Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Publishing ROAD TRIP!

Seekerville's motto is all about writing as a journey, because it is a journey and often we forget about what fun a Road Trip really is when you prepare.

In order to reach your goal you must have a map. You know what they say. Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail. It's true. Come on. When was the last time you got in a car without checking the oil, the tires, gassing up and buying a map.

 (Oh, my, this reminds me of the Ruthy, Tina road trip last summer and the Mary, Tina, Ruthy, and occasionally Vince, road trip last fall. After several intense therapy sessions I can now get into automobiles without crying. )


You are here but where do you want to be? What's your goal for this month, this year? Where do you want to be in five years? (Kansas is not an appropriate answer.)

Keep all your mementos from the trip. 

Every rejection should be lovingly saved in a folder, because it proves you had the guts to submit. It proves You Are A Writer.  I have a thick folder of rejections to my credit. I'm proud of them. Because they prove I never gave up. (It could prove other things but I like to be eternally optimistic.) 

What about you?

Every single contest certificate, be it Honorable Mention or First Place should be hanging in your writing space to as a souvenir of this part of the trip. As an Unpublished author,  I've got 66 contest placements to my credit. I also have 92 that I didn't place in. So you bet I cherish those I won or finaled in.  

What about you?

You should be tracking every submission to an editor, and/ or agent, every contest entry on some sort of spread sheet. Track the response as well. Voo-doo dolls don't count nor should they be included in in your spread sheet, though I applaud your creativity. Tracking not only keep things organized but it's your graph of your publishing road trip.

How To Deal With Road Closures:

Road closures come in many forms.

Your editor leaves the line.
The lines closes.
You're rejected by the agent of your dreams.
 You don't sell the book you've been polishing for three years to the publisher you wrote it for.

The publisher finds out you are coming to town and moves to another location, and so on and so on.

 Always have a detour plan.  Seekers have made first sales thanks to our very own Plan B. 

What's your plan B?

 Remember, you are camping outside the Promised Land. You can just sit there in your little VW Camper forever staring at the fence with a silly expression of longing on your face, or you can rev the engine and go in and take the land!

Sometimes you have to be brave and veer off your map to try new and scary routes. Go outside the lines and try a road you've never done before. No guts, no glory!

Final Lessons for the Road

1. Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug. (It doesn't get any simpler than that, dude.)

2. Don't drive in circles. Ask directions. (Be brave, ask someone to read your pages, enter a contest or stalk a Seeker -preferably Mary or Ruthy.)

3.  Always be prepared. (Have a query, a partial, a full ready for that impromptu opportunity or contest. I keep chocolate in my bag for bribes and am not ashamed to say I have used it at editor appointments at conferences.)

4.  Road kill will haunt you, slow down and don't run anyone over. (Make friends and play nice, everyone is a potential book reviewer.)

5. Don't keep driving from Point A to Point B and wondering why the scenery is always the same.  (Stop revising the same manuscript over and over. Start something new. Do this over and over again until you have a stack of them.)

6. When the road ahead looks dark and scary and impossible, KEEP DRIVING. You'll only get to your destination if you keep driving.

7. It's always good to have a copilot. (besides God). Someone to hold the map and remind you to turn right, or to slow down in Kansas. A copilot is an accountability buddy.

8. Everyone's map is different. Don't try to find success on someone else's map. I wrote down all the possible ways to reach goals on the publishing journey and and came up with over twenty...and yet there are still more roads that I don't even know about.

9. The road to publication is long, full of bumps, pot holes, traffic tickets and it never ends. The good news is, the further you get on the journey the more you learn to enjoy bugs in your teeth and you make a lot of friends on the road.

10. Savor the journey. Keep a journal or a scrapbook and enjoy every single step of the way.

Okay, get your sunglasses, your beverage and snack of choice. Get in the car and let's get this trip going. (I'm easy going but please, seat-belts at all times, no back seat drivers, absolutely no feet out the window and please keep your wrappers in a trash receptacle!)

Tell me about your road trip, your map or your detours and we've got some nice road trip prizes.

1. Kindle version of Rivet Your Readers with Deep POV by Jill Marie Nelson to one winner.

2. First five page critique (one winner).

3. Surprise book package to one winner.

4. A map of Kansas to one lucky winner.

5.  First ten pages critique (one winner).

Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

This post comes to you from Seeker Tina Radcliffe who spends most of her time juggling her day job at a large national mail order pharmacy, writing inspirational romance for Love Inspired and trying to fit into her crime fighting outfit. She lives in a cave in the foothills of Colorado.


  1. I DO have a record of my submissions, rejections, etc.

    Twice I've had completes with editors when their lines were closed.

    My rejection letters are in the folders of the particular manuscripts they apply to.

    Oh, and I know where Kansas is. My daughter taught there for the first two years after she graduated from college.

    The coffee pot's set to brew.


  2. Ah, Tina. I have The Beatles Long and Winding Road playing in my head just about now. Thanks for the earworm.

  3. See, you're halfway there if you've got all that. Especially the Kansas part. I'd like my coffee to go, please.

  4. Another good road song.

    But I am partial to Mary Chapin Carpenter.

    (I had to fix it!)

    Well it's a strange old game you learn it slow
    One step forward and it's back you go
    You're standing on the throttle
    You're standing on the brake
    In the groove 'til you make a mistake

    Sometimes you're the windshield
    Sometimes you're the bug
    Sometimes it all comes together baby
    Sometimes you're just a fool who writes.
    Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger
    Sometimes you're the ball
    Sometimes it all comes together
    Sometimes you're gonna lose it all

    You gotta know happy - you gotta know glad
    Because you're gonna know lonely
    And you're gonna know sad
    When you're rippin' and you're ridin'
    And you're coming on strong
    You start slippin' and slidin'
    And it all goes wrong because

    Sometimes you're the windshield
    Sometimes you're the bug
    Sometimes it all comes together baby
    Sometimes you're just a fool who writes.

    Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger
    Sometimes you're the ball
    Sometimes it all comes together
    Sometimes you're gonna lose it all

    One day you got the glory and then you got none
    One day you're a diamond and then you're a stone

    Everything can change in the blink of an eye
    So let the good times roll before we say goodbye because

    Sometimes you're the windshield
    Sometimes you're the bug
    Sometimes it all comes together baby
    Sometimes you're just a fool who writes.

    Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger
    Sometimes you're the ball
    Sometimes it all comes together
    Sometimes you're gonna lose it all

    Sometimes you're the windshield
    Sometimes you're the bug
    Sometimes it all comes together baby
    Sometimes you're just a fool who writes.

    Sometimes you're the windshield
    Sometimes you're the bug
    Sometimes it all comes together baby
    Sometimes you're just a fool who writes.

    May 23, 2012 12:15 AM

  5. Wow Tina, you sure make the journey worthwhile.
    If someone would have told me what my "trip" would have been like....well...I would most certainly have taken it...but, I do need that coffee. Just cream please.

  6. Please, I want Kansas to be where I am in 5 years, because there is no way we'll have this fixer-upper done that quickly, so if I'm not in Kansas we've probably sold it at a loss.

    Whatcha got against Kansas?

    And I'm ALL ABOUT Prize #4--could have used that last weekend. (You don't happen to have one for Missouri or Oklahoma you could throw in there? We occasionally cross over when we dare to go shopping.

    Welllllll, as to my road trip. A few months ago, I decided to go for broke and enter every contest, and so far I've been 3 for 3 so that means I need to stop sitting on my hoard of manuscripts. I guess that was my version of storming the Promised Land.

    I'm querying #2 um, last week? I'm a little behind.

    And my biggest plans? To work. If I should work more. Because I can.

  7. WOOT@!!!! Melissa. You are our poster child today!

    I love Kansas, and your little dog.

  8. Doobie Brothers Keep Rockin' Down the Highway comes to mind. "Gotta keep movin' or I'll lose my mind." You can stay stuck with worry or fear or get moving.

    Plan B is so much better than staying at the side of the road with that flat tire forever.

    I know where Kansas is because Man O's company headquarters is there so I am in, gulp, for one of the critiques.

    I can't believe I am not asking for books...well, that's progress.

    Peace, Julie

  9. Oooh, we've got songs and contest finals and critiques goin' on here today!

    Um, well, I had an ms with a ublisher for 10 months and finally got the 'no thanks'. That stunk.

    And just last week an ms I wrote just for a certain line was given the pass-er-oo. *ouch* I was told it wasn't exactly a rejection, since they liked it. But... still not a sale.

    I really liked the 'no polishing the same book over and over'. I amde that mistake for four years, can you believe it? Then I heardd somebody here (Ruthy?) had, like, 17 books when she got the call. Then I realized I had to write MORE THAN ONE. Der.

  10. As for lyrics, I prefer Mary Chapin Carpenter's 'The Moon and St. Christopher'. All about finding your way, or wandering, and disappointments that mae us who we are.

    We should have video now...

  11. HAHA! I won't bother to delete my comments with the massive typos. It'll be a fun brain-teaser for anybody who tries to figure out what I was trying to say.

    In my defense, I'm typing blind since the light is off and I never learned to touch type. :O

  12. I'm excited to think I'm just beginning my road trip. I'm going to put my first item on my spreadsheet - I've entered my first comp! Although I'm still waiting for them to confirm they've received it ... it's been 12 days ... how much should I bug them?

  13. I havet to admit I haven't even been 'in the car' for two months...but I'm not a quitter and I can't wait to get on the road again. Thanks for a reminder of all the things I love to do.

    And I so agree about the snack food wrappers. Please clean the car floor off at eery rest stop!

    My accountability partners are poking and prodding me to try something new. They are right. I love them.

    Hey, thanks again for the Kindle, ladies. That is a gift that keeps giving! I did buy Jill's POV book. Great reminders!

  14. Helen W!!! Way to go.

    Bug them. Life is short.

  15. Lots of new road songs to check out.

    Thank you and thank you!!

  16. Morning!

    I like Mary Chapain Carpenter, too.

    One of my goals for 2012 was to enter more contests and make more contacts.
    So, I've entered two contests and contacted two agents.
    I've also signed up to go to ACFW this fall.
    Unlike Helen, I don't have a physical record of my rejections.
    Since you both encourage that, I'll start one.
    Thanks for sharing this today.
    I hope you all have a great day!
    Jackie Layton

  17. Right now I'm cruising on the road trip with the radio blasting.

    I've queried...been rejected...queried again...rejected and queried again...waiting to here back from those. I have the spreadsheet up and running with the "date of rejection" column now taking the lead. :O)

    I started a new manuscript, and arranged for vacation time in July to go and research the area where this story takes place.

    And I launched my author website.

    This has been a crazy few months, but with each step I'm getting closer to the goal even if I have to pull off onto the shoulder and regroup at times.

  18. Way to go Jackie. A simple Excel Spread Sheet.

    Make Columns and number each submission.

    Next column, dated submitted.

    Next, Title of work.

    Next, Who Subbed To.

    Next, Response.

    Next, Date of Response.

    It also helps you to track normal response times.

    And it is proof to the IRS you are a real writer, not a hobbyist.

  19. Kirsten. DATE OF RESPONSE, NOT REJECTION!! Hehehe.

    Way to go, road tripper!!!!

    That is so exciting.

  20. And Kirsten..give us the url so we can visit your website!!!

  21. Good Morning, Tina,

    Very good advice. I keep track of my submissions on an Excel spreadsheet too. I have for years.

    I also do a ratio of acceptences to rejections. My ratio is 7, so for every 7 submissions, I've had one acceptence. Everyone keep in mind, I write short stories too.

  22. The url is:

    I'd be happy to welcome the Seekers and friends 'round the campfire! I'll make sure Cookie has the coffee hot! ;o)


  23. Good morning! I love road trips, especially when taken with my husband and ornery Boston terrier Bazinga along for the ride!

