Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Finding the Joy in the Race toward Publication

K. Dawn Bird

Thank you, Seekers, for hosting me! Today's topic is...."Finding the Joy in the Race toward Publication." Those of you who write know that it's not all peaches and cream. Sometimes, it's more like torture!

The journey to publication is often not an easy race. Some days, it's like walking ten miles uphill both ways, dodging chug holes while sloshing through dingy mud puddles as a rainstorm swirls around you. Anyone out there get my drift?

Why do I continue on? I love a challenge and it's been that and so much more. I've learned a lot about God and about myself on this journey.

God is teaching me things that I couldn't learn anywhere else. The big P word...Patience. They say it's a virtue, for me it's a handicap because I have so little of it. It's such a waiting game. Authors send their work out to an agent or a publisher. They then receive a form response that they'll hear from them within 90 days if they're interested and they ask that the author not submit elsewhere while they consider their submission. Patience. It's a virtue. I missed out, but I'm learning. I thought I was ready for publication two years ago. Not so.

I had no idea that the real work begins when the book is released. The marketing is endless and takes time away from new work. God knows when you're ready and He knows the future. He knows when you'll have time for all the promotion and interviews. His timing is perfect. Ever felt like quitting? Everyone has at some point and I'm no exception. I did quit about a year ago. I decided I was throwing in the towel, taking down the old shingle. I learned an important lesson. I can't not write. I tried. It lasted about six weeks and I was the most miserable person on the planet. Even if I never get another contract, I'll write just for the sheer joy of putting words on a page. It's more than a hobby, it's a passion.

The greatest joy in the journey has been that I've made so many wonderful friends along the way. The relationships are priceless. It's nice to talk to someone who understands point of view, writer's block, and plotting. It's wonderful to have someone pick me up, dust me off and put me back in the race when I feel like I can't take another step. You know who you are, my friends, and I thank you! My advice to myself and everyone else on this crazy journey. Continue to learn the craft. Study the market. Build an internet presence. Set goals. Write something every day...never surrender!

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing.
Dawn is giving away two books to two lucky commentors.
You'll get your choice of her books Killing Time and Queen of Hearts.Find Dawn online at:

Desert Breeze Publishing
Dawn's Blog

Killing Time Trailer
To find the trailer for Queen of Hearts click HERE


Helen Gray said...

Yeah, girl. Tell it like it is!

Coffee's on!


Oh, rats! My word verificatio is dismul.

KC Frantzen said...

"Noooooooooooooo," she wailed. "NOT the P-word!!!"

Patience you say? Yeegads.

I preach about God's timing constantly but need reminders like yours.

Thx so much.

Would love to win one of your books. Super trailer too - that might have to be my choice!

may at maythek9spy dot com

Oooh Helen - some of these words huh? Glad the coffee's on - I'm going to need it today. Must turn in rewritten first chapter for contest ASAP.

Also, I set out some quick-to-eat FOOD, though woefully plain. Assorted cereals and milk.

oh my - we have a wild pattern going today. My word is bralin. Are we talking visual-impairment tool or underwear?

Dianna Shuford said...

Encouragement was exactly what I needed today, K, so thanks for that.

I'm totally with on writing no matter what. Several years ago I decided that I had to write whether I made it to publication or not because that drive inside to write the perfect story is relentless. (And the characters won't leave me alone until I get them out of my head either.)

Still not published, but plugging away. Definitely waiting on God's time for that one.

Your stories sound fabulous. Would love to read them.

KC- I agree that Patience is one of the hardest virtues to practice. Especially in our American culture.

I'll throw in hot chocolate, chocolate iced donuts, and chocolate muffins for the bar. (Since it's cyber calories it won't mess up my attempt to once again lose weight.) Can you tell I'm in a chocolate kind of mood?

Debra E. Marvin said...

I groaned when I saw the word RACE in your title. Okay, I'll gladly be the tortoise.

Thanks for one more warning that it gets tougher after publication, Ms K D.

Helen, this coffee is smelling faintly of age. I'll start a new batch. Reg and unleaded. YES, I know it's unwriterly but I have to drink decaf.

I'll be back with pecan sticky buns.

April W Gardner said...

