Bumps In the Road…My Journey to Getting Published by Gloria CrawI was thirty-three when I completed my first manuscript. Doing the final save on it was one of the proudest moments of my life, and I teared up when the man at Office Depot handed me a copy I had him print from my thumb drive. I was convinced the hardest part of getting published was behind me. Looking back, I want to hug that younger naïve me. The craziness was only beginning.
I took my manuscript, hot off the copier, to a writer friend who’d agreed to read it over. He was published, and I secretly hoped I’d get an introduction to his agent when he saw the brilliance of my work. I got a lengthy list of constructive criticism instead. I didn’t yell or throw anything, but my first reaction was definitely anger. Despair followed. That was the only time I seriously considered giving up. Fortunately, I came out of the doldrums more committed to getting published than ever.
From this, I can offer a bit of advice. If you ask a writer friend for their opinion secretly hoping to get an introduction to their agent, don’t bother. More importantly, if you ask for a writer friend’s opinion, be prepared to hear it. What I didn’t see in the moment was how brave my friend was for telling me the truth. It would have been far easier for him to smile and say the manuscript was great. Instead, he told me what I needed to hear.
On his advice, I signed up for some writer groups and checked out books on the craft of writing. With more educated eyes, I fixed pacing problems, character weaknesses, and plot holes until I felt my manuscript was ready to be seen in all its glory once again. Then I bought The Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published.
My hopes were high when I sent my first query out. They weren’t as high when I still writing them two months later. By then, I’d finished my second book. On a whim, I sent a few queries out for it as well. I got an immediate request for the full manuscript, followed by an offer of representation. Feeling like I’d made it, I told everyone they’d be able to buy my book at Barnes and Noble by Christmastime. Ugh…had I only known.
After our verbal contract, it was like my agent disappeared into a black hole. The few emails she returned were full of promises and excuses. The unspoken truth was that she was overworked, and she’d pushed my project to the backburner. Seven days before our business arrangement would have timed out, she sent my manuscript to a few editors. Shortly thereafter, she left the agent side of the business to work contracts. In total, I lost sixteen months of my life waiting for her to do her job and found myself needing to query for an agent all over again.
From experience I can say, sometimes having a bad agent is worse than having no agent at all. In my rush, I’d locked myself into a contract with someone who was overcommitted and who (I learned) had few contacts in YA niche to network with. A bit of research on my end may have saved me a lot of trouble and heartache.
After allowing myself to wallow in self-pity for a couple of weeks, I put together a list of agencies I thought would fit my work. I was ready to send out queries when Liz at Entangled contacted me. She’d received a copy of my manuscript from my now-missing agent and was interesting in acquiring.
My road to publication had so many bumps, I wondered at times, if the fates were having a laugh at my expense. I’m still a newbie, but the best advice I can give anyone who wants to get published is be willing to learn from criticism, be willing to take the sting of rejection, and be willing to get up and keep trying when circumstances knock you down. Best of luck!
ABOUT THE BOOK
After all they'd cost me, I thought I was done with the Truss clan. I was wrong. Nikki Dawning, my mortal enemy, has beenkidnapped, and I've been asked to spy on the Truss to find her. The pull between Ian and I has never been stronger, but he can't help me this time. I have to rely on Theron, a bad-tempered cousin I didn't know I had. To make matters worse, the people I trust have been keeping secrets.
I'm starting to feel like a weapon in a war I don't understand. How far am I willing to go to protect the descendants of Atlantis and the common good when I'm not sure what the common good is anymore?
Only one thing is certain. If I'm the next Laurel clan chief, I can't let myself be manipulated…by anyone.
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