    Hmm, where am I at on my writing road trip? Well, I definitely have a plan and goals (finish editing, pitch novel this fall to agents and publishers) so I have road map all ready, marked with the highways and byways I'm going to take, and even the rest stops highlighted (because you ALWAYS need to know when a point of rest is coming!). I'm working on another MS for my Plan B.

    I suppose I should start a spreadsheet of my send outs, but I've only had two, so I feel woefully behind in this area. Gotta speed on the road to catch up!

  24. Yeah, I track my contests, mscs, short stories, essays..EVERYTHING on my spread sheet. But the ratio of acceptances to rejections.

    Whoa..what a concept. This sounds like a job for super graph girl. Pam Hillman.

    Wow, I have over 300 submissions on mine. Will take some time to do that ratio. But I am going to do it.

  25. Okay, everyone detour to Kirsten's new website. Careful not to drive on the grass.

  26. Way to go Stephanie. Two today..two hundred by next year!!

  27. I have my contests finals hanging on a wall in my guest bedroom. If I start to doubt my writing, I go look them over. But no first place places. (Is that grammatically corrrect?)

    I do hate it when the contest don't send a certificate. I then make my own w/the info on it. Sad, I know.

    And I know this has nothing to do w/writing, but if we're going on a road trip, I'll be playing Elivra by the Oak Ridge boys, rolling down all the windows, and putting my barefeet on the dashboard. (I'll let someone else drive.) Diet Dr Peppers and twinkies for everyone.


  28. Tina and all,

    Speaking of starting a journey...

    Are there some contests that it is better to enter as a newbie? I have seen lots of contests that have been labeled as "hard" etc and haven't a clue where to start.

    I traveled a lot in the US before I ventured oversees. Bali was probably the equivalent of The Golden Heart.

    Peace, Julie

  29. Wonderful post, Tina! Fun, witty and right on! I keep humming Willie Nelson's On the Road Again. The life he loves is making music with his friends. Our roadtrip is close. We love writing books with our friends. This is not a journey to take alone! Congrats to everyone working entering, submitting! We're moving down that road.

    Where's my map?


  30. LOL!!! Connie, yes, love making your own certificate. Oak Ridge Boys and Willie Nelson!!! WOOT!!

  31. As a newbie Contest Diva, enter those which require five pages or less or if 25 pages then, no synopsis.

    Contest Update Coming at you next Friday!!

  32. You live in a cave, Tina? I love caves! I always meant to go on one of those spelunking tours where you spend the night in a cave and hike to places they don't let the normal people go, but alas, that kind of adventurous spirit has gone out of me. I'd rather just write about it, like Mary did.

    So, what do you do when your accountability partners give up and drift away? Sigh.

    I can remember when I thought, if I can only get published, then I won't have to worry about rejections anymore. Then everything will fall into place and I will be in control of my destiny and can write whatever I want.

    Wellllll.... let's just say, today I feel more like the bug than the windshield. But I will keep driving. I will listen to Tina's brazen encouragement and not to the negative voices.

    And the Deep POV book sounds interesting. I need to read that.

  33. Mah-velous post, Tina! I was nodding one minute, laughing the next. Two items in the list spoke to me loudest: try changing course and travel with a buddy. When I got on the right path (by listening to Ruthy) and angled my project to the right editor (by listening to Ruthy), things finally fell into place for me.

    Wait--I think there's a message in there. Oh, yeah...always listen to Ruthy :)

  34. LOL, TINA, pretty darn good for a gal who lives in a cave!!

    LOVE this post, my friend, and HOLY COW, how I wish I'd saved ALL of my rejections!! Regrettably, I only saved a few at the beginning because they got SO redundant (most common line: No interest in this project at this time). But would you believe I have stacks and stacks of contest entries/with judges' comments??? What the heck???

    This is definitely a workshop in a box, my friend. Print it off, Danno!!

    Sorry, I haven't had my full cup of coffee yet this morning, so I'm a little ditzy. (No, comments, Ruthy!!).



  35. Tina, you have such an encouraging voice! I love roadtrips, and traveling with the family. My kids are great travelers. Unfortunately the only song coming to mind that hasn't been mentioned yet has munchkins singing, "Follow the Yellow Brick Road." Which could be a whole nuther post. :)

    I love the idea of logging the trip and the roads I've taken so far. I've entered a few contests but not finaled yet. My immediate goal this month is to write "The End" on my first story by the end of next week. I've begun it four times because the first two I had no clue about characters and plot. :) My intermediate plan is to rewrite and polish so I have a manuscript ready to pitch at my first ACFW this fall. By the next NaNo, I plan to begin my second book.

    I haven't submitted anything yet, but I plan to hold onto rejections. I like the idea of framing and hanging contest finals. :)

    Your prizes sound fabulous, especially #1 (this was a recurring coment in my Genesis entry--need to master deep POV).

    I'm whirring through here today because it's going to be a busy one. Hoping to stop back later.

  36. WOW, Tina! Do I ever remember "Plan B!" It's Plan B and the support of my Seeker Sisters that finally landed me a book contract. And "Dr. Phil" Radcliffe's "IS IT WORKING?" that moved me forward again and out of the narrow rut I'd let myself get into.

    I have all my contest certificates in a binder in clear, top-loading sheets. Then a few of the EXTRA special ones (like Best First Book Winner in the Bookseller's Best Award, finaling in the ACFW "Carol Award" and winning first place in the ACFW Genesis) hang on my wall next to my book covers!

    I've also received some cool pins for winning contests that I need to frame as well--can't enjoy them stuffed away in a box!

    And for those of you who aren't published yet, be SURE to make a "Good Things" notebook where you capture ONLY the good things that judges said about your entries. Re-read it OFTEN! Sometimes that was the only thing that kept me going.

