Saturday, February 2, 2013

Getting Published: My Story

The first thing I did when I realized how much I loved writing was make a decision. I was going to become an author someday. It wasn't something I thought would be a great hobby, or something I wanted to do with friends for fun. I was dead set on reaching my goal and writing for a career

Starting from eighth grade, I took every writing class imaginable and eventually majored in English with an emphasis in creative writing in college. I’d been writing stories since I was in Jr. High, but I’d never completed a full novel. Once I graduated I knew it was time to get serious. I quit my job and decided to focus all my energy into writing.  I began writing The Shapeshifter’s Secret (though it had a different title at the time) and after countless late nights, many tears, and several “aha” moments, the first draft was finished a year later.   

Once it was completed, I started editing, which meant hours and hours of rewriting. Characters changed, the plot changed, names changed, and it was a grueling six-month process. That was for the story as a whole, but I also hired an editor to help with all the grammar and punctuation. The editing was very difficult for me, but it was absolutely necessary and helped me grow as a writer.

So after writing The Shapeshifter’s Secret and editing it until I was happy with the finished product, I knew it was time to learn more about the publishing industry. I did all the research I could online and started going to conferences and classes that focused on publishers, agents, and the art of the query letter. I also started getting involved with social media sites so that I could show editors how serious I was about getting my work out there, and I began connecting with other writers. Next I created my query letter (which at times seemed as difficult as writing the actual novel), and I was ready to start submitting to publishers.

When I got the first offers for my novel I felt like I was in shock. After years of dreaming, it was finally happening. I reflect back on this time and feel so grateful for the opportunities I was given. Cedar Fort published The Shapeshifter’s Secret in 2012 and I’ve absolutely loved working with them. 

The journey to getting published was long and there were plenty of bumps of discouragement along the way. One of those bumps was when I made a terrible query and began submitting it to publishers and agents when I was only halfway through writing my novel. I was overly eager about jumping into the publishing world and thought it was a good idea. It wasn’t. Never ever make query letters prematurely; it will only lead to painful rejection letters.

There were several times when I wondered whether I was spending too much time on my novel. I had plenty of breakdowns when I wanted to give up and had zero confidence in my writing. However, I always thought back to that decision that I made so many years ago. I wanted to write, and I’d have to keep going no matter how difficult it became.

If you’re a writer looking to get published, I wish you the very best of luck! Know that the ups and downs are part of the experience that every author and main character has to face in order to grow.

Here are some really fantastic websites for writers: 

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  1. I love hearing other authors success stories. They remind me of something Tracy Hickman said at CONduit 2012. "Everyone has to find their own way, but its never the same way. Everyone has to pay their own dues, but they're never the same dues."

    It's so easy to get discouraged on this journey, so it's awesome to see someone break out. Keep up the great work!

    1. Anthony,

      Thank you for sharing that quote, I think that's absolutely true. Tracy is so wise, I loved his classes at LTUE.

      Thank you also for the kind words. Good luck with all your writing endeavors!

  2. After two years, does it still feel like a dream? I haven't read any of your books, but they're officially on my to-read list!