Like many authors, my path to publication has been a long and rocky one. When I finished writing my first story, I immediately sent the manuscript to several publishers, certain I’d written a best seller. I was devastated when the rejection letters arrived. Some were form letters addressed to ‘Dear Author’, and others were terse statements stating the manuscript was not what they were looking for. One editor even scrawled the word ‘No’ in red pen across my query letter.
One particularly dark moment occurred when I was at a conference attending a session where writers anonymously submitted the first page of their work. If selected, the moderator read the page as a panel of editors listened. If they didn’t like what they heard, they raised their hands. If two editors raised their hands, the reading stopped. This was the most-attended session at the conference. It was like watching a car accident as writer after writer was jeered and critiqued by the editors, and the audience nervously laughed.
I held my breath as my page was selected. Almost immediately, one of the editors raised his hand. After several more paragraphs, another editor’s hand went up, and the reading stopped. The editor who’d raised his hand first explained that while the writing was good, the story was pulp. As he said it, his mouth pursed as if he’d eaten something sour.
After I bandaged my bruised ego, I wrote another story. This time, aside from the form rejections, there were a few encouraging words. I attended conferences, joined the Romance Writers of America, participated in an on-line critique group, entered contests, and revised, revised, revised.
Then came the day I pitched the story to an editor. She loved it and requested I send the manuscript in as soon as possible. A month later, The Wild Rose Press offered me a contract for ‘My Brother’s Sins’. Now my second romantic suspense, ‘Cherished Secrets’ has been published, and I’ve signed a contract for my third.
I’m glad I didn’t quit. Writing is what I do and who I am. Never stop doing what you love. Believe in yourself. Writing is subjective, and what one person dislikes, ten others will love. Your dreams of being a published author can come true. Mine did
Twelve years ago, sixteen-year old Carrie Ann Hetherington, pregnant with the child of a murder suspect, fled the small town of Cooper’s Ridge for the anonymity of Seattle. Now, faced with a family dilemma, she must risk her carefully reinvented life and return to her childhood home.
Eighteen-year-old Declan McAllister’s prom date is found beaten and strangled to death, and he becomes the prime suspect accused of the grisly crime. Now this successful Dallas businessman returns to Cooper’s Ridge to find the true murderer and finally lift the cloak of suspicion he’s faced all these years. In his quest to prove his innocence, he must join forces with the woman who shattered his heart to find a devious killer who will stop at nothing to protect a shocking truth.
Caught up in a menacing web of secrets, deception and danger, they struggle to overcome past betrayals and present danger. Can they tear down the barriers they’ve erected around their hearts and rediscover true love.
Amazon | Kobo | Book Strand | iTunes | Nook | The Wild Rose Press
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Pulp, huh? Ouch! Kudos to you for not giving up on pursuing your dream! Congrats on your second book – it sounds like a winner!
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Excellent blurb Chris. I agree the rejections are difficult to take but look where you are now. Love that you encourage everyone to never give up. Congrats on the second published work.
Thanks to Lori for hosting me. She’s done a wonderful job of making my post look good. Great support from a fellow author.
Love the blurb to Cherished Secrets! I think most authors have stories similar to yours, publication is a long road for most. Sometimes I wonder how many simply give up. I’m glad you didn’t. Thanks for sharing!
Glad you kept following your dream, CB. Congrats on the release!
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What courage it takes to put yourself out there. I love your blurb and that’s a great book cover. Congrats on the release—
Kudos to you for taking the chances you did, even if those early results stung a bit. It takes courage to do that! Love the sound of Cherished Secrets. Best of luck with it.
I appreciate all your kind comments. This writing thing we’ve committed to is a long, arduous journey with many, many downs…but a few ups. And it’s the ups we need to celebrate.
Thank you so much for being here, CB. I loved your road to publication story so much. You’re absolutely right–we have to celebrate the ups.
Heartwarming article, CB. It’s so important to follow your dream. Good luck with Cherished Secrets and with the new books you’ve got in the pipeline. You’re on your way. Best, Anni. xx
Thanks, Anni. Your kind thoughts made my day.
Congratulations on your new release. It’s nice to read about other authors’ roads to publishing. This will be added to my TBR list.
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I’m so glad you continued to write. This book looks fabulous! It is on my to read list :)
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Hello CB! I had the pleasure of meeting you this past weekend and I’m so happy for you and your new release! Glad you persevered and have succeeded.
Thanks, Anita. I hope you enjoy my book. Very few of us have an easy time getting published.
Thanks, Erryn.I enjoyed meeting you as well. Good luck with your writing journey. May you achieve your dreams.
Enjoyed your first book looking forward to the second one good work C B.
Enjoyed reading about your journey. I remember being told I was way too sensitive to become a writer. That theory has been well tested. It is correct, yet here I am bruises and all. What doesn’t kill us…right? Cherished Secrets sounds wonderful. Best wishes to you.
Rejection is part of a writer’s life. You just have to pick up the pieces and move on. I kept trying. I developed a thick skin and sold in the end. It makes being published that much sweeter. Great post!
Wow! I’ve really enjoyed all your kind comments. Thank you. It’s nice to know we’re all in the same boat. Mind you, I was just at a writers’s conference and met Diana Gabaldon who told me that when she submitted ‘Outlander’ to the publishers, there was a three-way bidding war. And the rest, as they say, was history. We could be so lucky.
Hi CB, I was just at one of those “read the first page editor’s panels,” at the Emerald City Conference in Seattle. My main feeling was how BRAVE those authors were for putting themselves out there. Congrats on your Bravery…and your new release.
Thanks, Dee Dee. We authors often have to put ourselves out there. It’s never easy, but we keep at it. I’m hoping to attend the Emerald City Romance Writers’ Conference next year. I’ve heard good things about it.
OMG, seriously? They do a similar thing at our SCBWI conference and the editors/agents are so much more respectful. I know we have to have a thick skin, but I don’t like the setup of that particular session. At ours, a moderator reads the first ten pages of each (I think?) and at the end, the assigned editor stands up and gives a professional, constructive critique. I’ve never heard one be insulting at all…they make suggestions that could make the story stronger, but they don’t outright insult the writer or the content. They mostly just say whether it would have grabbed them enough to keep reading and if not, they suggest things that might have made it more powerful.
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The SCBWI event sounds so much kinder, Stephanie. It would be awesome to hear an editor explain why or why not he/she would request a manuscript, and to hear ways to improve the writing. I think there were lots of complaints about the process at the conference I was at as I’ve heard the panel of editors was much gentler this year. You’re right, though, we do need a thick skin in this business. Thanks for your comment.
Good,you will never knew your luck unless you try. Congratulations,fellow blogger!
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