Every aspiring writer can probably relate to this: during the submission process, I became obsessed with…well, obsessing. I stalked editors and agents on Facebook and twitter. I googled every publishing success story I could find. Some of those stories I read more than once while I waited to hear back from publishers…
When it comes to writing, the waiting is the most excruciating part for me. We’re all dying to know if our “babies” will be accepted or rejected in the publishing world, and in the meantime, seeking out encouraging posts proved helpful for me.
I promised myself that if I ever got published, I’d post my own story for all those aspiring writers still waiting to learn their manuscripts’ fate. So, for my first real blog post, I’d like to discuss my own publishing journey, and what led up to me recently signing on with Limitless Publishing for my new series, The Flocksdale Files.
First of all, I’ve always loved books in general. Reading them, collecting them, smelling them, holding them…well, you get the point. I’m weird when it comes to books. I always enjoyed writing too, but I mostly channeled it into journaling and poetry. A few years ago, I was up late on a Saturday. I couldn’t sleep and I’d finished reading The Aurora Teagarden series. I didn’t have anything to read, so while I stood in the kitchen making pancakes at one in the morning, I was hit with a silly idea. Why not write my own book?
And that’s when it hit me, one single line: “Making pancakes at one in the morning made Violet Cromwell feel like a single woman again.”
I wrote that sentence down on the back of a napkin. While I ate my pancakes, I wrote a few more sentences. And then some more. The next thing I knew, I was writing every free second I had. After a couple weeks, I started typing up all my scribbles.
I loved writing. It was like reading, only I could control the story and take it any direction I damn well pleased. But after a month of writing, I got stuck. I kept reading and re-reading what I’d already written, self-doubt creeping in. I didn’t plan on trying to get it published. I didn’t even know how to get a book published. And…a few months after I started writing, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. Suddenly, writing was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t write one single word during my pregnancy.
As a wife and mother of three with a full-time job, I wondered if I’d ever have time to write again. But that’s the thing about writing: if you want to do it bad enough, you’ll make time. While on maternity leave, I finally finished my first book and titled it This Is Not About Love. I set it aside, feeling a sense of self-satisfaction. I had no plans to publish.
And then something strange happened. I got a phone call during the middle of the day from my sister. She said, “I know this is going to sound strange, but I wrote a book!” Imagine her surprise when I said, “Me too!”
Neither of us had any idea the other was writing a book, but from that point on, we were discussing our books daily and exchanging chapters. For the first time, I was able to get feedback on my book, and I was surprised by my sister’s positive review.
She decided to go ahead and start submitting hers to publishers, but I held back. I was too scared of rejection, and determined it was a waste of my time. There was no way I’d get my book published. But my sister didn’t let up. She pushed and pushed, until I finally decided to just submit it.
I selected twelve publishers and submitted to one a day for the next two weeks. About a month after my submissions, I got an exciting phone call from my sister. She’d received a publishing contract from Sarah Book Publishing for her book, Star Hollow! I was thrilled for her!
You’d think I’d be more determined with my own book, but from that moment on, I decided that the odds of us both getting contracts were pretty low. I was happy for my sister’s success.
In the coming week, I deleted a slew of rejection letters.
But a couple weeks after my sister’s exciting news, I was sitting on my back porch playing with my kids. It was June 23, 2014. I casually glanced at my email notification. The email was from Sarah Book Publishing and the subject line read “Welcome Aboard”.
Did they accidentally send me an email meant for my sister? I wondered. I opened the email. All I saw was, “Congratulations on acceptance of This Is Not About Love…” I got up and paced around for an hour, too excited to even read the rest. I was blown away! Somebody wanted to publish my book!
To make matters even more exciting, in the week that followed, I received contract offers from two other publishers. For the first time, all my self-doubt vanished. I felt like I could really do this…I could be an author.
I signed my contract with Sarah Book Publishing, excited to share the same publisher with my sister. In the six months that followed, I wrote like crazy, pumping out three more books in that short span of time. It was an exciting time — getting my cover art for This Is Not About Love and experiencing the editing process. It was crazy! My first book was published December 23, 2014. What a day that was!
I submitted my next book, Grayson’s Ridge, to Sarah Book Publishing and signed the contract for it on January 8, 2015. It was released June 19, 2015, about one year after signing my first contract.
During that crazy year, I’d begun working on Have You Seen This Girl? (Although it was originally called ‘The End’). It’s extremely dark, and it was an emotional roller coaster writing it. I rewrote it more than ten times and read it more times than I’d like to admit, or even think about.
I started submitting Have You Seen This Girl? to literary agents. I received six or seven full read requests, but it was turned down each time. Those agent rejections were so important, and I feel a great deal of gratitude for those agents who dealt me a great deal of criticism. I used all of their critiques to rewrite Have You Seen This Girl a few more times, focusing on recurring complaints of the manuscript.
With Have You Seen This Girl? rewritten and polished, I decided to submit it to four publishers. I sat back, more nervous than I’d ever been. Let’s just say, reading other authors’ posts like this one helped me get through those days. I don’t know why it was more nerve-wracking than the first time…probably because my expectations were so much lower the first time, and this time I wanted it so much more.
On July 3, 2015, as I was preparing to leave on a camping trip, I received an email from Limitless Publishing. They wanted to offer me a contract! I was elated!
First of all, let me say this…of the four pubs I submitted to, I wanted Limitless the most. I’m obsessed with some of their authors and their cover art and book quality is some of the best I’ve ever seen. I literally cried when I got the offer. Have You Seen This Girl? is near and dear to my heart, and it took me a long time to write, re-write, and re-write it again. I was so pleased to find a home with Limitless Publishing. I received a counter-offer from one of the other pubs, but ultimately, I had no doubts of who I was signing with!
So, Have You Seen This Girl? is the first book in a series called the Flocksdale Files. It is an edgy, new adult thriller about a troubled young woman searching for the monsters from her youth. It will be out Sept 8th! I haven’t announced this publicly yet, but…my second book in the Flocksdale Files is titled: House of the Lost Girls, and will be released Nov 3rd! I’m currently working on book three.
So, for my first personalized blog post…may this post reach someone out there who is waiting to learn their fate. Publishing is a roller coaster ride, but it’s exciting and it’s worth it. You can and will get published, as long as you don’t give up and use rejection to make the necessary changes.
Best of luck to all you writers out there. May your beautiful manuscripts find their happy homes. I can’t wait to read/touch/sniff your lovely books when they come out. And don’t forget to write your own success story when it happens! Pay those amazing success stories forward!