In 2006, I embarked on my career as an author by contracting a book with a small press. The journey had been long and against all odds, this was the first full length novel I’d written. Most authors write at least six books before being published and it is rarely the first book.
This book was actually written in three months during a period of my life when I was unemployed for the first time EVER not of my own choice. I needed something to pass the long hours and my computer and I had a long-time love affair. The manuscript was horrible. It broke every rule new authors should avoid. Only after joining online writing groups and learning what head-hopping and POV was did I begin to realize (gasp!) I did it all wrong.
So I embarked on a journey to learn all I could about my new craft without spending a lot of money (which I didn’t have). I googled and searched the web, read every article and blog I could find and signed up for online classes at an affordable price. The more I learned the more confused I became. I joined some online critique groups where everyone had a different idea about what was wrong or what was right!
One must be brave to be a writer. I’d heard about how one must have thick skin to take the rejections and roll with the punches. Who ever knew writing would be a contact sport?
I learned finally to trust myself, take the advice I felt was good, toss the rest, and get back to having fun. For me writing is fun. It’s something I love to do. Using the best of the skills I learned, I rewrote that first novel. It took much longer than the three months I’d taken to mess it up, but the story plot was good and I had good characters. I wrote a book about something close to my heart, but I had to write scenes I wasn’t completely comfortable with in order to “meet guidelines” for romance.
But that’s another story, to be told in a later blog.
I signed with a small press who published ebooks and print. Ebooks? Gasp! At that time, the writing world treated the word ebook as a foul five letter word! Who would read ebooks? This was a fad which would be gone in no time and the writer who chose this path would be doomed!
I didn’t buy into that philosophy. Remember my long love affair with the computer? I loved (and still love) technology. At that time, I even read books by Stephen King and others on a small Palm Pilot (yes, young people there once was something called Palm Pilot). Ebook readers weren’t very sophisticated, but guess what? Amazon decided to buy into the ebook technology and things began to explode. Everyone wanted to have a Kindle!
Oh, the doom and gloom stories that swept the nation after that. And those stories still continue. Eventually, I began to self-publish (gasp!) my own books. My writing friends in my local chapter thought I had “copped” out by not pursuing a big six publisher. But, once again, I believed this was the wave of the future and I wasn’t wrong. Now most of those who kind of snubbed their noses at me, are doing their own self-publishing after being “stung” by some publishers.
The future is always full of change. I say embrace the changes and don’t be afraid to take hold of your dream and make it a reality. It takes hard work, courage, and a very thick skin. Well, I never did develop that thick skin, but I nurse the wounds in private. I never say “I told you so,” because I never told anyone to follow the same path I chose. Everyone is different. Isn’t that what makes this world such a wonderful place? If we were all the same, what a boring monotone world this would be.
My advice is to be courageous and unafraid to follow your heart and your dreams. And while you’re at it say a prayer. If the path you’re on is one God has chosen, you’ll never be sorry. And never burn bridges. Remember, love is an action word.