Author Web site: www.kimberlydean.com
High School Reunion: Roma’s high school reunion is approaching fast—and she’s not ready. She has a good job, but she needs the whole package if she’s going to make that killer entrance. A toned body, great outfit, and hunky escort are crucial. Fortunately, personal trainer Jake might be the eye candy she needs.
A Case Study in Being Flexible
In a recent post, Kim discussed the importance of remaining flexible when it comes to your work—particularly in regards to the story title. I thought I’d give you a behind-the-scenes look at what happened during the evolution of my story, High School Reunion, because you may be asked to compromise on more than just the title. As an author, the trick is knowing just how much you can bend, yet still feel comfortable.
• Be flexible on timing (aka having patience). This is the hardest one for me. I submitted the manuscript for High School Reunion under an option clause I’d committed to with Black Lace Publishing, but I waited a year to hear back from them. When I finally decided to pull my submission, my editor latched on to the story and wouldn’t let go. They’d just started a new line of erotic romance called Cheek, and they thought this story would be perfect for it. Would I be interested in changing lines? Um, let me think about it. . . . Yeah.
• Be flexible on unimportant content. My editor was concerned because my lead female character was named Rory, which is primarily a man’s name in England. (Cheek is a British publishing house.) Would I mind changing it to Roma? No big deal. That’s a cute name, too, and Word has this nifty little feature called “replace all.”
• Be flexible on titles. High School Reunion was initially titled Body Heat. My editor thought this had been overdone. She wanted something catchy, sexy, and current. Yet when she proposed High School Reunion, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. I don’t see that as being catchy, sexy, or current in any way. However, she thought that readers could relate. I conceded on this point, but it’s still my least favorite title of anything I’ve published. I bowed to her marketing sense on this one. Would I do it again? I don’t know.
• Be flexible on edits. When edits came back, my editor wanted a significant addition. She requested that more conflict be added by making one of the villains also Roma’s rival for Jake’s attention. I thought this was a great idea. What I didn’t consider great was that I was asked to do this in a week. I absolutely drew the line at that. I can not take apart a puzzle, add more pieces, and put it back together with any semblance of order in a week. I negotiated for more time. Know when being flexible might break you.
In the end, my editor was very happy with the finished product. So was I. While there had been many changes, the story was still mine—and the changes were mostly for the better. High School Reunion has received some of my best reviews to date, and now it’s being re-released in mass market format. Yay!
Feel free to ask Kimberly questions in the comments section. She’ll pop in during the day to answer them.
To learn more about Kimberly Dean, see Our Books at www.BookEnds-Inc.com.