Boy did you hit the nail on the head. I'm at the pre-release marketing stage, and it's overwhelming. But I have found that if I do what I can do all that God allows me to do TODAY, tomorrow doesn't seem so scary. If I can handle today, I can handle tomorrow--with God's help the whole way!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Dawn! It's not a business for whiners, is it? It's a wonder I made it! LOL! I guess I'm more stubborn than I am impatient!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Dawn, Thanks for joining us at Seekerville.

Love the trailers. I'm sooooo impressed with all you techy types. Actually jealous. But we had a post on that recently didn't we??? LOL

But patience. Wow. I learned a long time ago not to pray for patience. Because then you're bombarded with tests to develop it. LOL

And this business is one of the best to develop patiences.

Helen, Debra, the coffee and fresh pot are yum. And Dianna all that chocolate. We are going to be very happy here in Seekerville. smiling

patti said...

So nice to meet you! Your post echoes that Bible passage about race and perseverance and all those nasty, sweaty things we like to forget!

But they're true.





Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Good morning and welcome back to Seekerville K Dawn.

Welcome to REALITY 101

connie said...

Dawn, enjoyed the post.

I sometimes wonder if I'm crazy. I barely have time to write as it is, I don't know how I'll handle it if I ever do become published.

Finding joy? I love thinking of plots and even conflicts for my characters. For hours I can dream of my story and they feel so real. But when it comes time to sit at computer and put it on the screen, I hate it. Am I normal?


Please enter me into the contest.
bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com

Audra Harders said...

Good morning, Dawn! Ha! I think you pretty much summed up the writing life.

Patience -- how I thoroughly detest the word, but you're right, it's a virtue we must embrace...

or not, LOL!

Thanks for the pep talk, Dawn. There are days we all need to hear it.

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, K, welcome back to Seekerville -- it's always great to have you here ... uh, unless you're talking about patience, then I'm afraid Helen's word applies -- dismul!!

All joking aside, your blog hit dead-on, my friend, because your topic today is actually the #1 thing I struggle with as an author -- finding the joy in the ratrace of publication. Getting published was a dream I had since I wrote my first ms. at the age of 12 after reading Gone With the Wind, but nothing ever prepared me for the drama and angst that goes along with it once the "dream" is accomplished.

I often joke that being an author would be the perfect life IF one could have a lobotomy of sorts -- removing that human part of us that seeks approval and success, you know, the preoccupation with contest wins, sales numbers and rankings on Amazon? NOT to mention the arduous task of promotion, which is my very least favorite part of being an author. I must admit that in my short tenure as a published writer, there have been as many tears as there have been smiles, maybe because I am an overly emotional type, I suppose. But then, aren't all writers emotional when it comes to their babies??

I had to smile at your statement that you "quit" a year ago because I can SO relate! Recently, a situation arose in my career that was so painful, my husband just looked me in the eye and said:

"Julie, let's just write the publisher a check right now (i.e. pay back the advance) and be done with it. This is not what we thought it would be."

He was right. It's NOT what you think it's going to be when you sign your name to that dotted line, but the saving grace, AS ALWAYS, is Jesus Christ IS what you think He will be and far more, using this all-consuming career to narrow your focus to where it should be all along -- on Him. Which means that for me, being an author has been the most painful and most exhilarating spiritual journey I have ever been on.

Your advice is excellent, K -- I would only add one thing that has been my lifeline through it all: a heart of gratitude for where God has you on the journey. Because at the end of the day when deadlines are met, royalty checks come in and contest wins are announced, the only thing that really matters is Him ... and the sweet awareness that within His will is our highest pleasure.


Pepper Basham said...

Hidee K,
So glad to see you here AGAIN. No greater place for encouragement than Seekerville.

Both P words make my stomach hurt. Patience AND Published. And yet, I'm still writing. Is there a P word that means crazy?

SOOOO happy for you and all God has planned for you, and your writing.

GREAT words of wisdom too. sobering..and truly (as Tina said) a reality check.
God knows when I'll be ready to cash that check.

Thanks so much for the reminder.

K. Dawn Byrd said...

Your comment really touched my heart. I struggle with keeping my focus on God through it all. I work a full-time job and work a lot of on-call with my job on weekends. When you add in the marketing, finding time to write, etc, it's easy to say, "I'll read Scripture later today." I've found that if I don't MAKE time for God, later never comes. The crazy busy life of a writer can consume me if I'm not careful. Thanks for the gentle reminder. Now, where's my Bible?

