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.

6 thoughts on “My Seven-Year Overnight Success

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