  37. I'm rocking out to Huey Lewis and the News - Hip to Be Square. :)

    Thanks for the reminder. On this writing journey, we've never really arrived at our destination. There's always another road, another mountain range ahead.

    Oh, and Kansas is always the right answer to "Where do you want to be in five years?"

  38. When your accountability partners drift away put a sign on your cave that says, Butt Kicker needed. Apply within.

  39. Follow the Yellow Brick Road...follow, follow, follow, follow the Yellow Brick Road.

    We're off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

    Okay, stuck in my head for sure now.

  40. Hanging my head in shame, Tina! I never kept track of anything. Of course I know I should. I never submitted enough to lose track!

    As for contests--I entered my fair share. But I didn't pay attention to when the finalists would be announced. I'd either realize the results when I got a call or when I read the names on one of the loops. It was a surprise--sometimes a good one, sometimes not. There were two exceptions. I always knew the date the Golden Heart and the Genesis would be announced.

    I applaud all you have organization in your life!

    Pay attention to Tina!!! She knows best.

  41. I should definitely reread what I write before I press send.

    I once thought that if I ever got published, the long journey would end. Wrong! And I never considered I might like to veer off in another direction at some point.

    It's a really interesting road we're all on! Sometimes we get stuck or break down (not literally, I hope), but sometimes we speed like a race car.

  42. What fun, Teenster!! I thought you'd written it, but I knew for sure when I read the word "dude." LOL

    What great advice! I wish you'd given it to me years ago. But hey, I can use it now as well.

    Here's to being the windshield from here on out! (yeah, right)


  43. Tina, I've sung that Mary Chapin Carpenter song at the top of my lungs in the car about a gazillion times! LOL

  44. Melissa, good for you!!! So glad you jumped in. Now keep going on the journey!

  45. Virginia, That's awesome that they said they liked your writing. Send them something else QUICK.

  46. Kirsten, that's okay as long as you also have a "Date of Acceptance" column too! Or maybe you should just change the column title to: Date of Response.


  47. Tina, You know I LOVE a roadtrip.

    I'm thinking of revisiting Plan B. Glad you linked it.

    The Plot Whisperer got me started at Desert Dreams and Glynna pushed me forward at her presentation.

    Hmmmm. Must be getting ready for another trip. YIPPEE

  48. Janet, I love that Willie Nelson song.

    DH and I sing it all the time. smile

  49. Glynna, what a great idea! All my contest certificates are in a folder in a drawer. I need to put some up and protect the others. To pull out and look at when I need encouragement.

  50. See, Missy agrees with me, Kirsten. Great minds!!

  51. Love it, Tina :).

    BTW - Jessica Keller [Koschnitzky] who swings by from time to time has a super cool announcement on her blog today.

    Most of my rejections are the 'if you don't hear from us' variety. I have a couple actual email rejections. I should print them off...

    I also have a couple certificates I need to hang up. Hoping for a few more in the next couple weeks...

    In the meantime, I'm writing something else and polishing other stuff.

    In the meantime, I think I'm gonna go stalk Ruthy. Or Mary. Or Ruthy. Or Mary.

    Or maybe Julie. She's closer... ;)

  52. Every now and then you need a good road trip to remind you that the only thing that stands between you and your destination is your mind.

    Keep driving.

  53. From Jessica's blog...

    "My manuscript was bought by Love Inspired—the Christian imprint of Harlequin. Home for Good will release in February 2013 and will hopefully mark the beginning of a long publishing career."


  54. Stalking is good. BRING YOUR COOKIES!!

  55. Wow, that road looks awfully familiar, Tina!

    And, yes, I kept everything. Finally, a few years ago, I did throw away all the hard copies of contest entries, but saved the scoresheets. I have all my certificates, plaques, and whatnot stored in boxes.

    I have an entire wall in my breakfast room turned office that I can display them on. But that takes time, and holes in the walls. Am I the only person who cringes at putting holes in sheetrock?

  56. Jackie! Can't wait to see you in Dallas! Whoo-hoo! This is going to be so much fun!

  57. Pam - we've lived in this house for nearly six years and we have 3 things on the walls with nails. /sigh/ DH refuses...

    Tina - I did take cookies to my appointments last year ;). Even gave them to the editor who told me 'no'. She may not have wanted the MS, but she'll remember the cookies ;).

    Or so goes my theory...

  58. I put all my query letters and rejections in one folder. It's blue, as opposed to the other manila (is manila the color or the style? Oh well, they're all TAN) folders.

    But then the last few years has been electronic submissions. Makes it nice to query and get responses, but there's just something special about those rejections on the REAL publishing house letterhead. Know what I'm sayin'?

  59. Tina, why on earth would people slow down in Kansas???

    Okay, maybe in eastern Kansas where I live. All those big rolling hills and trees--yes, for real. It's gorgeous, but wow, get a bit west of that and it begs you to drive fast through all that flatness and treelessness.

    I know those aren't words.

    My road once I got real . . . Two agents offered representation on my second book. One big name, one less of a big name. I went with the big name which I still think was the right move.

    Spent two years in submitting, going over feedback, revising, submitting, requests for fulls, going over feedback, revising, getting really great rejections. "Like her style. Does she have anything else?"

    I did not. But that's another comment.

    So back to new book, but then a move to Kansas!!!, a baby (whoops!), editing from home to make ends meet, and here I am four years later with a new book under way and no agent.

    But I'm okay with all of it. I look back and think what on earth were those two agents thinking when they offered to rep me? The book wasn't all that, and I sure wasn't ready.

    I feel like I've grown in just about every way possible since then (yes, that too), and the book I'm working on now, what you could call the book of my heart, is just flowing. It's been begging me to write it since 2007, and I'm finally listening.

    Still editing from home, now homeschooling kids, but finally I have the time to write again. I'm getting encouraging feedback (mostly!), and I'm so excited to write. I feel like I've been stuck in the rest stop bathroom for four years and now we're back on the road. It feels great!

