitting–and on query 113 it finally happened: I got the offer. Superagent Courtney Miller-Callihan of the Sanford J. Greenberger Agency was marvelously enthusiastic and encouraging. She loved the story, loved my writing, and wanted to represent me.

I will admit to feeling a certain amount of gleeful vindication here: I was right all along! All I had to do was persist and there was no way I couldn’t succeed.

Courtney submitted my manuscript and I waited excitedly to find out which pub house would snatch it up—or whether, as she hoped, we’d be lucky enough to go straight to auction.

We got amazing feedback. Editors loved the original idea, my “fresh voice,” the clean, tight prose.

We got some of the nicest, most positive rejection letters you’ve ever seen.

And not a single offer.

This was a much harder blow. Like a lot of authors I assumed that getting an agent was the toughest part of the journey, and once you had been thusly anointed the rest of the path to publication was a sure thing. And it was especially painful because the feedback we got from editors told us that we’d been frustratingly close.

But I gritted my teeth, put the story in a drawer (beside the first one…) and grimly started plodding the path again. This time it was harder to start over. But I reminded myself of Sarah’s words. All right, dammit. I’d persist. I finished another manuscript—my third, if you’re keeping count.

But I kept thinking about my near-miss with the last one. That story had merit, I thought, and I’d never been able to get the characters and the storyline out of my mind.

This was right when the digital publishing world pretty much exploded, and I realized that there were other avenues open to me now if I really wanted to usher my stories into print.

I did a heavy revamp of that rejected manuscript and told Courtney that I’d decided to publish the story myself. At which point she whipped out some persistence of her own: “We came awfully close last time,” she told me. “Will you give me one more crack at it first?” (I’m telling you, every author wants a Courtney Miller-Callihan in her corner.)

And so for an unheard-of second time she shopped it around to publishers—more than a year after our first round of submissions.

And this time…we got the offer. That story became my first published novel, as well as the eponymous first title in my Breakup Doctor series, of which I’m now writing the fourth book.

In hindsight it’s easy to see that The Breakup Doctor is a much better book than it was the first go-around. I needed time to “season” it, as well as to season myself as a writer. And in the intervening time Henery Press, which has turned out to be the perfect home for it, had hit the ground running with a roster full of USA Today bestsellers and award winners, and had created an impressive reputation in the business.

To me, my convoluted journey to publication is not unlike the story of The Breakup Doctor itself—something really, really good came out of what at the time felt like nothing but rejection and heartbreak.

But if at any point I’d given up, or accepted defeat—been less persistent—I never would have gotten any of it—an agent, a publisher, a series contract, nothing.

After I signed a multi-book contract I thought the hardest part was done—and then I got to learn all about promotion, marketing, reaching your readers, and embarked on yet another difficult lesson in persistence.

Over and over again I have found persistence to be the most important trait any writer can have, and I’ve never received better advice.

Persist in writing. Persist in querying. Persist in trying to get published, to market your book, to write another book…and another. There are so many people and reasons ready to convince you that you shouldn’t—you have to be the number one voice always reminding yourself that you should.

You must be the person who always believes in you, who never gives up faith.

Keep moving forward.




Phoebe Fox is an author, a columnist for major media outlets, and a close observer of relationships in the wild. Her latest in the Breakup Doctor series, Heart Conditions, will be released February 2016. You can find her at

Intro & Info: Women’s Fiction Writers Association

WFWAlogoToday I’d like to introduce Amy Impellizzeri, my friend (she drove more than two hours with her three kids to come to my book launch in Philadelphia), and the president of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). 

WFWA is an international membership organization, not just a Facebook group (although there is one) or a Twitter feed (there’s one of those too). This is a professional organization that not only offers camaraderie but provides information and education to its members (in addition to an amazing annual retreat), all of whom are writers of women’s fiction, or, are agents, editors, and publishing professionals who work with women’s fiction authors and their books. 

The reason I’m featuring WFWA today is because I realized that many writers don’t know about it! Woe is me! Can’t let that be! 

Please check out WFWA — there are plenty of links to the organization’s page below. And if you have any questions, just post them in the comments. Or tell us why YOU love WFWA.  

Just to clarify (pretend this is the fine print), while I am a member of WFWA, this blog is mine, mine, all mine and not affiliated with the organization. Even as the founder of this blog which is dedicated to women’s fiction and its authors, I am thrilled to be part of (though not in charge of, lol) a professional organization with a complementary mission! 

Amy xo

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Guest Post: Do Readers Cross The Romance/Women’s Fiction Line? By Laura Drake

Thumbnail CoverWhat do my readers want from me? In today’s publishing climate, we’re often afraid to give something new a try, afraid of losing our readers, our followers, our mojo even. Sometimes our publishers are afraid as well, using the word “brand” to help us shape our new books. Staying within genre makes sense, but it’s not always possible. Especially when we have a story we want to tell that falls outside certain industry parameters. (I have a few floating around myself.)

Today we have with us, Laura Drake, multi-published, award-winning, romance author whose first women’s fiction title is releasing today! She wonders if fans of her romance novels will read her women’s fiction. Will the new readers she acquires with this book pop over and give her romance novels a try? Below, Laura shares with us her excitement and her fears for her new journey. She’s also sharing an short excerpt. 

Please welcome Laura Drake to WFW! And tell us what you think, in the comments.

Amy xo

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Guest Post: How Author Sharon Maas Navigated The Pathways Of Publishing

winniecoverHappy New Year! We’re kicking off 2016 with post by multi-published author Sharon Maass, about her publishing journey. Publishing nowadays looks different to everyone. It’s different for everyone. Even authors on the same path encounter different rough patches, different times of great ease (wait, I’m not sure those exist). 

