Thursday, December 10, 2009

Never Give Up!


I've had several people ask me to share my journey to publication and offer a little advice. Here goes... The little guy above is a white faced squirrel who was persistent. He lives on a golf course in Myrtle Beach and if you leave your cart unattended while making a shot, you'll find that whatever you were snacking on has disappeared. His perseverance paid off.

The first book I finished writing was a young adult novel. That was approximately three years ago. Eventually, I shelved it and decided I wasn't getting anywhere because I didn't have a good grasp of the craft. At that point, I bought every book I could find on writing. Most of them came from eBay because I can find even the out of print books there.

I studied everything I could find on writing for over two years. I knew I wanted to write Christian fiction, but wasn't sure where to start. I was lucky enough to find ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers.) The membership fee was the best money I've ever spent. I was amazed that some of the big names in the Christian market were nice enough to take the time to answer questions. I can't recommend ACFW enough if you're interested in writing Christian Fiction. You can learn more about them at http://www.acfw.com/.

I finished my first adult novel, Killing Time, and began entering it in contests. I used the feedback to make my story stronger. I must have rewritten that novel a dozen times. It finaled in the 2009 Duel on the Delta. It was written in first person and when I found out that the contest judge was a Harlequin editor, I had a short amount of time to change it from first person into third (Harlequin doesn't buy first person for their Steeple Hill line). I had no clue how to write a deep third person and expected third place, which is how the saga ended.

I continued to rework Killing Time. I was told by an agent that it might be a hard sell because the first 3 or 4 chapters are set in a jail. That novel has found a home at Desert Breeze Publishing and will be out in August of 2010. It wasn't submitted to any other publishing house and I'm content with my decision to publish in ebook format. The people at Desert Breeze are among the nicest people in the business and their books consistently receive high reviews and they allow authors to write what's on their heart.

The best advice I can give you is...NEVER GIVE UP! You'll never reach the goal of publication if you give up. Also, write something every day. If you write 1,000 words a day, you'll have a novel in two months. Take another month or two to edit and it will be ready to submit. And, STUDY, STUDY, and STUDY SOME MORE! I take writing very seriously and still buy and study writing books. I learn something new from every one I read.

And one more piece of advice...take advantage of NaNoWriMo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) if at all possible. It will change the way you write forever. I wrote a WWII romantic suspense, Queen of Hearts, during NaNoWriMo. If all goes as planned, it will release in April of 2010 with Desert Breeze Publishing.

If I'd given up, I wouldn't have found a home for these two books. SO, NEVER GIVE UP AND KEEP ON KEEPING ON!

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