Today my publisher, Musa Publishing, interviewed me about my journey to publication. This is the post:
We all know what everyone in the book industry tells us, right? “Show, don’t tell”. I quickly found that out, after submitting my completed novel in contests. I entered every contest I could find. Of course, I never made it to any of the finals. In fact, score-wise I was always at the bottom of the list. But, I got many very insightful critiques of my work for free! I used the judges’ editing and critiques to my advantage and edited my book – over and over and over.
Then I took online classes and read a few books on craft and wrote another novel. This time I had a little more knowledge under my belt and I employed an editor who is a multi-published author. She had also worked as an agent. That’s something I should have done earlier on in the process, perhaps, but I didn’t realize I needed a personal editor until I had received so many rejection letters from agents that it was obvious something was wrong.
My advice to anyone wanting to write would be:
Learn about the craft of writing either before or while you’re writing your first book, so you can incorporate that knowledge into your novel.
Take a few online classes. They’re usually very cheap, from free to thirty dollars most of the time.
Join an online writing group. When I began my journey I contacted author Christine Feehan. She told me to join Romance Writers of America. After doing so, I was able to join a Romance Writers of America Women’s Fiction group along with other groups online that interested me. The people in these groups are an invaluable source of help with your writing, advice on agents and publishers, and anything else you can think of. And you’ll need the support of other writers while going through the process toward publication.
Writing is a solitary endeavor and rejections by agents should be expected. I never felt alone because I had my online friends to uplift me when I was down.
Following the death of their baby during a difficult birth, Brandy and Weston Chambers are grief-stricken and withdraw from each other, both seeking solace outside of their marriage; however, they vow to work through their painful disloyalty. But when the man Brandy slept with moves back to their hometown, three lives are forever changed by his return.
Three days later we were standing at the edge of a hole in the ground at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Hayward, the silence so thick, the insides of my ears buzzed like a distant swarm of angry bees. Mr. Peralta and another gentleman stood off to the side while Weston and I held hands next to a tiny casket.
Weston had chosen a simple mahogany box with gold handles, a bouquet of white lilies graced the top of the small box. I knelt down and laid a kiss on the smooth wood then wiped off the tears that had fallen on top. Weston joined me, placing a single red rose in the middle of the lilies.
He helped me up and we stood side-by-side in silence, my guilt over her death like a stone in my empty belly. I missed everything I’d dreamed would be happening right now, yearned for all that could have been.
Weston nodded at the man standing next to Mr. Peralta and our baby was slowly lowered into the gaping maw. She reached the bottom, and a bird landed on the rich brown dirt piled next to the grave. It pecked around, chirping a little song then flew off – as if saying goodbye. My heart squeezed inside my chest.
I picked up a small handful of soft dirt. “Goodbye, Christine,” I whispered, throwing it on top of her casket.
Weston wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me in close to his side. Why her? Why my baby? Was this supposed to make sense? And, if so, to whom?