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Monday, November 30, 2015


Cait London
Please welcome one of our most well known authors, Cait London.
Thank you, Sleuth’s Ink for inviting me. I’m a happy member of this mystery group, which presents unusual, helpful programs and good fellowship. For years, Shirley McCann, V.J. Schultz and others have built and maintained this writer's group. I enjoy it very much.

Tell us about your writing journey.

2016 will be the 30th anniversary of my first published book. I started with an agent, Ray Peekner, and with Berkley Publishers in a category line called Second Chance at Love. From there, I had 4 more agents, including Curtis Brown and Wm Morris. Several historical romances for Berkley and Dell followed. At the same time I wrote category romances for Harlequin.
While still writing for Harlequin, I wrote romantic suspense for HarperCollins. Most of my career has been writing for two traditional publishers at the same time. With copy edits and galleys going back-and-forth, this was not easy. Add in the old-style promotion we used to do, such as traveling to speaking engagements, signing books, etc. and it’s a busy schedule. Some writers are still doing this now, but the Internet has changed that picture dramatically. During this frenzy of writing, publishing, promoting, I was also a single mother raising 3 daughters.

Over the years, I've had best sellers and received awards. Harlequin and HarperCollins are still selling my Cait London books.
Can you tell us a little about what you are doing now?

I am now dealing with my back list and working on new projects. 

Acquiring back list rights is not easy, yet it is like real estate and valuable in different ways. Publishers want to hold rights and so do some agents. This is why I recommend scanning legal agreements for later reference. Moving forward with your back list needs to be considered carefully. Choices have to be made: Do you update older books, spending time and money on them, or leave them and move forward. I love my books and I wanted them out in readers' hands.

I am a DIYer. Learning and doing self publishing took time. I’ve always been regimented, but shifting lanes to Indy publishing hasn’t been easy. Taking on the business end of publishing is a big job; it isn’t for everyone. The learning curve is steep. “Each to his own” rule applies. However, services can be hired. If you do hire, make certain those services are the quality you need and deserve. 
 What has inspired you lately? 
In early October this year, I attended a professional’s only conference, Novelists Inc. {http://ninc.com}This conference is unusual because it’s all leading edge information. It’s mostly Indy geared now, though many members are “Hybrids” writing for traditional/legacy houses and Indy publishing; no agents or traditional publishers are featured.
 NINC impacted my plans for 2016 and forward. Right now I’m listening to Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn {http://TheCreativePenn.com} podcast, and give it high marks. This podcast does not deal with how to write, but how to market and balance your creative times with necessary promotion. There are also interviews with people who are successful in promotion/copy writing (blurbs/ads etc.) One of the sessions dealt with dictating your books. I’ve used Dragon successfully with my PC for articles and blogs. (At one time, I had 3 blogs AND a full blown website.) I’m in a creative/fertile “nesting” period right now, writing away and learning.

What does the future hold for Cait London?

My plans for 2016 include:

  1. Get back into dictation.
  2. Collect all the articles I’ve written in the last 30 years about how to write and stash them in a folder for a potential book. We need more of those, don’t we? (To understand that last question, know that I have won awards for humor.) However: I highly recommend Dwight Swain’s Techniques of Best Selling Writers. Study it, mystery writers.
  3. Complete my book list {http://caitlondon.blogspot.com/p/books.html} up on my website {http://caitlondon.com} and linked. This is challenging.
  4. Switch my full website name domain to something I can manage for now.
  5. Indy publish a new completed book that is currently with my copy editor. Finish the WIP. Write the 3rd/4th Novelette in a series, lift a free short series to Wattpad. (Thank you, Shirley McCann, for pushing me into Shorts.)
  6. Publish more back list. This includes getting ISBN, formatting, and covers.
  7. Covers: More consistent looks. Work with designers (I like artistic filters).
  8. Review of my current published books’ metadata. I just heard this: Constantly review. We learn as we go. Or we should. Makes sense.
  9. Redo my Amazon author profile and link my out of print/reverted rights - traditional/legacy books with my own Indy books.
  10. Do some i-Book coupons, some free books, and some Goodreads giveaways.
  11. Take more online courses, re: marketing on Facebook.
  12. A friend and I are considering meeting for a formal brainstorming session. Each brings to the table 5 things about their WIP for which they need help. Time is equalized. That equal time is an essential agreement, or someone dominates and someone comes away frustrated.
  13. More stepping outside the usual, i.e. attending NINC - testing what works. I might even draft up a business plan. (A little humor, you know.)

Now let me ask you: What are your writing/publishing plans for 2016?

Thanks Cait for sharing some of your insights and knowledge with us.  
Please visit her website {http://caitlondon.com} and join her e-newsletter
{ http://mad.ly/signups/105014/join}. Giveaways and contests, you know, plus what I’m doing—like crocheting and painting, which will turn up in new books/shorts.
Link to her Amazon Author page

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

JANO 2016

JANO 2016
About JANO
During January, 2010, Sleuths’ Ink held it’s first-ever JANO challenge. Modeled after the popular National Novel Writing Month in November, JANO begins in, you guessed it, January.
Participants are challenged to write a 50,000-word novel during January. Join us and kick off the new year with a novel in progress! 

Two good reasons we picked January: 

1) You get an extra day to write. To complete 50,000 words during January, you only need to write 1,613 words a day.

2) The holidays are over. Winter has set in. What better way to spend a long, dreary month than writing a novel?

Over the past few years, participants from across the nation entered our challenge. Many of them reached their 50,000 goal, with a few actually receiving a contract for their completed JANO project.


Sleuths' Ink will hold its Seventh Annual JANO beginning January 1, 2016. Please join us and kick off the new year by writing a new novel or adding new words to a work in progress. And it's free! 

Rules: There may be no actual writing on your JANO novel until January 1, but you may plot your novel and create character sketches before January 1, 2016. On that date, write like mad (no editing) the entire month in order to reach the 50,000-word goal.  

To celebrate JANO members’ successes, Sleuths’ Ink will sponsor a party February 5, 2016. Details are forthcoming. As always, during the party, prizes will be awarded to our JANO 2016 participants.  See categories below.  In addition, we're giving away a $100 grand prize to one lucky JANO participant at our annual December holiday party.  The winner of this grand prize must be a Sleuths’ Ink member in good standing as of February 1, 2016 and must have written a minimum of 25,000 words in 2016.


  1. First to 50,000 words in January
  2. Second to 50,000 words in January
  3. Third to 50,000 words in January
  4. Best Title
  5. Best First Paragraph 
  6. Most Unique Character Name
  7. Best Blurb – 100 words or less  

    KEEP IN MIND: a Blurb is often used in your query letter to sell your story to an editor or what is found on the back of the book to grab your potential reader’s attention.
 Participant MUST have written at least 10,000 words to be eligible for prizes
  • Must be on the janowriters yahoo email loop. (see below)
  • No acceptances after MIDNIGHT January 31, 2016 deadline. NO exceptions!!!
Attendees of the Wrap-Up Party judge the last four categories on February 5th, 2016 and prizes will be awarded accordingly. You do not have to be in attendance to win, but we encourage everyone within driving distance to come join the FUN!
JANO is sponsored by Sleuths’ Ink, a mystery and suspense writers’ non-profit organization in Springfield, Missouri. JANO 2016 Chairperson: Wanda Fittro