Friday, March 20, 2015
Saturday, January 31, 2015
Because my Chances trilogy is set in Northern California, I could say that my “Path to Publishing” began when I discovered Lake Tahoe a decade ago. But it was more seminal than that. Like many writers, I was an avid reader from an early age. And as an only child, books were my default playmates. In high school, I found myself drawn to the revolving wire rack of musty-smelling, dog-eared paperbacks at the public library. Some days I would get off the bus a few stops early and pick some up on the way home. The novels took me to places all over the world where effortlessly beautiful, wonderfully flawed heroines were swept off their feet by unapologetically successfully, wildly handsome heros to live happily ever after. And in the event I found the ending to be unfavorable, I would simply continue the story in my head to my liking. So my unwitting writing journey really started in my adolescent imagination.
In those days our imaginations had little competition for our attention. There were only a handful of television stations, no video games to speak of and the computer of today was a thing of science fiction. My imagination could soar infinitely. Characters, layered in observation and steeped in expectation were formed with each new acquaintance. The framework of a story was subtlety built as innocence became experience and naivety became discernment. And a serendipitous cross county trip in my affecting teenage years started a love affair with California that provided the perfect backdrop for it all to come together.
I wrote for the school newspaper in college, cranked out promotional pieces and ceremonial correspondence in my first job, wrote everything from new book info sheets to author bios to publishing plans in my last.
But that’s different.
Writing a novel is personal. It’s the kind of writing that exposes you, defines you. The kind you can’t write until you’ve experienced life, love, heartbreak, fear, loss.
For me it all clicked one spring night seven years ago, when I started writing my first book, Second Chance. I sat down and started writing -- and couldn't stop. I wrote three books in the next five years, two of which were finished, revised, revised again, and rewritten countless times. By me. Before I sold. I have a college education, am a lifelong reader and consider myself to be of at least average intelligence. But I had to teach myself to write. By entering contests. And listening to feedback. And learning from rejection. By putting myself out there.
But I didn’t know what I didn’t know. That writing the book was the easy part.
Second Chance was rejected what felt like 100 times.
But I kept going. Because all the rejection and disappointment made me a better writer. And I ended up with a trilogy, the conclusion of which I had the joy of finishing with a deadline imposed by a publisher.
I’ve had more than my share of rejection over the last few years and I expect I’ll have more in the next few. So I’ve put together a list of some of the mistakes I made on my path to publication.
15 Mistakes I Made On The Way To Publication
- I thought I needed an agent.
- I thought I had to go through traditional publishing and print channels.
- I thought Harlequin ruled the world.
- I didn’t think it would take five years to get published.
- I should have brought The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglist before I wrote my first book instead of when I was editing my second.
- I underestimated how generous, supportive and welcoming writers were.
- I should have gone to RWA Nationals the year I started writing.
- I should have joined TARA the second I got home.
- I should have kept reading. I started writing at night instead of reading.
- I should ALWAYS write the last chapter first. I should have known this since I often find myself reading the last few pages of a book midway through chapter two.
- I should have joined a critique group.
- I should have shouted that I was writing from the rooftops instead of keeping it to myself.
- I should have known the last rejection hurts just as much as the first one.
- I should have gotten an iPhone three years ago.
- I knew how bad I wanted it, so I should have known I would do it.
But the one thing I did right? I never gave up! And that’s how this writer became an author.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Friday, March 28, 2014
Exquisite Quills!: The Genesis of a Book - Second Chance by Martha O'...: I could say that the genesis of S econd Chance and my Chances trilogy started when, at the privilege of a family friend, I dis...