I’m relatively new to this game of writing, so I’m not going to try to sound like an expert but I wanted to share my experience with you, just in case any of you need some motivation.
My debut novella Desire in Deadwood will be released with Total E Bound Erotic Romance Ebooks http://www.total-e-bound.com on August 30th 2013. I’m beyond excited! It’s so wonderful that every time I look at the cover or browse http://www.total-e-bound.com/comingsoon.asp , I have to blink away tears and shake myself to really believe that: yes, I wrote it. It’s mine! Yippee!
My journey to publication hasn’t been a dreadful one. It’s taken a while but that’s because I didn’t really try hard enough at first.
I’ve always written and been a voracious reader. During my childhood, I won various poetry competitions and whilst at University, I had a poem and a short story published. But there was a little voice in my head that told me that although I had some ability, I probably wasn’t good enough to get published. So I talked about it, day dreamed about it, then left higher education to become. . . a teacher. I figured that teaching literature to my students would be enough and that I was just one of those people who would watch the success of others but probably never achieve it myself.
How wrong I was!
Over the following decade, I had two beautiful children and found that I was so busy being a mother and working that I didn’t have much time to think about being creative. At times, I would sigh and my eyes would mist over with unrequited longing (and sometimes the effects of white wine) for what could have been but then I’d put my ‘practical’ head on and dismiss my ponderings. It happened for other people in other places, not people like me. But, as my babies matured, I felt that yearning to write building again. Only this time, it was stronger. I’d immersed myself in motherhood but I wasn’t happy with my job. It wasn’t being in the classroom but the bureaucracy of the profession. So, after some deliberation, I quit teaching.
It was an enormous step but I had some savings and I kept earning by marking examinations, moderating coursework for a local awarding body and tutoring. When I wasn’t marking, moderating, tutoring or being mum, I tried my hand at penning a medical romance. I read lots of romances, plotted a story then wrote the first three chapters and a synopsis.
I submitted my manuscript to a major romance publisher then waited . . . and waited . . .
I should have been finishing it then starting the next one but I didn’t. I procrastinated. A lot! Then some more.
When the rejection finally came, I wasn’t surprised. The letter was kind and made a few suggestions about point of view changes and other things I hadn’t even considered. So, what did I do? Not a lot. It just wasn’t the right time for me, I guess. I wasn’t taking it seriously enough and I doubted myself too much. So, I got myself another full time job at a different school and thought that writing was just a dream and perhaps I didn’t really have it in me.
However, a few years ago, when I met my husband and told him all about my dreams, something clicked. He really believed that I had it in me and he encouraged me to go for it. His confidence boosted my own and spurred me onwards.
So, armed with the support of my love and now getting more rest (as my beautiful children were now both sleeping through the night) I began writing in earnest. I scoured the internet for submission calls and publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts. I wrote and plotted and submitted. There were rejections but they weren’t heartbreakingly negative. I even had several ‘revise and resubmits’ which gave me hope and encouraged me to persevere. One publisher had a lovely acquiring editor and she really helped me to develop my skillset but then my lowest moment came – her publishing house rejected a manuscript I’d revised according to their suggestions. They were so kind and positive about it but I felt really crushed. It was just before Christmas last year and I felt like throwing in the towel once again.
Guess what? I didn’t. My husband and children’s support, combined with the amazing encouragement of other writers I’ve befriended in our global community, such as the lovely Carole Remy http://www.caroleremy.blogspot.co.uk, Rayne Hall http://www.sites.google.com/site/raynehallsdarkfantasyfiction, Rachel Brimble http://www.rachelbrimble.blogspot.co.uk, Seumas Gallacher http://www.seumasgallacher.com and Lisa Whitefern http://www.lisawhitefern.wordpress.com (to name a few) all served to give me the boost to keep going.
Add to that the fire now lit inside me that burned to do this; to succeed, and I knew that this time, I wouldn’t give up, I would not surrender my dreams!
Post-Christmas, a few lines just popped into my head and kept playing over and over:
“Take your clothes off.”
“You heard me.”
Evelyn forced her mouth shut.
“So? What are you waiting for?”
Her eyes met those of the man on the moth eaten chaise longue in front of her. He was serious.
Within days, these evolved into a full plot and Desire in Deadwood was born!
I wrote it in a week (two hours an evening after work) and submitted it to Total E Bound exclusively. I’d read so many positive things about them and had contact with them before and they were extremely professional and considerate. The lovely editor (a lady I often refer to as ‘my’ editor – isn’t it funny how we become so possessive of the people who show faith in us) came back to me within a week with an offer to contract. And that, as they say, was that!
Check out the link here!
My first submission of a medical romance, when I look at it now, makes me cringe. I got it all wrong. But I’ve learnt a lot and I’m still learning. Every submission and rejection taught me something new – from point of view changes, to conflict, to track changes. I’ve come a long way but I know that I still have a long way to go.
However, I’ve just finished my second novel, also set in the Wild West, and once I’ve edited it and had it critiqued, I’ll submit it. I can’t wait! It’s longer than Desire in Deadwood and slightly darker but still passionate and erotic. I’ll let you know how I get on.
So, never surrender your dreams. If you really want this – and you have to really want it or you won’t make it happen – then keep trying. You need to read lots, write lots and find some good critique partners, as well as a lovely editor who believes in your work. Don’t waste time procrastinating. If you find that you are, then maybe this isn’t for you. The journey isn’t easy and at times it can be painful, especially when you get rejected, but there’s usually a reason for it. So have a good cry, dust yourself off then get back to it, because that story you’re plotting now, the one that’s shadowing you through the day job and waking you up at night, might just be the one that nets you a contract.
Good luck! Let me know how you get on!