  60. Definitely this writing venture is a trip! I have the file with rejections and a bigger file with the pile of manuscripts just looking for a home.
    Great post to spur us on - which as Christians we are told to do. So, thanks.

  61. Okay, I knew I couldn't miss today's blog when I saw the title over the weekend schedule. I had a dream a few months ago that I was driving and then I turned onto a street called "Publishing Road." Now I know what publishing road is :)...I have my big, fat binder full of rejections proudly displayed on my bookshelf. I also have lots of tasty bugs in my teeth. And, of course, I have my Seekerville compass, so I'm well on my way.

    Thanks for the wonderful post!

  62. Erica, I'm with you on Kansas! I love my small little Kansas town, but, oh, how I miss Chicago!

    With the horrible traffic, taxes, politics, cost of living, and did I mention traffic?, I've decided God must have made me love that city cause it sure doesn't make sense.

    So far that's where my fiction is set. Maybe that's why God made me love that crazy place.

  63. Don't put me in the drawing for the Deep POV book, Tina. I just went and bought it! Only 2.99 for my Kindle. Yay! I had to buy it after Jill Elizabeth Nelson was a judge in a contest I entered a few years ago and showed me how to apply Deep POV to my manuscript. I thought that was so generous of her! It really helped me a lot and made my writing stronger. But I'm still trying to fully understand all the nuances of Deep POV.

  64. Oh - I do already have the Deep POV book so don't enter me for that :).

  65. Thank you for the wonderful post, Tina! I get lost easily so this helps. lol

  66. Ugh. Typed up a long comment, and lost it. Grrr!

    Trying to remember what I said...

    Stephanie, don't wait until you have 10-15 things out there before you start your spreadsheet. I didn't log the first few contests I entered, and now I wish I had.

    This reminded me that I was able to enter Stealing Jake in a couple of PUBLISHED contests this year and I didn't add those entries to my spreadsheet. It seems easier to me to just keep adding to the existing spreadsheet and just add a column that it's a Published contest.

  67. Timely post! It's hard to keep your chin up sometimes, but it's good to remember #1) this needs to be FUN, and #2) perseverance does pay off.

    I'm at the point where I'm getting the "nice" passes from editors, so I take that as a good thing! They seem to like my writing but my genre isn't selling well for new authors. Patience!

    Thank you for the awesome giveaways--I'd like to put in for the book bundle if I could.

  68. Tina,

    Thanks for the tip and the upcoming post.

    I have also already downloaded the POV book.

    I need to start a "Seekerville Recommends" section on my kindle!

    "Every now and then you need a good road trip to remind you that the only thing that stands between you and your destination is your mind. Keep driving. "

    Writing it on a post-it and sticking it to my monitor! And must pin. Tina, you really need to add a Pin It button to all this good advice. Like you don't have anything else to do.

    Peace, Julie

  69. I am avoiding the whole PIN experience. I need one more social media experience in my life. NOT!@!

  70. I downloaded the DEEP POV Book myself. Worth it, folks.

  71. Roads to sell a book.

    1. With an agent.
    2. Without an agent.
    3. Referral to editor from friend.
    4. Contest request.
    5. Conference Request.
    6. Under bathroom stall submission.
    7. Cold query.
    8. Sell book then get agent.
    9. Self publish.

    Any more?

  72. I'm garnering my collection of postcards, roadmaps and asphalt burn now! Encouraging and fun post, Tina. :))

  73. Ah, Kansas. All those wonderful memories.

  74. You are on the high road, Sally@!!!


  75. Nothing could possibly be more true that SLOW DOWN IN KANSAS!!!

  76. a MAP OF KANSAS?????? SERIOUSLY??????


  77. I think that it would take a very,very special person to understand a map of Kansas.

    Mary! Love your new and improved picture. NICE!!! Loving the hair.

  78. As long as we're doing songs, my current favorite that fits perfectly for all my Seeker buddies and the great villagers that hang around with us:

    Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
    God gave me you for the days of doubt
    And for when I think I lost my way
    There are no words here left to say, it's true
    God gave me you
    Gave me you

  79. I had no idea you were into CW, Connealy. I mean it makes sense, but Ruthy and Audra, boot scootin sort of overshadowed the REAL COWGIRL.

  80. SALLY BRADLEY: They'd slow down in Kansas because they have speed traps and the cost of paying off a ticket is extortion.
    (not that I'd know anything about it!)

  81. It's Country Western but I heard it on KLOVE. So it's making Christian radio stations.
    Of course Blake's newest release is called: Drink On It

    Here's that chorus:
    Girl I think you and I should just drink on it
    Put our heads together and think on it
    Maybe later on we can sleep on it
    But for right now girl we just need to drink on it

    So Blake isn't exactly full time writing Christian songs!!!

  82. Oh, is Jessica announcing today?? I know her agent wanted her to wait.

    YAY, Jessica!!!!! I know you heard this from me before, but HOORAY!!!!

    All that hard work paid off! I can't wait to read it all in Feb 2013!!!!

  83. TINA, you forgot sell by request from Seekerville contest!!

  84. I heard of one writer who sped thru Kansas (no one you know) and ended up on the #1 Wanted List of Fast Writers in Kansas.

  85. Well I lumped all contests together. But you are right Virginia. SEEKERVILLE should get its own category of roads.

    A red carpet road.

  86. I already congratulated Jessica, but it deserved a second congratulations. YAY, Jessica!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So happy for you!!!

  87. I should be working. Er, driving. Down the road. Hoping for a windshield kind of day.

    Some days you're the windshield. Some days you're the bug.

    I submit that no truer statement could ever be spoken among writers.

  88. Love #6 there, Tina...

    IIRC, Blake said he heard the song on the radio and knew he had to do it as well. Is it the Blake version that's on KLOVE or the other [original?] one? It was right after he married Miranda, I think. Said he was in his truck and had to pull over, download it to his phone and played it over and over again.

