One would think that teaching creative writing and drama for fifteen years prepared me as an author, but the truth is, honing my craft was merely the tip of the iceberg. I learned very quickly that creative prowess doesn’t prepare you for the world of publication. Writing is the easy part. When you finally scribble the wonderful words “The End” on your masterpiece and accept a publishing contract, a sense of elation washes over you, the likes of which I can only compare to holding my newborn for the first time. The feeling was pure ecstasy . . . followed shortly there after by wave of complete consternation. Now what?
I had thought that once I signed on the dotted line, I could sit back and begin writing book number two, while my publisher turned my fabulous manuscript into a best seller. That’s the idea, right? Not even close. Little did I know that “The End” was really just the beginning. Reality is often a far cry from dreams and getting published was no different. Especially if you’re navigating uncharted waters alone. But luckily, you don’t have to . . .
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade being an author for anything in the world. I’m living my dreams. For me, writing has never been an option. I’m compelled to write. It’s a part of me as much as my smile or my heart. I can trace the compulsion back as far as age three, even before I could print my name or read more than a few words. According to my mother, I loved dictating stories to her and insisted she read them back to me along with my favorite fairy tales at bedtime. My favorite author as a child was Madeleine L’Engle. Her Wrinkle In Time series thrilled me and ignited my passion for time travel. All through school my favorite subjects involved writing or drama. As a teen I kept my stories and poetry under lock and key in diaries. And as a young adult I wrote in journals and fell in love with romance.
But there’s a lot of difference between writing for yourself and releasing your craft to the world. If you’re lucky enough to find a publisher that is totally in love with your manuscript, they’ll put you in print. But how long will it be before they move on to the next budding author? The reality is, it’s usually up to you to get your book seen. So, did I birth a book or an author? The truth is both, and the arduous odyssey was truly a roller coaster ride. Sometimes the task was so overwhelming, I felt trapped by my computer while my friends and family were sure I had fallen off the planet into some mystical cyberspace universe.
I didn’t mean to ignore them. But, in a way, they were right. I had been sucked into an unfamiliar world that beckoned me with an alluring whisper––like a mermaid’s song that enchants all who hear her, distracting each soul, then enticing them to dive into the depths of the seas or run their ship aground. Okay, so I went a little overboard there, but the lure is as real as my imagery. I was charting unknown territory and it was exciting, demanding, amazing, exhausting, daunting, thrilling and sometimes downright scary. At times I felt as if my brain might explode if I took in one more sliver of knowledge. But you don’t have to be overwhelmed.
That’s where I come in. Whether you’re just starting to write the first words on paper, or writing “The End” . . . if you just signed that big contract, or have been spinning in circles trying to publicize your book . . . think of me as your big sister, the one who will grasp your hand and hold on tight as you cross the next street. Everything you didn’t know you needed to know is here. From writing skills to publicizing your book, you’ll find concise, easy to understand, to-the-point descriptions about what you’ll need to make your dream of becoming a successful published author a reality.
Hugs to you all,