You know, Lizbeth, hether you put yourself overtly into the story (something I've never done) or not, you really do need to put yourself --that is, your personal experience of being human and understanding human behaviors, and feelings -- into your story or your characterization is merely two dimensional. And lack of real character is one of the top reasons book don't sell. If the people are not real, we don't care that much. Plot might entertain us, but a few weeks later, book is forgotten. Some writers never consciously analyze what works for them when they put character onto the page, but you are bringing yourself into the story when you do real characters.
And it is when a writer begins to create real characters when they usually begin to sell regularly.
Mary Rosenblum LR Web Editor