Now the Scary Part Begins

I’ve just finished writing my second novel. As my critique partners scrutinise the manuscript for errors, it’s time for me to find someone to publish it. I have great confidence in this book, but the thought of sending it out to a publishing house terrifies me. There is so much competition with other hopeful writers all vying  to catch the eye of an editor. The chance of rejection is high.

I remember, that before I found a home for my first book, STUBBORN HEARTS, I nearly gave up on writing. Waiting months to see if my book would be accepted for publication and then receiving a rejection letter … well, it felt like my writing confidence was punched right in the face.  I threw the manuscript in the back of my bedroom closet. Stupid me, why did I think I could write? But my characters drew me back. They deserved to have their story told. So I would haul the manuscript out, work on it some more and send it out to another place. It was a depressing cycle. And then acceptance came.

It’s hard to describe my feelings when I read the email saying they loved my story and wanted to publish it. First of all I let my doubts and insecurities surface. Really, they want my story? They loved it? Are they talking about my book? Then it hit me. I’m about to be a published author. OMG. Who do I call first? My husband, my mother, my kids? What a wonderful high that had been!

That high was short-lived when I was told I should be on Facebook, develop a blog, and network and promote like crazy. I had never looked at Facebook, and barely knew what a blog was. Promoting? Wasn’t that my publisher’s job?

Welcome to the new world of publishing, Carol. If an author wants her books to succeed, she better be out there getting them and herself noticed. It’s not about writing the best book you can anymore. That of course is top priority, but coming a close second is your committment to make it succeed. My committment is strong, but the know-how is sadly insufficient.

And now I’m faced with trying to entice a publisher to like my new manuscript. Wish me luck!

***

Okay, I put this blog post into a draft and then got busy and forgot about it. So here’s an update. I’m signing a contract for the above said book with Books To Go Now. Yeah! It is tentatively titled, HEARTS RACING.

Now I must get back to work on my next story! Will this insanity ever end? I hope not!

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Get the Champagne Flutes and Pop the Cork

I’ve been reading the comments on facebook bouncing back and forth between the Crimson Romance’s June authors. There is so much excitement among them that I can’t help but get caught up in it too. Each time a beautiful new cover is revealed, I can almost hear champagne corks popping as the authors celebrate.

And who can blame them!

It’s no simple thing, writing a novel. It’s far more than just taking a concept, piling words upon words, adding and deleting, moving and shuffling until the words form sentences, then paragraphs, then chapters, and finally a completed manuscript.  It’s about the writer digging deep within himself. He has to have the guts to steal time from a myriad of other obligations which threaten to heap guilt upon him.  He has to have faith to stick with his original story when a new and seductive plot sidles up next to him. He has to endure the pain when rejection letters are slicing away at his confidence.

They why do it? Why write when it causes such angst?”

I can only answer for myself.  I began writing simply because I wondered if I could. It was a whim, a foolish desire to see if I had any writing ability in me. I was unaware of the challenges I would face.

So I wrote, joined a writers’ group and wrote some more. I read books upon books about grammar and plotting and characterization. I rounded out my characters and put them in a lovely setting to live, and before I knew it, they were practically telling me their story and I simply recorded it. Certainly I presented them with obstacles, but ultimately they themselves resolved the problems. And while all this was going on, I had discovered a new passion . . . writing!

Did I have trouble finding the time to write? Not really. My two biggest responsibilities were adults now, so I was spared the guilt which weighs so heavily on young mothers. My dear husband understood my need to write and gave me free rein. I really didn’t care if the floor needed washing or the laundry needed folding. My writing took priority.

Was I tempted by other plots. Yes, sadly I was. But I refuse to take full blame. My characters, Tom and Beth, spent months at a time pleading editors to publish their story. While they were away, I sought out other characters for company. But when they returned, rejected again, I commiserated with them and promised never to give up on them. I edited and edited. Then I edited some more.

And one day, one glorious day, a lovely and wise young editor at Crimson Romance took an interest in the story. She accepted it!

The other Crimson Romance Ladies in Red know that feeling of euphoria. We’re riding high on it . . . the June authors indubitably riding highest.  To all the wonderful women at Crimson Romance, cheers! In a couple months it will be my turn to celebrate and you can bet champagne will flow.

P.S. Tom and Beth ask you to stop by your local eBook store and read all about their “Stubborn Hearts”.  I told them this wasn’t the time or place to shamelessly plug their story, but when have they ever listened to me!   😉