My Seven-Year Overnight Success

NovelHappy Anniversary to me! It was this time last year that Wendy Lawton called and offered to be my agent. I said, “yes,” of course. And now I’m eagerly awaiting the release of my first novel next August. Which, in the publishing world, means my book found a publisher really fast. An overnight success–right?

Except that my “overnight” lasted about seven years. I decided to write a book around 2006 or so. And I wrote and I piddled and I fiddled and I wrote a little bit more. After about three years I had a manuscript and man, I was ready to go to print. I mean, how hard could that be? I’d done the hard part.

So I read some blogs and did the bare minimum of research. I even let my close friends read the manuscript and edited it a little. And eventually, I decided I was READY.

And so I went to a conference (2010) and I made appointments with editors, because I figured if I could get an editor, then an agent would be easy. Skip to the front of the line! And I ran up against some very nice people who were encouraging. Yup, they encouraged me to learn more about writing and the publishing process.

So I did. And at the second conference (2011), I met with agents, because that’s a better place to begin. And they were pretty encouraging. But no one wanted the full manuscript. Although they said to keep it up, I had promise. So I started writing a second book.

And I went to another conference (2012) and met with whoever wanted to talk to me. Editors, agents, other authors–feedback, please! And I continued to get encouragement, but still no requests for more than the proposal. Sigh.

I finished the second book and polished it up and got some great feedback through other writers as well as paid critiques and contests. I sent a query to Wendy Lawton at Books & Such. And she asked for a proposal. And then she asked for the full manuscript. Really? I mean you really want to read the WHOLE thing?!?

And then, seven or so years after I thought to myself, I’d like to write a book, I got an agent. That was November 20, 2012.

Then things DID happen quickly (for this industry!) with a contract and a cover and a publication date of August 5, 2014. Let’s see, a mere NINE YEARS after I started writing seriously.

So often we look at other people’s lives and their “overnight” successes and feel a little envious. I wanted to give you a peek behind the scenes at my journey. It didn’t happen overnight. And as for success? Well, that all depends on how you measure it.

Published by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Author, wife, child of God.

6 thoughts on “My Seven-Year Overnight Success

  1. Thanks for sharing a behind-the-scenes of your “overnight” success, Sarah! And congrats on getting your agent this time last year! Looking forward to your book release!

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