So, I needed to research my market and learn the unspoken rules. I chose Love Inspired Historical, which is an imprint of Harlequin and joined their book club. Yep, I get four books a month and read them all whether I like them or not. It's kind of like broccoli, I guess. I rate most of the ones I have finished, so if you ever get curious you can click on my Goodreads account and see them. Also, if you ever clicked on my Goodreads account and wondered why I am always reading romance novels, that is the reason. I actually prefer classics, sci-fi/fantasy, and postmodern books.
After reading many LIH (the abbreviation for said imprint), I discovered the Harlequin social network. I knew about it before December, but I really did not want to add another social network to my list of things to do. Still, it is one of those unspoken requirements that will give you a plus. So, I joined. The first week of December was great, they had an open house with a lot of giveaways and I even won two! Plus they have aspiring writer boards where you all encourage each other to finish your novel. After checking all the requirements and making sure I met them, last Monday, I hit send and submitted it electronically.
Now, writing 70,000 words is not a walk in the park. With all my other duties, it took 6 months. Then I had two beta readers look at it, and since I have decided I cannot write a query letter to save my life I hired someone to critique mine (she just rewrote it because it was that bad and referred me to websites with query samples on them). Yes, I have read other people's queries that were accepted and done my best to model mine after them, but I fall flat on my face. Instead of empowered and excited, they read like a whiney idiot wrote them. I can write a story in the style of any author you give me, but ask me to write a query letter after one of the hundreds I have read and my head flies out the door. I think somehow it gets screwed up because I am writing from my personal point of view and not someone else's.
So after making sure all my p's and q's were straight, I sent it, hoping there were not too many typos. Like a self-published piece, you should have as many people edit and look at it as you can afford and find. I could find two free beta readers that I was able to afford.