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Dawn! Thanks for the excellent post on surviving the race toward publication! You're right on--God works in His perfect timing, not ours. :-) Something we may only see in hindsight. Nor does the need for patience end with publication.

Your fabulous book trailer had my heart pumping in rhythm with the music. Great job!


Cara Lynn James said...

I haven't an abundance of patience either! It's hard to wait for a contract, but it's really worth waiting for. And I agree about God's perfect timing. My timing is a lot quicker, but looking back, I can see I sold when I was ready and not before.

Project Journal said...

Patience, now that's something you definitely need when you're travelling for a week with 5 other members of your family, overseas, including 6 suitcases, 6 carry-ons, and a wheelchair!! Lol....I know ALLLLLL about it!

Hi everyone! I'm back, yay! I've missed being a part of the comments and it looks like I've missed some GREAT posts *snap* Drats! That always happens....

No, Mary, I didn't get TAKEN (though it's a fabulous movie) and you're right, they wouldn't have DARED to, KC! Lol....

Oh it feels so good to be back, though I'm depressed about it all the same. Now, we have to get back to reality.

: /


However, at least I'm back for a great post! As Debra put it, I'll call you Ms. K.D. Bravo! I can understand why this would be a very uplifting and encouraging post for thsoe waiting to get published. Nice job!

Gotta go do some more laundry : S

Tina Pinson said...

Thanks for the K. Dawn, I can relate to so much if it.

That ten mile uphill both ways is one brutal journey

hope you get to walk the cool flatlands or the shady trail by the mountain stream for a time

Tina Pinson said...

I meant thanks for the post or for that. Fingers no won't to work today and granddaughter was pestering me about cartoons

I don't I ever pestered people that way.

Mary Connealy said...

Here's a bit of wisdom that I believe I have burdened you all with before.

I think there are two basic aspects of being a writer.

1) The mindset to sit alone and make up stuff for hours upon end.

2) The skills and craft of writing.

I don't think you can LEARN 1. You either are born with it or you're not.

And if you have it you can be a published author and if you don't, well, I've known a few published authors who DON'T have it. They aren't happy, almost like they got themselves trapped into something and it's a heavy burden.

But can learn that.

So if you're a 1, then 2 will come with hard work.

You're welcome.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Dawn,

Your books look intriguing! You sure hit the nail on the head when you talk about patience. I think I'm fine with my own journey - it's the family that keep asking "Aren't you published yet? What's taking so long?" Like we're going to be instantly rich or something if I sell a book. LOL.

Julie, so sorry to hear that you've been having some rough times. (Just give us the names and your fans will take care of the bullies for you! Promise!)
Try not to let them get you down. We LOVE your work.

Welcome back Hannah! Sounds like quite a trip! Brave, brave souls.

Thanks for those sticky buns, Debra. Yummy.

Have a great day everyone!

LOL. My word verification is prefrumu. Prefer rum? Did Captain Jack make this up?

bookworm said...

Sometimes the best way to take a step forward is to take a step back. Good for you!

bookworm1414 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Thanks, K. Dawn, for this honest interview. I'm trying to keep the focus on what's really important as I seek publication and not to lose hope. But joy is another matter. And thanks to Julie for sharing her experiences after publication. You all have encouraged me today and that's why I love Seekerville. Thanks, Mary, for the post.

Regina Merrick said...

Great to see you here, Dawn! Patience? Urgh. Thanks for sharing!

Angela Bell said...

Thanks for the encouraging post! :)


karenk said...

looking forward to reading k.dawn's novels...

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

barbjan10 said...

Very enlightening interview with K.Dawn. I have a yen to write, but can't seem to get started. What's the word for that? LOL I really feel I'm being nudged by God to write about my experiments with life, which has been unusual and unique in the bitter and the sweet. My biggest question is "Where do I start?" Short stories, full novel of chapters, fictionalized? Where do I go and from whom do I learn how to do all these things? Thanks for letting me have my say and the chance to win in the giveaway.

Grace & Peace in Christ,
Barb Shelton

Pepper Basham said...

Don't tell Ruthy I said it, but you're a genius. really.
I feel so much better now.

does making up stories for hours also include talking to those imaginary people - or is that another skill altogether?

Project Journal said...

