If you missed last week’s installment, you can find it at this link.
In May 2010, I joined a writing critique site. This was probably the best thing I’ve ever done to improve my writing skills. Other writers can be so merciless when reviewing your work. I’m thankful for the few on the site that wrote an honest review. I started writing short stories. This was great for improving my skills and developing my style. Everything needed for a well-written full-length manuscript is condensed in short story. Plot, characterization, pacing, point of view, grammar and punctuation, voice, style. All these elements combine into a polished piece. I applied these new skills to my longer works.
Deceptions of the Heart was completed in May 2010, and I began pitching it to agents. Twenty rejection e-mails later, I was about to give up. It’s hard to find an agent with similar tastes and interests who will “get excited” about a premise, despite the fact several agents said the concept had merit or was intriguing. I truly believe acquiring an agent is nothing short of a modern miracle.
By this point, I’d already decided I wasn’t going to self-publish. Being one small fish all alone in a big tank didn’t appeal to me. But I didn’t abandon the idea of publication. I’d just become painfully aware that I wasn’t going to get there through the agent funnel. Then, I found Still Moments Publishing. My relationship with Still Moments has been very satisfying. I like their publication philosophy. The other authors in the group are supportive of each other. This is a good fit for me. I’ve contracted four short stories and Deceptions of the Heart with them.
Lesson #5. Don’t give up. Keep looking until you find the right fit. Maybe your manuscript will find a home with an agent. Maybe not. Maybe you’ll find a home with a publisher and develop a working relationship. But whatever you do, don’t stop writing and don’t stop growing as a writer.
Just because you’ve signed that first contract doesn’t mean the job is done. Writing, editing, marketing. It’s a package deal. It’s work, but I love it!