If you’ve ever tried to get published, you likely know this road well! It’s filled with twists and turns, restrictions and rules. Yes rules, and there are lots of them, but today I only want to touch on Rule Number One….When it’s something you really believe in, DON’T give up.
So first off, I should come clean and tell you that I gave up… After an uncountabillion hours of work, followed by rejection letter after rejection letter after rejection letter, I told myself I was shelving it for a while, putting it on hold, but in my heart, I gave up. I’m talking about my dream of becoming a published author, one that gets paid, makes appearances, signs autographs and does all the other fabulous things successful writers get to do.
I have to admit that technically, I have been published once before. My very first officially published work wasn’t a witty short story, a dazzling novel or even an angst-filled ballad; it was… a recipe. I won a recipe contest for Triscuit Crackers. (there’s a pretty funny/slightly embarrassing story around this recipe, but I’ll save it for another day) Anyway, aside from the honor of having my recipe published on their site, it would be featured on their upcoming Triscuit “Girl’s night” T.V. commercial. If you feel like checking it out…
So, even with an amazingly wonderful, award-winning, published cracker-topping recipe under my belt, my dream of becoming an author of YA novels still alluded me. That is, until a little over a week ago when I suddenly found myself thrust back into the frustration and anguish, excitement and utter joy of writing again.
I received a call from the senior editor of a major Canadian publishing company telling me that she was very interested in publishing my YA novel, the novel which I originally submitted to them three years before, almost to the day! Suddenly my brain was flooded; first came shock, followed by joy, disbelief, fear and then utter bliss. Could my dream finally be coming true?
I hung up the phone and sat silent, trying to let the reality of this thing that just happened sink in. I didn’t know whether to laugh or scream or cry… all three sounded like good ideas. But nothing happened; the reality wasn’t sinking in; this was all just too good to be true. Or was it? I started thinking about all the letters I received from editors back when I first submitted my novel -many were personal letters, not the standard “nice manuscript, now please get lost” letters, and if they were form letters, some had hand written notes expressing their fondness for my character or my story line. Then I started thinking-why shouldn’t it be published? My main character is awesome, it has a beginning, a middle and an end that flow nicely, it’s filled with cheeky banter, and it made my 12 year old, reluctant-reader son, laugh and cry and beg for the next one.
So, with a new found confidence, I decided to get to work and make a list because suddenly my agenda was full!
Get Myself Published To-Do List Number One
- Re-read my book that I haven’t picked up in over 2 years-
- Come up with a rough synopsis for my next two books (at publisher’s request- crazy huh!!! Yipee)
- Write a 50 word bio (at publisher’s request) that’s witty and wonderful… Are you kidding me? How can this be done?
- Join a writers group
- Start a blog
So now, nearly two weeks later, I have finally accomplished everything on day one’s to-do list and I am pooped! I’m also hopeful, doubtful, excited and afraid, along with a myriad of other emotions that I could list, but that would take us in an entirely different direction. So, I’ll spare you the drama of my real life for now and save it for another day.
In conclusion, many talented authors have met with rejection over and over again for various reasons. It seems to me, that finding the right editor is like finding a soul mate. You have to click, or rather your work and your editor do. Even when this happens, sometimes there are variables that completely block your pathway to success. That said, cast a wide net! Send your manuscript where ever you can, even outside the country if you have to, although you may require an agent. Had I done this myself, maybe I would be published by now or… maybe my book, my baby, was just waiting to find it’s soul mate-right here in Canada.
Stay tuned for updates as they happen… hopefully sooner than later. Wish me luck!