When I wrote my first novel, "Someone Always Loved You," I was in love with the story. I thought anyone and everyone who read it would be as well. I researched the publishing industry and found that I really needed an agent to help me find a publisher. In those days, the internet wasn't such a big deal and most agents accepted query letters by mail. And, if you wanted a yes or no answer from them, you had to include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Someone Always Loved YouI sent out dozens of query letters to agents of all different kinds and I received dozens of 'no' answers. I think the one that hit the hardest was the agent who sent my self-addressed stamped envelope back to me with a "no thanks" written on the outside of the envelope. The envelope itself was empty. Ouch. At least send a nice form letter! :)
I had a few agents respond that they wanted more of the book, but they too eventually said no. The biggest problem with all of the rejection was that I became discouraged. I thought I wrote a great book and no one wanted it. I decided it had been fun to write a book, but that was that. I would move on with my life. I had a full time job in radio as it was. It wasn't like I needed a hobby.
Years passed and I let the book gather dust on my computer hard drive. I had a baby and working full time was no longer something I wanted to do. Once I left full time radio and entered full time motherhood, I found that I needed something that was just my own. As a mom, I am needed all day every day. I need to feed, clothe, love, bathe, clean, nurture and play with my children. I became anything and everything THEY needed. I was no longer had anything that was just mine. And so I wrote.
Writing became fun again and I started to get freelance writing jobs to help supplement the income I had lost when I left my full time job. The more I wrote, the more I realized my need to write and the more I wrote, the harder it was to stop.
It was a while before I wrote a full novel again. In fact, I started out writing a bunch of first chapters. But eventually, much like with my first book, one of those initial stories started to bug me. I HAD to finish it. "Beyond the Bars" was born and I again began the search for an agent. This time, I had the internet on my side and emailing query letters was easy. I didn't take the rejections as hard because I knew that every agent has his or her thing and my writing isn't going to fit everyone. I actually had several agents ask for more and seriously consider the novel as well. Ultimately, I did not find one...and then I had another baby and lost the extra time I had to keep looking.
My husband "Published" my book "Someone Always Loved You" online for me as a gift. Later, I went back and self-published it through lulu. I wanted to pass it on to family members and friends in hopes that they would enjoy the story I fell in love with as I wrote it. Then, as part of my free lance writing job, I began writing shorter novels for Blue Ribbon Books. These stories went straight to e-books, though "God in the Kitchen" and "Taxi Delivery" did so well they are now going on to print.
Since my writing seemed to be catching on, I decided to try my hand at yet another full novel, this time a romance. An agent at a writing conference I attended said that romance novels were huge and writing in this genre was a great way to break into the industry. Then, once established, you can write what you want. Most of my previous books have an element of romance in them so I thought it would be easy enough to write something that was entirely a romance. "Wrong Place, Right Time" was born and I felt like I really had something.
I actually wrote "Wrong Place, Right Time" for a specific publisher. It was a publisher that accepts novels from authors WITHOUT need for an agent. I liked that since I have never had luck finding an agent. I submitted the novel to that publisher and began the long wait. To make a long story short, I never heard back one way or another and eventually, I got impatient. I read a blog post by another author that went through several other publishers that accepted novels directly from authors and I researched them and decided The Writer's Coffee Shop might like what I had written. It turns out...I was right!
I submitted the book to them as they outlined on their website. It required just a few chapters and a few other details. They answered relatively promptly, especially in comparison to the weeks and months others had kept me waiting. They wanted more! I then sent the whole book. I got an email back from the acquisitions department that they were interested in the book if I was willing to make a few key changes. I most certainly was willing so I began work on the changes and the acquisitions department tossed me over to the contract department.
The contract part was new to me. I hadn't ever really had a publishing contract so I wanted to get advice and think it all over. It took a week or so to work it all out, but I'm happy with the terms as they are now. Next, they sent my a welcome packet and marketing information I was to fill out. I am almost through with that process and am anxious to see what comes next. I imagine there will be edits, cover designs and much more.
I am very excited to go through this process with The Writer's Coffee Shop. Their initial details lay out marketing plans and many other things that make me feel like this is finally the REAL DEAL as far as publishing goes. After my past attempts and failures, I wasn't sure I would ever be able to say I was a published author. Though I have a self-published book and several e-books that are now going to print, "Wrong Place, Right Time" makes me feel like my journey to publishing is finally REALLY beginning. I am beyond excited and can't wait to share more of the process and details with you as I work through them myself.