Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Being Published

People often have questions about being published. They ask me if I'm rich yet.
I love that one. And the answer is, NO.
Some ask me how I went about getting published.
Did I just send it and ask the publisher to publish the book for me?
Did I know someone?
Did I come up with the idea for the story and the publisher fills it in?
Has it changed my life?

All of the above are honest questions and probably questions that I would ask.

This is my story, and I would like to say that everyone who is published has a different story, a different path.
I started writing when I was in school. I think I wrote my first story when I was ten or eleven. I wrote on scrap paper, I wrote in notebooks, I wrote poetry and songs.
When I started getting serious about writing fiction, (About 12 years ago) I went to Wal-Mart and did research...because I didn't know what else to do. I went through the inspirational section and wrote down the names of publishers, the number of pages in the books, what the books were about. When I got home I researched the publishers, found their guidelines on their websites, and started reading books published by the publishing houses that I really liked.

I wrote on paper, filling notebooks with my first attempts at novel writing, and then switched to the computer. Finally, with finished manuscripts and the belief that I was going to be published, I started submitting to publishers. I feel for those first editors who received my amature attempts. I actually faxed a query letter to a major publishing house. Much to my surprise, the editor faxed me back and told me to send her the manuscript. She later told me, "Don't ever do that again." I would give the same advice. I can use the excuse that I was young and didn't know any better.

I wrote and wrote and wrote. I also received a lot of rejections.

I looked up articles on writing romance, writing fiction, writing non-fiction and writing in general. I studied books that I enjoyed, looking at how the sentences, paragraphs and chapters went together. I looked at what was marketable and what wasn't.

I found wonderful critique partners and writing groups and then I found an agent. Finally I found my voice and stopped fighting my muse. I gave in and wrote the books I wanted to write, not the books I thought I should write, or the books that others wanted me to write.

After 7 years of learning, I got that first contract. A year later I received my first contract with Steeple Hill. And I learned that I still had a lot to learn. I'm still learning.

That's how I went about getting published.
Did someone do it for me? No. I did it through hard work. People can help you get a foot in the door, but then it's up to you to prove that you can write the book that the publisher wants to publish and the consumer wants to buy.
Did I just send it in and ask to be published? No. But I wished it worked that way. I guess in a way, when you send a story in, you are asking to be published. Unfortunately the answer is often, NO.
The story ideas and the words are mine. An editor does look it over, point out problems, but the writing is up to me.

Has it changed my life? Yes, writing has changed my life. I have friends I wouldn't otherwise have had. I have a career that I love. I have less time for procrastinating than I used to have, and I'm working on being more organized, but that's okay.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I'm glad you posted this. Very true about hard work. Funny about the fax. :-)