Thanks Susan! Brave, hmmmmm...that might actually be a good way of putting it

: D

But aside from that, it was an amazing trip! I would encourage everyone to get to London at some point, you won't regret it!

Mary Connealy said...

Pepper, if you have conversations inside your head at least TELL people you're a writer.

It'll keep them from getting a NET.

LoRee said...

Very well said. Christians have a whole different aspect when it comes to joy, any journey we're on, and the outcome. Because once our Lord has us, He never lets go. I've tried to quit writing. Then what's in my head has to be jotted down at the oddest times -- in the shower, the middle of the night, driving. And the seat has to sit in the chair. It's all been worth it, I've just had a book released. Can't wait to read your stories.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love the chocolate, and STRUGGLED HUGELY with the patience, but it was a God-given lesson.

I'm still a jerk, but I'm a much more patient jerk.

And I'm so over-the-top loving the chocolate, Dianna!!! Oh my stars, you rock, it has been one heck of a day.

Love this Ms. Byrd. Thank you again for comin' on back to Seekerville and hangin' with us.

Ya' gotta tell it like it is around here.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Okay, I've read 'em all and I'm going to tick you all off because I love, love, love, love, love what I'm doing.

I have dreamt all my life of this.




And waited some more.

Waited a very long time.

I am on top of the world, ready to work my fingers to the bone because this IS the dream. This is what I put on hold while I changed diapers and powdered bottoms and sewed little clothes and dance costumes and mended soccer shirts, and coached teams and worked three jobs while raising six kids.

I am living the dream.

And loving it.

Now maybe it's me, my personality, or my chemical make-up.

Or maybe it's the blessing of having to work my fingers to the bone for 30 years that makes this EASY in comparison.

But the thought that one life, one heart, one soul, one smile is helped by my work....

Well that's about the best Christmas/birthday/anniversary gift I could ever get at this stage of the game when I've got plenty of socks, flowers and cute hanging things for the porch.

At this time of my life when gifts of the spirit become tantamount, just having someone give me the chance to get my work out there....


So while the marketing end, and the strategy end and the salesmanship end might seem daunting, it all comes down to: Write the best book you can.

Eventually they'll market themselves.

Hang on. Hold tight. Work. Write.

Remember those other P's: Perseverance. Persistence.

Grabbing the gold ring is just the beginning of the most delightful ride I've ever been on.

And I mean that with utmost faith and sincerity.

Pepper Basham said...

Or that ever-loving straight-jacket, right? :-)
Of course, if you like hugs, that's not so much a problem.

I'm not published, but I SURE DO LOVE this side of publication. All these wonderful characters - both in my head and in cyberworld. Wow.
And the journeys!
About five years ago, when my fourth child was only a few months old and I was working a new job, I tried put writing aside.
Really. I tried.
I tried NOT to think about stories as I drove to work, or changed stinky diapers, or swept the floor.
I tried NOT to imagine a magical world hidden under the back deck, or elves living in the dandilions.
And I tried not to study strangers to determine if they were a hero, heroine, or villian.
I tried.
I lost.
And I'm not sorry at all :-)

we'll see how I feel on the other side of publication- someday. But for now, it's loads of fun. And having time to actually DO it, is just icing on the cake :-)

And poor K.Dawn has had to put up with me a lot more than any of you guys. Pray for her. She needs it.

Stacey said...

I love it! A true encouragement to those of us just starting down the road of publishing. I hope one day, I will be in your shoes. :)

Cindy W. said...

You speak with such passion. I'm sure you write with equal passion.

I understand 'patience', just wish I could maintain it.

Thank you for the great post today!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Patty said...

Boy, did this blog hit the spot today!

Because right now, I'm doing the waiting game, hoping and praying that this is THE time but ultimately, leaving it in God's hands. Because if there's one thing I've learned in all my years on earth, it's that God's timing is better than mine.

So I'm hard at work, pushing forward on a new story because no matter what, I have to write. That's all I can do at this point.

K. Dawn Byrd said...

Thanks for having me on Seekerville. I had a wonderful time. God bless all of you during your journey!

Lori said...

I just wanted to say, "AMEN!" Thanks for this post. It really helped me. Especially since I just got a rejection yesterday from an agent I thought I really had a connection with. I too wanted to quit. But I know God has plans for me. Patience, patience, patience....