Recently I was asked to give a motivational speech for a group. My subject was never giving up your dream–something I know plenty about.
My entire life I’ve wanted to be a writer. I wrote stories as a child, put out a magazine as a teenager and wrote plays for the neighborhood children to put on. When I got married at 18, my writing life was put on hold. Oh, I kept my hand in all right, besides giving birth to and raising five children, I produced the PTA newsletter and wrote plays for my Camp Fire Girls to star in, and I still churned out a bit of fiction.
Finally, when the kids had grown quite a bit, I started writing an historical family saga based on my family genealogy. When it was finished, I began the process of sending it to publishers. This was back in the days before computers and copying machines. This book was rejected nearly thirty times before it found a publisher. By this time I was in my late forties. I sent the next book to the same publisher, but the editor who had accepted the first one was gone and the new editor wasn’t interested.
I did find a publisher, but the owner of the publishing company turned out to be a crook. Instead of sending royalties, he was using his profits to gamble at Vegas. He was arrested and I was sent all the books he’d produced.
I’d written a Christian horror novel and searched hard for a publisher. The Christian publishers thought it was too scary for their audience and the secular publishers felt it was too Christian for their readers. Finally a small, independent publisher told me he’d love to print it but I needed to get it camera ready first. Yes, we had computers by this time but no easy program for publishing. For months, I went to a computer store at 6 a.m., worked on the computer there to make the book camera ready until 9 a.m. when the store opened. When it was finally done, I called the publisher only to find out that he’d died.
I’m not sure where this falls in the sequence of things, but I’ve had at least four agents over the years. The first one was handling one of my historical family sagas and he taught me a lot, but never sent the book out once. The second agent didn’t know what she was doing. The third represented my Tempe Crabtree series and in four years only sent the book out three times. The fourth agent loved the titles of my books but only sent them out a couple of times. I figured if I was ever to be published again, I needed to take the reins into my own hands.
My first mystery was published by another crooked outfit. This time I had a booksigning, fifty books arrived, all of them were sold, but the company had pulled up stakes and no more books could be found. A small independent publisher offered to re-publish the book. She did the first printing sold out. She then published four books in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. We had a terrific relationship, then she died of a stroke. I lost a good friend.
This meant I had to locate another publisher for my Tempe series. Fortunately, I’d met the publisher of Mundania Press at a couple of writing conferences and was impressed by his grasp of the publishing world and he offered me a contract for the next two in the series.
Before most people knew anything about electronic publisher I signed on with to do my Rocky Bluff P.D. series. This was before anyone had discovered the POD technology or handheld devices for reading books. My books looked wonderful but no one was interested in reading a novel from their computer screen. That publisher faded away. I eventually found another electronic publisher who was also using POD technology to print trade paperbacks. The first two book in the series were published, looked great, but the royalties didn’t arrive and the third book didn’t look like it would be printed any time soon. Once again I searched for another publisher. Tigress Press accepted and published Fringe Benefits which is available now as an e-book and a trade paperback from my website and Amazon.com.
Hard Shell Word Factory, one of the oldest and best of the electronic publishers, published Kachima Spirit and the prequel to my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Deadly Trail, as well as the electronic versions of the first four books in that series.
My other two Christian horror, Deeds of Darkness and Cup of Demons, found a home with Treble Heart Books and are available as e-books and trade paperbacks from http://trebleheartbooks.com and my website.
If I had let rejections, crooked publishers, agents who didn’t do anything and deaths stand in my way, my dream of being a published author would never have happened. Life is full of disappointments and set-backs, but don’t let any of them stop you from hanging onto your dream.