A few weeks ago we quietly celebrated RU’s third birthday. We are so proud to look back over the array of talented visiting professors who have shared their craft knowledge, their publishing journeys and sometimes just their thoughts on surviving as an author. In the beginning, we set out to help writers advance their careers. We didn’t count on having such terrific readers and making friends.
So, as RU moves into its fourth year, Kelsey, Adrienne and Tracey have decided the time has come for them to take a small step back and let Carrie, Becke, Jen and Robin steer the ship. Tracey, Adrienne and Kelsey aren’t going away, but like any growing entity, sometimes a change in direction helps keep content fresh.
Today, we are celebrating RU’s first three years before we launch into the next chapter of our beloved blog. Along with the celebration we have some great giveaways, so hang out with us as Kelsey, Adrienne and Tracey tell us what they’ve learned on their RU journey.
This is an easy question. Aside from the knowledge I’ve gained from not only our generous visiting professors, but from our readers as well, I’ve learned I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I’ve also learned that the right group of people working together can be an inspiring process. Kelsey, Tracey and I had a vision of what we wanted our blog to be, and we spent six months planning before we launched. The three of us may not write in the same genres, but we were as one in our vision of what RU should be. I’m thankful for that. I’m also thankful for the support Kelsey and Tracey have given me, not only with the blog, but with whatever crisis may have cropped up in the past four years. They’ve become an integral part of my support system and I’d be quite lost without them!
In its three years, our “little” blog has grown into a wonderful resource for writers at all levels. The fact that I made lifelong friends along the way is the added bonus. Yes, I’m a little sad to be handing over the reins, but I’m also thrilled about the plans Carrie, Becke, Jen and Robin have for RU.
The shorter question would be what haven’t I learned, but I’ll share some things that were real turning points for my career. First off, RU showed me that women could work closely together and not kill each other. No, no, I kid. Well, only a little. I recall Kelsey making a statement once that if the three of us could get through all the decisions of building the website without “breaking up” then we could get through anything. She was right.
RU also taught me how to be fearless. How to stick my neck out there no matter how sharp the ax. For the blog, I contacted numerous publishing professionals and found that they’re as generous and genuine as any of our other Visiting Professors (Pssst, they’re not scary!). And speaking of generosity, RU showed me, on a whole new level, how fabulous the romance community is to its members…and beyond. I love everything about the business and writing process—even the icky and disappointing parts. Because I have the two best buds—Adrienne and Kelsey—at my side.
I’m so incredibly happy that Carrie, Jen, Becke, and Robin are keeping Romance University alive and have all manner of new programming planned (more on that Friday). A huge thanks to our readers for visiting us often and sharing your journey. And an even bigger thanks to all our Visiting Professors and monthly columnists who have given of their knowledge and precious time. Muwah!
Oh, to name only one thing I’ve learned by creating and running RU with these fabulous women? Impossible! I’m going to pull the Southern girl card and claim long-windedness is in my blood.
I’ve learned teamwork and trust are two powerful forces when it comes to accomplishing goals. If you have other people rooting for you and watching your back, you can concentrate on doing your very best work. But if you don’t trust the people watching your back? Sure hope you hid the kitchen knives. Just saying. Tracey, Adrienne and I trusted each other to devote the time, money and hard work it took to launch and maintain RU. I’m glad to say we’re all still on speaking terms, continue to be CPs and even share hotel rooms with no fear of being smothered with a pillow during the night.
Lesson two is decide on your definition of quality and don’t compromise those standards in your work. When we brainstormed RU, we knew we wanted it to be a high-quality learning site for genre writers. We didn’t want to accept advertisers or monetize the site in any way. Call us crazy, perhaps. But our definition of quality was educational and enjoyable, without commercial distractions. Looking back over the posts from the past three years, I feel we’ve upheld those standards and know Carrie, Jen, Robin and Becke will do the same going forward.
Here’s a biggie and one I forgot for a while in my own writing work: Do not be afraid to ask for what you want. When we started RU, we asked editors, agent and writers—some biggies!—to be visiting professors by selling them on our premise alone. Know what? The majority said yes. And once they saw the site, they definitely said yes. In three years, I’d bet we’ve had less than 10 people say no.
And last? I’ve learned professionalism is always in style. Do what you tell people you’ll do. I don’t believe we’ve ever missed a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday post because that’s what we promised our readers from the start. And we’ve certainly tried to treat our guests and commenters with respect and appreciation. So I want to say to you all—fellow faculty members, many visiting professors, monthly columnists and wonderful readers—thank you for supporting this site we love so much. We hope you’ll continue your support as the other ladies take RU to new heights!
You’ll still see the three of us around RU as Carrie, Jen, Becke and Robin have been kind enough to let us sign on as quarterly columnists. But for now, please help us celebrate three fabulous years and raise a toast to the new RU!
To help us celebrate, we’ve recruited some of our friends to help. Our fabulous pals are offering some great giveaways. Here’s the list of what you could win. Just leave a comment and your name gets thrown in for all the drawings. To keep it fair, each person will only win one gift. Here’s the list of what you could win:
- $10 Barnes and Noble gift card from Becke Martin Davis
- $10 Barnes and Noble gift card from Carrie Spencer
- Free class on “Blurbing Your Book” from Laurie Schnebly Campbell
- One copy of Sweet Tea and Secrets and one copy of Out of Focus along with an adorable Noritake tea cup candle in a lunch-size tote bag from Nancy Naigle.
- $15 iTunes gift card from Kelsey.
- A copy of One-Night Prince from Rebecca J. Clark.
- A book bundle from Laurie London.
- Two – One-year memberships to Author EMS from Amy Atwell.
- Two copies of Negotiating Point from Adrienne.
- A copy of A Lady’s Revenge from Tracey.
- A digital copy of A Night of Southern Comfort from Robin Covington.
- A $20 Amazon gift card from Jennifer Tanner
Quite a list, ay? Well, get to it and leave those comments before midnight Friday night! Winners will be drawn on Saturday. Thank you again to all of our wonderful readers for taking this journey with us. You’ve inspired us in so many ways.
We’ll see you around campus!
Adrienne, Kelsey and Tracey
PS – On Friday, the ladies–Carrie, Jen, Becke, and Robin–will unveil their plans for RU for the rest of the year! You don’t want to miss their announcement or another fun day at RU!
RU Crew, now that you’ve heard what Adrienne, Kelsey and Tracey have learned, is there something you’ve learned recently that might help others? We’d love to hear from you.
Tracey Devlyn writes writes historical romantic thrillers (translation: a slightly more grievous journey toward the heroine’s happy ending). An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters. Her debut novel, A LADY’S REVENGE, hits the bookstores in April 2012 (Sourcebooks Casablanca). For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website at: TraceyDevlyn.com | Twitter.com/TraceyDevlyn | Facebook.com/AuthorTraceyDevlyn
Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and women’s fiction. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her work-a-holic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). Adrienne’s Private Protectors romantic suspense series is available fromCarina Press. For more information please visitwww.AdrienneGiordano.com. Adrienne can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
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