The Book of My Heart

Lyn Cote and I have been friends for decades and just recently reconnected when she asked me to do a workshop for her writers’ group in Wisconsin. She’s a wonderful writer and a fabulous person. Please give her a warm convertible welcome.

And a little bio to get to know her better: An award-winning author of both contemporary and historical inspirational romance, LYN COTE has been a 2006 RITA finalist as well as a finalist for the HOLT Medallion and the National Readers Choice Award, and in 2011 a winner of the prestigious American Christian Fiction Writer’s CAROL Award. Lyn lives with her husband and four cats in the northwoods of Wisconsin.

The question is–should an author write what she wants or write what the “market” experts–agents, editors and publishers say they want–for readers?


Authors are often told to write the book or story of their heart. Sometimes those books subsequently sell to an agent, an editor and then lots of readers. But some don’t. Here’s the brief version of what happened to, my first manuscript and story of my heart, La Belle Christiane.

When I began writing my first manuscript, I literally ran after my two toddlers with a clipboard in my hand and wrote whenever they paused! (I only wrote sitting down through Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers.) I spun that story without knowing anything about writing or marketing fiction. In fact, I told myself just to write the book and then I’d think about polishing and marketing it. At the time, the thought of trying to sell the manuscript was overwhelming. Three years of “active” 🙂 writing and I’d finished my first manuscript-1,000 handwritten pages. Whew!


When I began trying to market it, I found out that while it garnered interest from agents and editors, it never found a publisher. I think that’s because there are “unwritten” rules for inspirational fiction (any genre fiction really) and I didn’t know them or follow them.

But I always remained convinced my first manuscript was a good story, but there it sat in my stored files. Then the digital revolution began and finally I saw a way to publish it.


Last year on my blog from the beginning of January through the end of July, I revised it and posted it for readers and invited reader comments. What a fun ride with the top down that was!


If you drop by my website now and click “Archived Free Read,” you can read the rough version on the blog and my readers’ comments and advice.

However if you don’t want to read it on your computer, now La Belle Christiane is FINALLY available at Smashwords (for Kobo Ipad, etc), the Kindle Store and NookBooks and in print. The process proved to be a lot of work, but I didn’t want the story of my heart to sit ignored in my files forever.


So do you think I should have self-published the book of my heart? Or were the experts right?


Perhaps readers will ultimately decide whether La Belle Christiane deserved to be published or not. I’d like to offer a free EBOOK copy of La Belle Christiane giveaway. Here’s more.


short blurb

In the 1770’s, after her mother’s violent murder, Christiane Pelletier flees France. Daughter of a French courtesan to frontier wife to companion of Lady Washington, Christiane moves into the heart of the American rebel elite. But one man in her life can never be forgotten. Once he was her friend. Now he is her enemy. Will he become her destiny? Only God knows.


5 stars: “Book one of the Patriots and Seekers Revolutionary War era thriller is a great tale due to a strong cast and held together by a wonderful brave protagonist. Readers obtain a taste of life in the rebellious colonies through the trials and triumphs of courageous Christiane. Lyn Cote writes an engaging saga as epic events sweep La Belle Christiane struggling to survive the tsunami of war.” Harriet Klausner, an Amazon top reviewer

Purchase Links:

For Print Edition

To buy a print copy

For Digital Editions





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20 Responses to The Book of My Heart

  1. loisgreiman says:

    Thanks so much for joining us, Lyn. And for the FREE BOOK offer!! The story sounds great and the cover is gorgeous.

  2. Cindy Gerard says:

    Welcome Lyn! It’s great to see you here. You’ve posed an interesting question. Sadly, a lot of good books go unpublished because they don’t fit into any ‘standard’ marketing mode – many of those books are ‘books of the heart’. With the e-book, self-pub explosion, those rules have changed and I think it’s wonderful.
    Congrats on all of your success

  3. Lyn Cote says:

    HI Lois and Cindy,
    It’s fun to be here and see friends. I still wonder if I’d be able to make myself write a full book again without having a contract. I’ve gotten used to advances. And self-publishing is a lot of work!

  4. loisgreiman says:

    Lyn, I just put Uncorked online myself. And I agree on both counts #1-lots of work, and #2-what?? no money up front? But it’s an interesting process and offers tons for freedom.

  5. Leanne says:

    Lyn, welcome to the convertible! I love the story of how the book of your heart went from writing to staying on the back-burner to finally making its way to readers! Congratulations! I love it when a writer has a true passion for their story!

  6. Lyn Cote says:

    Thanks, Leanne. I think it shows. I know if an editor “fiddles” too much with a story, I don’t feel passionate about it.

  7. Lyn Cote says:

    I forgot you were dipping your toe into the self-publishing tide too, Lois. Best of luck!

  8. loisgreiman says:

    Yeah, I’m also doing the create space thing for print, Lyn. Have you been happy with it?

    • Lyn Cote says:

      Yes, they do a lovely job. However, I haven’t sold many. I did Print of Demand because I sell well to libraries. I’ve decided to bring out the already written sequel to La Belle this year and will post at least the first third on my website to test it out–more riding with the top down! Have you heard of I intend to use their service to contact librarians when I have both books in print.

  9. Kathleen O'Donnell says:

    Anything you have put your heart into, especially a book, need to be put in print. I will be downloading this book for sure.. Just one of the genre of book I cut on my teeth on…

  10. Lyn Cote says:

    Thanks, Kathleen. I love to write epic romances intertwined with real historical events & people and most editors just want a love story with corsets and bonnets. 🙂

  11. PatriciaW says:

    Congratulations Lyn on following your heart and taking a chance on this story. I love that it’s set in a time period that I don’t often see in fiction.

  12. loisgreiman says:

    How DO the publishers decide what they want to see? Cuz…I’m going to say it…ready??? I’m tired of vampires!!

  13. Lyn Cote says:

    Just a reminder, this is a free Ebook offer.

  14. Lyn – The ebook revolution is part of a brave new world for writers. You were right to publish this because somewhere deep down you believed in it. Kind of like wanting a baby but everyone says it’s not a good idea. You nurtured it anyway and now sit back and enjoy the congratulations coming your way.

  15. Lyn Cote says:

    Thanks, Susan. The five star reviews have been very vindicating!

  16. Kylie Brant says:

    Welcome, Lynnie 🙂 I think publishing the book of your heart is a fabulous idea! I’ll be picking your brain later!

  17. Lyn Cote says:

    My brain is yours to pick, Kylie!

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