  89. What's this? We're dissin' Kansas today?

    I've lived there twice - both times in NE Kansas (hi Sally!). I have to say that one of the most beautiful places in the world is in a triangle between I-35, I-70 and I-135: the Kansas Flint Hills. Especially on a clear night. (Now don't you wish you'll be the one to win the map?).

    One thing I've learned from Seekerville is that everyone's road to publication is different. Mine has been a break-neck-speed roller coaster...

    And now I have my first contest certificate! My book came in 2nd in the Historical category in the SARA Merritt contest! (Yes, I'm pumped!)

    And yesterday the next big milestone on the roadtrip showed up in my e-mail box - my first contract.

    I'm lovin' this trip so far, even through the downs :)

    Tina, are you sure the "Under the bathroom stall submission" is really a path toward publication?

  90. Carol, I don't know which version I heard.

    Also there was no Most Wanted Writer in Kansas appearance for me. I was caught red handed (or maybe lead footed, whatever)
    It was a total speed trap!!!!!!!

    This is too much pressure for me.
    Singer Interrogations? Wanted Posters?

    When did Seekerville turn into a cross examination, huh?

  91. Jan, you lived in NE Kansas? That's not that far from me. I'm NE Nebraska.
    Just one state away.

    Granted, it's a huge state.........

  92. And we're not dissing Kansas. Our love for Dorothy and the Scarecrow prevents that from ever happening.

    I personally am only dissing one brutally malignant, non-school, non-hospital, non-city, unmarked-that-I-noticed, part of some unknown stretch of an unknown highway (Ruthy was co-piloting, fyi) and a humorless cop who is most likely earning a commission on tickets...and who will NEVER be a character in one of my books.

    TAKE THAT!!!!!!!

  93. Mary, would you believe my husband's a cop? Part-time and small town, but still. :)

    As far as the price--yes, not cheap! Here the price goes up for EVERY MILE you're over the speed limit. He's a nice guy, if the people in the car are nice, and routinely writes them for five to ten less than they were going just because they're still going to pay out the nose.

    I'm used to Illinois 'burbs where the ticket goes up based on 10 or 15 minute increments. Rather, my husband, the cop, is used to . . .

  94. Mary, if I didn't know better, I'd think I've been stalking you for the last 25 years... Between living in KS twice and now South Dakota...

    Wait a minute - maybe YOU'VE been stalking ME!

  95. Speeding tickets? Kansas was the only place I've ever gotten a speeding ticket. On an empty stretch of road, no one and nothing in sight for miles, we went a little over the limit going down a hill, and suddenly there's a highway patrol flasher in the rear-view mirror.

    It WAS expensive.

    I cried.

  96. Well, life's like a road that you travel on
    There's one day here and the next day gone
    Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
    Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
    There's a world outside every darkened door
    Where Blues won't haunt you anymore
    For the brave are free and lovers soar
    Come ride with me to the distant shore
    We won't hesitate
    To break down the guarding gate
    There's not much time left today, yeay

    Life is a highway,
    I wanna to ride it
    All night long.
    If you're going my way,
    I wanna drive it
    All night long.

    My writing road trip has been fairly short up to now, but I've road-tripped all over the United States. Mission trips/vacations to around 42 states, and boy did I get tired of driving across Kansas. I think we have a couple of Kansas maps. Not including the stack of multiple years of atlases.

    We've had all sorts of road trip adventures/hazards. I drove back from Washington state on my learner's permit because mom had 2nd degree burns on her leg and the rest of the family had bronchitis/pneumonia. (Long story!)(Let's just say, I passed my driving test easily!)

    And then there was that midnight detour because of a train derailment/hazardous spill in Montana. Ninety miles of interstate traffic running on a tiny, torn-up, two-lane road and our automobile decides to overheat! At least there was water nearby. Dad climbed down a ravine to the I-kid-you-not raging river (we could hear it roaring)to fill a container with water. In the dark. We saw where he'd climbed down on the return trip in the daylight...Oh. My. Word.

    Gulp! I guess if I can survive those adventures, I can survive the writing road trip. :-)

    Oh. And you should definitely make Seekerville it's own category when it comes to the path to publication!

    Loved this post, Tina, and all the advice and comments everyone has added.

  97. Mary, I think you should write that humorless cop into a book. As the nasty bad guy with no heart! I'm just sayin'...

  98. Today my road map is taking me to the library. I haven't even showered yet, so I'll be sitting in the far recesses. There is a strategy here. If I'm stinkin' maybe no one brave bothering me. I hope that doesn't fall under Number 4 - The Road Kill Will Haunt You.

    Fun post, Tina. U crack me up! I have the POV book already. Grateful for any other consideration though. Toodles till later...

  99. I think I will go to my grave remembering this lovely adage "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug." Snort! Maybe that's why my glasses always seem to be smeared. :-)

    Lot's to think about -- especially since I'm here and I want to be there.

  100. So many songs, so little time.

    Seriously, we need a Seekerville retreat. Only pajamas and laptops allowed.

  101. Woohoo!!! Finally back in Seekerville after a 10-day vacation!!! So the "road trip" metaphor fits right in with my current state of mind. Nice job, Tina!

    Good checklist, too. Saved all my rejection letters. Uh-huh. I'd like to keep most of those in my rear-view mirror.

    Got all my certificates framed and hung on my office wall. Gotta be reminded every day that, yes, I AM a writer, and (usually) a pretty good one!

    Spreadsheets--got those, too! All kinds!

    My goal for this month? Recover enough from vacation so that next month I can make HUGE progress on my wip using all the great research material I collected during our trip!

  102. I love this post! My road has had pot holes for sure. The first writer's conference I went to was less than a year ago (June of last year) I had NO CLUE what I was doing. One sheet...what? I pitched to my frist agent ever, she looked at my first page and told me: "I don't see a future for you in publishing."

    Less than a year later, I have an agent and a sale to Love Inspired. I handed in my revisions on Monday!

    I think having a cheering section has been one of the most important part of my journey (talking about YOU Carol). Without those couple close writer friend, I probably would have given up at some point.

