Maybe it’s just me, but I love knowing the story behind a story – both what inspired a book, and the journey the author took to having it published. Just like the books themselves, every author’s journey is different. Some are long, some short. Some detailed and full of rejection and incredible perseverance, some seemingly ‘overnight successes’. Most, like mine, fall somewhere in between.
So, for those who’ve asked or are interested, here is my journey to publication*. The highs, the lows, the many (many) months of waiting and wondering if my dream of being published was ever going to come true. The day I held a dream come true in my hands 🙂
- Wrote first full-length historical novel
- Sent first proposal for historical novel to literary agent – no response
- Started writing second novel (sequel to first, also plotted out the rest of the four-book historical series)
- Subscribed to a whole bunch of Literary Agency’s and Publisher’s newsletters/blogs
- Sent out five more queries/proposals for historical to agents – three declined, two no response
- Finished second novel
- Entered historical novel in Omega Writers CALEB Award – finalist
- Wrote Teen Missions-based YA novel
- Sent three more queries/proposals for historical to agents – one full manuscript request, one request for longer synopsis, one no response
- Full manuscript sent, agency asked for more details, sent, followed up, no response
- Sent three more queries/proposals for historical to agents – two no response, one full manuscript request
- Full manuscript sent, progressed to next level of review, found out my ‘full-length’ historical was short 15k words, added 15k words, sent again
- Wrote third book in historical series
- Wrote YA princess novel (Heart of a Royal) for fun
- Agency liked my writing but didn’t have a place for it in the current market so regretfully declined representation
- Joined American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)
- Entered both historical and Heart of a Royal into ACFW First Impressions Contest, encouraging feedback from judges
- Started writing Heart of a Princess, second book in YA series
- Sent proposal to an agent for historical novel, no response
- Sent out nine queries/proposals to agents for Heart of a Royal – three declined, six no response
- Entered historical novel in ACFW Genesis Competition, progressed to semi-finals. Decided after much prayer, and advice from published authors, to put historical novel away for a time and focus on YA genre instead.
- Entered Heart of a Royal in Omega Writers CALEB Award, progressed to finals.
- Entered Heart of a Royal in ACFW Virginia’s Crown Award, won the YA category!
- Sent Heart of a Royal proposal to WhiteFire Publishing (even though I didn’t have an agent)
- Sent out six queries/proposals for Heart of a Royal to agents, no response
- Entered Heart of a Royal in ACFW Genesis competition, some encouraging feedback
- Finished writing Heart of a Princess
- Feb – full manuscript request from WhiteFire for Heart of a Royal, submitted
- April – WhiteFire loved the book but requested some big picture edits
- July – resubmitted with requested edits
- Dec – contract offered from WhiteFire Publishing
- Started writing the third YA novel (Heart of the Crown)
- Offered contract from WhiteFire Publishing for books two and three in YA series
- 15 October 2019 – HEART OF A ROYAL, my debut novel, IS PUBLISHED!!!!!! (Woohoooo!!!)
So, there you have it. My story.
What do you think? Did any of it surprise you?
*A couple of things to note:
- Something that would be impossible to put into this list is the amount of experience – both in writing and publishing – I gained in the decade between writing my first book and holding my debut published novel, through connecting with other authors, subscribing to agency and publishers’ blogs/newsletters, the practise of sending out proposals, reading craft books, etc. Also how incredible and supportive the community of Christian authors is.
- I knew from the start that I wanted to take the traditional publication route with an American publisher rather than self-publish, which factored a lot into the path this journey took. I also knew it was going to be next to impossible to be noticed since I was an unknown first time author from the other side of the world (and therefore doing all my querying/meeting with publishing professionals via email rather than in person), BUT that God knew everyone in US publishing and could easily make my proposal stand out to the right person. I clung like crazy to that knowledge.