GROWING A CAREER — Darlene Franklin
Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Darlene Franklin as she shares her writing and publishing journey with us. I first met Darlene at a writers group that folded shortly after that, and the Lord has brought us back into contact many times since.
A long time ago in a universe far far away I dreamed of publishing a book. Until Thanksgiving Eve 2003, when I received “the call.” Tracie Peterson from Heartsong Presents offered me a contract for my contemporary romance, Romanian Rhapsody.
I had been writing seriously for twelve years, won several awards, polished four manuscripts, attended critique groups and writers conferences. I tottered on the precipice of publication for years before that contract. I often wondered if it would ever happen.
Publication happened eighteen months after contract, fourteen years after I began writing daily.
Twelve years later, I have reached a milestone: this July my fiftieth original title, Mermaid’s Song, will be published by Forget Me Not Romances.
What have I learned? A lot. I’ve struggled to pinpoint lessons learned instead of bragging on my accomplishments and came up with three basic principles: Experiment, Expand, Experience.
Let’s start with a list of firsts from the past fourteen years:
|2008||Novella which was also my. . .|
|2010||Repackage an original title in a collection|
|2013||Complete devotional book|
|2016||Collaborative book effort|
I’ve experimented with different genres and lengths, both before and after that first book contract. I’ve published both contemporary and historical fiction, cozy mysteries, and devotionals. I’ve written individually, as part of collections, as part of a team (the Texas Trails series), and even a book collaboration with my local writers group. I’ve written in every length from 20K to 80K. Lately I’ve even started publishing a column in a national magazine as well as local senior magazines.
Through experimentation, I’ve grown more confident in my writing abilities. I’ve also become more aware of my strengths—and weaknesses. I’ve learned to what to leave to others.
In a literal sense, I’ve expanded—and contracted. I’ve learning how to write longer books—as well as shorter.
I’ve also learned how to finish a book more quickly. Even now, I don’t write particularly fast, and my uncertain health prohibits long books. But year by year, my writing has improved and I have streamlined the process. I catch changes others used to point out, sometimes even in the first draft. I have gone from writing one chapter every two weeks to share with a writers group to writing almost a chapter every day. Instead of multiple critiques and rewrites, my manuscript goes through two rounds of intensive edits (pre- and post- professional edits) and final proofreading.
I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive when it comes keeping records. I was doing 1K1H long before the Facebook group, although I don’t always make a thousand words in an hour.
I plan in minute detail: how many words per line, how many lines per fifteen minutes, how many words in a day. I plan months ahead of time and adjust as I go. Since I start a new book slow and finish fast, I plan for that in my schedule. Along the way, I speed up when I can and, sigh, also slow down and make up the difference later. I’ve had to. I’ve had some significant meltdowns and delays which created problems for me.
My advice to you? Take every bit of experience you have—and learn from it. God will direct your path.
Darlene Franklin an Amazon best-selling hybrid author. She lives in Oklahoma near her family. Her greatest claim to fame is that she writes from a nursing home.
About Sunshine of My Heart, Darlene’s entry in 7 Brides for 7 Mail-Order Grooms:
Debbie Barker longs to bring beauty to her new home on the prairie, where her family moved after the war, and seeks a husband to help her father run the ranch. Zack Gage returned home from the war to a life in ruins—family dead and business bankrupted. He answers the mail-order husband ad to seek a fresh start. But neither Debbie nor Zeke know what they are doing when it comes to ranching. . .or love.