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How I became a self-published Romance Author by Joanne Dannon

Dear friends

I’m very excited to be a part of this fabulous community and want to thank Leslie and RJ for inviting and welcoming me to write a monthly column.

There are plenty of wonderful posts by authors sharing their knowledge so I’ve decided to focus on my journey from newbie to self published romance writer which has taken ten years. I hope my experiences will help those whether they’re starting out as writers or need validation in their journey to publication.

If you have any questions or an area you wish me to talk about, please email me at [email protected] and I’ll do my best to cover your questions in my monthly posts.

As an Australian romance writer, I will be avoiding anything to do with taxes, tax file numbers etc ad that information is specific for each country as I don’t want to cause confusion.

I started my writing career in 2005 when most books were read in print and self publishing was virtually unheard of. I loved romance, always have, so it was only natural that I would start writing in the genre I loved.

I have to confess that back in 2005 I had no idea what I was doing. Yes, there are some authors who can write and have their first book is published. But I wasn’t one of those writers.

I was juggling a baby, a demanding job and a hubby who travelled so I wrote when I could. I then had a brilliant idea and contacted some of my favourite Mills and Book authors for advice. They all replied promptly and recommended I join Romance Writers of Australia (RWA Aust).

Connecting with this community and attending my first RWA (Aust) conference was one of the best decisions I made and I met so many fantastic writers, including newbies like myself.

I learned what writing craft was and started reading as many craft books as I could. I connected with other writers and soon had a couple of critique partners who provided honest and valuable feedback on my writing.

I always encourage writers to join professional groups of their genre. There are so many in the USA and I’ve found Romance Writers of America to be extremely professional and helpful to romance writers.

In my opinion, you will always do better working with other writers than you will on your own.

Fast forward a few years and I was managing to write one novel a year. Not a lot but then I had two children, my corporate job and a hubby who was still travelling a lot. I had plenty of rejections from romance publishers which was difficult and many times I considered to stop writing.

I then took six weeks off work, did a Margie Lawson course with a friend and with my newly found confidence, I wrote the story and the hero I wanted to write.

Note – this book was published in December 2015 as Kisses under the Spotlight which currently has 4.7/ 5 star ranking on Amazon.

Instead of a hero who was a banker or CEO or entrepreneur, I created Alex Jackson, a singing, dancing superstar. Just think of Michael Bublé, Hugh Jackman and Adam Garcia all rolled in to one super hero! Yum J My mentor, the amazing Melanie Milburne, who’s written over 55 books for Mills and Boon told me no publisher would want a dancing, singing hero.

And guess what? She was right! Every romance publisher I submitted to rejected my book.

But I was determined not to change my hero. I’d written what I loved and wasn’t prepared to compromise. I wrote a series and this was book number 1. Unable to sell the first book, meant my other books couldn’t be published.

With a corporate job, I just wrote what I wanted. I wrote the heroes, heroines and storylines that I loved. It was a defining moment for me because even though my books were being rejected, I knew they were much better from when I’d tried to fit them in to a “box” of what I thought the publishers wanted.

I’m a firm believer in writing from the heart. Write what you want and what you love.

Romances that feature muscle-bound, bad boy rockers with lots of tattoos and piercings are very popular now. But to be honest, I prefer my heroes to be clean cut. If I wrote my hero to fit in to this mould to sell (ie bad boy rocker) it wouldn’t be as good as me writing my suave crooner.

You can tell when writers write to fit a popular niche. It’s so important to love what you write. If you expect your readers to pay for your books, then it had better be the best writing it can be.

In next month’s column, I’m going to talk about what happened when I went through redundancy in my corporate role. I have to confess, still at that point, I had no intention of being a self published writer.

Want to know more? Want to know what pushed me in the direction of self publishing? Sorry, you’ll have to wait another month.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to answering your questions and getting to know you all.

Until next month, Joanne x


[box type=”bio”]

Joanne Dannon is an Australian author who writes to give her readers the experience she loves to savour–indulging in a sigh-worthy-happily-ever-after, being swept away from the everyday by diving into a delicious romance novel.
Joanne is a happily married mother of two heroes-in-training who loves spending time with friends and family. She can be found on Facebook and her website chatting about reading, writing, cooking, vintage-inspired dresses and all things romantic.


[box]Falling for Mr Wrong

As a nanny, Tilly Walker is more comfortable with her young charges than dodging the English press. But that’s exactly what she has to do when unwittingly caught up in a marriage scandal with a highly regarded Minister of Parliament. Fleeing to the safety of her great-aunt in Jerusalem, the last person sheFalling for Mr Wrong imagines becoming involved with is an undercover reporter who follows her all the way from England.

Lone wolf Nathaniel Morgan-Young is a political journalist who must break Tilly’s story to vindicate past injustices, deceiving her to get the information he needs. But when Nate unexpectedly falls for the very real woman behind the Naughty Nanny scandal, he desperately wants her to know the truth.
Will he be able to convince her to trust him again, once he has his story? Can he find the right words to make her come back, mend his wounds from the past and make him whole again?

Praise for Joanne Dannon – “A handsome, mysterious Englishman; a feisty nanny and an exotic setting – what more could you ask for? Joanne Dannon delivers a sexy, emotional story with a relatable heroine and a hero worth falling for.” – Leah Ashton, RITA Award winning author.

Currently, Falling for Mr Wrong is only available on Amazon


  • L
  • July 11, 2016
Looking forward to next month Joanne!
    • J
      Joanne Dannon
    • July 17, 2016
    Hi Louise - apologies for the late reply to your comment :) Thanks so much, really appreciate your note :)
  • J
  • July 16, 2016
Amen to loving clean cut heroes and heroes with talent! The hero on your cover looks a little bit like Chris Isaac, who I just saw perform. (He was amazing!) Great post and best of luck to you on your writing adventure.
    • J
      Joanne Dannon
    • July 17, 2016
    Hi JenLane Books - apologies for the late reply to your comment :)

    Mmmmm - Chris Isaac! Yes, he definitely is a big spunk and would be amazing in concert :)

    Thanks for your well wishes, I'm currently writing the follow up post :)
  • E
    Evolet Yvaine
  • July 18, 2016
Looking forward to reading your column as well. Future topic suggestions:
~ Your editing process
~ What got you into romance writing in the first place
~ What was the romance book that got you hooked on the genre

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