    Beyond that, contests have been key to me. Getting feedback from professionals - good, bad, and very bad feedback - have all compiled to strengthen my writing.

  103. P.S. I DO usually stop by everyday but don't usually comment because Blogger HATES me and 9 times out of 10 tells me it won't post my comment. Just saying...

  104. i do keep records, but I do not keep bad records, well for a short time they are tacked to my dart board. then they get shred and fall off. go figure.

    I remember keeping a map as a kid and listening to the Military Radio to follow Santa's Progress. I remember Keeping a map to follow the whereabouts of my husband and son when they served overseas.

    I guess it would be prudent to keep a map of writing as well.

    I do have some piles of rocks. No they are not like the Hebrew monuments. Mine were there for burying my stories. LOL

    I believe I will start pestering people for help...

    Anyone listening.

    I have laundry.

    My garden needs weeded.

    toilets need scrubbed.

    Oh wait wrong help list...


    cast my name into the pot for the critique and the prizes. I'm feeling lucky today.

  105. P.S.S. I'm IN for a Seekerville roadtrip! Just tell me where and when! ;)

  106. Way to go Jess, you child prodigy, you!!!!

    So we see here the value of a second opinion.

  107. I love road trips! Next month I'm traveling to meet two of my critique partners for the first time. So looking forward to that and THEN later this summer if all goes well I will be meeting JAN DREXLER! The people I've come to know along this road to publication have made the journey so sweet.

    I keep my rejection letters all together. The first one from 2004 is addressed to Dear Contributor and signed Sincerely, THE EDITORS. The body of the letter goes bla bla bla but my favorite line is 'Good luck placing this work elsewhere'. OK I GET THE MESSAGE lol

    Since then the letters have been much kinder. And I have my foot firmly planted in the door of a wonderful editor.

    Writing while I wait.

  108. Jamie!!!! You are one wise writer.

    How cool you get to meet your crit partners and then the amazing Jan!!!!

  109. Thanks for the opportunity! I mentioned it here

  110. Hi Sharon, Welcome to Seekerville.

  111. Hey Jamie! I'm looking forward to your trip!!!

    And a couple weeks ago I took a road trip and met our own Christina Rich!

    Meeting Seeker friends is so much fun:)

  112. It really is fun meeting Seekervillians in the FLESH. Meeting Vince and his wife and Andrea and Carol was a total kick!!!

  113. Stopping by for a quick detour.

    Seekerville has been a fabulous part of this journey. You're linked on my site and I let everyone know about the archives and the community here.

    It's DA BEST!

    Kinda like that little diner where everyone stops in... :)

    My trip has been simplified BIG TIME by sharing with you all and a few others.

    We're definitely driving on the road less traveled, since we formed our own micro-publishing company. Would love to grow it one day, but that's many miles ahead... For now, we're just working on making May 2 the best it can be!

    Thanks for all the encouragement and support, AND expertise so freely shared.

    AND - can I just SQUEEEE a moment?

    An author friend received an offer today!!!! SO EXCITED! We'll see what is decided, but... It's just thrilling. First sales always are!!!

  114. Congratulations on your sale to LI, Jessica Keller!! Wahoo!!

    Jan, great things to celebrate! Talk about a red letter day.

    Love the chorus of your song, Mary. That's Seekerville in a nutshell.

    Nutshells are full of nuts. That's not us!!! :-)


  115. Tina! I LOVE your sense of humor!! This post is great (and one I'm certain I'll re-read and re-read...). ~ My road trip has been kind of "hilly" lately--the excitement of zipping along down a nice slope, but then hitting a pothole and having to climb slowly UPhill again *sigh*. But I'm going to persevere, keep my seat belt fastened, and enjoy the ride! (and always keep coffee and peach cobbler nearby*grin*). Hugs, Patti Jo

  116. JESSICA!! "I don't see a future for you in publishing"????

    Oh, man, I'm laughing and dancing around. Take that, Oh, Rude One! OR should we say, 'Oh, Omniscient One'??

  117. Congratulations, Jessica! I think you have a very rosy future with your writing! Glad you kept at it and disregarded the naysayers.

    I'm getting off the computer because we're in the middle of a fierce thunder and lightning storm!!! Lots of lightning.

  118. I did not not have Jill Nelson's Deep POV. As of today, I DO!!!

    It arrived in the mail today.

    Thanks you, thank you, thank you, Tina.

  119. What a trip. So, what do you do if you have a flat tire??

    Get out and change it!!!

    Tina, your Plan B was a tremendous regroup when hitting my head against the wall just didn't tickle anymore.

    Yep, always be ready and have a bottomless bag of chocolate...anyone that's spent any amount of time in Seekerville knows that, LOL!!!

  120. Thanks for celebrating with me everyone. I'm still a bit on cloud nine. AND I just got off the phone with a friend whose at the Blue Ridge Conference right now and she's had some major things in the works while being there so I'm skipping to a happy tune today.

    lol, Virgina, I actually ended up writing that agent a thank you letter a few months ago. See, without her feedback I wouldn't be where I am today. That first WIP WAS bad (it's now sealed forever in a "never open this box" box). If she hadn't given me that harsh wake-up call, I wouldn't have pushed forward and changed. I took her words as a challenge and then found some published author friends to tear my stuff to bits so I could learn.

    Sigh. What a fun day on here. But know what we need? Cookies, lots of them. I'll bring some along next time.

  121. Jess, we'll celebrate with cake in the Weekend Ed. so be sure to stop back on Saturday to bow and courtesy to your new fans. SEEKERVILLE!!!!

    Email me at the Seekerville address with the release info so I can share on Saturday. (Title too if you have it).

  122. Funny you should ask :-)

    I attended my local chapter meeting Saturday, noted how many chaptermates are published or have requests, and decided I needed to look at the whole package, not just the story. So I've laid out a plan (route) to have a synopsis (short one and long one), a blurb, and a basic query letter ready to send at a moment's notice.

