Getting published: my story

Destiny – when density just isn’t enough

This is a guest post by Terri Ferran, author of Life’s Alphabet Soup, Finding Faith andHaving Hope.

I’ve been destined to write since I knew the difference between destiny and density. As a mother of six with a full-time job as a CFO, destiny had morphed into a memory buried under years of procrastination. Writing a book takes time. I managed to write 47 pages””which took only 17 years. My bean-counting brain calculated that at my current pace, I’d complete my novel in about 90 more years.

I tacked on a week to allow for mailing time, and a month for galleys, printing, and publicity.

Ninety years, one month, and one week is a very long time. So I did what any normal person would do. I quit my job.

Six months later, I completed the first draft. I read through my manuscript one more time since it was possible I’d made a typo or two. Or repeated myself. Or repeated myself.

Unable to think of the perfect title, I used the character’s first name. Kit. It worked for Jack Weyland with Charly, so why not for me? After all””destiny was on my side. Or was it density? I get the two confused.

I modified a form letter for my cover letter, cleverly substituting my own book title and assuring potential editors that it was the perfect book for readers age 8 to 82.

I was crushed when I received two [gasp!] rejection letters. The first from an editor I just knew would be as inspired to accept the novel as I was to write it; the second from a publisher who didn’t even publish in my target market. Who knew?

The third rejection took a few months longer. “A good story,” they said, “but the age of the protagonist limits its marketability.” I tucked the manuscript away in my secret drawer of failure and vowed to never try again.

A few months later I read a novel similar to mine. A young girl questioning her beliefs and coming to terms with her faith after a tragedy. I checked the publisher””Bonneville Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort.

Secretly, I pulled out my manuscript””re-edited it and changed the title to one that better-encompassed the story””Finding Faith. I submitted it to Cedar Fort.

The email came””acceptance, validation, and a life of ease awaited me! Then I learned that publishing a book takes longer than a day, a week, or even a month.

Six months after acceptance (which is relatively fast in the publishing world), I cradled my brand new book in my hands. Like a first-time mother I sniffed it, caressed it, and checked it for missing parts. Like a new baby, it felt delicious cuddled next to me. Unlike a newborn, the book never spit up or wet on me.

Lessons I learned:

  1. Edit, edit, edit
  2. Research to find out what a publisher publishes
  3. Getting published takes time
  4. Never, ever place anything into a secret drawer of failure
  5. Don’t quit your day job””just yet

6 thoughts on “Getting published: my story

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  • February 25, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Great post by the always entertaining Terri Ferran (if her publishing career ever halts I’m confident she could make it as a stand-up comic). I’ve now cleaned out my drawer of failure. Thanks, Terri!

  • February 25, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Fun post, Terri. I’m glad you’ve found your density. Thank goodness it didn’t take 90 years. Linda Garner

  • February 25, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Terri, loved your post. Just think of how many stories you can write before your 90. Maybe by then your destiny will be able to put a little density into your bank account that will keep you up at night counting. 🙂
    By the way I LOVE that series and so do my friends. 🙂

  • February 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Can’t wait to see what else you have in your secret drawer. I’m looking forward to your next books!

  • February 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I think you really put things into prospective. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, reading your post.

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