I Triple Dog Dare You…
To get published.
Will you take the dare? It’s hard, there are probably others watching and as with all dares, there’s risk involved. Disillusionment, loss of time and money, feelings of failure.
As with all great risks though, there can be great reward.
When Tina and the other Seekers so sweetly asked me to post on Seekerville, I was floored. Thank you ladies! I’m so honored to be here. I think I’ve been playing on the warm beaches of Seekerville’s Unpubbed island for three years now. Recently I jumped on a raft and headed toward Seeker Town. I hear there’s good food and one particularly tasty pirate…
Back to risk… after thinking about my experiences, I realized there are D words involved with getting published. And none of them involve cussing, so put the rejection down and bite your tongue.
Below are D words that jumped out at me when I thought about my own personal journey as a writer.
Define who you are as a writer. If you want to be published, you need to know what kind of stories you write. I’m not sure this necessarily means knowing your genre. To me, it’s more of a Who Am I As a Writer thing. Do you write dark stories? Light? Encouraging? Passionate? Deep? What are the themes you find yourself returning to again and again? No matter the genre, the definition of what you write will come through. And in a way, I feel like who are you begins to color your voice. So the more definite you become, the more your voice will shine through. (disclaimer: just my working theory right now and subject to change)
The first book I ever wrote deliberately, with the goal of publication, is the one coming out in April. I had written stories and scenes before that, but one day while on the phone with my newspaper editor (I freelanced) we were discussing journalism and open positions at the paper. He frankly told me that I was a good writer (yay!) and that I should write a book. A lightbulb flickered on in my head. Literally. I had never, ever thought about writing a book for publication. After that call, I picked up books around my house and looked at their publishers’ websites. One of the most helpful websites was Harlequin’s. I devoured the information they posted. One day I saw they were planning to open a historical line. I thought to myself, I like historicals. I could write one of those. And so I started the story of a girl sent west on a train to escape the beginnings of the Spanish influenza hitting her home state. I aimed the book toward Love Inspired Historical. And now, five years later, this book will be published by them.
Do you know which publisher sells what you write? Do you know your audience? Are you being deliberate with your research, with your career, with your words?
When I first started writing toward publication, I had an insatiable hunger to learn more. I absolutely loved call stories. I was encouraged me when I read that the average amount of time it takes to get published was 5-8 years. Or something like that.
You see, I was determined this was a career I could love. Storytelling scratched this itch I’d had inside me since I was a little girl. I feasted on others’ success with thankfulness because I knew if they could do it, I could too.
With help, of course. A lot goes into writing a book and then hoping someone will buy it. Love on the Range, releasing in April 2012 from Love Inspired Historical, was finished in 2007. Or what a new writer considers finished. I submitted a horrible synopsis for it in 2007 and was promptly rejected. The editor stated that she didn’t think my writing was strong enough for Love Inspired.
I blew on the owie a bit, pulled out the Neosporin and then decided to send my baby off to Harlequin’s critique service. While it was there, I started a new book. When the HQ critique came back, it wasn’t horrible. I set it to the side and concentrated on my next books.
Contemporaries and not quite as deliberately written as Love on the Range. But I would still play with the story every now and then. One day I reread the Harlequin critique and a line jumped out at me: You have written a beautiful and intriguing novel.
Chocolate to my writer’s soul.
With fresh eyes, I set about revising the story, polishing what I could. I’d had rejections on my second book so I decided I’d query the historical while writing my new WIP. I resubmitted the story to LIH. Many editor-requested edits later, with a better heroine and tighter storyline, I have a book coming out.
You have to be determined. Shake those rejections off. Keep writing. If you’ve revised or rewritten a manuscript, do NOT be afraid to resubmit it. No one else will write your stories for you. No one else will submit them for you.
If one story is rejected everywhere, that’s okay. Write another one. God loves you and gives you desires and gifts. Don’t be afraid to use them and don’t think a rejection is God telling you that your writing is wrong or stupid or not what you should be doing. I believe the feeling inside you, that you must write this story, that someone must read it, is probably God-given. Does it give you joy to write? Peace? Maybe you should determine within yourself to write what you feel God wants you to write, no matter what anyone else says. And then let Him take it from there. But that’s a whole ‘nother post.
Do you have the Triple Ds working in your life? How many rejections do you have? How many are you okay with getting before you quit trying to be published? I would love to hear about your journey today. If there was a word you’d choose for your attitude and/or experience, what is it?
While you think of it, I’ll go ahead and pull out the donuts. The majority are chocolate, if you don’t mind.
Jessica Nelson, in keeping with her romantic inclinations, married two days after she graduated high school. She believes romance happens every day, and thinks the greatest, most intense romance comes from a God who woos people to himself with passionate tenderness. When Jessica is not chasing her three beautiful, wild little boys around the living room, she can be found staring into space as she plots her next story. Or she might be daydreaming about a raspberry mocha from Starbucks. Or thinking about what kind of chocolate she should have for dinner that night. She could be thinking of any number of things, really. One thing is for certain, she is blessed with a wonderful family and a lovely life.
Love on the Range is an April 2012 release from Love Inspired Historical. Check out the trailer here.
Today Seekerville is toasting Jessica's Double Dog Dare with a double giveaway: A copy of Tina Radcliffe's Oklahoma Reunion and to another winner we offer their Seeker author book of choice if still available on Amazon.com. Print or ebook.
Or if you've read everything we'll happily send you a box of chocolate donuts instead. Just leave a comment. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.