    I've also taken some courses in self-publishing and am in touch with some chaptermates who've done well with self-publishing.

    So I guess I have a route and an alternate :-)

    Now to read comments ...

    Nancy C
    P.S. Those rejections are also good to keep in case the IRS questions whether you're pursuing a writing career before you make money ;-)

  123. Kirsten -- I have your website bookmarked from someplace else ... do you belong to Hearts Through History?

    Connie -- I love the idea of printing up certificates when the contest doesn't provide one. Gonna do it.

    Glynna -- The "good things" notebook is a super idea. It's so easy to dismiss the good and dwell on the not-so-good. I even have an empty three-ring binder to start my good things notebook :-)

    Congrats to all who placed in contests and signed contracts. Such inspiration.

    Nancy C

  124. Congratulations Jessica! And everyone else that has had a milestone lately!

    I'm like Cara, she said she has not kept track because she's not submitted enough to lose track. BUT I plan to lose track in the very near future! That sounded like a positive thing in my head. : /

    Thanks for all of the pointers, Tina. I'm starting my response folder today. And I already have the book on deep POV.

  125. Sorry I'm late, but Tina, this is the best reminder of how to do/plan your work/work your plan I've seen in ages.

    And while it troubles me (nay, GRIEVES ME) to compliment you, I do so with humble heart.

    Because this ROCKS THE BIG KAHUNA....

    Oh my stars, in spite of the slurs about my driving.... And Mary's directions (unsaid, but inferred) and HOW FUN WAS NYC WITH MOI?????

    You're so right. Gotta hit the road runnin' and with your Nike's firmly tied.

    Gas tank full.

    Awesome, chickie.

    I need food. Anything left? That isn't crusty and moldy from Mary's fridge?

    Oh. Wait.


    I forgot.



  126. Great post Tina. I finally got a chance to sit down and spend a little time on the computer after a busy day of sitting at a car inspecition appointment for three hours followed by being bumper to bumper in traffic for two hours, that only should have taken 30 minutes. High point though, I was able to spend three hours working on developing my characters for my new novel which I started yesterday.

    I laughed when I saw a map of Kansas is one of the prizes, since that is where my new novel is set. :)

    As for steps on the journey. Still editing my other novel, but decided to start something new too. Have entered four or five contests so far, with no luck, although I did make it to the second round in one of the contests. Stepping out and pitching my new idea in late June, and applied for a writing course. Who knows what the future holds and what God has in store.

    By the way Tina, I didn't realize you live in a cave, or did I read that wrong? :)

    Jodie Wolfe

  127. Seriously? Your story is set in Kansas.

    Loving the serendipity!!

  128. Ruthy was late today? So am I! Sorry! Had to get revisions done and in the mail. They're heading to NYC in the back of a UPS truck as I write! :)

    What a fun post. Loved your lessons for the road. Especially don't drive in circles! Somedays it seems that way, doesn't it?

  129. And yes, I live in a cave.

    I am writing to you from there right now.

  130. JULIE -- you asked about contests for newbies. The ones I found consistently helpful because of constructive comments (and which either didn't include a synopsis or had an unscored synopsis):

    The Gotcha! sponsored by the Silicon Valley RWA.

    Romance Through the Ages sponsored by Hearts Through History RWA [disclaimer: I'm a member].

    I've also heard excellent things from other writers about the Touched by Love sponsored by the Faith, Hope & Love RWA chapter.

    When you're ready for the synopsis to be included in the score, I recommend the Catherine sponsored by the Toronto RWA chapter and Great Expectations sponsored by the North Texas RWA [disclaimer: I'm a member].

    I think all of these are open to non-RWA members, too.

    Cheering you on!

    Nancy C

  131. >>>Nancy wrote: When you're ready for the synopsis to be included in the score, I recommend the Catherine sponsored by the Toronto RWA chapter and Great Expectations sponsored by the North Texas RWA [disclaimer: I'm a member].<<

    Uh ... for clarification ... I'm a member of the North Texas RWA but not the Toronto RWA. I must work on clarity in my writing :-)

    Nancy C

  132. I am late! So late! But I am savoring the journey for sho' =)

  133. Playing kickball in the street again, Nancy K or were you riding your bike all day and just got home?? EHHH???

  134. Well, if Nancy is late - I'm even later! But, enjoying the ride and especially these Seekerville posts!

  135. You can never be late for a road trip.

  136. LOL. Neither Teenster (have I been around long enough to call you that?). The day job kicked my butt and then I had my third straight day of chilidogs for dinner and hit the writing. Got lots of editing done and more characterization on the new WIP. I'm going to keep writing books until someone wants to buy one. =)

  137. I'm at the point where the bumps in the road have started to feel more like excuses, so I try not to think or talk about them. I'd say I'm on a steady but slow forward path. Kind of like the car on the highway that is just above the 40mph min on the highway, while others are zipping by at 70mph. But every year brings a bit more forward motion than the last, so I try to harness that.

  138. Tina,

    Thanks for the Road Trip analogy. As you said, mine has been rather bumpy. Rejections from publishers and agents litter the side of the road. It's been discouraging at best. But you have encouraged me to map those rejections and drive on.

    I have entered several contests and am awaiting the results. No matter what the outcome, I will track those as well and move on.

    You've also encouraged me to start something new. Perhaps branch out. Take a drive through the country. See where the road takes me.

    Thanks again!
    Carol N.

  139. I'm partial to "Life is a Highway" myself. Most days it feels like a freeway, but then who's doesn't.

  140. Right now I have a headache from being the bug on the windshield, lol! But tomorrow I might be the wipers. Thanks for this humorous post. I am blessed because my agent will tell me I am not the bug nor the wipers but the driver and to get back in the seat and stop focusing on the bunch of insects I just drove through and get my eyes back on the road!

  141. I thoroughly enjoyed the ROAD TRIP analogy.

    It's amazing how easy it is to be detoured.