When I first decided to get serious about writing a book, I started attending the local chapter meetings of RWA. These meetings were loaded with people who had a lot experience in this business and there seemed to be dozens of stories of people who’d written for years before selling their first manuscript. Over a hundred rejection letters, twenty manuscripts written without a sale, ten years of writing before the first offer, someone wallpapering their bathroom with rejection letters—the stories went on and on.
There was so much doom and gloom on the road to publication that I started to wonder what the heck I was thinking. I remember coming home from my third chapter meeting, telling my husband some of the stories and then saying
“I am so not taking that road.”
I couldn’t imagine spending that much time to get published. Simply put, I didn’t have the patience. Writing a novel takes time away from my family and other things I’d rather be doing. I didn’t decide to write a book as a hobby or with a hope that I’d someday get published. It was the start of a new career for me and I tackled it like a new job.
I found a plotting structure that made sense to me and studied it until it became instinctual. I set a writing goal of a thousand words a day and did it. Whenever I hit a block, I talked it out with someone or found a book to help me around it. I made friends who became critique partners, brainstormers and a support network.
One year later, I found a callout from a digital-first publisher, I took a chance, wrote a novella in fifteen days and sent it in. I had nothing to lose except my first rejection. I had one finished novel by then and that is the only book no one will ever read. Six weeks later, I received an offer for that novella outside of the callout with interest in more books in the series.
Boom. I had sold. I jumped around my kitchen for a full five minutes after that. And then I pointed to my husband and said,
“I told you I was taking a different road.”
Two years after I first decided to write a novel, I had sold five books—three finished, two on contract based on nothing but faith. That was the true turning point when my dream did in fact become my career. And that’s the road I’m still on.