Paths to Publication
virtual book tour for Many Genres, One Craft and Armchair BEA 2011, this week kicks off my MGOC author interview series for the next month and a half! This week we'll hear from David Morrell, Jason Jack Miller, Tess Gerritsen, Susan Mallery, and Randall Silvis.
And, now, Susan Mallery:
You never know which book is going to be “the one.” I started writing romance in college, while studying accounting. One December, during my second to last semester, I was very close to beginning my big push for finals. I was in my last writing session for nearly two weeks. I had the whole day to write and I was so excited to spend all that time with my characters.
About ten that morning I got a call from the agent I had at the time, telling me I had a rejection. Being a brave little soldier, I handled the call professionally and went back to my computer. Just before lunch, I went to check the mail and there was a different rejection. Two in one day, on different projects.
I really lost it. I started crying and knew I could never do it. I would never sell. I didn’t have whatever was required and I should just give up. I thought about not going back to write in the afternoon, but something told me if I gave up at that moment, I would never go back to it again. That I would forget about writing and my dream to be published would be over. Frankly, I wondered if that was so bad. Who was I to think I could be published?
But the dream was more powerful than my disappointment, so after lunch I returned to my computer where I wrote the first kiss in that story. I was crying the whole time, knowing I was an idiot for believing, but I wrote it anyway.
That first kiss still exists, word for word, in my first published book. Because that’s the one I sold. If I’d stopped that day, I would never have known how close I was. I wouldn’t have achieved my dream.
So don’t give up. You can’t know when it will happen or where. Yes, it’s hard. In NY publishing, approximately one in a 1000 submissions are bought. One in 1000. But I did it. Other people did it. It’s not that we’re so much more talented—it’s that we didn’t give up. Neither should you.
Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction, a writing guide edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller and based on the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction graduate program.