Today, Sharon will share with us her own story. And hip-hip-hooray — it has a happy ending for Sharon that culminates with the release of her latest novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF WINNIE COX. (Here’s another secret: it’s $2.99 for Kindle  and Kobo, and $3.99 for Nook!)

Please share your own journey, or any questions, in the comments.

Amy xo

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Guest Post: No Mystery At All: NYT Bestselling Mystery Author Juliet Blackwell Writes Great Women’s Fiction

9780451473691 (4)Do we choose what we write? Or does what we write, choose us? It’s kind of like how many licks it takes to get to the middle of a Tootsie Pop. The world may never know. But we do know, that as writers, we think about genre and the kind of story we want to tell. What if that changes? Do you dare genre hop in this publishing climate, make new writer friends, join new groups, learn the new rules?

Today we have with us Juliet Blackwell, esteemed mystery author who has now taken a leap into women’s fiction. Find out why she wrote this book, and maybe more importantly, how.

And yes, we’re (totally door-cover-sisters, I know). 

Please welcome Juliet Blackwell to WFW!

Amy xo

My Mysterious Path to Women’s Fiction (Or how—and why—a New York Times bestselling mystery author decided to turn her hand to women’s fiction)

by Juliet Blackwell

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The Fabulous Fall Fiction List 2015

Graphic Fabulous Fall Fiction 2015

It’s September! Which means it’s Fall! And in addition to meaning PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING, it means a new publishing season.

And while you likely know that THE GOOD NEIGHBOR launches on October 13, what you might not know is that means I needed to find other books to read while I’m writing blog posts, essays, visiting libraries, bookstores, and hosting launch parties (you’re coming to a launch party, right?) from now through November.

I scoured the internet and asked my friends. I came up with these seven novels in addition to THE GOOD NEIGHBOR (what kind of author would I be if I left my own book off the list?) as my go-to for Fall. These books are diverse but all fall under the women’s fiction umbrella. They’re all written by authors I trust to deliver me the right story at the right time.

Here’s why I chose these books as FABULOUS FALL FICTION 2015.


Middle of Somewhere coverAvailable now!

Sonja is an adventurer and so is her main character and this makes for a thrilling read, in addition to an emotional one. I like to read stories about things I’ll never do (and don’t want to do, do. not. judge.). This book is already available and getting buku well-deserved buzz.



1381265_1059954344032864_9022066249842070660_n (3)Available now!

I love novellas. They’re like the best bite of the best chocolate (and they last longer). I’m fascinated by shorter-form fiction and sometimes that’s enough to get me to read a novella (think it’s hard to write a novel? Try a novella. Not for the faint of heart.) In the case of Kate Moretti, a NYT best-selling author, I just want to read more of her work while I wait for her next novel.

CHANCE HARBOR by Holly Robinson

chance harbor finalAvailable October 6!

I read everything Holly writes and that’s not true of all my author friends (don’t tell anyone). I have already read Chance Harbor and it’s a truthful and emotional family journey. A mother, her two daughters, and the biological/legal daughter the sisters share. Holly’s vivid prose really transported me, as always. And there’s a satisfying ending that’s realistic and not cloyingly sweet. A plus in my book.



THE WORD GAME by Steena Holmes

51FCxZyGkBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Available November 3!

New York Times and USA Today best-seller Steena Holmes is about to knock it out of the park again with her new novel full of secrets and suspense as two sisters face their painful past to protect a little girl they both love. Novels that bring up questions of character always tug at me the hardest.




BookCover_D2Available in November!

It’s time for another novella! This time multi-published author Wendy Paine Miller comes back to readers with a novella about a seventeen-year-old girl who has six months to live and fakes a bucket list to help her mother cope, and then ends up helping herself. Wendy puts a new spin on the traditional bucket list tale here. I can’t wait!


white collar girl_brown_Page_1 2Available November 3!

Best-selling author Renee Rosen’s newest novel is primed to out due her last, and that’s no small feat. Renee has a way of combining strong historical fiction with the tenacity and heart of excellent women’s fiction. Anything she writes is a must for me!


Available November 24th!

Best-selling author Kristina McMorris tells a page-turning tale that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive. What I love about Kristina’s writing is the seamless nature of her storytelling. They’re the kind of books I read and think, “I wanna do that.” Always a good sign.

And, last but not least, THE GOOD NEIGHBOR by Amy Sue Nathan

the good neighbor final coverAvailable October 13! 

Here are three reasons I’d love YOU to consider adding THE GOOD NEIGHBOR to your FABULOUS FALL FICTION reading list!

1) Because you like me (you do like me, right? Well then…)

2) Because you can read advance praise not written by relatives or paid for (or even begged for), here.

3) Because you can read the first chapter here and be ready for Chapter 2 on October 13.

 What else are you looking forward to reading this Fall?

Let us know in the comments!

Amy xo

Author Interview: Sonja Yoerg Shares Tips For Kicking Out Your Writer Doubt

Middle of Somewhere cover (1)How thrilled I am to bring Sonja Yoerg back to Women’s Fiction Writers! Over the past year I’ve gotten to know Sonja as we’re both members of Tall Poppy Writers (check out Tall Poppy Writer here). Sonja is wicked smart, a devoted friend, and real adventurer! Oh — and how could I forget? She writes a kick ass novel! 

You’ll not only learn about Sonja’s real and writerly journeys below, but get some great tips on kicking writer doubt out of your day!

Please welcome Sonja Yoerg back to WFW!

Amy xo

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