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