As I have written about before, my road to becoming a published author was a long and winding one. I had written two complete romance novels prior to 2013, and over the years, I had sent them out to agents trying to find representation. I’d get a little interest, then get rejected a few times, then put it all aside for a while.
Eventually, our son Sam would give me grief about giving up, he’d tell me that I needed to keep trying. He always could visualize that one day it would happen. He’d tell me that one day I’d get an agent or a publishing contract, and we’d all go out to dinner to celebrate and order whatever we wanted.
After Sam’s death, I stopped writing completely for a long time. I was in too dark of a place to try to write a happily-ever-after story. But he believed so strongly, that eventually I felt compelled to try again. This time, December 2016, I got serious. I pulled out my first completed novel, The Phone Call, and ripped it apart, then hired a professional editor to go at it. Then I did the same with That One Small Omission. I decided that if this was something I truly wanted, I needed to take it seriously, and not just keep sort-of doing it.
Around the same time, I started sending The Phone Call out via query letters to agents. Then I read this great article about reputable publishing houses that don’t require an agent, and so I submitted it to two of them.
Months went by. A couple agents requested sample chapters, one requested the full manuscript, but then came the rejections. This round, instead of being discouraged, I was so energized by my work with the editors, that I was going full-speed on More Than I Can Say. Even the day when one of the publishing houses rejected me didn’t diminish my drive.
Then, at exactly 5:45 on June 12th, 2017, I sat down in my chair with my cup of coffee, like I do every morning, and opened my email. There was a new message from Solstice Publishing, and I almost didn’t open it because I really didn’t want to get rejected first thing in the day.
With a sigh, I opened it, telling myself to be brave. Reading it later wasn’t going to be any easier than reading it then. It was going to sit there and mock me until I read it, I knew it. So I opened it and it was a short, sweet, positive note offering me a publishing contract! My poor husband came down the stairs at just that moment, and I was standing there, making noises, unable to form a coherent statement, then I started jumping up and down like an idiot, finally yelling, “A contract! They want to publish it!” Then I burst into tears. After hugging him, crying, dancing around, I ran upstairs and woke our youngest son, still crying, and the poor kid probably was terrified, but then he hugged and hugged me.
Later that day, I went to the cemetery, and read the email aloud to Sam, knowing how much he was a part of the entire process. His belief in me, his belief that it would happen, was a great part of what kept me (and keeps me) going.
Yes, in the year that has passed, I have published The Phone Call, That One Small Omission and More Than I Can Say, all through Solstice Publishing. Now, I have signed a publishing contract on my memoir Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude.
What a year it has been — happy anniversary to me!